Heart Of Glass

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but over the past few years I’ve developed a strong interest in a particular style of glassware. It all started several years ago when I set up my cocktail cabinet (See “Hey Manhattan”). I bought six of each of the required glass styles and thought  myself pretty well set up. My then girlfriend then convinced me to ditch the standard stuff in favour of something a bit more impressive. You see, she was very much of the opinion that what you drink out of is as much a part of the experience as what you drink, and suggested I invest in something else.

As a result of some digging around on Etsy, I came across the work of Georges Briard. He was unknown to me at the time, but I could see that his work really stood out and so I bought three sets of his glasses, all in the same style. For those of you who don’t know, Briard was a a mid century modern (MCM) designer who produced glassware from the 1950’s until the 1970’s which was sold at such outlets as Neiman Marcus.

All was well and good, and I derived a great deal of satisfaction from using them. As cash has been rather tight over the past few years I haven’t added to my collection, but that all changed a few weeks ago.

Just before the whole world turned to shit, my sweetheart flew down to Palm Springs to visit her cousin. Being the incredibly generous soul that she is, she wanted to bring something back for me that was better than a tee shirt. I understand that Palm Springs has more than it’s fair share of antique stores, and while browsing she found what she assumed would be the perfect present for me. Without telling me too much, she asked about “The guy whose glasses you like”, so I could tell where her mind was going, so I told her and left it at that.

She later sent me a picture of a set of glasses and asked me what I thought. Take a look for yourself.

 

As she was on a tight schedule I answered her immediately and she snapped them up. Only later did I learn the full story. In addition to buying me eight of these glasses, she also bought me six of these:

5

Just so you know, this is a Double Old Fashioned, so it holds twice as much as a regular glass. Naturally, I was blown away by them, as I just love Briard’s use of gold in his work. Bringing them back on the plane was a bit of a hassle for my sweetheart, especially as the bag broke just as she got to the airport. Such was her plight that upon disembarking, she went straight to the Coach shop to see if she could buy a bag from them. As small acts of kindness go, giving someone a bag isn’t a big deal, but I do appreciate them for just giving my sweetheart a very sturdy paper shopping bag in which to put all the glasses.

You can imagine my delight when she got home, not just because I hadn’t seen her for five days, but the fact that I now had more glasses than I knew what to do with, resulting in me reorganising my sideboard to make room.

But wait, there’s more. We’d been looking on Etsy and she’d seen a set of glasses that she thought might appeal to me, and she was right. The problem was that the shipping was more than the glasses, so I passed up the opportunity but still left them in my cart, as did she, just in case. Guess what?  Last week she asked if I was still interested in the glasses, largely due to the fact that they’d caught her eye as well. I said yes, and so she ordered them. I asked her how much I owed her, but she just waved it away, saying that she’d pay as it was her idea. She’s a wine drinker and has no use for Lowballs, Highballs, Collins’s or Old Fashioneds, so it was doubly heartening that she would do this for me. As a result, I now have another six Double Old Fashioned glasses in my collection.

 

Yeah. I know. I understand now how people end up dying surrounded by thousands of commemorative Victorian teaspoons, match books or toy robots, but least I can use the glasses. You see, I don’t regard myself as a collector, but as a appreciator, if there is such a thing. I don’t buy them just to have them and look at them, but to use them for their stated purpose. I really don’t see the point of having something and not being able to use it. And I have to admit that my former girlfriend was correct. What you drink out of DOES matter as much as what you drink.

In a way, I’m glad I don’t have the money to indulge my love for Briard’s work, as I would need an aircraft hanger to store them all, and maybe that’s for the best, mind  you, I have a pretty good idea where my stimulus check money will be going…

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Personal finances, personal relationships

The Stand

Editorial note.

Apparently not blogging for six months is a good thing, and not just for those poor souls on whom I inflict my ramblings. I posted three days ago and already have acquired four new readers, to whom I say: “Welcome. Feel free to delve into my extensive back catalogue of posts. Or not, it’s up to you.

I hadn’t intended to write this particular post quite so soon, but events are moving apace, and I thought I’d get it out of the way sooner rather than later. Yes, like every other blogger on the planet, I’m talking about the Covid 19 pandemic. When the first reports came out of China, I was concerned due to the fact that most respiratory infections, Influenza being the most common, come out of China. It’s just the way it is. Flu likes to circulate between fowl, swine and people, and let’s face it, China is full of all three.

What I wasn’t expecting was that Covid would spread so far so rapidly. Everyone was concerned about SARS, but it sort of fizzled out and became a footnote in the memory of most people. As is usual, the first reports were inaccurate, contradictory and low in information, but that’s  how it is with all such outbreaks. However, it wasn’t too long before someone in the area tested positive. This didn’t concern me overly, but it did set my spidey senses tingling, if you get my drift.

I’m pretty well educated, but even so, there is so much bad and just plain wrong information that I was heartened to see one of my favourite podcasts address the issue in a timely manner. I’m talking about the wonderful “MonsterTalk” podcast. https://www.monstertalk.org/210-going-viral-the-covid19-monster/

I’d give it a listen, if I were you, and also to “This Week In Virology” http://www.microbe.tv/twiv/

Dr. Daniel Griffin really knows what he’s talking about, and the hosts, Blake Smith ( his dreadful  puns aside) and Karren Stollznow do a fantastic job of discussing a complex issue.

I won’t rehash what you already know, but I wasn’t in the least surprised when the Bloviator in Chief, the Umpa Lumpa of  the United States spouted off his usual stream of ignorance saying that this new infection wasn’t a big deal and it would all go away in April. Nor was I surprised that he then spent two days on the golf course after his initial briefings. Presumably because he can’t play a musical instrument. Such is the way with all dictators: First of all, ignore the problem, then minimise it, then blame others for spreading “Panic”, by which I mean truth, then blame someone else for the problem, and finally claim you knew about it before anyone else and you’ve been doing a terrific job. So far, so typical. In fact, I half expected Der Trumpfer to claim that he’d never heard of Covid, he might have met him a couple of times, but doesn’t really know him.

And now, finally, I get to my point. You see, I work in the Deli department of a large local supermarket and have contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis, both staff and customers. Unlike my sweetheart and millions of office based workers, I don’t have the luxury of working from home, nor can I do my job in my bathrobe and slippers. Well, I could, but not more than once.

Thankfully, management took the situation seriously from the start. The store managers began holding daily conference calls and the company created a text service to provide employees with updates. Of course, at first there was a bit of miscommunication and confusion, but this was sorted out pretty quickly and new routines where established: We stopped giving out samples to customers, sprayed the counter tops with disinfectant frequently and even reorganised our salad and olive bars. Customers had to get a container from a staff member as well as gloves as we were concerned about potential contamination if people handled multiple containers.

Yesterday, someone dialed it up to 11. We closed the self service bars and replaced them with pre-packaged salads and antipasto. Staff were reassigned to other departments as the company promised not to cut our hours, and then the Governor made an announcement calling people to stay home for a minimum of 14 days. Not that it makes any difference to me, as I have to go to work, but hopefully this will make people realise how serious the situation is. It would be nice, however, if the company were to give  us hazard pay. I have to say that running through my head all day is the worry that the next customer I serve may be infected, but asymptomatic.

As you can imagine, we are all stressed out and it would be easy to fall into the habit of hitting the booze or the comfort food at every opportunity, but I’m trying to keep a lid on it. With care, and a great deal of cleaning, we will avoid any infections, but all it takes is one person to contract the virus and the entire staff will be in jeopardy.

The other weird thing is our change in social status: working in food retail means we are now regarded as “Essential personnel”, something I never thought I’d hear, and it has at least made some people think about the nature of our job. In fact, over the past few days several customers have thanked us for being at work. Most of our customers are pretty decent people, but it’s still nice to be recognised as doing a job which involves risks most people can avoid simply by staying at home.

I can’t really speak for the rest of the store, but the checkers now have plexiglass shields between them and the customers. Pretty sensible when you consider everyone has to go through the checkout. We’re pretty well stocked, but certain areas are stripped bare- toilet paper, of course, as well as cleaning supplies, but also soup and bread as people seek comfort, and I can’t really blame them.

My hope is that all our precautionary measures at work will pay off and that people will do the sensible thing and not leave the house unless they really have to.  I hope also that all of you are well and taking all precautions to avoid getting sick. I wouldn’t inflict Covid 19 on anyone, and I really hope we can weather the storm. I’ll finish now, as I have to check how many kidneys I  have to sell in order to buy a pack of toilet paper.

Leave a comment

Filed under employment, Pandemic, Politics, Public health, Uncategorized

Black Dog.

Not that anyone has noticed, but I’ve been quiet for a few months. Partly this was due to tiredness, but mainly due to the fact that I find the winter a particularly difficult time of year. I suffer from depression, although to be honest, I only have it, it’s the people around me who suffer from it. I’ve been medicated for several years, and it works well, but the winters in the PNW are not easy at the best of times. The cold and damp are bad enough, but the unrelenting greyness is what really gets to people.

A couple of years ago my doctor gave me another anti depressant to try, and while it worked, the side effects made it not worth my while to continue, so I decided not to continue taking it. My improved personal life helped, as did my therapist ( see earlier posts), so it wasn’t too bad, but last winter was just a bridge too far.

As you can imagine, we were slammed at work from before Thanksgiving through the end of the year, with only the few days after Thanksgiving providing any relief as people lived on leftovers. However, very shortly things ramped up again, until the nightmare that was December 23rd and 24th. We have four slicers in the department, yet for two those two days we had six, yes, six people working the Meat and Cheese counter. the only time the machines weren’t running was the brief interlude between orders. All six of us worked flat out to fill orders, yet we still had a line of customers to serve. At one point a slicer overheated and had to be taken out of service, which only made things worse.

Was there any acknowledgement of our efforts? Did anyone from Management come out and tell us how much they appreciated our herculean efforts? Were we provided with even so much as  a free coffee as reward for our work? Were we fuck! Let me tell you what we did get: We got a shitload of grief over one incident. A staff member, actually the manager of another section didn’t hear us call her number. As soon as we were made aware of this, we served her, as we would if someone else had missed their turn. Not satisfied with this, she complained, saying that one of us had spoken rudely to her, and she then went around time dissing us to all and sundry. Yeah, really! Apparently she had no responsibility to pay attention to her number being called. The offending staff member was supposed to apologise to her, but I don’t know if it ever  happened, but the damage was done.

Of course, Management never  have to take their place on the front line, don’t see how much we do, nor how short tempered some customers can be, during what is, admittedly, a very high stress time of the year. This did nothing to improve my mood and I went into the Christmas period feeling somewhat below par. What also didn’t help is that neither of my kids bothered to buy a Christmas present for my girlfriend. My son claimed that his gift was on back order and my daughter claimed that her piece of art wasn’t finished. As you can imagine I was both embarrassed and angry, and my girlfriend was understandably upset. Not a good end to the year under any circumstances.

Then there is the always reliable financial situation. I have pared my expenses to the bone, made changes to save on expenses and still I am no further ahead at the end of the month. I don’t expect to be  hip deep in cash, but it would be nice to have even slightly more cash at the end of the month than at the start. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in debt, nor am I broke, but it would make me feel a lot happier if I had a bit of leeway.

As January wore on I found myself less and less inclined to blog to the very few of you who read, and a sort of inertia took over. as you are no doubt aware, once you stop doing something it’s harder to start up again, and the longer you stop, the harder it becomes. However, I’ve decided that enough time has passed and enough noteworthy events have happened that I’m going to fire up the old blog engine and give it a good run for its’ money.

Yeah, that was the reaction I was expecting, but I’m going ahead anyway. I have a lot of ground to cover, so be aware that there may well be more posts in the next few weeks than you’d like.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, depression

Empire State Human

Imagine for a minute that you are a film maker. You have five seconds of stock footage in order to set the scene. If the action takes place in Paris, you are likely to choose a shot of the Eiffel Tower, if London, then probably the Houses of Parliament. If New York, then what? Until 2011, you would probably have chosen the twin towers of the World Trade Center, but before that, and probably even today, you might well choose the Empire State Building.

As we only had one day in the city, this was very much on our itinerary. After lunch and the Staten Island Ferry ( see An Englishman in New York), we hopped in a cab and headed north to the tower. I will admit that for me, this was the highlight of the day, it’s such an iconic building and probably the first thing anyone would ask about. It did take some time to find the right entrance as it’s still a working building and one can’t simply have tourists wandering aimlessly around the ground floor looking for an elevator to the 84th floor. I’m sure the door staff are heartily sick of being asked the same question every twenty seconds of every day, but I suppose if you apply for that job, you pretty much know what you are letting yourself in for.

The lobby is beautifully maintained and all the staff are impeccably dressed in uniforms which I’m sure are very similar to the original style, which I thought was a very nice touch. We were directed up a short flight of stairs to the airport style security station that is sadly now such a common feature of important public places. We arrived in the early afternoon as a quick web search had suggested this as good time to avoid the crowds, and our decision paid off. The area was pretty quiet, and it was nice to learn that we wouldn’t need to pay an extra $40 to avoid any potential lines. There is a long and confusing walk to the elevators, as the direction is rather poorly signposted, but I realised that this was due to the fact that most times of day there is a long wait involved.

To this end, the walls are covered with pictures, screens and signs telling the history of the tower’s construction in a very coherent and entertaining manner, much like the lines at Disneyland offer distractions to help keep kids and parents alike amused as they wait for their four minute ride. Of course, there is a very heavy emphasis on King Kong, with lots of original movie posters on display, and an equally heavy presence in the gift shop.  The first elevator took us most of the way to the top, where we spent several minutes looking out of the windows at the view. Reflections from the glass made taking pictures problematic, but it gave us a good idea of what to expect. A short wait in line took us to the next elevator bank, which looked like they had been maintained in their original condition. Of course, these were much smaller than many modern elevator cabins, so it made for a cozy trip. I will say, however, that the uniformed staff who operated the elevators did a fantastic job keeping  the line moving and making sure no one had to wait very long.

Finally, the top! The lobby at the top of the building looks new, with lots of signs pointing towards famous landmarks and tall windows providing an unobstructed view. Of course, we made our way straight outside, as there’s no point in coming all that way just to stare out of a window. As you would expect, the balcony was more than a little crowded, but not unbearably so, so we had no trouble finding a spot at the parapet from which to view the city. It really is a most impressive sight, to see such a huge city laid out like an architect’s model. We took our time making our way around, taking plenty of pictures. One of the sights I had most wanted to see was the Flatiron Building. I don’t know why this particular building fascinates me so much, but it does. We had talked about walking over to see it, but the time involved would have made it impractical, so instead I settled for a view from above.

 

20190815_160340

Maybe it’s the shape, maybe it’s because it is a great use of space, but I just love it. I took plenty of other pictures, but I won’t add them here, but suffice it to say that the Chrysler Building looks even more impressive when seen from above. Central Park is another obvious tourist site, but seeing as it’s a day in itself, I had to be content with this view

 

20190815_154809

 

Not great, but better than nothing, and it does give an idea of what a vast space it is in such a crowded city. We overheard one of the guides giving his group an explanation of the history of the various bridges and buildings, and I wish we could have heard more, but it was not to be. I did, however, have one stereotype reinforced, as it turned out that he had been an amateur boxer, crossing daily into New Jersey to train alongside several boxers who went on to find fame in the ring. I won’t use the term “Guido”, but this guy very much fitted the stereotypical image that his  mannerisms and speech suggested. After this great view of the city, we exited via the gift shop. I picked up tee shirts for myself and  the kids and made sure to buy a postcard to send to my Dad. My sweetheart, who grew up in the city bought herself two shirts! I was quite surprised, but seeing as we were in full tourist mode, it made sense, I mean, when will we be back in the building?

I should point out that the ESB is still a working structure, and for many people, entering the building is no more special than going into a standard neo-brutalist office block, so I have great sympathy for those who have to dodge hordes of gawping tourists just to get to their cubicle. I also learned that my sweetheart’s Mother once worked in the building, originally on the 34th floor and then on the 16th when she was an accountant, which gave the trip a more personal touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under vacation

An Englishman In New York

Editorial note: This will be the first in a number of posts over the next few weeks. I have a lot of ground to cover regarding my recent exploits and the best way to do this is to get it out there before it becomes ancient history.

I’ve just come back from only my third trip east of the Mississippi in 27 years. The main purpose of this little jaunt was to meet my sweetheart’s family in New Jersey, with the added benefit of some sightseeing and meeting some of her friends. As our time was short, we  only had one day in which we could see some of the local sites, so we made our way to  the nearest train station and headed into New York.

We had sketched out an itinerary, but as is usually the case, this was rather fluid and subject to change depending on circumstances, so we weren’t tied to the sort of rigid route march like agenda so common when time is short.  Our original intention had been to take the train to Penn Station and make our way from there, but due to repairs further up the line, we had to change at Hoboken and then take the PATH train into the city. Despite what you might imagine, there is no 200 foot high statue of the city’s most famous son, nor is the station named after him, but I did get  a very good view of the south end of Manhattan, and in particular, the World Trade Center while walking along the platform, so it wasn’t a bad start to the day.

Our change of lines meant that our arrival point was the station  under the World Trake Center aka The Occulus, a vast, shining, white labyrinth of very high  end shops under a vast, curved glass ceiling. It has a very futuristic feel about it, and was the antithesis of the stereotypical New York Subway station seen so many times in an endless stream of gritty, realistic movies from the ’60’s and ’70’s.

This meant that we were much  closer to our first stop of the day, an historic pub on Water Street called “The Dead Rabbit” where we met my sweetheart’s niece and her boyfriend. We enjoyed a very nice meal ( See ‘Food, Glorious Food’) and chat before they walked us down to the Staten Island Ferry.

Suitably fortified, this, at  least for me, marked the start of our sightseeing trip. I’m not sure what I expected, but I found a mix of the familiar and new in the terminal. Of course, it was much bigger than the ferry terminals I’m used to in my part of the world, but there was  still the expected mix of locals and tourists, although with more food outlets and people touting trips and cold drinks. Still, the ferry is free, so the constant assault of offers for tours and the like was as small price to pay. The ferry, although not much smaller than the Seattle boats, was foot traffic only, for obvious reasons, so we found a spot on the uppermost deck and tried not to block traffic.

I will admit that one of the things that irritates me the most about the local boats is the hordes of tourists swarming topside to gawp and take selfies. I just don’t see the attraction of taking a picture of a partial view, but I suppose social media is all about the self, so go figure. On the way to Staten Island the most prominent sight is that of  Lady Liberty, and I suppose there are now hundreds of people showing their phones to friends and saying  “Here’s a picture of me blocking the view of the Statue of Liberty”. Not so I. Of course, I took pictures, but I made darn sure I’m nowhere in frame. It’s a very enjoyable ride, I have to say, and by far the best and cheapest way to see such a famous landmark. The journey back is a little more prosaic, although there is a very good view of Governor’s Island and the Brooklyn Bridge, so all in all, a very enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half, although the Starbucks in the Staten Island terminal has by far the worst espresso in the world.

Due to the extreme heat and humidity, both in the high ’80’s we took a cab along FDR Drive, rather than the Subway to the Empire State Building,  the next stop on our trip. I’ll save the details  for “Empire State Human”, but it was without doubt the highlight of the whole trip, and well worth the price, although I could have done without the stress of being in New York traffic.

After exiting via the gift shop – what else did you expect? – we retired to an Irish pub – again, what else did you expect?- to regain our strength before meeting one of my sweetheart’s friends for a light dinner. Imagine, however, our surprise to see chalk boards either side of one of the pub’s many T.V. screens decorated with Seahawks and Husky logos. Apparently, the pub, Feile, is home to quite a lot of U.W. alums! Who knew?

We had  intended to visit The Highline, the park built on part of the old elevated railway line, but time and temperature meant we decided to leave it until our next visit, but even so, our truncated schedule made for a very long day, and we were glad to be able to relax on the train home. At least this  time we were able to leave from Penn Station and avoid changing trains.

I realise that two pubs and two attractions don’t make for an especially exciting or enlightening post, but considering out time constraints, I don’t think it was a bad use of time. I’ve checked something off my bucket list, and had a fine time to boot.

But enough of this travelogue bullshit. What are my impressions of New York? Well, it was just what I expected, but also, not. it was incredibly crowded, with hordes of people barreling along narrow sidewalk at  the bottom of concrete canyons. Even London isn’t as crowded. I was surprised at how many storefronts are not much more than a door and a small window, with dozens of such glorified kiosks on each block. Many stores appeared to offer little more than gaudy trinkets or fast food of dubious quality, yet many others seemed to be long established local stores.

The traffic was insane, and we narrowly avoided a collision due only to the quick reflexes of our taxi driver as a car pulled into traffic from the kerb without warning. I will admit to gasping and slamming my right foot onto a non existent brake pedal, but this seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary to our driver. I guess I’m just a small town  boy after all. One other thing that struck me was the noise. The fact that the area consists entirely of very tall buildings means that all sounds are trapped in narrow canyons, and I’m sure my sweetheart was as tired of repeating herself as I was of asking her to repeat herself. It’s not that it was a deafening roar, but a constant background bass rumble that made it very difficult indeed for me to hear anything at all.

On our way to dinner I did experience a truly N.Y. experience. While crossing the street we witnessed a homeless woman with obvious mental issues yelling incoherently at a (I’m sure totally legitimate) street trader. We all found something truly fascinating  in the middle distance on which to fix our gaze and moved on. Once clear of the conflict zone both my sweetheart and her friend said “Welcome to New York”. I guess some things never change

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under travel

Rescue

Let me be upfront about this. I am a cat person. I used to live in a household with four of them, and as benign dictatorships go, it was pretty reasonable as long as I remembered my place and didn’t cause a fuss. My former girlfriend had two sugar gliders, and then a tenrec. The gliders, tiny though they were, could make one hell of a noise when they wanted to, and being woken from a dead sleep by barking at three a.m. is not something I would wish on anyone. The tenrec was an improvement, although when anxious would sometimes relieve herself on whomever was holding her, but apart from that, was no bother at all.

I’ve always had a certain antipathy towards dogs, and especially towards their owners. I need not repeat the trope of owners who allow their dogs to  crap in public and then walk away as if the deposit had nothing to do with them, and we all know  that the most common statement after a dog has just bitten an innocent bystander is “Well, he’s never done that before!”

My friends have dogs, one couple have a Scottie and a Westie, the other couple three Border Collies and a Golden Retriever. The second pack are crazy but friendly, if you don’t mind being surrounded by a quartet of barking, jumping and extremely excited dogs for the first 20 minutes after you arrive. They will eventually calm down, sort of, and then you can get on with things, but it is a bit of a riot at first.

The thing is, while I don’t like dogs as a species, I’m quite willing to give each individual animal the benefit of the doubt until proven wrong. Usually they don’t pee on me or my rugs, nor bite me, so that all counts to the good. I could quite happily live my entire life without the presence of a canine, so how the hell did I end up living with someone who is an ardent dog lover and an active member of her local Humane Society?

Let’s face  it: potential partners and their  pets are a package deal, just as a potential partners and their kids are a package deal. If you can’t handle one, you may as well just walk away and go back to the website. I have to admit that in both departments I seem to have struck gold. My sweetheart’s dog, (or should I say our dog?)  is, of course, a rescue. She’s probably a Papillon/Border Collie/Spaniel mix of between four and six years old. She is very sweet natured and the fact that she almost never barks make me wonder if she doesn’t have some Basenji in her ancestry.  The fact that after some initial scepticism she took to me is a big plus. On of my ex wife’s cats never fully accepted that I was now sleeping in “his” bed and would lie at our feet scowling at me through the night, wondering when the hell I was going to go away. Not so Maggie. I will admit that she was a little unhappy at first, but seeing as we use my King size bed as opposed to my sweetheart’s Queen size, there is enough room to accommodate all three of us.

She has accepted me and will even follow my instructions when it comes to meals and toilet breaks. She will follow me downstairs in the morning when I call her to let her into the garden, although having grown up in 1980’s Britain, I find it very difficult to avoid chanting “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, out! out! out!” every time I open the sliding door for her. I’m quite happy to perform these tasks as it makes it easier for my sweetheart  to get ready for work and helps Maggie accept me as a permanent part of the household.

There is, however, one line I am not prepared to cross, and it’s the obvious one. We use a dog walking service from time to time due to our schedules, but when time and weather permit, we take her for a walk along the local trail system. Well, I say walk, but in reality any distance we cover is done three yards at a time as Maggie needs to stop and sniff absolutely everything she encounters. Being a dog, she naturally needs to take care of certain functions she can’t do in the house and it is solely down to my sweetheart to deal with the consequences.

I cleaned the litter boxes for four cats for 10 years, and the diapers on two children for a combined six years, so my cleaning up other people’s shit duties are well and truly fulfilled. At least with cats and kids the product goes into a bag and is then disposed of, with a dog on a public trail, said bag is carried for the remainder of the walk, the trail having only one bin, and that is in the parking lot. Maggie is not my dog, and much as I love her, I’m not going to carry a bag of her crap around with me like  some sort of  bizarre fashion accessory.  That remains the exclusive purview of my sweetheart.

I am however, the logistics carrier. I  have a great 1950’s French Army messenger bag that I used to use mainly when walking to work or when out shopping. Now it contains antiseptic wipes, hand sanitiser and spare bags. it seems that I have come full circle from the days when the backpack I toted was solely for diaper changing supplies.

On  a lighter note, I found life imitating art recently. On a recent trip to the dog trail I opened the door for my sweetheart only for Maggie to hop straight onto the front passenger seat and curl up. She refused to move, so my sweetheart had to sit in the back. As she got in, I removed the sunshade from the windscreen. The sunshade has a Star Wars theme, bearing as it does, a picture of Han, Chewbacca, Luke and Ben looking out of the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon towards the Death Star. I thought about the  situation, how I was now in a somewhat ageing vehicle with a furry copilot next to me, and all I could think was: “Laugh it up, fuzzball!”

Leave a comment

Filed under personal relationships, Pets

The Things We Do For Love

There is a time, well, a period of time in any relationship when “I” and “I” become “us” and “we”. Each person adapts themselves, their behaviours and lifestyle to accommodate the other person so that they can live together without killing each other or a minor disagreement dissolving into a red – faced screaming match at eardrum shattering volume heard by everyone within a 500 yard radius.

Before I met my sweetheart I had been living alone for around six years. I don’t count the five weeks I lived with my previous girlfriend when between rentals as that was more a case of me bringing a bag and having somewhere to shower and sleep. There was absolutely no way we were going to live together, as her place was even smaller than mine and in no way suitable for two people. Over those six years I had developed a number of habits that didn’t affect anyone else and made my life simpler. For instance, I had the habit of leaving clean pans on the drying mat, leaving clean laundry in the basket until I either needed to wear it or couldn’t cram any more in. I will admit that I would often leave my clothes lying on the bedroom floor for lack of anywhere better to place them, and of  course, as a guy living alone, I didn’t bother to close the bathroom door.

This particular habit had it’s uses, though. The downstairs powder room opened into the living/dining room, so if I was watching a movie or a football match I didn’t need to pause the action in order to take care of business. Please,whatever you do, don’t think about that image. When it comes to living alone, we all fall into routines that make our lives easier and at some point we just don’t see them any more.

Then it happens: you meet someone special and you do your best to create as favourable an impression as possible: the kitchen counters are spotless and uncluttered, the bathroom is neat and clean, the bed is made. The list is endless and well known. Of course, after a while the charade is dropped and the process of actually living returns to the fore.

Of course, most of the early part of the relationship involves short stays at each other’s home, so in reality not a lot changes as first, as a weekend isn’t really long enough for things to become annoying, but eventually you decide that it makes sense to live together and then the process really gets under way. For us this happened rather quickly: I moved in four months to the day from our first date. Yes, I know that is rather quick, but it very quickly became apparent that it was  the right thing to do, and as we are both adults, why wait?

I will admit that at first I felt like a visitor and that the place wasn’t really my home, but  this feeling soon passed and  settled in to what was now my normal routine. My main adjustment was in the kitchen. You see, my sweetheart is paranoid about her kitchen counter tops, as she readily admits, and swoops on any sign of moisture or food as soon as she sees them. It took me  a while to get used to this, as I didn’t really care too  much about the Formica in my old kitchen beyond the desire to avoid getting charged with the replacement cost should I have damaged  them. I’ve become more conscientious about spilling on the stove top, but I still leave shreds of cheese scattered around from time to time despite  my best efforts.

In my former life my bathroom counter was littered with toiletries of various sorts, including those left by the kids, largely due to lack of  storage  space, but now  everything except my toothbrush it’s recharger are tucked  away under the sink.  I will admit that this took a bit  of getting used to, but now I find that I prefer having an uncluttered counter, and appreciate the much tidier appearance.

Lest you think this is a  one  way street, it isn’t. My sweetheart has accepted that I will leave clothes on the Ottoman, and in one respect she has changed completely. When I first moved to the U.S. it took me some time to adapt to the habit of taking  off one’s shoes upon entering the house. This was a totally alien concept to me, but of course, it makes sense and now I do so without thinking. My sweetheart, on the other hand, left her shoes on, this despite the fact that she lived in Japan for some time and must have been accustomed to this habit. I found it rather odd, to be honest, and even though it is her house, she quickly consented to remove her shoes once indoors. I know this sounds a bit weird, but  I just don’t understand why anyone would leave their street shoes on when coming indoors, even though it was an alien concept to me.

I suppose that we all make changes to the way we behave over  time. Some  of them are forced, some of them are difficult, awkward or uncomfortable, but I suppose  that it is all a part of life, and as long as it makes the other person happy, it is all in a good cause. My Sweetheart has now even started watching English football with me, something I never expected, so I guess she has made some sacrifices too. Let’s all hope Liverpool have a good season next year!

Leave a comment

Filed under dating, lifestyle, love, soccer