Category Archives: family

Texas Time

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Yes, Super Agent Fred  and I are back in the old country, visiting our respective crazy, crazy, crazy ass relatives.   Who are these people?  How could i possibly have sprung from this?

My brother is the exception and I love him, he and his wife, to whom he will have been married 50 years in September.  Amazing

Amazing also, is his saintly restraint in dealing with my father who has gone from befuddled crankiness into actual insanity.  There have been “incidents.”  There have been calls from management (who seem to be actually quite nice, and determined to give the people who have been entrusted to them both dignity  and independence.  Even if they deserve neither.  Which brings us back to my father.)

Anyway, daily calls  where Ed has to stop running his own business and take time to go straighten out today’s mess.  I feel so guilty, tucked away on the far coast, absolutley insulated from the madness.

Anyway.  Texas.  Excellent Mexican food, combat strength air conditioning, and boys who truly look like this:

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Of course, they are in the minority, squeezed in between the giant mounds of humanity that make up the rest of the population and take up far too much room.

We go home at dawn on Monday morning.  I am counting the microseconds.

In Which mrpeenee Returns to the Old Country

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Well, here I am in Texas, land of my birth and home of a bakery that spells one of their offerings as “petifores.”  Oh god.

My brother Mike has entered a hospice as part of the final stage of his cancer.  I decided to come visit, but now I’m not sure why. 1) the hospice is three hours away, much closer to Diane von Austinburg and I’m unclear on how much visiting I’ll be able to do and 2) my other brother Ed says Mike is pretty befogged by morphine.  I vividly remember how little R Man  was in touch at that point.  But I want to see Mike’s wife, who is absolutely charming and I want to show support.  Or something.   Whatever, I’m straightening my Florence Nightengale cap, prepared to visit the shit out of whoever will see me.

So I’m here, tucked into a nice hotel in a sort of out of the way neighborhood.  Its location makes it all the odder that the professional football teams playing against Houston stay here.  The hotel is always very coy about admitting that, but Secret Agent Fred and I ran into them last time we were here and they were checking in.  Believe me, it’s not easy to hide a lobby-full of gigantic tightends lummoxing about.  Just now I was squeezed into an elevator with three of them and I thought I might faint.

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Baby, let me tell you, those are some big mens.

Howdy

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cowboyup

I wish this was my Texas, sadly it is not.

My darlings, I write to you from a barbecue induced coma.  Yes, it’s all too true, I have returned to Texas, land of my birth and home of the world’s most delicious smoked brisket.  I have barbecue sauce smeared up to my ears and will probably never be able to degrease my hands, but it was worth it.  I’ve had fabulous Mexican food three times and barbecue just now; say what you will about Houston, the old place can certainly sling the hash.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games and enchiladas.  The night I got to New Orleans to see about selling my house there, my oldest brother, Ed, called to say our other middle brother, Mike, was very sick with liver cancer (again with the cancer!  Oy!) and I should came back here.  I wrapped up unloading the New Orleans house (which included its own share of memorable meals and innumerable annoying errands) and then hurled myself into the swampy embrace of my homeland.

It’s odd how even though I’ve been away my entire adult life, the Gulf Coast of Texas has a culture that is still my background.  As soon as I get out of the airport, my accent returns, my sinuses swell to accommodate the indigenous mold and mildew, and I instinctively start looking for tacos.

I had several visits of varying degrees of hilarity with my family, some of whom are charming, some of whom are annoying, some of whom are insane and some of whom are annoying and insane, and I haven’t even seen my father yet.  I was sort of holding the worst for last, I suppose.  My brother Mike is in terrible shape, gaunt and frail and talking about a liver transplant, which, I have to say, seems unlikely.  I’m afraid the next time I’ll be here will be for a funeral.

In the meantime, though, I continue to be faced with the odd combination of big city freeways and redneck cowboys that makes up my heritage.  Fortunately, I return to my beloved San Francisco tomorrow.  Even with its sad lack of decent barbecue, it can’t come soon enough.

Again, Yo.

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Oh darlings, I’m so very sorry to have sort of drifted off like that.  Oops.  First there was my whirlwind tour of the south, then my computer died and then inertia won out once again.  But trust me, my thoughts were never far from you.  Except when I was thinking about snacks.

Austin was terribly amusing since I got to hang out with Diane von Austinburg and eat excellent Mexican food and I found a cock ring in a thrift store.

I visited with my white trash crazy family in Houston all of whom are still white trash, crazy and very amusing.  The less said, the better.

The night I got to New Orleans there was a parade.  Not for me, specifically, but for Halloween, but close enough.  It was the Krewe of Boo.  Is that adorable or what?

I had a lovely hotel.

And I got to visit with Jason from Night is Half Gone who took me out for the biggest banana split I have ever seen, cause the pound and a half of shrimp I had eaten for dinner shortly beforehand was apparently not enough.  He was charming as always.

Oh, and I bought a house.

My plan is to live there during the fall and winter and then flee back here to San Francisco to avoid the miserable heat, cause I have done my time with that bullshit.  It’s a block over from my best friend in a terribly cool neighborhood, has a huge yard and seems structurally sound, but shabby, just the thing an elderly poof needs as a hobby.

It’s been a rental for the last thirty or forty years, I’m sure we’ve all seen the equivalent dingy white paint and cheap bathrooms.

I intend to drag its sorry ass into the land of fagulous beauty.  My friend Stephen, who has lots of experience with renovations, is in charge of the remodeling and I’ve anointed myself as Queen Decorator.  Lots of turquoise.

I’m going back on Saturday for the inspection on Tuesday and unless that turns up a nest of alien invaders in one of the back rooms, I’m set.

News from Austin.

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I’m hiding out at Diane VonAustinberg’s for a few days as part of my 2013 World Peace and Enchilada Tour, which will also include a flying visit to my family in Houston and a longer one to New Orleans as a reward for putting up with the flying monkeys that comprise my beloved relatives.

Diane is,of course, the consumate hostess, aside from trying to kill me on her treadmill by luring me up on it backwards, like some crazed OK Go video.*  We had delicious Mexican food tonight and look forward to tearing it up in various thrift shops tomorrow.  The thrill of other people’s discarded crap!

*DVonA says:  I did nothing to lure Mr. P onto the treadmill (“I’m really getting quite good at this” he says, just before slipping off the end. “Except now I’m sort of dizzy.”).  I have done nothing but give him excellent directions to my house, which he ignored and which resulted in him taking an hour-long tour of the Texas hill country. Now, back to Mr. P.

Lies, all lies.  Although I am sort of dizzy.  Maybe I should go lay down.  Also, when I demanded candy to assist in the creative process, Diane denied having any and offered dried apples instead.  How am I supposed to sling wit and wisdom with dried up apples?

Possibly more travel bulletins as they occur.

There and Back Again

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Outside the Menil Gallery, my favorite museum in the world.

mrpeenee is back from the magic that is Houston. While I did not literally kiss the San Francisco ground upon returning it was only my backache the stupid plane had given me that stopped me. So what were some of the highlights from my childhood home? Enchiladas. That’s it. Turns out the sole reason Texas exists is to create superior Mexican food. I ate it every single day I was there, some days snarffling it up for lunch and dinner.

I had rented a Cadillac in order to fit in as well as I could. When I went to pick it up, the guy presented me with an SUV. “I do not want a truck. I want a car,” I explained. I might as well have announced I wanted a pony. The rental guy pointedly turned to the fleet of cars stretching away from us. All SUVs. Welcome to Texas.
My brothers and me. I know some people would think it not fair that I am the prettiest, smartest, tallest and youngest, but that’s how things roll in my family.

Lone Star

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This year marks a significant anniversary for me; it’s the year I will have lived in San Francisco longer than I did in Texas, where I was born. Beyond a mere statistic, it is also a great comfort to me. I will be chanting it to myself on Saturday morning, far too early, as I go winging off to Houston for a family visit.
I have a complicated relationship with my family. When I’m with them, they amuse me, sort of, but when I escape back here I find myself with no great desire to return anytime soon. In fact, I haven’t been back to Texas in the last six years. I blame George Bush, but the fact that they all, and especially my father, make me sort of crazy might have something to do with it.
My plan stretches no farther than Mexican food for dinner three nights and barbecue and Gulf Coast seafood for the other nights. I had looked into possibly visiting some galleries, but the most interesting one has obviously changed focus, now concentrating on lesbiancentric spoken word. Yo. I think I’ll pass.
Trust me when I say none of the boys I ever run across there look like this:


Vermontino

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Super Agent Fred and I are off to Vermont tomorrow. Have you heard of Vermont? I understand it’s this adorable little state, popular with lesbians and cheese enthusiasts. And then, at the other end of the spectrum, I’m going to visit my father in the old folks’ home he just moved into in Houston. Whee. In fact, Super whee.
In unrelated news, the woman who trims the nails of Saki, my Evil and Adorable Cat, warmly recommended giving him a bath the last time we went in for is pedicure. A cat. A bath. A catbath. Doesn’t that just seem to be asking for trouble. After all, Saki barely tolerates going in to have his razorlike talons nipped down. I’m sure washing him off would only lead to sulking and cat turds in my bed. We have filed this under “Ideas, Bad.”
Here’s a good idea:


Honestly, the youth of today.

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Several years ago, during an enormous family vacation out here to visit us, I took two of my nieces and one nephew down to get tattoos. Isn’t that the sweetest thing EVER? It was their idea, let me hasten to add, I was only along as a chauffeur. Plus, they were all in their 30s and already in possession of quite a bit of ink and piercings. Their father, my brother Ed, claims his youngest daughter looks like she fell face first into a tackle box. Hee hee.
So, driving along, making small talk, I asked “What does ‘Get jiggy wit it’ mean anyway?” I was just making a joke, but they all chimed in terribly earnestly to explain it to me, obviously taking pity on me in my declining years. I would have been mortified anyway, but then I realized none of their attempts at translations made any sense because they were trying phrase it in terms that wouldn’t damage my aged sensibility. I wanted to protest that I am NOT OLD, that I am terribly hip, but as soon as you try that, you’re lost. Best to just sit down and watch the Golden Girls marathon and dream of cheesecake.
To make myself feel better, I have turned to houseboy Septimus Septbooty.

High Finance, Low Scruples

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R man and I are re-financing our mortgage. No big thrill, but at least it gave me something to make conversation about with my father when I spoke to him on Sunday. As soon as I mentioned what we were doing, he offered to loan us $100,000 at a ridiculously loan rate. I think it’s to my great credit that I refused. I do not want to take advantage of my father’s generosity. According to my father, that is not a trait I share with my brothers, which in turn, makes me even less eager to join in at the trough.

Never the less, he pressed me to accept because, as it turns out, he has $100k in an “investment” which has lost money three of the last four years. I know the last year has been rough, but prior to that, one would have had to work aggressively to lose money. And that would appear to be exactly what my father did. Some guy cold called him and talked him into this great money making opportunity. I think there were more details, but I didn’t hear them; I had put the phone down so that I could more effectively bash my head on the kitchen counter in frustration.

Say you are an elderly man sitting around watching old guy movies. The phone rings and a stranger says “mrpeenee’s father, I would like to talk to you about your portfolio. “ Do you reply, “My sons have repeatedly told me not to talk to gypsies”? Nope. You say, “Where do I send the check?”

When you’re a little boy, you think your daddy knows everything, that he’s Superman. Then, as you grow into a smartass punk teenager, you decide he’s a brainless idiot who knows nothing. Later, having matured, you come to see that you’ve been too harsh, that he’s a perfectly sensible adult, just like you. And then, at 54 years old, you realize you were right when you were a sullen 15 year old: he is an idiot who is a menace to himself.

So now, I can either join in with my brothers, be no better than they are, and take the money (although I would pay it back, just like a regular mortgage. That would be good just for the novelty’s sake,) or not take it and wait for yet another scam artist. Oh, what the hell, who am I fooling? Make that check out to mrpeenee and get it in the mail. It would seem I have more in common with my dear brothers than I thought.