Category Archives: texas

Plagues Upon my House

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I have a cleaning service, which is  fancy way of saying cleaning lady, except these are a squad of them, so we need a plural reference.  The ringleader, Aline, is from Brazil where the oddity of naming your kid after an architectural fad or a little girls dress doesn’t exist cause they speak Portuguese.  We call her Leeny.

Leeny and I and the vacuum girl (she’s teeny tiny and totes the vacuum around strapped to her back.   I call her the Borg because the vacuum is just about bigger than she is which gives the unsettling effect that she is being absorbed, but, since Leeny is the only who speaks English, she’s also the only one to get the joke.  But we all laugh.  Stupid gringo.

The Borg erupts in a torrent of Portuguese and Leeny asks what are all these bugs.  Moths.  We were in the guest room which has charcoal gray walls and black WOOL carpet and is only disturbed every other week when the Dust Squad busts in.  In other words perfect breeding grounds for the mother fuckers.

Closer examination (or actually, the only examination I have ever given the room) reveals bald spots about the size of my hand where the worthless creatures have eaten the rug down to the base.  AND I only bought this rug a couple of years ago when I was trying to deal with the cat’s insistence on peeing in there.

Tomorrow I hurl my self into the world improvement.  I don’t mind it, I like decorating, but I just hadn’t planned to rid myself of several hundred dollars this month on a room I don’t use.

Also, the front door lock will suddenly no longer lock.   One of those :”You had ONE JOB….” jokes.   Of course, the two errands clash.  I have to be here for the lock guy and I need to go pick out carpet at the rug store

On the sunnier-ish side of things, the car rental crisis seems to have resolved itself.  I kept calling the Hertz guys about this and they would ask for the reservation number and I would explain it was on the paperwork in the car, which apparently was living a carefree life off in some car impound lot.   I would ask if they could not perhaps dig up said number by using my last name.  The would admit that they could, surly that I had breached their last wall of passive resistance.  I would be on hold for quite a little while, listening to what might have been music by Brian Eno, or maybe a computer that looked like Eno.  Eventually the Hertz guy would come back on and say they couldn’t find the reservation number either.

I looked in my account.  There is a long list there of all my trips to Houston and the cars I have known there.   It could be sentimental, but it isn’t.  And then when I get down to the very end where this last ill-fated journey should be, there’s nothing.  The list ends with my trip there last December.

So here’s what I think:  I had Loss Damage Waiver insurance on that little hot rod.   The cops eventually contacted Hertz as the owner of the car and told them where to go get it.  Hertz fetched the battered hulk to it to their car repair guys, along with all the other banged up vehicles that must pour into there every day and patched it up.  From Hertz point of view, the matter is concluded, I got a bill from them that I paid, so I figure it’s over, and I think Super Agent Fred has forgotten the whole sad business.

So.  One crisis down and two to go.   I ‘m going to go take a nap.

wagner3

If I had suspected this guy was involved in the Hertz fiasco, I would have paid more attention.

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.