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Friday, Feb. 10, 2006
Boy I was sure wrong about one thing. Yesterday turned out to be NOT like any other day. It became a sparkly jewel in the John Deere asshat that comes with adjustable band.

For one thing, I didn’t have any specific work related stuff to do (pretty much like today, for that matter) so I invented things. Things like changing out the knives on my planer and taking some dull saw blades to the sharpening guy. This is stuff I like to do, the maintenance items. Always does some good later on to have your toolage doing well.

But around noon I figured, what the hell? It’s me birthday, shipmate. Instead of putzing around oiling up the machines, why not do a little well planned oiling of the Outfoxed?

So I went to the Watering Hole and sought out professionals who are well versed in the ancient art of getting thoroughly oiled. Not blind, mind you, just lubricated a little. An hours worth.

Blind was for later. Like when I got back to the Rental House and spotted a Steely Dan CD just laying around in the vicinity of the Almighty System of Sound (and that‘s ASS, if you‘re playing along at home). I don’t know, I have a thing for happy feet sometimes. It’s remarkable how often that happy feet thing happens just after a lube job. So into the player it went, and the volume was adjusted accordingly. Say, just south of your average runway at LaGuardia. At one quarter turn of the volume knob I can change physics as a known science.

Then I happened to find a few more CD’s just like the first. If the neighbors didn’t know before, they surely know now. My taste in music, that is.

Plus, there was that whole matter of needing to create extra space in the refrigerator and I got rid of a ton of those pesky cold longnecks that were crammed in there.

Then the kids started calling. How I managed to hear the phone over the ASS which was threatening to rearrange furniture all by itself has yet to be explained. “What are we doing for your birthday, Dad?” Now how should I know? Am I the one in charge of that? I did the prudent thing and told them to call their mother, who is at work and up to her eyeballs in silly accounting stuff but probably isn’t so busy that she can’t field calls about how best to entertain the old man later on this evening. You betcha. Then I went back to my research into sine waves and how best to make them visible from a sub-woofer.

My Mom called. Hadn’t had a call from her in a long time. It’s amazing how fast you can sober up when Mommy is on the phone.

They started showing up around 5, after I’d been at it for the better part of the afternoon. They brought presents! Like:

If you don’t know who this gentleman was, you might as well leave now, for you and I will never be on same page. Sheer genius.

Then they helped me into led me to the car and we were off to the feed. Turns out it was the restaurant who employs Maggie the Middlest, a massive steak affair nearby.

I’m a really happy drunk, and I was well into a grin and leer stage by this time. I leered at the menu, which I was having trouble seeing and relied on the old “Just gimmee what I had last time, by god” routine. I leered at the waitress (hand picked by Maggie for this very occasion) who became fond of me after I advised her to “Keep a close eye on this here longneck, chances are it’s gonna get lonely all by itself”. I grinned at Ally who patted me on the head and told me to stop leering at the waitress. I grinned at the pile of onion rings (which are most certainly not making me grin this morning) the size of a beach ball, the steak swimming in ‘shrooms, the ‘taters and the bread. And I really grinned when I didn’t have to pick up the check at the end. Prospective son-in-law, my new hero.

Then they took me for a nightcap. I don’t remember much of that.

When they finally poured me out back at the Rental, I managed to focus on the crew long enough to let them know just how thankful I was that “You kids got me drunk! What a nice surprise!” and then hugged ‘em severely.

Why, I was so grateful that I clomped straight off to the bedroom with a Benny Hill in hand and (I don’t quite know how) stuffed it in the DVD player and hopped in bed. Caught most of the first thirty seconds of it, too.

What a birthday. I had a damned ball.

I’m feelin’ pretty positive that by the next one I ought to be fully recouped. You never know about these things. But if you can‘t get cat tossing silly once a year there‘s just no fun left in the world.

Finally, and on a more somber note, a pretty good summary can be found in this Washington Post article about the current state of affairs in New Orleans. Damn. I was idly considering a trip down there for Jazzfest in late April just to get a feel for the state of rebuilding (plus, Maggie the Middlest wants to go for the tunes) but it’s pretty discouraging to see the stagnation going on, and all this political posturing isn’t helping to cure it either.

I mean, they’re having Mardi Gras real soon, much sooner than Jazzfest. How in the world are they going to accommodate hordes of tourists, whose dollars they surely need, if there’s no place for said tourists to lay their drunken little heads down? I know for a fact that the hotel Ally and I stayed in last time isn’t expected to be open until Labor Day at best, and that’s a main line Canal St. hotel. Like, where all the other downtown hotels are. And the ones that are open are filled to capacity with construction crews and evacuees.

Is it even thinkable that only 17 out of 122 public schools have reopened?

I’d love to toss tools in truck and go help, but what I can do best ain’t needed there at all right now and won‘t be until the green flag drops for serious rebuilding. Maybe that’s a convenient cop out on my part, but no more so than the gigantic dropping of the FEMA ball on the governments dime.

Lord, this storm made a mockery of the word calamity. FUBAR isn’t even appropriate. Maybe the new word outta be Katrinad, as in “It’s Katrinad beyond all possible hope”.

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