Monday, March 23, 2009

C'mon, stink!

"Road kill has its seasons just like anything.
It's possums in the autumn and it's farm cats in the spring."

It's apparent that when Tom Waits wrote that, he hadn't traveled to Kentucky yet. But I think Mr. Loudon Wainwright the Third got it right when he wrote this one.

You can definitely tell that warmer weather is upon us, friends and neighbors, by the number of flattened, furry, formerly live things paving the roads. And it's not just the aroma of blooming trees and budding flowers that announces spring's arrival, nor is it the scent of fresh-cut grass or even a charcoal grill.

Oh, no. It's skunk. Dead skunk. Dead, flat, crispy, flakey, stinky skunk.

Oh, sure, you'll see your roadkill squirrel with its paper-thin body now one with the pavement with its fluffy tail still flappin' in the breeze as cars whiz by. And there's the occasional possum that's a large grey lump with its rat-like tail stretched across the road. And, the ever-tragic dog or cat that was once someone's beloved pet.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, can out-do the absolute stench of skunk.

And unfortunately, our little neck of the woods has become Skunk Central. That means the roadkill is unfathomable. The streets are practically carpeted with the damn things, like little smelly throw rugs all over the place.

I'm not sure why our burb is the Mecca in which all skunks must dwell. Perhaps it's a spiritual thing. Maybe the breeding is just too good here. We must have better tasting garbage than other areas in town because the Spouse and I noticed it shortly after we moved into our house almost 5 years ago. Seems that J-town and Fern Creek is THE place to live and work for skunks.

One night last fall friend Nicograph was visiting and the three of us were lounging on our deck. We had mentioned to her about the wildlife we see scampering in the area and how we seemed blessed with skunks. At that moment, Fate intervened to prove our point and we caught that strong, acidic and familiar scent. Needless to say, Nicograph was impressed. To the Spouse and I, it was old hat.

So the Spouse and I have a saying: "Welcome to J-town! Here's your free skunk." Seriously, we have plenty to go around and we'd appreciate it if you took one home with you to help control our population.

Just this morning, at a dark and early 6am, I'm walking down the driveway to grab our newspaper and lo and behold, there's a skunk just a-waddlin' across the cul de sac. His fat little striped body was just rolling along with his tail up like a damn flagpole.

Now we have killer bunnies that greet the sunrise in our front yard all the time (I'm serious, these fuckers are HUGE). We have a plethora of neurotic squirrels that are constantly scampering around on our roof. We have possums that sneak around in our backyard and even a few foxes that stare at us as we drive out of the neighborhood on our way to work. Hell, we even have hawks and falcons fly around all the time.

Oh, yeah. And we had those raccoons shitting on our deck last year.

But dammit, the skunks are taking over. Don't get me wrong, I love animals and I hate to see anything squished on the road, but hell, every spring you can't even open your windows for the stench.

So all you deer hunters, howz about this year you try hunting something different. We guarantee you won't go home empty-handed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hodge Podge and Malarkey

So it's been a long, uneventful month. The Spouse is still looking for work. Right now he's got one part-time thing going with a second part-time thing coming in the next week or so. We're being very frugal right now so we're still keeping our head above water.

In the meantime, all those gift cards we got during the holidays have been very handy, allowing us to go out and shop and have a nice meal or two. And one guy at work that I do free design stuff on the side for landed us a pair of tickets to the car show, so that fun excursion has helped break up this dull end of winter.

Good friend GC did us a huge favor and fixed a sudden leak in our kitchen sink. I come home to see the kitchen floor covered in everything that lived under the sink and have the Spouse tell me we have a leak in the faucet. So I get down there and tinker and end up creating a second leak on the incoming water line. Now not only am I pissed at myself for not leaving well-enough alone, I go into full panic mode and insist that the Spouse call GC to see about fixing it.

Well, bless his heart, he came out to our house and gave it a look. He tightened up one little bolt that stopped one leak, then he and the Spouse heded over to Home Depot (using another gift card - yay!) to get a repair kit for the second leak.

Needless to say, e are eternally grateful. Once we get back in a stable financial situation, we'll be taking GC and his lady MF out for a nice dinner somewhere.

One thing we didn't have a gift card for was dental treatment. I maxed out my insurance benefits this January getting my teeth resurfaced. Altho my teeth looked fine before, I'm a terrible teeth-grinder in my sleep and, over a period of several years, had managed to grind all of my front teeth flat. I didn't realize how bad it was until the resurfacing was done.

Wow, I have teeth again. With points. Zowie.

But in order to keep my tense self from committing the same dental crime again, I got a Night Guard to prevent the grinding. Now I was expecting some big hunk of rubber thing like what boxers wear. Instead I got this:
Yeah, it's that tiny. And it cost $400. And no, insurance didn't cover it. But it does prevent me from grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw in my sleep. So no more sore jaws or migraines in the morning.

One thing I am looking forward to is this year's Halloween Trade Show. We didn't get to go to last years since they moved it to Las Vegas. And when you're working with an all volunteer, non-profit group, air fare for even one person was just not in our budget.

But this year it came back to the midwest and is in St. Louis later this month. Apparently, the show promoters lost their ass last year since the majority of Haunts and props and effects manufcturers are on the east coast and in the midwest. Seems like a lot of us haunt people are in the same boat (or coffin). Attendance must have sucked.

This year we have about a dozen people going. And I'm really impressed with the ideas the crew has come up with so far. This year's theme could be the creepiest one yet so I'm excited about all the design possibilities. I've been listening to Doomed Radio on iTunes and have discovered some very interesting stuff. I mean some really fucked up stuff. Stuff that actually freaks ME out. We're talking damn disturbing.

One thing I've never liked about other Haunts is when they use music as a background soundtrack. Once I hear music, I don't feel like I'm in a Haunted Place, I feel like I'm on a cheap movie set. My philosophy is this: in real life, if you and your buddies were to go exploring in an old, abandoned building that was reputed to be haunted, you wouldn't hear an orchestra or a death metal band playing all around you. You'd hear pipes banging, water dripping, creaks, hisses and maybe a moan or whisper.

So, thanks to the internet (have I mentioned lately how much I love this internet?) I've found some insane stuff for this year's Haunt soundtrack. Hours worth.

But that's it really. That's all that's going on. I apologize for not being here more often. Just haven't felt inspired. The Writing Fairy is holding out on me again. But I'll be back with photos and stories from the Halloween Trade Show. In the meantime, I leave you with this heart-warming and uplifting piece: