Tuesday, October 13, 2009

As mo rhothar

My arse is killing me. Cycled to the library yesterday only to find it was closed for an unpublicised public holiday. The pain is tremendous. Life altering even. Maybe next time i get up on the bike i'll be less ambitious. A distance of that magnitude should not be undertaken when one hasn't been on a bike since April. i'll half it next time. That mile was sheer lunacy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celtics v Diaspora!

The blinds are up! The cats are determined to tear them back down again but they shall not prevail in their opposable thumb-less attempts. Furry divils. They have been informed that if they do not desist from this anti-homely behaviour they are going to be exchanged for the pair of raccoons that live in the oak tree outside the house. Let them put that in their pipe and smoke it. Or maybe put it in their nicorette. Sylvester has been off the fags for three months now and I really wouldn’t want to set him back.

Friday last saw a busy, busy day for the non-taxpayer here. The alpha rang me and relayed the great news of our attendance that evening at a Celtics basketball game in Boston! Excitement and fanfare erupted through the house, the blinds simultaneously opened and closed and the litter box self-cleaned. It was indeed a joyous moment, not least for the latter occurrence. As I leapt around the ground floor of our double family home, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t get a chance to take the fur off any tennis balls that evening so in my frenzied state I decided to treat myself to a run.

I donned my running attire. Let me point out that I don’t really like running and dress accordingly. Somewhat in the manner of a homeless person with a penchant for acquiring his clothes from a TK Maxx skip circa 1991. I don’t wear a beard though; I’d just like to clear that one up. Tennis attire is another matter altogether, but I digress. I hot footed it from the gaff, tied my keys to my runners and set off to run the massive 3 miles around Fresh Pond.

The name is ridiculously misleading. Ridiculously. It’s not a pond it’s the main source of drinking water for the city of Cambridge! It’s a great hulking mass of water that would house the entire population of Luxembourg attempting a world record breaking synchronized swimming program. The killjoys in Cambridge county council however won’t allow humans in the water. Short sighted in my opinion, imagine the revenue they could accumulate from such a record breaking attempt? Still, under the strain of record breaking I suppose not everyone could be counted on to hold onto their bladder.

About 3 minutes into my trot I realized that it was raining. I thought about turning back but I figured I’d be sweating like a person who had just completed a 3 mile run so a little rain wouldn’t do any harm. How wrong I was. Regular rain would have been tolerable but this was the special type of “wet” rain that previously I have only experienced in Galway. For 3.75 years of the 4 years I lived there to be precise. It’s the sort of rain that appears to defy the laws of physics and manages to soak you from the inside out. The disappointment I felt in arriving at the conclusion that irish weather was actually stalking me, another slap in the face for physics, almost led me to turn back. I was pretty soaked by the time all these thoughts has filtered through the remaining functioning sections of my grey matter so I ploughed on.

Ploughed on is another misleading statement. I spluttered, coughed, whined and dragged myself around the pond. I stopped for a cry at one point and the chipmunks came over for a chat. They informed me with great glee that Alvin, Simon and Theodore were in Hollywood finalizing the rights to another movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see man or chipmunk achieve success but I mean what gobshite thought it was socially responsible to make another chipmunks movie? Feeling somewhat rested if disturbed after the chat, I dragged myself the remaining 129 miles home on my elbows.

I arrived back to the porch and poured my remains through the keyhole. The alpha was home! I greeted him and the backyard raccoons and had a little rest. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Hobbes grappling furiously with an AK-47. I sighed and removed the aforementioned weapon from him, chastised him for his amateur attempts at raccoon assassination and handed him a proper sniper rifle. I was going to give it to him for his birthday but better him to have it now and not pick up bad habits.

There was little time to change and shower, although I was so wet anyway I could have just applied some soap and stood back out on the porch and washed it off. However, Americans are quite modest so I performed my ablutions in our rather nice bathroom. As I was in the shower Sylvester appeared to have been arrested by the thought that behind the shower curtain lay a treasure trove of mice, for he launched himself at the shower curtain with all the unbridled gusto of a psycho style serial killer. I looked out when I recovered my composure to see a monochromatic hanging from the shower curtain by three claws and managing to look somewhat apologetic. He lost one of his lives as a result of the eardrum shattering scream I emitted and I estimate I aged 7 years. Nonetheless I recovered and dressed sure in the knowledge that having gained the 7 years in age I wouldn’t need any iD to procure beer. The alpha suggested I bring it just in case.

We took the bus to Harvard. Well we took the fifth bus we encountered as the alpha had left his i-phone in the house and had to return for it. Good thing he remembered it too as Hobbes was on the internet ordering munitions and foot soldiers. Where did hey get the credit cards? This raccoon thing was getting out of hand. We got the fifth bus and subsequently progressed to the train where it transpires we were to spend a good portion of our evening. There was a “disabled” train ahead of us on the line resulting in delays. Disabled? I saw it pull out of the station before ours and there was no evidence of crutches or a wheelchair. To say the least we were confused. Eventually it lumbered to its destination with much apology and we met up with our irish friend and hit Boston Beer Works to meet the other lads.

The match was starting at 7.30 and we got to the bar, pardon me, the bah, at 7. Needless to say it was absolutely imperative, no crucial to the survival of the irish species, that we consume our own weight in beer in the short half hour we had before the match. This is a skill that almost every irish college graduate posseses. No, almost every irish person is born possessing this skill and college only serves to hone it to perfection. Indeed if you have attended college in Galway you are grand master of imbibing and generally invited to conferences around the world where you are revered in the manner of a good cult leader. The alpha had a Reeses peanut butter cup for his dinner and I had 4 peanuts. We hoped feverently that we hadn’t taken too much soakage on board. We had a stereotype to live up to. The alpha, I, the D man, the other irish guy, the Scot and the Kenyan partook of a half hour of concentrated merriment and then with lightning speed of foot, made haste to the Basketball stadium.

The game was great, a genuinely enjoyable experience. Celtics won but you got the feeling they weren’t trying too hard, I suppose it was a pre-season match. Having made that statement, you should be made aware that the only thing I know about basketball is that you use a roundy ball and have to be 8 feet tall to play it.

After the game we repaired back to the Boston Beer Works and honestly much of the night is a blurry haze of happy drunkenness. I have no recollection of any arrests but was so drunk myself that I spent the whole journey home convinced we were being ferried by a headless taxi driver to the other side to meet our maker. Thankfully I believe we made it home intact. It’s always a bonus.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Law and ORDER darnit!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m still putting up those feckin’ confidence sappers, I mean blinds (the sitting room is complete folks, rev up the Gillette, procure yourself a cat – not one of mine- and shave it!) and I’m taking a little break. Despite being built like a brick shithouse, working over my 5 foot 4 inch strapping frame is draining me.

I and the drill have called a truce. It’s lying on the couch beside me taking a nap. It looks pretty innocuous when it’s asleep really. So now that I feel my life is temporarily no longer in mortal danger I break out the cookies and chocolate milk and switch on the ol’ mind bending box. Would you feckin’ credit it, LAW AND ORDER is on again!! I think that in addition to my Chevy Chase counter I’m going to add a counter to total how many house straight they show it for! Yesterday it was on for thirteen hours. It also shows on several channels at the same time. It makes me want to take out my seeing orbs, jump up and down on them with the alphas steel toe safety boots and then put the remainder in the garbage disposal! Honestly, it makes the blind erection feel like sports day in National School! I’m beginning to pine for Garda Patrol, Mailbag, Nationwide and other home produced high production value classics.

Oooohhhh, got my paraphernalia from the USPTA today and I’m officially a trainee….imagine the brainwashing I can exert when I qualify!!! Oh the exciement, it’s unparalleled.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Killer bathroom utensils

Trimming the ol' tootsies today (tmi indeed) to avoid them falling off from tennis activities and i was ruthlessly attacked by the nail scissors! Minding my own business and the next thing i know the tip of the scissors is embedded in my big toe!!

What i'm wondering, through a haze of quite pronounced pain, is whether the power drill has a hand in it. That demon device is still on the premises.

To the library to pick up one of Bill Brysons American travelling books, yay!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The housewife, the blind and the power drill

Ok, so I’m not exactly busy. Legally I can’t be employed….yet. Legal dossing is the new black for me. That’s fine, right? I’m becoming really adept at doing f*ck all. Well, it would be fine were it not for the half erected blind in the bedroom that talks to me every night as it hangs from the window frame sobbing at its ridiculous and undignified predicament.

Today is Monday. Not normally a day for doing very much but the blind has been pestering me for a week now so it’s time to take action. Affirmative action that is…… i’m in America now. Procrastination, though quite the engaging hobby in my eyes, just isn’t going to cut it if I want to stop dressing in the bathroom.

The most challenging household maintenance task I have ever undertaken was to hang some pictures. The result of said undertaking was singularly unsuccessful. It was particularly disappointing for the alpha who had to re-do the entire job. Last time I painted the hall, stairs and landing I got bored of it so hit the beer and by the time I reached the landing the gobs of wall paint on the ceiling will attested to my state of inebriation upon completion of the job. You can see how hanging blinds is a leap of space traveling proportions, but as I said, I’m tired of using the bathroom as a changing room.

I consume two percolators of coffee and in a dizzy haze of caffeine procure the landladys power drill and associated accoutrements from the basement (I love having a basement!). The cats scrub in to assist. Who says that women and cats are inept at DiY?

To start I rescue the forlorn blind from it’s diagonal sitting position in the window frame. I drop it on the floor behind the bed. A tremendous start. The blind is the venetian variety and gets tangled with the wires from the bedside lamps. Not to worry, I can tackle that problem later. Procrastination is my favourite activity after all. I retrieve the screws from the bedside drawer and the cats immediately set about battering them around the bedroom. Apparently the screws have been transformed into silver mice by some form of secular transubstantiation. I sigh, round up the screws and put them back in the drawer.

Next I tackle the brackets to hold the blinds. They’re small. Small and plastic and not particularly robust looking. There is one already in the window frame from the alphas earlier attempt to erect the blind sans tools. I attempt to remove it using brute strength but to no avail. I have a think. The bracket is at the wrong height to employ the use of what I consider to be the essential METAL support bracket. What to do? I have another think. It has been some 45 minutes since I started the task and all I have achieved is to entertain the felines. I’ve also cursed at length and broken a mild sweat. I decide I need to drill holes in the opposite side of the window frame and hang it that way. It won’t be as sturdy but it will be up, that’s the main thing.

The power drill is primed and ready to bore me some holes! I rev her up and approach the window frame with a mixture of trepidation and gusto. Standing on the bed I’m completely steady. 5 minutes of full throttle drilling later and the hole I’ve made is about 3 mm deep. I’m perplexed. Another think. I examine the power tool as surely this lack of progress is entirely attributable to its general shoddiness. Interestingly the drill bit looks shorter than anything I’ve seen on a drill before and it’s a bit fatter…..kind of like a screwdriver. Very like a screwdriver actually, a Philips one I believe they’re called. The heavens part and a chorus cranks up. It appears I have been trying to drill a hole with a power screwdriver. Who even knew such new fangled tools were available on the open market? I suppose we are in America. I look around to be sure no one has witnessed my erroneous and downright silly activities. We’re clear; no one apart from the felines are around and English isn’t their first language. I retreat to the basement in search of drill bits and inspiration.

I return to the bedroom armed to the gills with various tools and long metal pointy things with grooves in them. I’m supremely confident I’m equipped to crack this problem. That hour of sweating and cursing was just a warm up, I know what I’m doing now. I insert the correct drill bit into the power device and drill holes successfully in the places I think they should be. Recently I’d had my eyes calibrated for measurement. We’re looking good, the holes are made and now all I have to do is hold the small bracket against the wall with one hand and screw in the teeny tiny screws with my other massively clumsy adult hand. It’s a challenge to say the least and fifteen attempts later I drop the screws for the last time and sit down and lament the fact I am a stinky adult in possession of digits with the dexterity of ready-mix.

After a short feeding session on peanuts I feel re-energised and go for it one last time. The use of a small hammer is employed and we have success!!! Well sort of. The blind brackets are up, semi-secured to the wall, one of which hangs in a rather jaunty and somewhat mocking manner. I am not to be deterred by it though. If I wasn’t playing tennis later in the evening I’d have had a few Sam Adams to celebrate this stage of success.

The blind must be retrieved from under the bed. Reluctantly I get down on the floor. I crawl under the bed and bid good evening to the monsters. They’re all in good spirits, apparently highly entertained by my sweaty and seemingly futile escapades with the power tool. To think I thought no one had noticed. Anyway, I extricate the blind from the lamp wire with the help of the monsters (I thank them as I enjoy a good nights sleep) and hang it from the brackets. Looking good! Better test run it, I guess. I pull the cord to raise the blind and amid a cacophony of scraping metal and plastic the blind leaps dramatically from it’s brackets and resumes its original diagonal position halfway down the window frame. It laughs at me. In a diagonal fashion. I am being mocked by a four dollar blind.

I swear, curse, rev the power drill in a menacing manner and eat some more peanuts. There is NO way a 4 dollar blind is getting the better of me and my new found manly DiY skills. I go to the bin and resort to looking at the instructions which I have retrieved from underneath an old pizza box. There are little gates to be inserted before the test run apparently. The felines return the little gates and I re-instate the blind along with the little gates (why is everything so little?) and attempt the raising of the Titanic, sorry, the blind again. Shave the cat it goes up and even more pleasing it stays up!

I have conquered the blind and the power tool. I feel ecstatic, successful and powerful, I feel like I could finally take over the world! The alpha returns from the coal face and admires my “work”. He is congratulatory and delighted I was able to manage to affix it to the window frame in a fully working fashion. He is also hilariously suggesting that I’ll now be able to do the other 11 windows in the house….

Anyone for a visit to Bahstan??!

Flights are pretty reasonable at the minute folks....costed a return flight yesterday for 470 euros per person which isn't bad really! There is a spare double bed crying out for occupants, don't let it go to waste!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tennis *yawns*....

i know, i know, the obsession continues.....for anyone interested in following the attempts of a very average club player to take her all or nothing game to the Americans, click on the link above. At the minute the fall league is taking place and i'm in the Womens advaced section....

The posse arrives!!!

After much, much wrestling with bubblewrap and a bathroom scales the O'Toole clan, replete with felines, finally made it to Boston!!!

We arrived in the land of freedom, justice and the drive thru pharmacy on the 5th September 2009 for our year long adventure (and my attempts to take over the country). Actually it might be 18 months but that depends on whether or not Fergs employers suceed in their attempts to Americanise him. The first sign of that and he will be fed Lucky Charms intravenously while the coffin ship return journey is sorted out.

Just so you all know, the i button is broken on the current laptop we have. it's powered by "mouse on wheelTM" technology, so it's not really surprising some of the keys have made a bid for freedom.

As i'm not working at the minute, i thought a blog would be an absolutely marvellous use of my time. Surprisingly, there is only so much cleaning i can fit into the day. Also, Cif cream cleaner doesn't seem to exist here so my cleaning jaunts have been curtailed to the point i'm considering branching out and cleaning other peoples houses. For free of course.

Hopefully, if you're interested, this blog will keep you up to date with what we are up to. The cats are setting up their own blogs.