Snapshots from Eldredge

The life and writings of TJ Alexian


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Enter…Ping the Merciless

Ping

This was not my idea, I swear.

I blame Corb’s mom. She was at home one day and saw a man sneaking behind her house. When she went to see what he was up to, she discovered a two-week old kitten underneath a bush. She immediately thought of us.

Corb immediately named her Ping.

My brother Tommy added “The Merciless.” And that kind of is what she is like. She is a terror! Part of that is because Corb’s mom had her for a few weeks before we picked her up (had to make sure she weighed enough and didn't have feline AIDS) and her live-in significant other liked to “roughhouse” with the kitten. “Maybe I played with her a little rough,” the old coot chuckled as dropped her off. “I had to start wearing gloves!” Gee, thanks for that.

Now the entire zoo is scared of her. Our dog Kyra has a nasty scratch on her snout from Ping. Hayley is constantly being tormented by her. I think Ping thinks of Hayley as a mother figure. Only, a mother whose tail you like to pounce upon and bite. That’s real love, there.

And as for the humans? Well, Theo loves her, although even he can find her a little distracting when he is trying to play video games. And as for me and Corb? Last night I was in bed trying to map out the rehearsal schedule for Superstar. Do you think I was able to get even a line written down on paper? Nope! Every time I tried she would jump onto the bed and wrap her mouth around my fingers. Start nibbling, ferociously. Then she’d get more aggressive. Corb was trying to sleep during this and she scampered across his face at least three times.

She just entered my study. After using my chair as a scratching post, she climbed up the side of it and is sitting her, perched like a buzzard, waiting to pounce. Hope she doesn't claw at my jugular or something.

She is awfully cute, though. I like her perpetually outraged look and her tuxedo bib. Hmm, let me just hold up from the typing a little bit to give her a little pat. Here you, go, Ping. Yes, that’s a good girl…wait…no, stop clawing…NO, NOT THE NECK! NOT THE JUGULAR! SHI–

(End transmission.)


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From drab to fab (Part Two)

drab one

With a week’s vacation ahead of us and the power washing and weeding out of the way, Corb was determined to finish up the patio project with the time we had. His fertile little brain was awash with ideas: from citronella candles to keep the bugs away made out of wine bottles, to a chiminea that can keep us warm (and keep the bug away) on cold fall evenings, to a decent deck set that could add a little color to the space.

And he was frugal, too. The umbrella we secured for free, because his mom had purchased one she didn’t like and dumped it on us about a month ago. We exchanged it and the manager actually allowed us to buy a larger model, so we ended up with a better deal. The chiminea was found on Craigslist for $45, normally a $300 buy. Okay, it kind of looks like a big fiery penis pot, but I think that adds to the charm…although it annoys Corb to no end whenever I refer to it as a “big fiery penis pot.”

The tables and chairs were the biggest pains in the butt. We picked them up at Lowe’s for $500, but at the first store we went, in Attleboro, it took us forever to get someone’s attention. When we did, the lady informed us that they were out of stock and we should buy them off their web site. Didn’t offer to help, just said to go home and order. Wouldn’t she want to help us order and make a sale for the store? Apparently not.

So, we went online that night and ordered. The site said they had one available in Stoughton and that delivery would be free. We purchased it, but the next day we received a call from the store. Turns out only the chairs were available, but they were willing to give us the display model if we wanted to drive down and pick it up, fully assembled. Only problem: we don’t have a truck.

After a bit of bitching and moaning, they were nice and told us we could drive down and use the Hertz truck offered at the store. So, we made the 25 mile hike to Lowe’s at Stoughton to do that. When we arrived there, the employees were really nice (even let us bring Kyra into the store), but the process to rent a truck was awful.

It’s all automated. It sounds simple and modern and elegant: you stand at a kiosk and speak with a dispatcher by webcam and that person rents you the truck. In reality? We waited thirty minutes to speak to a lady who looked as if she was half asleep most of the time. It took her half an hour to put the order through. Meanwhile, we have two guys holding our lawn stuff waiting around next to us. Then, after we get the truck? Corb goes to the truck, tries to start it up, and is told “DENIED.”

Why? Half an hour goes by for us to figure that out. Turns out the store truck is not hooked up to the Hertz satellite, for some reason. We are told we have two options: drive to pick up another truck at another store or cancel the request.

Well, we were a little upset. What had started as a somewhat nice gesture had turned out to be a total waste of three hours.

The manager of the store did come through. Knocked off $50 and promised us the furniture would be delivered the next day. Which it did, in the afternoon. So, by Monday at three, we were hanging out on our patio. Although there are a few more finishing touches to be completed, I think it all looks pretty darn terrific, don’t you think?