Wednesday, July 22nd 2009

My mailbox is nearly a mile away
posted @ 8:33 am in [ ]

It’s true. My mailbox is .8 miles away. I measured it last week. This is of course much further than my old mailbox, which was only about 20 feet away from the front door. You could gingerly go out there in your socks. Here, not so much.

Idaho Springs itself is adorable, and at least in the summer, has quite an impressive ratio of ice cream/gelato purveyors per capita. It also has a very cute visitor center and museum, which I visited for the first time a couple of weekends ago. From what I can tell, Idaho Springs was the most genteel mining town ever, with nary a brothel in sight! I sense some spin there — I mean, who ever heard of a brothel-free mining town — but apparently, they had indoor plumbing and electricity and what-not before Denver did, and I do buy that. At its peak, Idaho Springs had over 14,000 people (which certainly would have taxed any proto-ice cream purveyors), although now it’s less than 2,000.

And if Idaho Springs isn’t sweet enough for you, the County Seat, Georgetown, would give you diabetes. I went there to change my car registration, and aieee! I could not stop exclaiming over its arresting cuteness.

Incidentally, there is a potential ice cream purveyor on the way to my distant mailbox, although that one is rarely open. I’m not certain why someone would attempt to sell ice cream in such close proximity to a glacier, but there it is, and I have to say, I like that it’s there.

Tuesday, July 14th 2009

The fluffball who wouldn’t chillax
posted @ 9:04 am in [ ]

Once upon a time, there was a house full of animals: dogs, cats, monkeys who wore clothes, and a turtle. They all got along well, or at least stayed out of each other’s way. One day, a smallish fluffball and a very nice monkey who wore clothes came to stay with the other animals for a couple of nights. Oh good, the animals thought, a nice monkey and a new quadruped to play with. They thought probably it was another dog, although it looked a lot like a large tribble.

The first morning, the tribbledog’s monkey and one of the house monkeys had some business to attend to, so the tribbledog stayed with all the other animals for the day. He began his daily caterwauling around 8:00 a.m.

The monkey who was home thought that maybe the tribbledog, who was pretty old, would get tired and caterwaul himself out, and maybe even go to sleep, if she were just patient about it. The tribbledog had remarkable lung capacity, though, and it seemed that each exhale was a tormented howl like a political prisoner would make when the prison camp guards confiscated his as yet unpublished notebooks from his rectum.

The cats tried meowing back, because the pitch of some of the caterwauling sounded like words they knew. The tribbledog did not respond, though, and kept on caterwauling. The cats came to get the monkey who was home. “Hey, good morning!” they said. “How are you today? We’re glad you’re awake. Perhaps you would like to pet us. We would like that very much.” Then eventually they got around to asking the monkey, “So, is there something you should be doing about that caterwauling? Is he hungry or thirsty or sad or bored or does he have to pee or anything? I think if I were making a noise like that, you would do something.”

“You may be right,” said the monkey who was home, “I will see what I can do.” The monkey tried talking to the tribbledog and letting him know he was okay and that his own monkey would be back soon. She petted him, because she thought he might find that soothing. Clearly it was not soothing enough. She brought him water, because she thought that after all that caterwauling, the tribbledog might want to wet his howl a bit. He had a little water, and then resumed caterwauling. “Damn,” said the monkey who was home, “I think maybe he just makes this noise because he likes it.”

Then she had an idea. “I bet you can’t eat treats and caterwaul at the same time,” she said, and presented the tribbledog with a treat. She also gave treats to the other dogs so they wouldn’t feel left out. The other dogs really liked this solution. The tribbledog worked on the treat for several minutes and was quiet. Then he started caterwauling again. The treat seemed to have given him the extra boost of energy he needed to get even louder.

The turtle paddled around in his tank quickly, as if he were pacing in the water. “What is that terrible noise?” he asked the monkey who was home. “Is it going to make my tank shatter? Am I going to fall out? Is something going to eat me?”

“Nah,” said the monkey who was home. “It’s OK. I just have to figure out what he wants and then he’ll stop.”

“Does he want to eat a turtle?”

“I don’t think so. Even if he did, though, he is not very fast. You could definitely outrun him.”



“You know I’m a turtle, right?”


The turtle tried to stop worrying about it and chillax.

The monkey who was home got the tribbledog’s blanket and spread it out for him and put him on it. He seemed to like that for a few nanoseconds, and then began caterwauling again. The monkey who was home began to question her as yet largely unused maternal instincts. She thought about shouting, “What do you want?!” at the tribbledog, but she knew he wouldn’t answer her with anything but caterwauling, and if he got upset, he might just caterwaul even louder. That seemed counter-productive. She also didn’t want to stress out her guest. Besides, monkeys like to solve things.

One of the dogs, the quiet one (now the very quietest one), came to the monkey with a very sad look on his face. The monkey petted his head. He wagged his tail. The other dog looked up at her, wrinkled his forehead, rolled his eyes ever so slightly, and made a groaning, huffing sound like an old man would make while he pulled his pants up to his armpits, just before he started complaining about how the streetcars don’t run anymore and asking what time it was. The sound and associated facial gesture were so eerily human to the monkey who was home that she couldn’t help laughing. “Sheesh,” he seemed to be saying, “can you friggin’ believe it?”

“Okay,” she said, “I don’t know if I can make the caterwauling stop, but maybe the tribbledog would like to go outside and lounge around in the fresh air for a while. Maybe it will be so pleasant outside with so many interesting things to sniff at that he will feel like quieting down and enjoying life, and he will have a nice day until his monkey comes back. Then she can take over. She knows what to do.” The monkey who was home put the tribbledog’s blanket, food and water outside on the deck, and then placed the tribbledog carefully on the blanket. There was a little more caterwauling, but not as much, a lot less frequently, and it sounded a lot quieter through the walls of the house — more like an irritable dog and less like a political prisoner whose rectum was being emptied of the greatest thoughts he had ever had.

Everybody curled up and went to sleep, except the monkey who was home, who had work to do, and the turtle, who didn’t really seem to sleep anyway. He did, however, chillax.

And they all lived happily ever after, beginning around 9:30.