this just in: updates from earlier stories

Good News: The Strippers weren’t Strippers… and, even if they were, they were butt ugly!

OK, remember how a few days ago I was telling you that my office softball team was slated to play the team from the local all-nude strip joint, but how I couldn’t go because I got stuck in my basement, fixing my dryer? Well, I got great news yesterday when I got in to work. It turns out that there wasn’t a one hot stripper on the opposing team, or even in the stands. I didn’t miss a damned thing. In fact, the people that had gone from my office, wished to god they hadn’t. The strip club team, composed of a mixture of beer-bellied young men with breasts and haggard, leathery-skinned older women without them, beat us handily. Not only did my buddies not get lap dances on home plate, they got their asses kicked.

“If any of those women were strippers,” I was told, “it must have been in the mid-eighties. Either that or they’re stripping someplace that I pray to god I never have to go to.”

My guess is that the women on the team were the proud, nicotine-stained mothers of strippers, who probably deserve this seven-inning, beer-drenched getaway from the grandchildren that they’re raising. The heavy-set young men were, I suspect, relatives who had come to Michigan from places like Ohio and Kentucky, in hopes of escaping either the drug scene or legal complications in which they had become mired.

The important thing is that I didn’t miss any fun, just an emasculating ass-kicking… and I can get that anywhere.

Bad News: But Maybe SEARS Can Suck My Clothes Dry

Remember how I said that I walked to Sears the other day and coughed up close to four hundred bucks for a new dryer after I caused my old one to spit blue flames in my face and then self-destruct like a cornered German U-Boat? Well, the new dryer was supposed to be delivered two days later, sometime between 10:00 and 2:00. Since Linette had meetings all day, I arranged to work from home, thinking that I might still, if I were lucky, get back to the office shortly after lunch. As I could have bet though, the delivery truck didn’t show up until about 3:00. I didn’t really have a problem with that though. I was just happy that we would soon be in a situation where we could clean the damp towels and musty, sweat-stained clothes that were stacking up on the basement’s cement floor.

The last time we had Sears deliver a major appliance it was two years ago when Linette and I ordered a refrigerator. The guy who brought it into the house, I remember, surprised me by not using a dolly or any other kind of wheeled, labor-saving device. He instead used an intricate series or ropes and belts that coiled around his neck and head like a turban. As I recall, the refrigerator was behind him and he kind of backed into it, wrapping the belts around his head as he got closer. Once his ass was touching the big metal box my food was to be kept in, he tilted at the waste, thereby pulling the top of the refrigerator forward with the belts affixed to his forehead. It looked like something from a sci-fi version of the Kama Sutra, this little, wiry man being mounted by the black monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

When these fellows showed up today with my dryer I had forgotten what I’d seen two years ago, until theys broke out their wide, tan belts and started looping them around their necks as though hypnotized. “What the fuck?” They just stood there in my driveway staring out into the distance, tying these belts like ascots around their necks without a word said between them. The events of the refrigerator delivery came flooding back to me. “This couldn’t possibly be the way Sears trains their delivery people to carry stuff, could it?” I thought. It looked like something out of National Geographic. I half expected to see a woman with one hundred metal rings around her elongated neck walk around from the other side of the delivery truck with a 20-gallon ceramic jug of water balanced on her head.

I thought the last time we had an appliance delivered that it was just the driver of that particular truck who was insane, but it’s apparently bigger than that. Does every Sears delivery guy do this thing with the belts? Can someone please verify this for me? Is it just Michigan or is the entire Midwest, or the entire country?

So, these two men, each tied to my dryer walk from the back of their truck to my house. The dryer, suspended between them, rocks back and forth while their supervisor watches from a distance, pretending to shuffle through a sheaf of paperwork that’s bolted down to a clipboard.

Once they get the new dryer downstairs and the old back out to the truck, they call me over and tell me that they can’t install it. Something about the doorway being too narrow for the new dryer to go through. They tell me that I’ll have to remove a door from its hinges and then possibly even remove the molding. They say that they can’t help me, that I’ll have to do the rest myself.

Once they leave, it takes me about three or four minutes to slide the dryer, with Linette’s help, around the room to another doorway, that it slips through easily. I suppose I could have mentioned to them that there was this other, obvious route right in front of them as they were leaving, but it didn’t feel worth it at the time. So, they leave and we get the new dryer in place. We plug it in, fill it up with wet clothes, and hit start and it begins to roll. Woo Hoo! We’re happy until we come back down a few hours later and see that it’s still running. “Should it run for three hours? Couldn’t it burn down our house if it just ran all night?” I asked Linette, who was reaching into the dryer. “No, it’s OK,” she said, “it never even got warm.”

So, it would appear that we just paid $400 for a big, metal, spinning barrel for our basement. “Maybe this isn’t a total failure,” I think. “We could always polish rocks in it.”

This sucks. We call Sears and they tell us that they can come back out in a few day. Later they call back and say it will be a week and a half. They say that it could be our power supply. It could be that we have enough power to make it spin, but not to make it hot. More likely, they admit, it wasn’t put together correctly by the guys who dropped it off.

(If I could post pictures here, I’d show you the bill and how much we paid for delivery and setup. It was like an additional $75.)

So, now we just have to wait as our clothes grow mold for another week.

Found today: four prescription pill bottles

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we find lots of garbage in your yard. In the past we’ve found not one but two boxes that once contained “lifelike” artificial vaginas, a blackened spoon that was used for cooking up drugs, a toupee and lots of other things. The other night, we believe, a cell phone was thrown into our yard but later retrieved. (See my last post.) This morning, when I went out back to check on my tomato plants that aren’t really doing so well, I noticed a brown, plastic prescription bottle. As I continued to look around further, I saw three more. They were scattered in a half-circle-like pattern that stretched about three feet, just to the east of my sole surviving watermelon plant, and about ten feet from the alley that runs behind our house.

All four bottles at one time contained the same medication. According to their labels, that medication was Methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin. All four prescriptions were filled at the Paradise Pharmacy in Pukalani, Hawaii. All four were for a woman named Sarah S. (I’ve decided not to post her entire name, in case she doesn’t want people to know that she was/is on Ritalin.)

I just did a search on Google for “Hawaii” + “Sarah S” and I got one hit. It was on a site for a Hawaiian vocal group called Na Leo. She had posted something to their guest book. I know it’s her because her current location is given as Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her post reads as follows:

“I remember when Borders first opened on Maui and I was right there to see you. I was the blonde haole girl that plays the standup bass (remember me?) I got your autograph for my dad and step-mom. They still live on Maui. I am away at college in Michigan. I remember the first time I heard (your song) ‘Flying with Angels.’ It is still the beautiful song I’ve ever heard, and I still get a tear or two when I listen to it. Aloha Nui Loa. (Oh yea I went to Maui High!)”

Last night, Linette and I watched a show on the USA network called “Monk.” It’s about a detective, played by the fellow who costarred with Stanley Tucci in “Big Night,” who has some kind of mental illness that seems to approximate OCD. As I have a special interest when it comes to OCD, Linette thought that I might enjoy the show. Actually, a friend of hers called her and told her that I’d like it. So, we watched it and I thought it was OK. It’s strange to see someone pretending to have something that you know quite well. I think it’s probably like being a black man and watching C Thomas Howell in “Soul Man”. It can be offensive. All in all, it wasn’t too bad though… Just now, I got off the phone with Linette. I told her that I was tracking down Sarah S, the woman who the prescription bottles belonged to and she said, “Have fun, Monk.” So, here goes the OCD detective on his first real Ypsilanti case.

Stay tuned.

-Mark

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