The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

My Memory Fails Me…

I have been seeing my memory slip down the memory meter for the last couple of years.

This is not a good thing.

My paternal grandmother had a severe case of Alzheimer’s syndrome at the end of her life. The last time I saw her, she didn’t even recognize me. She recognized my dad, but none of the other fifteen relatives that were there that day.

I am deathly afraid of Alzheimer’s. The only thing worse than cutting off my fingers would be to have my mind succumb to such a brain sucking illness.

I used to have a memory like the proverbial steel trap. I could remember lyrics after hearing a song only once. I would sit through college classes and not take a note. I somehow passed the test at the post office, which is 99% remembering numbers and letters and 1% correctly marking FOSDIC circles. I knew zip codes, phone numbers for not only my friends and family but for half my employees and my driver’s license number.

Now I can’t remember a movie I saw three weeks ago, Seven Pounds. I know Will Smith was in it but other than that, my mind’s a blank, a total empty white canvas. Either Will Smith or the movie was unforgettable or I’m going nuts.

Food, now, is another thing. I can remember memorable dishes and fine wines. The mediocre, no… but the good and the bad, yes.

My husband, Mr. Demonic is quite the note taker. Every day he sets up a list of things to do in handwriting that resembles chickens scratching at feed. He can read it, which is the most important thing. I used to think it was foolhardy, but now I know he’s just trying to keep it together.

So taking his lead, I have purchased a little notebook for putting down things I might like to remember. Like ideas I have for my book, or names I want to remember. Otherwise I wouldn’t remember a thing.

One of these days I’m going to have to use it to find my way home. I just know it.

The Demonics Host an Unwanted Visitor

Last night, the Demonic family hosted a most unwanted visitor:

A squirrel.

People who know me know I hate squirrels with a passion. I don’t want them in my neighborhood, much less in my house. I see them as glorified rodents, rats with big fluffy tails. I don’t like rats in the house either, which is why when Mr. D became enamored of them a few years ago, I told him they had to stay in the office, not in my house.

Anyway, said creature slid down the chimney. (Damn those roofers who forgot to put up the critter barrier!) He landed on our gas logs and decided he didn’t like the look of the arrangement, so he threw a couple of them around, thus ensuring his escape from behind the glass doors.

Behind our fireplace is the sunroom, where I keep my cranky love bird and all of my orchids. The bird eats seeds; squirrels eat seeds. Squirrels like green things; orchids are green things. Ergo, the squirrel went for the sunroom.

I had heard some crashing about when I was upstairs, but figured it was just the cat and dog in some spirited play. They tend to chase each other around the house. I yelled downstairs and the noise stopped so I figured that was the source.

An hour later, Mr. D comes home and we prepare dinner. Mr. D hears an unusual noise coming from the direction of the living room, which is a misnomer because we never use the room. “What’s that?” he says.

“It’s just the bird.”

“Doesn’t sound like the bird.”

We go about our business, and the noise becomes louder. Mr. D goes to investigate and confronts a very fat squirrel. He manages to corral the critter in the sunroom, which is no easy task. Trying to herd a squirrel is much like trying to herd a cat.

The cat follows, but at a reasonably safe distance, the coward. The dog retreats to her crate upstairs.  She’s not stupid. The bird is going nuts, hopping from one side of the cage to the other. Cranky lovebird is trapped in the sunroom.

Mr. D grabs a broom and attempts to broom it into a corner. No luck. The squirrel is almost as big as the cat, and is bleeding profusely. There’s squirrel blood on the doors and windows.

Our sunroom is full of windows. Eleven to be exact, and they extend from ceiling to near the floor. Being an old house, there’s considerable framework around the windows. Our unwanted visitor parks his butt at the top of the windows, and traverses them to get around the room.

We lay out a critter trap which we have saved from when we lived in a northern suburb and used to trap baby skunks from under our deck. You would think peanut butter covered almonds would entice a battered squirrel, but no.

After dinner, we go back and attempt to round up the squirrel. Mr. D gives up when the squirrel dive bombs him from across the room. Flying squirrel? My friends, all squirrels fly. He secured the room, and we went upstairs and did the same before going to sleep.

This morning, Mr. D opened one of the windows, which hasn’t been open for at least 40 years. (No screens. I was going to have some made, but it cost too much.) It was still dark outside, but the squirrel wasn’t budging. In fact, he sat on the windowsill of the open window but refused to go. I told Mr. D to take his broom and shoo him out. When he attempted this, the squirrel lunged at him again.

It’s 20 freaking degrees outside and we had to go to work. It took an enormous amount of sneakiness to get the birdcage out of the room. Mr. D again secured the room and we left.

I emailed the roofer and let him know he should get a critter catcher on our chimney TODAY. Not tomorrow, not next week, but this morning.  I’m keeping the number of our local critter control company handy in case our house guest refuses to vacate by noon.

I’m not going back in until that thing is gone.

Mr. Demonic Buys a Craftsman Circular Saw

One thing that is going on in our house is urban renewal. We cannot sell our house, because in our Tundra town and in this financial environment, a buyer would turn their nose up at our house and snap up a foreclosed 6-bedroom mansion for less than $250,000. No joke. We are among the unfortunate empty nesters who have a four-bedroom house for two people and no way to unload it to downsize.

There’s nothing wrong with this scenario, of course. I happen to love our house. Every night when I go to bed, I look out through our wall of windows to oak trees and stars. My bedroom is like a hotel room, and my bathroom is to die for.

Before the economy really headed south last year (and that is literally as well as figuratively), Mr. Demonic started upon a plan of home improvements. At the time we were flush, so we spent a summer of enduring painters and carpenters. Last winter, we completed the gutting of the bathroom in the old, 1927 part of the house, complete with Jacuzzi tub and granite. It was probably overkill in a room that’s only 6’x6′ (or maybe smaller) but hey, at least now it’s not peacock blue from floor to ceiling.

This year is a different story. This year, we barely have enough money to make the mortgage. True, Mr. D put us on an aggressive mortgage schedule, 15 years, and he pays extra on the months when he can. We could have cushioned ourselves with a 30-year, but Mr. D thinks we won’t be around in 30 years. (He’s right.)

Around Christmas time, we decided to redo Ms. MiniD’s old room. She had pasted all sorts of memorabilia on the walls, which were an unsavory green. Think frog poop. She also spilled fingernail polish remover on the hardwood floors we had redone before moving in. It was a mess.

I picked a more calming sage green, and Mr. D set about painting. He was also going to put in crown moulding to match the rest of the house.

A little back story: Mr. D is a fuss budget when it comes to home repair. If it’s not 100% perfect, he’s not happy. When my oldest was just a fetus, Mr. D set about to redo a room and make it a nursery. I kid you not when I say that the room and the baby came at about the same time. Mr. D was redoing wood trim, and every time something came out less than perfect, he chopped up the wood, threw it in the fireplace and took a trip to Home Depot for more. It took two whole months to wallpaper one wall.

Mr. D is handy, but not really. He’s self-schooled and tries very hard, but if he can afford it, would rather pay a professional. That’s because they can complete the task in less time.

Last week, Mr. D went to Sears. People who know us know he’s in the store all the time. He returned with a huge box. It was a circular saw. A HUGE circular saw. He informed me it was to cut the crown moulding, because his tiny little miter box couldn’t do the intricate angle.

Today, I helped Mr. D hold long strips of wood while he cut them, right in the bedroom. My first impression: Mr. D isn’t very safety conscious. He works with his mug of coffee right on the saw and with no goggles or gloves. My second impression: a circular saw makes a lot of noise and sawdust, sawdust that gets tracked throughout the house by people, cats and dogs.

He had to cut each piece three or four times. That’s because it had to be perfect.

I prayed Mr. D wouldn’t slip and cut himself. I don’t do blood very well.

All is well. We both emerged from the room unscathed.

I Saw a Chipmunk Today

The critter was drinking water out of my fish pond. The pond was heated all winter by a small floating thing. I think we have fish in there, but you never know. Something ate our fish two years ago. I doubt a chipmunk was the culprit.

You know what this means?

This means it’s warm enough for animals to come out of hibernation!

Maybe spring is almost ready to be sprung.

Diversionary Bird-Dom

This post is dedicated to my friend, Mimi. I’m sure she would have screamed louder than I did.

Our office building is nothing fancy. In fact, it’s made out of cinderblock, so it’s damned cold in the winter and sweltering hot in the summer. It has a flat roof, so every few years we have to retar the thing. My husband, the dear Mr. Demonic, is on an austerity kick due to two kids in private college and an economy that’s going south faster than a flock of geese, and we have foregone the usual maintenance, like roof, painting and new furniture.

As a result, the roof leaks and our drop ceiling tiles are all spotted and ugly. The paint is peeling on the outside of the building due to the massive icicle that formed on the side of the building. I took a picture of it, because it looked like it was edging toward the door and was going to devour us whole.

The other problem is the toilet. Oh, Lord. Not only is it old, but it doesn’t flush well. I’m thinking something is stuck in the escape pipe.

Our office bathroom fan is home to an army of sparrows. I don’t mind birds, in fact I have a cranky lovebird in my house. However, when they take up residence in the vent leading to the outside, that’s when I have to object.

Sparrows have to be one intelligence quotient above a chicken. They seem to prefer feathering their nests in vents rather than in bird houses. We had this problem in my house and I bought an assortment of bird dwellings to get them to lay off the vent. No luck. I solved the problem by shoving a bright yellow tennis ball in the vent, and voila! no more birds.

I can’t reach the vent at the office, it’s at second floor level. The birds come and go, and in the spring you can hear the baby birds cheeping away like they owned the place.

Last night, my Number 2 thought she heard a bird, but she claimed it was inside the building. Mr. Demonic pooh-poohed the idea, thinking how the hell would a bird get inside a building. (Let’s see… hole in roof? hole in vent?)

It turns out Number 2 was right. A sparrow decended out of our false ceiling and began to buzz her. Mr. D grabbed a box and cornered it in the copy room. He thought he had eliminated the bird problem, but noooo….

This morning I’m sitting at my desk minding my own business when a sparrow dive-bombs me, narrowly missing my head. He bounced off a window, and I screamed. (What? It could have been a bat.) The screaming caused him to fly to the other side of the office, where he flew into another window, obviously not hard enough, because he escaped. He flew back and forth for a time before hiding in a far corner.

The noise rousted Mr. D from his comfy office down the hall. He began to open all of the windows (there are eight big ones) to release our little avian visitor. It’s freaking 18 degrees outside, and a cinder block building doesn’t retain any heat whatsoever. We were reduced to Creamsicles in mere seconds. Mr. D took a huge piece of cardboard and shepherded the bird out of the window.

It’s now two hours later, and I’m just starting to warm up.

We should have left the bird inside. You know the thing is just going to find his way back in.

Another Weird Airplane Dream

Perhaps I shouldn’t eat chili dogs, but every once in a while, I get a craving for a hot dog slathered in hot mustard, chili with beans, onions and cheese. That’s what we had for dinner last night, and it could explain my latest weird airplane dream.

Last night, I dreamt that Mr. D and I were again on an airplane. It was a big one, bigger than a 757. I would call it a 787 or a 797, it was that big. As usual, we were seated in the rear of the plane, which was so large that it was ten or 15 seats across.  Not only was it huge, but the seats were tiny. In fact, one fellow traveler pointed out that some seats were much tinier than others. (Think of a concert hall or movie theater where they use smaller seats to give the illusion of a flow down to the stage.)

We were in Colorado and flying home. We weren’t just in Colorado, however; we were on top of Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is the third highest mountain in Colorado, over 14 thousand feet high. If you’ve ever been there, you would know that the top of Pikes Peak is rocky, strewn with lots of big boulders. You couldn’t land a single engine glider on that summit, much less a jumbo jetliner.

Most of the dream had to do with wrestling our personal effects to the back of the plane. Plane etiquette requires that you use the storage around your seat, although I’ve seldom seen plane etiquette carried forth. By the time we got to the back of the plane, there was little room to put my purse, much less anything larger.

The plane was filled to the brim with all sorts of humanity. It reminded me of those movies you see about third world countries where villagers travel in buses with their chickens and baby goats in little cages.

The back door of the plane was open, and Mr. D all of a sudden sees that we are on the mountaintop. Why it didn’t occur to him before is anyone’s guess. Someone had fashioned a makeshift runway and it wasn’t flat.

Mr. D asked the pilot, “Do you have enough room to lift off?”

To which the pilot answered, “Not really for a plane this size, but if I get going fast enough, we can lift off as soon as we clear the top of the mountain.”

We wanted to jump off after that, but the ground was so far away. Besides, where would we go? (Of course, I knew we could walk down or take the tram that goes down to Manitou. But I didn’t think of that in my dream.) We decided to take our chances and get home on the plane.

Pretty soon, the plane was packed and the pilot taxied, but he was taxiing around the mountain. It was strange.

As soon as he got enough speed to take off, I woke up.

Perhaps I should eat something bland tonight, like a broiled chicken breast and some green beans.

The Amazing Bubble Machine

Right around this time last year, I enlisted the dear Mr. Demonic to allow me to remodel the bathroom in the older part of the house. It was an eyesore, painted completely peacock blue. Tres ugly. In order to sway his thinking, I had to work on him for a couple of years, because as we all know, Mr. D is cheap, um…  “thrifty.” Instead of stomping my feet, which I have been known to do in my youth, I used my feminine wiles by offering early morning seduction in the office. Before you think I’m that good, I’m not. What really clinched the deal was that my son was coming home last Christmas with his girlfriend. We needed a decent bathroom, especially with two more bodies in the house.

Our house was built in 1927. The front part of it is the old part. The previous owners, a romance novelist and her attorney (now ex-) husband added the back part on about ten years ago, so our family room, master bedroom and bath, along with the kitchen is new and wonderful. The old part is old and charming and wonderful in a different way.

When we first moved in four years ago, I wanted a new garage. This is because the garage was original to the house, meaning it’s very narrow and small. In addition, the windows are leaky, the roof and walls had holes in them, thus allowing for critter invasion, and there was no way to lock it. The garage also sits adjacent to our deck, also put in by the previous owners, and should be located a few feet away so as not to hit your head on the eaves. This has happened so many times to so many people, I put hanging baskets, bird houses and wind chimes in the general area so people won’t wander over and bean themselves in the head. There is also no automatic garage door opener, so in the winter when I park in there, I have to wrestle the door up and down to get my car out.

Needless to say, Mr. D did not want a new garage. I was quite pissed off too. I wanted a decent home for my car, then a Monte Carlo. He thought it a waste of money, but he doesn’t park in the garage. When you drive a car with 185,000 miles on it, there is no need to shelter it from anything. (I’m praying for something to happen just so he can get an upgrade.) Mr. D also foresaw the recent financial collapse back in 2005 at the time I was lobbying for a garage, so I guess the end result is that I’m happy he ruled with his iron (gloved) fist that day.

Fast forward to the bathroom. It was the only fugly spot in the house. I longed for years to demolish the thick peacock blue walls. If Mr. D Jr.’s impending homecoming was the impetus for change, I was all for it. However, I insisted on the bathroom of my dreams.

Although the space is small (1927 bathrooms are very tiny, it’s probably no more than 6 x 6), I wanted nice granite, oak cabinet, artistically tiled walls and floor, and a Jacuzzi tub. This is because in our master bath, we do not have a Jacuzzi tub, and people, when you are my age, there are sometimes days in a row when one needs it. I didn’t need to get a genuine Jacuzzi, but the bubble tub of my dreams would have to have sufficient jet action to alleviate minor aches and pains.

Off to the plumbing supply store I went. I had them fill several tubs and tested the water pressure. There are tubs that bubble like simmering pots of water. These are stupid. If you want to sit in a simmering pot of water, place a large can outside and set a nice healthy fire under it. I finally settled on a Kohler which was small enough to fit into my teeny tiny bathroom yet powerful enough for my occasional kinks.

There were many obstacles to the completion of said bathroom, and it took until the end of January to finish it. Let’s just say that Murphy’s Law played a big part in the delay. That’s another blog post altogether. Finally it was complete, but I was not to enjoy my tub until the summer, after Ms. MiniD was out of the house. That’s because she took it over and cluttered it up with her miscellaneous crap.

Once she was gone, I invited Mr. D to a soak, and we jumped in. Finally, even Mr. D discovered the joys of my tub. We use it all the time.

This past weekend, we were subjected to several days’ blast of icy winter. Mr. D, being a tightwad, um thrifty, decided to do most of the snow removal himself, with shovel and snowblower. Fourteen inches of snow is a lot of snow. By Sunday night, he was pooped.

I unfortunately put a little too much bubble bath in the water. Here is a photo of Mr. D. It’s after I had gotten out of the tub. (There has never been a published photo of Mr. D in WordPress, so this is a World Premier.) Imagine a thick trail of bubbles spilling over the floor and into the hallway. There were bubbles everywhere, but we laughed about it. Actually, it was more like squealing. Ms. MiniD thought we were nuts.


You don’t know how much I love that tub.

Coming Soon…

Mr. Demonic takes a bubble bath in the bubble tub. There are photographs. However, it will have to wait until tomorrow, since I forgot my camera. Don’t worry. Rated G.

Lower Tundra Weather Update

It’s friggin’ freezing outside! No, it’s Super-Friggin’ cold!

Well, let me amend that. It’s 15 degrees and dropping. The wind is blowing gusts of 45 mph, meaning I don’t care how well your house is built, it feels like you’re outside if you’re unlucky enough to sit by a window. I am thusly unlucky, since most of my house is window. With the wind gusts, it’s about 0 degrees counting windchill. Needless to say, my wind chimes are rocking.

The dog went out, peed quickly, and came back inside. She wouldn’t do #2 outside, and instead picked a nice spot right by the door. (I can’t blame her, not on a day like today.) The cat poked his head out for less than a second and thought better of the game of having Mr. Demonic chase him around the yard. Besides, there’s about a foot of snow, making small animals going into the yard look like they are drowning in snow drifts.

Mr. D went out to plow the lots. Not with the plow, mind you, because we don’t have a plow. With a snowblower and snow shovel. One lot is about 10,000 square feet, almost an acre. With the wind blowing as it is, I am thinking it is an exercise in futility, but you can’t tell him anything.

I hear that even my southern neighbors are getting a nice dose of winterly blast. So much for global warming.

It’s only 11 a.m., but I’m going to get myself a hot toddy.