A Sad, Sad Story with an Almost Happy Ending…

A Sad, Sad Story with an Almost Happy Ending…

On Guard

On Guard
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

I’ll be using a lot less of my little stepper machine in future, I think…

Since I bought the Prissy-Van, “Walking-About” has declined to “walking across the street”. Ky and I (who has yet again been re-named – she is “The Evil Hypnotist”, and you’re about to find out why) both worried this would happen.

And that our bums would suffer for it.

Which they have. Mine started to get flabby, so I bought one of those little stepper things that look like bike pedals. I will attest that they work wonders on flabby bums.

Ky’s bum got big. Er. BiggER. Not big (She’s bigger than me, now. She may read this. I may suffer.). Thankfully, the little stepper-thing works wonders on big. er. bums, too.

Finding time to go on Walk-About disappeared about the same time the snow flew for the first time last fall. We were going to get snowshoes, just like the last five winters, but, just like the last five winters, winter came and went, but we are still snowshoeless. The stepper made us feel a lot less guilty.


We will be walking again. And again… and again… and again… because…

We now own that dog you see up there at the top.


The Lily-Dawg was ours for her first couple of years, until we moved into a squinchy little apartment that was not dog-conducive. Ky could see Lily whenever she wanted to, though, so she didn’t really get the chance to miss “owning” a dog.

Two days ago, when she went over to visit Lily, there was no Lily there. The cat was gone, too. They both just up and ran off. Together, apparently.

Yesterday afternoon, after I worked the first of several night-shifts and just got to sleep, the phone woke me up. It was Ky’s dad, calling to tell us that he had discovered Lily’s whereabouts.

She was at the pound. Of course.

It would cost $160 to bail her out.

Plus a fine because she hadn’t got her yearly registration.

Plus a fine because she’d wandered off possibly-rabid to spread infection throughout the neighbourhood. No, Sir and Madame, telling people that “the dog is friendly” does not protect her from rabies.

I knew damned well, too, that they wouldn’t let me take that dog out of there without proof of ownership, fines paid or not, and my name is not Terry Becker, is it? No, it is not. I would have to take him with me to pick Lily up.


He couldn’t come with me when we wanted to go, and Ky was in full “THEY’RE GOING TO DESTROY MY DOG!!!” mode.

So she and I went by ourselves, hoping that her freaky ability to talk anybody into (or out of) almost anything might spring the dog. And between Ky’s freaky ability and my $160, the dog was sprung. See…? “Evil Hypnotist”.

Although the Dog-Jailers didn’t want to give up the dog to anyone other than the registered owner, my child suggested that since he hadn’t registered Lily this year, he possibly hadn’t done so ever. Could they go back to the 2001 records to find the registered owner of the imprisoned? Please…? Pretty, pretty please…? Yep, they could. Turns out…

*I* own the dog. Which means *I* own eight years of fines. So said the lady at the pound with a wicked grin, just before telling me that they don’t generally pile fines on top of each other like that. And just after that, she told me that they would waive the non-registration fine altogether and just give me a warning. And if I could find a vet willing to spay a ten-year-old dog within 30 days, she would be happy to give me back $90. Again… “Evil Hypnotist”.

I called around… I can kiss my $90 goodbye.

Ky is painfully aware that we may not be able to keep her dog. We have no room. We have travel plans. I have my Big Dream Fund to continue funding. DOG was not part of my agenda.

We’re going to give it a month and then see where we’re at. If money/space/dog-hair concerns get to be too much, Ky will attempt to find a new owner for her Beloved Lily-Dawg. One that doesn’t let her out the door for the neighbours to call the dog-catcher on to come out and “pick up a stray off my lawn”.

So it seems that my lucrative days of Ends-Meeting-and-Even-Over-Lapping will temporarily come to a halt until I find out how much this animal is going to cost me in food, shots, fees, vet visits, and allergy meds. The meds are for the allergic kid. I thought cat hair was bad. Holy shit.

Anybody out there want a dog? Please…? Pretty, pretty please…?

Random Song-for-the-Day: “World of Two” – Cake

"The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs" is for sale in digital and paper formats at
The Les Becker Bookshop.
Whew!  I Need That “Slow-It-All-Down” Button Again…

Whew! I Need That “Slow-It-All-Down” Button Again…

Image: Bear With Me

Bear With Me Taken July 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Busy, wow! I’m loving the night shift, but will have to re-learn “day-shift mode” for the weekends until at least after the New Year, beginning this Sunday, when I start working days for Louie. That will only be on the weekends, mind you – I’m not sure yet how I’ll deal with working 7 days a week, let alone 16 hour days, so we’re going to leave that alone.

I still haven’t managed to fit writing into the schedule… believe it or not, I’m looking at an impending move of household coming up. We have the opportunity to move up two floors in the building. We’d be giving up a sauna, but we’d be gaining walls. Ky misses walls.

We would also be gaining a bedroom each. I haven’t had a bedroom of my own since… geez,
Winter of 1993. For about 3 months. My head is full of plans on what to do with it, since I will be starting out with an empty room.

I was offered my new Landlords’ apartment a couple of week’s ago. He lives on the top two floors of the building, and plans on moving out in January. Would I like the place?

Would I?!

The rent is more than my finances can currently bear, however, and I regretfully decline.

He drops the rent. Hmmmmmm….. Probably not as soon as January, I sez.

He gives me the lowdown: The third floor has its own bathroom and bedroom, and a small kitchenette, he tells me. It was once a bachelor apartment, and would be perfect for the Idiot Child and the Oogily Bay Girls to hang out in. Apparently, the New Landlord is perfectly aware that my home is the Clubhouse of Oogily Bay, more often than not: the main hangout of 7 teenagers (Oogily Bay + Ray), and not only has no problem with it, but is using it to pimp out this new apartment to me.

And it’s working.

And *I* would have a bathtub again! Oh. My. God.

What will I do with four walls and a closet of my very own, though…? I’m thinking of turning Japanese as far as decor goes. Ideas?

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors

Goodbye, Captain Underpants…

Goodbye, Captain Underpants…

"The Tattered and Worn"

“The Tattered and Worn”
Taken November 10, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

Tattered and worn is how Ky and I both feel about now. Our move of residence is imminent. As in, Today.

I hate moving. I wanted to space it all out over a period of a couple of weeks, and the plan was working for awhile, even. The J.O.B., though, has me worn out. When I’m there, I’m thinking of all the packing still left to do, and when I’m here, I’m too overwhelmed and “procrastinatey” to get much done.

I don’t have to be completely gone from this building until the 31st, but The Fly-Girl’s wedding reception is on the 30th, which requires an overnight… and nope- can’t book the following day off for the last little pickings involved in moving house, so I’m hoping I can get it done ahead of the celebrations. And that I’m not hungover at work the day after the dog bites me.

I hate moving. I said that already, didn’t I? Well, I hate it even more now, than two paragraphs ago.

We’ve been chauffering little stuff in boxes over since the 15th, with much of it going the opposite direction to the charity drop. I’m forced to abandon items that I would have clung to fiercely a year ago, and I’m surprisingly at peace doing so. There is no room for more than is absolutely necessary, and no storage space. At. All. The place we’re moving into is even smaller than the one we’re leaving. I wouldn’t have thought that to be possible, but…

I took the place sight unseen (or is that site unseen? Whatever.), because every apartment I did look at was filthy. And expensive. And filthy. I considered buying a small house. Even looked at a couple. They were filthy, too.

And then Ruby suggested I check into an apartment above a store, right around the corner from her. She figured that even if they didn’t have anything available, they might know who owned the really well-kept up, retrofitted house next to them. Turns out “they” own both buildings, and a basement apartment would be available in the retro just in time for me.

It was small, they said. Very small. Newly renovated, though, with new fixtures, and floors, and appliances, and cupboards, and a sauna. Convincing Ky to take an unseen apartment (with a sauna) was actually a simple procedure: “Want a sauna?” “Duh! YES!!!”

I stood outside the building, not being able to see the place, yet, because of the squatter that refused to leave it, and pictured a full basement. I convinced myself that if it wasn’t bigger than the place we were leaving, it at least had to be close to the same size.

I paid a deposit. And the landlord hit me with another zinger.

We have no walls.

Hmmmm…. Okay, so it will be a Basement Loft with Sauna, then, won’t it? I signed a contract, and wrote out a bunch of post-dated checks. Accepted a key, and signed for that.

On the 15th, we went to see it.

It’s about this big.

Well, the new landlord tried to warn me, didn’t he? I’m taking it anyway, though. I can’t imagine looking at any more filthy, little expensive places…

There are all those pluses, too… I could spit and hit Ruby’s door… security parking for Prissy, behind a chain-link fence, complete with barbed-wire ruffles at the top… cheap rent, all inclusive… decent landlord…. the new everything he put in the place… Oh and did I mention

The Sauna?

And I’ll be glad to get out of this place, finally. It’s not the same without Ruby at the helm, and about the only things I’ll miss are the considerable whack-jobs populating the block.. like Captain Underpants, who moved in across the street last winter, and introduced himself to the neighbourhood by walking around barefoot in the snow, wearing nothing but his green boxers, beer in hand, yelling “Howdy!” to everybody he saw. Every day.

Now that the snow is gone, he yells from his kitchen window. I don’t think Captain Underpants likes heat. At least I know I won’t find him in my sauna some day.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “i am the walrus” – The Beatles

Money, Money, Money

Money, Money, Money

I Wants It.

I Wants It.

Who doesn’t want it? Really? Liar.

I spent years not giving a damn about money. It’s true, I did. I couldn’t care less, as long as I was “getting by”, and it never took much for me to “get by”. Still doesn’t.

The difference now, is that I look at “getting by” a little differently. I was in and out of debt, for years. I’d finally get out, and I’d be right back in up to my ears again. I was one step ahead of bankruptcy, and I called that “getting by”.

For the past year, I’ve been out of debt (well, I now have a small amount of debt again, but it’s been to move toward a dream, so I’m going to forgive myself. Ahem…*) and in control of my bills, but I’ve also been concentrating on things other than accumulating money. I’ve still not really cared about money, per se, as long as I could “get by”.

I’m changing the way I think about that, now. I want money. So that I can leverage it, and get those dreams into the here and now instead of the future.

Sounds real bright coming from The Great Unemployed One, doesn’t it? LOL! Yeah.

I had a different kind of dream last night, the kind that embeds itself in your psyche while you sleep (thank you, Patch-on-My-Arm). I dreamed I had won the lottery. Millions.

And I couldn’t decide whether to take the “pay-by-the-month” option, or take a lesser amount all in one lump sum. It was a huge problem deciding, in the middle of my dream, but when I woke up, all I could think of was, “That’s the kind of problem I’d like to have, right now.”

It got me thinking about how I’d deal with it if I did win millions, so I decided to google some answers.

I figured, since I’ve heard of bzillion-dollar lottery winners burning through their money because they don’t know what they’re doing, and it feels like they have a never-ending supply, suddenly, that it would be wise to take the “pay-me-by-the-month” option.

Turns out, the smart money is on the lump sum payout, since there’s no guarantee I’d live long enough to pull in all my installment payments. Studies tend to show, too, that the average lottery winner is more likely to blow through that money faster, rather than do the smart thing and invest or save the bulk of it. Good intentions tend to fall by the wayside without a plan.

Yeah, but what if you already won the lottery and took the monthly payout instead of the lump-sum option? Are you regretting that one? No problem! I found out that there are companies that will buy your future payments from you.

You can do the same with settlement payments if you sued and won for an injury, too. Me, I don’t intend to want money enough to stoop that low, but, then again….

The bottom line (ha ha) is, though, that I don’t know enough yet, about how to handle a large amount of money once I do have it. Yeah, yeah, I haven’t won the lottery (yet), and the chances are slim that I ever will… maybe, I’d be better off getting into real estate, and learning about mortgage notes? Hmmmmm.

I think I’ll keep dreaming for awhile, before I make any decisions. I’ve still got seven weeks worth of patches left to dream on, after all.

Yes, folks, I am in my second week of Smoke-free Success. I have traded my tar-filled lungs for wicked weird, Patch-induced sleepy-time entertainment.

So far, the dreams are the biggest pay-off, but I think the money I’m saving may hit me soon. I’ll let you know.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Money” – Pink Floyd

Okay, So I’ve Jumped on Another Band-Wagon…

Okay, So I’ve Jumped on Another Band-Wagon…


I’ve been asked to write a post about Blogsvertise. Yes, it’s one of those services that pays bloggers to write about products, services, and websites. I’ve long been looking for a way to monetize Where the Walls are Soft, partially because I once was heavy into online marketing, proving to myself that it is possible to make some money (assuming you’re willing to put in the 36-hour days to do it), and partially, because the last several years have been a merry-go-round of contract J.O.B.s, followed by unemployment, and I can use all the income streams I can get.

So, why Blogsvertise, and not one of the myriad of other “Blog This” sites? I guess, because it seems to be the closest to the way I’m already blogging for free.

I absolutely hate the idea of shoving product after product in the faces of my readers. I love sharing blogs and links and products I do like and use and read and buy with everybody, and my stats prove that a lot of my readers click those links. Some even actually buy stuff based on my weird little reviews, believe it or not… and so far, at least, knock wood (er… formica, in my case….), none of my regulars has complained to me that I’ve gone all Retail-with-a-Hard-Sell at y’all.

And, truthfully, the idea of three square meals a day again kind of appeals to me…

Also rather appealing to me, is the fact that I don’t necessarily have to endorse any product I blog about. The rules are fairly… hmmm… word..? “Fair” to the blogger, comes to mind. The main rules seem to be that my blog has to be established (they say 2 months – I’ve been around for nearly 3 years, despite the fact that I’ve “minused away” a year or so of this blog’s history, so I’m good there…), I must write at least 2-3 paragraphs (like I’m able to write less than 12-15 paragraphs?!), and that I’d have to link to the client at least three times in the post. I figure I’m creative enough to manage that without ticking you all off in the process.

Guess we’ll find out, huh? 😉

* * *

PS – Ya gotta love this one…I clipped it from “My Big World of Crap”.

A would-be suicide bomber fell down a flight of stairs and blew himself up as he headed out for an attack in Afghanistan, police say.

I can see the merits in using the local village idiot as a suicide bomber. No point wasting more skilful and valuable resources on such missions. However, evidently there is an intelligence threshhold below which the idiocy endangers the mission’s objectives.

  blog it

Random Song for the Day: ”Can’t Stop” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

I Am a BAD Blogger.

I don’t even have a photo ready to put up. I have about seven half-written posts that I had publish dates all set for, and I can’t seem to get anything finished. Started, yes – as usual, I’ve managed to start innumerable projects. Finished, not so much.

I quit smoking on January 1st. Yup, I did. Of course, I’ve cheated several times since yesterday afternoon (I would blame The Countess of Cool for that, if I had the guts, but just because the cigarettes came from her purse, that doesn’t really relieve me of the obligation of accepting responsibility for doing the actual smoking of said cigarettes. Does it? No, I guess the onus is on me for that part of it. Still, I wish I could blame her without feeling guilty. Besides, I imagine she’d punch my nose if I blamed it all on her, and lumpy-bumpy-crooked as it is, I kind of like my nose.

I was all set to tell you all about the fabulous new J.O.B. that I’d snagged to replace this temporary contract, too. Except that I didn’t snag the damned position, so I’m back at square one as far as the J.O.B. hunt goes.

I refuse to panic. I believe a better position will come up (shut up – the thought makes me feel better, and rabbit-holes are appearing all over the place, waiting to suck me down, so I need to believe that), if I stay vigilant and jump on the opportunities. And there are opportunities popping up all over the place! Several really exciting things are arranging themselves with very little effort on my part – all I’ve had to do is say “Yes!” to them. They are scheduled over the next couple of years, mind you, and there are only three so far, so I still have to keep on keeping on… They are Dream Job opportunities, though, and also of a “temporary” nature, which I guess is what I love about them, and what makes them “Dreamy”. My Mobile Career is working itself out in a nearly effortless manner – I just have to keep myself and my kid alive until the time comes to embark on it.

Meantime, I have a month or two of “running money” set aside, and this placement has two more paychecks in it yet, so I can still afford to be a little picky about what I apply for. It still feels a little strange to be able to say that, even though I’ve set it up to work out that way. Weird, that something actually worked out the way I planned.

So, three days in, 2008 is already exciting and fun – I’ve screwed up with the smoking already, granted, but have had a bunch of freebies thrown at me already, and I like the direction things are going.

And tomorrow I’m going to post something a little more interesting. Maybe it will be the groovy-cool “If I had known about this place last year at this time” linked post, because I still marvel over the relief of being out from under that huge anvil of thousands of dollars of debt, and if any of my readers are still feeling that, I’d like to be able to show them that it’s easier to get out from under than they might realize. Actually, that would be a series of posts, I guess, but I may start with that one.

I may post about Ruby’s family, instead, though. I have an almost-finished play-by-play of a pre-Christmas conversation with her niece that will make the Ruby Fans laugh for certain…

I also have more cartoons to go up.. and flash projects to complete that could still be posted in all their unfinishedness – cuz, even incomplete, they’re still cool… and more pics… and news of writing projects… and How Cool is My Kid video. As usual, a lot to choose from, but now at least, the Time-Crunch is easing and I’ll have the chance to organize them finally.

So, Happy 2008, Blog-Family, Regular Readers, and Lurkers, all! It’s going to be a wonderful year.

Random Song for the Day: “Jigsaw Falling into Place” – Radiohead