Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I would have never purchased this duplex in East Long Beach if I'd known about:

I would have never purchased this duplex in East Long Beach if I’d known about the beer chucking family living across the street from Iowa. The clan leader is Herman Reichsmueller, aka “Opa,” who once upon a time was a hog farmer. He’s short, stocky and sports a crew-cut. He has piercing blue eyes, wears wire rim glasses, and dresses in his Big Mac denim overalls. His son Earl, lives there too. Whenever I see him, there's a blank expression on his face behind his dark green aviator glasses. He hangs out at the local Moose Lodge reminiscing of his days as a paratrooper in Viet Nam. The name “Reichsmueller” is embroidered on the front of his military issue jacket.

Becky is Opa Herman’s daughter and Earl’s sister. She doesn’t drink but is codependent. Her son Ralph lives there too. He’s a loud, obnoxious party animal. His booming Vavoom like voice makes up for his shrimpy size.

I hear the screeching of tires rounding the corner. I look outside. It’s Ralph coming home from work. He drives a well-tuned VW Bug. It's got a loud exhaust system and a white Harley Davidson skull sticker slapped on the back window. He looks focused as he gets out from his car. He’s got a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth and a twelve-pack of Budweiser under his arm as he races towards the front door. He can't wait to plop himself down in front of the TV, drink his beer, and watch South Park episodes until passing out. My wife Ann says he works as an electrician at the Naval Shipyard. Who in their right mind would trust a guy like him with live wires?
I’d never have bought the duplex if I’d known about the church bells that sound off every half hour. Did I mention the school playground across the street? The sound of twenty-one kids, screaming in unison, is eating away at my emotional foundation. And the ball wall! Why do they have to start practicing at six in the morning? I’m starting to act like Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace; I need my nerve medicine to calm my jitters. Help me! I’ve been plucked from my peaceful life up in West LA and plopped down in Yuhuppitsville.

I told Ann over and over that buying a place on a busy corner across from a school was a mistake. But she wouldn’t listen. She fell in love with this cute little Spanish Duplex on Orange Avenue with its quixotic arches, brown mahogany front door, pink stucco exterior, and red tile roof.

The plumbing situation is another story. I love taking showers. Every time I’m in the middle of one, our tenant Penelope, who lives downstairs with her three young kids, decides to use the water too. The thrill is gone when she turns on the washer, draws a bath, or flushes the toilet. The water pressure, flowing like a mighty river suddenly becomes a slow drip, drip, drip. If she thinks my music’s too loud, she’ll bang her broomstick against the ceiling to send the message. She even complains about our Siamese cat running around upstairs. Talk about supersonic hearing! Jeez! Just because she’s lived her for twenty years doesn’t mean she owns the place. Give me a break!

I’d never purchased this house if I’d known about the local gang that thinks nothing of breaking into my metallic blue Audi and stealing my stereo every other week. My insurance agent has stopped taking my calls. I’m sleeping outside on the upstairs deck, with one eye open. I want to catch these bastards red handed and make them pay!

That’s why tomorrow I’m setting our place on fire. I know just what to do. I’ve hired Ralph to fix a broken light switch in the kitchen. I’ve asked him to come over in the evening, after I know he’s finished his twelve-pack. I’m sure he’ll get the wires crossed.

When Ann is at school and Penelope and the kids are away, I’ll flip the switch, grab the cat, and run. Sparks will fly and smoke will fill the air. I’ll hide until I’m sure the place is engulfed in flames before calling 911.

When the fire chief asks me for my story, I’ll tell him. Shaking my head back and forth, I’ll say “I’m such a schmuck! I knew I should have never hired that no good, beer drinking electrician!”

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