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For the edification of Spo-fans of the newer type (and for the long-timers who need a reminder) my “Home life” entries are attempts at writing about mawkish and maudlin things about the house.  Thems looking for great wit or wisdom should try next Tuesday.  Spo.

We made the mistake to get down from the top shelf the three white plastic garbage bags of clothes destined for donation. Now on the floor they are getting in the way of traffic going in and out of the walk-in closet. Worse, some items are creeping out of the bags and back onto the shelves. Common sense says to put these Heftys back up where they were, but we hope to haul them to Goodwill – the sooner the better. The bag with my discards (Someone has the other two)  contains mostly T-shirts and trousers that no longer fit me. I am sorely tempted to retain some of them, hoping they will inspire me to tighten up my waistline. I suspect these will merely mock me, so back into the ghost bag they go.*

Last week in Michigan my brothers and I took down and went through similar garbage bags (black ones) full up with our late mother’s clothing.  We were looking for anything of value prior to a trip to The Salvation Army. We found a lot of hangers, and a brooch  that was still pinned to a jacket.  Brother #3 took the hangers and I took the brooch. I also took some athletic gym shorts, thinking Someone may want them. Back home, he tried them on but they were too bulky, so we put them into our own garbage bags (the white ones) of clothing. 

There is something metaphorical about all of this, but I haven’t put my finger on it. I wonder how many items of clothing are passed around until they are eventually thrown out.

As for the brooch, I don’t think I will be wearing it any time soon, so it goes into my ‘memory box’ where it can sit until I pop and it too gets put into a ghost bag (probably blue) off to Goodwill – or Salvation Army or whatever is taking discards these days. 


* I wrote about ‘The Ghost Bag’ back in October 2008. Thems curious can look it up. It is my catch-all term for a carry-about bag. ‘Ghost bag’ is less formal than ‘satchel’ and more butch than ‘purse’.

I finally found the Halloween advent tree. It was buried at the bottom of the large cardboard box labelled “Halloween”. I erected the tree and hung four ornaments right away to make up for lost time. I thought I had packed this on top last November for easy finding in the future. Since I had to rummage through everything to retrieve it I figured what the heck might as well put up the rest. Normally I don’t decorate until after 15 October but (as Jerry Herman sort of said) we need a little Halloween right this very minute. Someone makes a fine Vera as he knows all the lines.

A small succulent of unknown etiology is growing next to the sidewalk leading up to the door. One has to admire the cheekiness of cacti as there is no water and little sun in that area. I dug it up and put it a pot on kitchen shelf next to the three avocado pits. I hope I haven’t introduced Audrey III into the house. By the way two pits show signs of sprouting while one looks to be a dud. I am giving it one more week before declaring it a bust.

‘Soup of the month’ for October is a squash-based cheesy thing with tortellini. Butternut squash looks slightly obscene and I felt awkward walking around Uncle Albertsons yesterday with it standing erect in the shopping cart where one puts the kiddies. I wonder if The Doctrine of Signatures applies here.

Speaking of shopping Someone wants to go to Costco today. I haven’t set foot in such since March when I saw on TV it resembled The Fall of Saigon. I may go just to have a look-see what it entails. Will people be respectful with masks and proper distance? I doubt it. Thems that shop at Costco (ours anyway) are not known for their manners. My heart is having palpitations at the thought of going although this may be the coffee. I ground some beans titled “Old Scratch” from the good merchants at Spring-heeled Jack. I may erred on the ratio of grounds to water or this is demonic stuff indeed. I feel just like their logo. I should fit in well at Costco.

I have just sat down to my laptop with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee. We will hit 100F/37C today but at 630AM it is pleasant enough to wear my bathrobe. It is really quite pleasant.  The next step is to figure out what sort of entry to compose. A drawback of my blog is there isn’t any rhyme nor reason to it. Sometimes I write about psychology or philosophy and then the next day I try to emulate something out of a Monty Python. Neither extreme feels right to do while sitting quietly in a heavy white terry robe sipping coffee watching the rising of the sun so I will do a “Home Life” entry. Home life entries bore the pants off The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections but a) they are boxed up in Heorot Johnsons and b) they do not wear pants. I like reading other people’s post about what is happening in their life so it is hoped they feel likewise. 


La Casa de Spo is seeing a surge in boardgames. Last night we tried playing ‘Milles Borne’ a game of cards (written in French) with the goal to reach 1000 ‘milles’. Neither one of us quite grasped how to play it. Videos on Youtube were not too helpful. Afterwards we played Nine Mens Morris and a round of Sorry! each playing two colors (I was yellow and red). I lost all three games; I don’t have a good head for strategy but I enjoy them especially when there are nibbles and libations involved.* We had a couple of gin and tonics using various gins.  Someone’s G&T included “Old Raj” and mine had “Linton Hill”  a slightly pink Spanish gin with the redolence of strawberries. It would have been perfect if we had had some bridge mix but there is none to be had in any grocery store. Apparently there was a run on chocolate-covered raisins like flour.

Speaking of food I am doing a good job finding clever ways to use le réchauffé and things hanging out in the larder waiting for inspiration. Last October I bought a small cooking pumpkin which has sat unused all these months. Amazingly it is still intact. Someone has asked me to do something with it or throw, so I plan to turn it into soup today. Yesterday Someone cleared out the freezers. He discovered several unmarked mystery parcels now thawing like Otzi to see what they are. It is rawther exciting. 

Yesterday was my once a fortnight journey to Uncle Albertsons. I was pleased to see everything was replenished with the noticeable exceptions of toilet paper, bleach/sanitizers, and flour. The latter is a disappointment as I would like to try making another loaf. Alas Babylon! there is no flour or yeast to be had for love or money in stores or on the internet.  Speaking of Youtube I saw a video ‘How to make your own yeast’ which greatly appeals to my inner-scientist but Someone forbids my trying lest I grow Audrey III or (worse) make the house smell like a yeast infection. So there will be no bread for Urs Truly for now.  On the other hand our freezer is full up with Einstein Brothers bagels: asiago for Someone and poppy for me. 

That’s all for now. I feel it getting warm out. I should literally disrobe and get in a dog walk before it gets too hot to do so. 

Philosophy or silliness tomorrow.  



*No I did not lose secondary to alcohol. I am just not good. 

The home security system is putting out an annoying alarm on a regular frequency telling us something is the matter. The origin of the problem seems to be a faulty smoke detector. I was not aware the home security system was in cahoots with the smoke detectors. This evokes images of HAL in ‘2001’ telling David something is awry. The chirping noise irksome but it causes Harper great vexation to the point she won’t go into the bedroom when it is spewing its Cassandra-like warning. Going around with a ladder to inspect all the fire alarms in the house is a tedious task and getting someone from COX communications to come by is near impossible so I did the next best thing: I pulled it out of the wall and moved it to the guestroom where it can howl to its heart content. At least Harper and I can sleep now.

Yesterday there was a spill in the kitchen pantry of an unknown origin which required everything at floor level to be removed for a proper tidy up. Underneath the lower shelves and behind Harper’s Kibbles and Someone’s cache of soda pop (no Vernors) I discovered several large bottle of booze. They were large bottles of ‘typical stuff’ like Captain Morgan rum and Smirnoff Vodka and generic tequila. Who drinks this stuff? There were nearly a dozen of these things most of them less than a quarter full and many duplicates. There were three bottles of Kahlua – something neither one of us drinks. I compacted these by throwing out the remnants of the most depleted bottles and combining the ones I could. I was able to put back behind the boxes only five. The rest went out to recycling. People periodically go through our rubbish looking for recyclables;  I shudder to imagine what they will think of us when they find seven large empty liquor bottles. We will be thought of as dipsomaniacs or party animals. Either way there will be talk.

Speaking of nosy neighbors, The Homeowners Association Here at Desert Ridge sent us a terse letter informing us there are weeds in our front yard and do something about it now. The Homeowners Association Here at Desert Ridge makes The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections look like angels in comparison. I wonder who is it that drives around the neighborhood looking for violations. In a way the letters are quaint as who bothers to send letters anymore. It cannot be denied the front yard is in need of care. I’ve been asking Someone to call Hector & company to come by and clean things up pronto. I have never seen/met Hector & company. Hector is paid in ‘cash only’ which makes me wonder if we are not supporting shennaniganery. He/they show up during the daytime when I am away like the Elves to the Shoemaker. He does a good job when he can find him.

Final neighbor note: the fellow with the tree-full of lemons still has a bunch hanging low enough to entice but Tantalus-like can’t be reached. Harper and I walk by the wall every day hoping one will drop onto the public side of the wall. So far no such luck.  Lemons are quite available at Uncle Albertson’s but I want one of these which are bigger, juicer, and more sweet – like my men.  I thought to complain to The Homeowners Association Here at Spo-Reflections of ‘weeds’ but that would be indiscreet.

house-cleaning-11688-570x403I am taking a break from today’s tidy-up to sit still for a moment and write out some thoughts. I am drinking Earl Gray; I am signing my death warrant drinking such at this hour. It isn’t too strong but I daresay I will be up late. That’s not too bad for there’s work to be done.

The last load out of the dryer had with it some sort of gizmo among the socks and undies. It is a large round gray push button-like object; a spring connect to it. Neither one of us can deduce what on earth it is let alone from whence comes it. I’ve been wondering the house looking for something to press that is missing its button. This is not the first time the dryer has delivered onto us some strange and unfamiliar object. They are usually in exchange for a sock or some other wearing apparel.  I have a theory the dryer has a connection to a wormhole which warps time and space at least in the regular settings. Rationalists in the house don’t agree with me but they can’t come up with a better theory so I am sticking with mine. 

Speaking of laundry we finally remembered to purchase some Pine-Sol to clean up the laundry room floor. I am always dubious to move out the washer and dryer for last time we found quite a few scorpions albeit dead ones. On the positive I usually find a handful of coins – not enough to buy a small chocolate cone I suppose but enough to make the job a satisfactory one. 

After the laundry/room is addressed there is all the ironing. Oh the pain. Somehow we’ve managed to wear in a fortnight every shirt imaginable and they all want ironing.  Happily I have a lot of podcasts to hear which makes it bearable.  Whenever I spend an evening making hot steamy love with the Proctor & Gamble I ponder the time/cost analysis. I dont’ recall how much it costs for the cleaners to clean and press a shirt (Spo-fans can help me here) but I can’t help but wonder if the time savings is worth it. Besides, the sweet ladies at “Quick-cleaners” do it better. I do what’s called ‘good-enough ironing” much to the chagrin of Someone. 

Apart from the washing and ironing I need to compose an email of a list of wants for Christmas prizes for my family’’s Secret Santa.  This will be the 56th year in a row I will ask for that blasted pony.  Odds are I won’t get it again but I’ve learned whatever I list as the second wish is a certain bet. Be careful what I ask for here. Perhaps I can kill as many scorpions with one stone as it were and ask for a clothes press. 

A man ironing a shirt

Note: I thought this a marvelous post. TBDHSR thought is boring. Still, it ain’t no “Curious things about the house” entry.

I am sitting in the brown easy chair, typing away on my laptop, drinking tea from a white mug with its blue “Charleston Tea Plantation” writing. I remember where, when, and why every one of these items was purchased. I see across the room sitting on a table stand a small sculpture of an owl which my cousin made and gave me when she and her gal pals came to visit me when I lived in Chicago in the early 90s.  These items I think are the exception that most of what I have has no history.  Waiting this morning for the kettle to boil I cleaned the kitchen sink. I paused for a moment to wonder about the blue plastic dishpan. For the umpteenth time I had rinsed it out with warm sudsy water and left it turned over on the stainless steel Crate and Barrel wire rack. I stopped to consider where and when the tub was purchased. Can’t remember. It’s one of the many mundane things about the house that ‘have always been there’. It looks in good shape and I daresay it will it will survive me when somehow someone else will use and clean it in the exact same way. 

There is a woman in Japan who leads some sort of cleanliness cult whose philosophy is house things should be either bring you joy or be useful. Anything else should be discarded as clutter. More than useless, they bring your spirits down.  A quick emotional poll of Spo-things seems to fall into the categories 20% Joy, 40% useful, and 60% rubbish.* Someone seems pleased I recently took over taking out the trash on Tuesdays but it’s my devious way to slowly discard things from the 60% category.  Thanks to careful selection he hasn’t noticed anything has gone missing. However at this slow rate it will be the year 3888 before mission accomplished and I don’t know how I can sneak out the larger objects like the otiose Hammond organ. Time to call The Junkman or someone like him. I can do this one night this week when Someone is ushering. Chances are he will come home exhausted go right to bed and not even notice half the furniture is gone. 


*Yes I know that doesn’t add up. Please don’t write in. 

I finally finished a book.* This is no small task given all the other things that wave at me at day’s end, wanting my attention. I am currently reading some lofty tomes, none of them ‘going quickly’. Mr. Pepys’ diary goes oh-so-slowly. I am up to 1664 with many years to go.

We have a houseguest this Sunday – our first visitor in ages. This inspired us to give the place a proper cleaning. If I had known this would do the trick I would have invited someone/anyone over sooner.

I am pleased as Punch to report the refrigerator is running and putting out ice and filtered water. We are returning to proper levels of hydration, which is the panacea of all ills. ** There is nothing in the fridge but ice, as its contents  was tossed when it went on the fritz.  We are discussing now whether or not to go to Albertsons and buy some stables for the sake of filling it up or purchasing items for specific menus.  Mundane grocery shopping and housecleaning always evokes in me the desire to get a houseboy or somebody like him. I vote we turn one of the guest bedrooms into a separate living area for said servant.  Someone, always the Sancho Panza to my Don Quixote, find this absurd. The young lads for hire around here are all of Hispanic background.  We would end up looking both wicked old screws AND first world exploiters.  The neighbors would think we’ve gone GOP on them.

Last week Big Brothers or somebody like him came by to pick up our unwanted clothing. After ten-plus years living in AZ my sweater collection has dwindled down from a dozen to two. Goodness knows what the local charity is going to do with our heavy woolens but that’s their problem now.

It’s the tenth of the month. The cosmic calendar tells us it’s time for Harper’s heartworm pill. Oh the pain. Somehow she knows this; she quietly disappears even as we think about it.  Getting the damn thing down her is a challenge. Wrapping the tiny pill in a folded cold cut or a treat etc. doesn’t work well. Clever dog! She  has the knack to take it apart in her mouth and spit out the pill and dare ask for more. The effrontery of dogs!   Anyway this is Someone’s job. I pick up the poop so he can deal with problems at the other end.


*Lore – Wicked Mortals. Jolly good fun!

**Right after Lying down and avoiding things.

TBDHSR was pleased as Punch to see yesterdays’ little lecture on Jung-stuff got enough comments to leave my digits as they are. I allowed to write on BBQ sauce and the Archetypes important to the Feminine. Spo-fans keen on the ‘time I almost got thrown in jail” story should not hold their breath. 

We were invited last night to ‘gay dinner party’ (as my grandmother used to call them) by some bar buddies. There were four couples; they were well over four week.  I was pleased to see our hosts not only had place cards at table but they separated the couples as well. My dinner partner was a fellow from Ireland named Aiden; I hope I didn’t drive him to distraction with all my questions. It was a marvelous party; I couldn’t have liked it more. To finish this oh-so-proper past time I insisted Someone and I write a handwritten thank you note. It made me feel good to see proper manners are not completely dead. 


This week we see highs of 45C or more. The assurance ‘it’s a dry heat’ carries no weight at these temperatures.  It’s hard enough already to keep my office cool what with its two glass walls facing south/east.  I plan to show up at work in the lightest of clothing – cut offs if I could get away with it. Thank goodness for job security that I can push the envelope as it were.  

The fridge man comes tomorrow to tell us if the LG refrigerator can be repaired. I am familiar enough with ‘sunk cost bias” not to put good money after bad if it’s too bloody expensive. Yesterday we bought a little ‘dorm room’ fridge to tide us over.   The water man (or someone like him) shows latter this week. I would like to have proper water again. Tea made with tap water has some sort of oil slick on top of it most unappetizing. 

If we can get through this water-less, ice-less, bee-infested week (yes they are still in the back) we can get out of town for our annual trek to Santa Fe for the opera.  Let us hope so.  


Here are a few handy Spo-hacks. None are profound, nor are they likely to cause apotheosis but they are useful all the same and some of them are jolly good fun.

To cool down on those still too hot October nights: take a dip in the nonheated pool wearing a T-shirt and boxers. Dry off the excessive dripping water. Parade around in your damp undergarments while the hot dry air causes evaporation which leads to quite a cool-down. Instant AC !  

Kleenex boxes make marvelous hats.

Clear the lint trap every time before you operate the dryer. Someone hasn’t yet grasped this truism so I will assume others don’t know this as well. Try to tell as many people as you can in town.

There is no such thing as too much pepper. Do not dare to question this.

Costco chicken that has become too dry and shredded to be palatable can be added to Kraft M&C. This goes also for slightly-off vegetables and that saved chili no one wants to eat but feels guilty to just throw out. Really M&C makes any old thing edible again. Just remember to add a lot of pepper.

Cellphone charger cords all look alike; to discriminate them tie shreds of Spo-shirt fabric into bows around the cords. Use a different color for each. This way you are not accused of taking more than one leaving the others in the house bereft of a charger cord.

Impudent dogs ensconced on your side of the bed can be made to move by blowing on their ears until they are annoyed enough to move. Another means to move indolence hounds is to go to the kitchen and open up the bag of shredded cheddar cheese. This hack is 100% efficacious at moving mutts.

Never trust trout.

Open all utensil and vanity drawers slowly, so you do not upset or startle the scorpions.

The dishwasher is more efficacious when you put into it one of those square little cake things with the red button tops – or so I am told. This isn’t a Spo-tip but a Someone-hack. Who knew?

For those things that get moved about by The Cup Fairies and their associates: create designated areas in which to place the keys and phones and such.  Good ideas:  the bowl on the dresser; the bowl on the butcher block table just inside the back door; the bowl under the Bookwus. Bad ideas: the drawer with the doggie supplies; under Someone’s pillow; laundry basket; beneath the ottoman.  

The AC unit on the east side of the house has gone off. I am disappointed but not surprised. The unit has been running nonstop for many months; it’s amazing it hasn’t gone out sooner. I appreciate it waited until the temperatures finally started to become less fetid.  We are still having highs in the upper 90s but the early morning hours are in the upper 60s.  The intrepid AC on the west side remains operable so we are not too bad off. Someone set up a series of fans to blow the cold air from the east wing over to the west.  Unfortunately the cool dry air from the east collides with the west west air to create a storm front and it is now starting to rain in the foyer. Oh the embarrassment.  We need to get a repairman or somebody like him in ASAP. I hope the AC doesn’t need total replacement as that could cost several thousands of dollars.  Alas, our approach tends to be one if it breaks down we try to live without it – our house is filled with inutile objects – but no AC in AZ is not tenable. It must be done. Oh the pain.

Speaking of expensive breakdowns I finally got to the dentist at the local dental school. At one point in the consultation I had four people in my mouth, most of them throwing up their hands in horror at the work that wants doing. Apparently if I don’t get my gums attended pronto I may not have any teeth by sixty. More expenses!  If it becomes a Sophie’s choice I will go with the gnashers and not with the Goodman.  I could not be cheap and liquidate some mutual funds and get both.

I go to sleep tonight down in the dumps knowing I am surrounded by things shouting out ‘fix me!” I don’t have time or energy to be an autodidact but must call in others and hope it isn’t too outrageous.   This reminds me I am also in desperate need of a hair cut, which isn’t cheap either.  I may get Someone to give me a buzzcut heine. It doesn’t look too good but it is a bargain and in the heat of the house less hair the better.

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August 2021

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