Monday, May 16, 2016


I DO apologize for the lateness of this post. I wracked my brains over what would personify Nebraska Avenue at it's looniest and most relatable. After many starts and edits and what-nots, it never got better, until I hit upon the idea of going back to my very first posts in “Homeless Chronicles” and I think this is the right approach. What follows are several of my first posts from the homeless shelter and they are stunning in their lunacy!


The first person I met is the feisty little lady who is one of my roomies. I have two roommates and I tower over them both at five feet four inches. Deb is four-eleven and Opal is even smaller. Tiny ladies, both. Deb had me store my "stuff" in Holly's room, until she could help me. Holly is five one, another tiny lady and just as feisty. I was in a total daze. I had no idea where I really was, or what I was supposed to do, or where to go. I was trying to use this damned walker and was not being very successful at it; it had taken me forty-five minutes to climb three stairs. Granted, I had one-hundred and twelve pounds of crap tied to my walker, but still. . . 

I didn't want to get in anyone's way, so I just kind of parked my sorry butt on the sofa in our front lobby. D was getting dinner ready for the group of folks she cooks for and was tearing around. Someone asked her a question and I don't remember the precise exchange, but her answer was "I don't know his last name. Everyone acts like they're in the goddamned Witness Protection program here!"

I started to laugh. She did too. There have been several exchanges between other people, that are just plain bizarre and amusing. To wit:

My "rendering" of Holly. I don't even pretend I can draw or take pictures. It's even worse now with my e. t. I drew pictures of everyone at the Homeless Shelter.

There is a man in our house who is from Cameroon. I don't know his circumstances, or why he is here, but he has been a tremendous source of entertainment. At least for me...

We are all supposed to clean up in the kitchen after ourselves. Eli - from Chad - seems to think he is exempt from this little chore. But, if he doesn't get his way, he pouts. Ugh. Deb went so far as to put his dirty dishes in his bed; he straightened up for a while, then had some convenient amnesia. Well. . .

Deb hollered at him "You lazy mother-fucker! I am not the mother-fucking maid! Clean your mother-fucking dishes"! Eli is about six-four in height, D is four-eleven. Eli called the Tampa Police. The TPD should just open an annex in the back yard and call it a day. These poor people are over here at least three times a day. TPD and the EMS units could share a bungalow back there; we have a lot of attention-getting sickness, here, too. 

Eli went under the pseudonym of "Mr. C" when I was posting actively and he lived there. He's since moved, and I've run into him a few times. He's actually very nice. As Jim would say, "If ya didn't cuss, smoke or drink before you lived here? You will before you leave Happy Acres!" 

Pretend-seizures are rampant, followed closely by pretend-fainting and pretend-heart attacks. The TPD showed up and listened to Eli's story, which consisted of some mumble-garble about his "right to not be sworn at" or some sort of nonsense. The TPD officer looked at this hulking giant, and looked at little, teeny Deb. Non-plussed for a moment. Then, the Solonic edict came down.

TPD officer pointed at Deb. "You, quit saying the F-word." Pointed at Eli, "You, do your dishes." On their way out to the prowl car, the officers kindly reminded all on the front porch - where we were hiding in the curtains and thinking we were all invisible - to "do your dishes." God, I bet they can't wait to come back for a visit. What's next? "Billy stole my marbles, 'cause I called him a doodie-head?" I will add more to this drivel, but this is a hell of a lot more entertaining than reading my organ recital of ills. Heh.


Well, Eli has been at it again. My wonderful friend Holly had a run in with him recently. We're all still recovering from the encounter. H is one of my favorite people of all time. She is without doubt, one of the funniest, most hilariously mordant people I have ever met. She has a razor-sharp sense of the absurd and appreciates idiocies and idiots of all kinds. This whole thing started one night, when we were all sitting on the front porch, playing dice or Uno or Whist or something. Maybe it was Euchre. Well, Eli was in the kitchen, "cleaning" his dishes. This consisted of him rinsing them, and trying to stuff them in the dishwasher. The only problem; the dishwasher is almost through the rinse cycle and his dishes are dirty. Holly was sitting closest to the open window on the porch. The following conversation went like this:

Self-portrait before the eye-surgery and before my hair grew out again. I still have no depth perception. Heh.

Holly: Those dishes are clean. Don't put your dirty dishes in there.

Eli: (grunt) mumble, mumble. . . (clatter dishes around to distract H)

Holly: Ya dumbass; don't put your dirty dishes in with the clean dishes. Dumbass.

Eli: mumble, mumble... (proceeds to take Dishwasher detergent and pour it into the empty Dawn Dish Detergent bottle. Uses up all of Dishwasher detergent trying to clean dishes with dish rag)

Holly: Dumbass; that's for the Dishwashing machine, ya dumbass. You don't wash the dishes manually with that soap. Dumbass.

And so on. . .

Well, we ended up having to use shampoo to wash our own dishes until we could buy new "house" cleaning-type stuff. But I digress.

A few nights later, Holly was cooking dinner for several of us (we take turns with chores) and was finishing up the supper. Eli came into the kitchen and wanted to cook. The kitchen is small and there is very limited counter space. Holly had taken up most of the counter, but was finishing up and starting to put things away. Well, this wasn't immediate enough for Eli He apparently was King or Grand Poo-Bah or Head Tamale or Top Banana in Cameroon and expects to be obeyed IMMEDIATELY. So, he says to Holly, "I wish for counter space." Holly gawps at him, and says, "Bite me." Eli looks rather befuddled and says, "I do not wish to bite you; I wish for counter space." Mirth and hilarity ensued.

This, in a roundabout, diverting way illuminates something I have learned about myself fairly recently. Without getting saccharine, preachy and all that kind of "life's lessons learned" nonsense, I realize that I really have come to appreciate and enjoy what I have, as little as it may seem to someone else. I've had more peaceful surroundings and much more material wealth, but I was either unhappy, or ill and I never took the time to really enjoy and appreciate all the other people and things around me. Yeah, I know, boring truisms, but there it is. Ha!

The FEATURED RECIPE OF THE WEEK idea came to me, as I watched some of my fellow roomies (housies?) eating their various... whatevers, on the front porch, natch. I have witnessed such consumption of delicacies as Fried Lettuce, boiled macaroni with Ranch Dressing and God-knows-what-else and boiled macaroni with wine vinegar. My personal favorite is a sandwich made from oatmeal bread, peanut butter, mayo, and onion soup. Not the actual soup, mind you, just the dried-up, dehydrated soup mix sprinkled on the mayo and bread. About one-half of the tin foil package will do. It doesn't pay to overpower the peanut butter with all that dried onion soup flavor. For added savoriness, eat the reminder directly from the package, after consuming the sandwich. Yum. See below for recipe:

     2 pieces brown or oatmeal bread
     4 tsps mayo
     4 tsps peanut butter
     1 packet Lipton or house brand onion soup mix
     4 or 5 or 12 Cheez Ballz

     Place pieces of bread side by side. Using plastic spoon/fork (foon, spork?) from Checkers, gently spread peanut butter on bread with a flourish. Repeat with mayo. Sprinkle on Lipton soup mix, covering bread/spread liberally. Garnish with Cheez Ballz to taste. Enjoy.

It also helps to be on about the 45th day of a 2 month drinking binge. The sandwich only enhances that experience. I dub thee "D.T.s and J." (Delerium Tremens and Jones) without the Jelly, or the P.B.

Speaking of food, or the facsimile thereof, Jim and I were at the SweetBay supermarket last Saturday. It's within walking distance of Happy Acres, where we all reside happily as homeless persons*. Yes, the idea is oxymoronic, but it is a homeless shelter. What is the opposite of homeless, anyway? Homeful? Just wondering.

Holly and I used to tease the daylights out of Jim, because he never smiled for pictures, but would laugh and smile all day long, otherwise. He was part-Apache and Irish. God, do I miss his hilarious stories.

Anyway, Jim and I had to wait to have my prescription of happy pills or anti-psychosis pills or placebos filled and this process takes about an hour. So, we decided to indulge in our favorite pastime, playing in the store. A quick aside; several of us do not use illicit drugs, nor do we drink habitually, so we have to resort to other diversions. Playing in stores is one of our ways. We also people-watch and eat. So, on this day, we were starting out on our usual SweetBay routine in the Frozen Meats section, which is close to the pharmacy.

I was busy perusing the frozen whatsiz. I love looking at the various animal body parts that no sane person would dream of eating, at least in my view. Nestled among the assorted frozen cheeks, hooves, stomachs, tongues and tails of different types of barnyard mammals were some rather hoary looking packages of pointy things I couldn't make out. I picked up one of the frozen packages and tried to read the label.

God! I finally got him to smile! Jim was laughing at my antics when I took this picture, but I was laughing so hard at the "Chicken Paws" designation, it really wasn't that hard! It sure was a HELL of an improvement over his "Wooden Indian" face!

Because my eyes have been worse than usual, since the surgery – NOT the doc's fault; they just don't play well together -, I've learned not to trust what I see at first glance. So, I looked and then looked again longer to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was actually seeing, or something. I still didn't believe it, so I asked Jim to read the label. "Frozen Chicken. . . Fangs?" No. Then, "Frozen Chicken. .. Paws?" Yup. Immediate hilarity on my part. It was a very, very early Saturday morning and almost no one was in the Sweetbay. My laugh lit up like a siren, and the Pharmacy Department, being close to the Meat department, came over as one to see what all the hilarity was about.

. . . And this is what the hilarity is all about!

I did take several pictures of the label and the parts themselves. I'll post the pics along with some of our other shots of "daily life" just as soon as I transfer them from phone to desktop.

Well, nothing else too extraordinary to post. Just trying to keep up and chronicle this strange situation I'm in. I try not to think of it as bad or good. It's life, but a unique one. I'll try to get more posted, especially regarding the Game Show. The possibilities for mirth there are endless, or if not endless, merely mildly limited. As a conductor of the Birmingham Symphony said one day to our second violins, "When you run out of notes, stop playing." I'm glad I'm a violist. Heh.

My day to cook; the paper towels are under my arm, because they'd be stolen otherwise. I weigh maybe 90 pounds there. I weigh about 115 today. Holly took this and she's just as crappy at taking pictures as I am, or maybe I'm just on the run.

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