Sunday, February 12, 2017

Torn between two roosters.

I live in Littleton, outside of what's been described as one of the most liberal cities in Texas. We're solid blue here, though we still tend to elect some Republicans to county positions.

As a result, Littleton recently approved the keeping of domestic poultry (ie, chickens) for the purposes of egg-laying or as household pets, not to exceed ten in number, within appropriate confines, in the city limits. Roosters are excepted from this rule.

So of course I live between two.

Neither of them is close enough to the MLD to be a nuisance. I estimate they're each at least four blocks from me, one to the east and one to the south.

Roosters crow because they want to mark their territory. They're birds, after all, and that's what birds do. They crow at sunrise simply because that's when birds start to sing. But if you have *two* roosters within earshot of one another, and one starts to make a noise, the other will begin to crow because, well, there's some Communist rooster creeping up, waiting to destroy the second rooster's way of life and everything he holds dear.

So of course they crow all day. And all night.

Not close enough to be a nuisance--it's actually kind of nice, the roostery noises coming faintly through the open windows--but close enough to hear.

One sounds like a rooster. He goes "cock-a-doodle-do" as he should. He's got a robust voice. I imagine he looks like this:

See? Nice rooster. Very roostery.

The other rooster. . . .sounded a little anemic, by which I mean on the verge of death, for weeks. I assume he was a teenaged rooster? His voice kept cracking and he couldn't quiiiite get the cock-a-doodle bit down. I worried about him for a while, thinking that there was something terribly wrong, that there would be a bevy of bereft domestic poultry (ie, chickens) when he finally passed to the Great Roasting Pan in the Sky.

I was wrong. He was simply practicing.

Now he sounds like the opening vocals in Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." (You know the part: Aaah-aaaah-AAAAAH!) I imagine he might look like this:

Still a nice rooster, but more Bowie than barnyard.

Now I have amusing fantasies of a Rooster Sing-Off: the Perry Como rooster to the east, the Heavy-Metal Rooster to the south. It's "American Rooster Idol" up in here every day.

I also have "Immigrant Song" going through my head on repeat, starting over at the beginning every time I hear Heavy-Metal Rooster rise up singing.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Once upon a time there was a mungy little dump.

About ten years ago I bought a house. Having no fucking idea what I was doing, and having grown up with people for whom "do it yourself" was less a hobby than a metabolic state, the house I bought was a mungy little dump.

When I say "mungy little dump," I am not exaggerating. This house was built in 1948 and had had only minor updates since. The toilet canted over at about a twenty-degree angle. The shower scared me, and I work in an industry where biohazards are so common as to be boring. The sink in the third bedroom (yes, there was a sink in the third bedroom) had three inches of mouse and rat poop underneath the vanity. And I found a rat snake in a kitchen cabinet one chilly November day.

The west-facing bedroom--and this is in Texas, mind, where western exposures are like the planet Crematoria--was painted bright semi-navy blue. The kitchen was a dark green with that weird melamine faux-tile stuff that you put up with metal edging. The dining room was old-gold with water damage to the floor. The whole place smelled of dogs and smoke and rat poop and sleepy snakes.

I painted everything white in desperation, had the joint rewired for my own safety, did a complete bathroom gut-and-remodel, and tore down the "laundry room," actually a nine-by-seven-foot lean-to that blocked the only window in the kitchen. A pair of very nice men with boots came over and fixed the gas leak. Six guys swarmed under the house and fixed the foundation, mostly. Foundations in this area are never really fixed; we have clay soil that shrinks and expands. I pulled out the horrible plantings that were so close to the house as to be partly under the foundation walls. I had yet more nice men come over and replace the leaky, awful, inefficient rotten unsalvageable windows with new double-paned ones and coat the outside of the house in not-too-offensive vinyl siding.

I bought a mailbox and some house numbers.

Then I got sick. I got better, but things remodeling kind of ground to a halt for several years as I tried to figure out what the hell my priorities were.

Now I've figured it out. My priorities include a single-bowl kitchen sink, some really kick-ass wallpaper for the bathroom, and a nice garden.

If you like badly-composed photos of works in progress, stick around.