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All contents herein (except the illustrations, which are in the public domain) are Copyright © 1995-2011 Evan Morris. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited, with the exception that teachers in public schools may duplicate and distribute the material here for classroom use.

Any typos found are yours to keep.

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Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

 

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November 2012 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

readme: 

OK, it’s not November. November was not a good month. October wasn’t so hot, either. There will be a December issue as soon as I can muster one.

We went to a doctor’s appt. in Columbus, 40 miles away, in late October and somebody kicked in our back door and robbed us. We don’t have much of anything anyone would want, but these creeps went straight upstairs to the bedroom and took some heirloom jewelry (grandparents’ rings, etc.) that they found in a drawer. Unfortunately, what they took was not only emotionally important to Kathy, the only direct, physical mementos of her parents and grandparents, but also our last-resort, end-of-the-world nest egg. Now we’ve really got nuttin’.

It was a weirdly fastidious robbery; they closed the drawers and some boxes on the dresser, and closed the back door on their way out. If they hadn’t cracked the door frame and part of the wall next to it, we might not have noticed the robbery for days. The Sheriff’s Deputy who came to investigate suggested that, based on the method, it might be the work of either a family member or a neighbor, but we lack an eligible relative and it has since become apparent that our robbery was just one of about a dozen identical crimes that have swept our general are in recent weeks. What we need now is an alarm system that plays the sound of somebody racking a 12-gauge pump shotgun.

Brownie & Fifi the Cat

What happened next is hard to write about, so I’m going to keep this short. Our beloved dog Brownie died the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, apparently of a seizure of some kind as she slept on the living room floor. Brownie was 14-1/2 years old. She was our best friend, the most wonderful, loving, smart, sweet dog I have ever known. We got her as a foundling puppy soon after we moved to Ohio from NYC, and we were lucky to have spent all day every day with her ever since. Apart from some arthritis, she had no known health problems; I had taken her for a walk earlier in the day around the yard, and she seemed fine. I’m glad she wasn’t sick, I’m glad she could still play ball with me in the living room the night before she died, I’m glad she knew how much we loved her, but we miss her terribly. She was the third person in the house, and it seems impossible that she isn’t sleeping downstairs right now.

Onward. Because this seems to be how the universe works, I greeted Thanksgiving Day by coming down with either the worst case of food poisoning possible or, more likely, a killer case of some Norovirus. Whatever it was meant a solid week of Exorcist-level projectile vomiting and inability to eat that left me too weak to walk and severely dehydrated. Multiple Sclerosis acts as a force multiplier in such things, so everything hurt like hell and my eyes went completely blurry, making it impossible to read. I seem to be on the mend now, but I lost about ten pounds and I still feel yucky and my eyes are still iffy. Thanksgiving, of course, simply did not happen.

Have I mentioned that today is my birthday? Oh, yay.

But the Holidays are here, and Subscriptions make lovely holiday gifts! So please consider giving a few. And random acts of contribution are, of course, always appreciated.

And now, on with the show….

 

September/October 2012 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

readme:

Before I forget (yeah, right), if you’ve been planning to subscribe at some point but forgetting, this would be an awesome point at which to remember to subscribe. Things are dicey, pickings are slim, and the cats are getting that “Maybe you’ve forgotten that we are, after all, predators” look in their eyes.

And now, a message from Edith Freedle:

Dear Internet: Please excuse Mister Detective’s absence for the past month. He has been sick and has been unable to do anything even remotely constructive. In early September he developed a horrible cold which turned out to be due to a gum infection which turned out to be due to a bad tooth. He has been to the dentist four times in the past month and has now had all of his teeth removed, as well as several random molars he had apparently borrowed from neighbors. The doctors say that if this doesn’t solve the problem he may have to have his ears cropped, although such a drastic step doesn’t actually have anything to do with his teeth (or the lack thereof). But they say it will make his hats fit better.

At the moment he is still under the effects of last week’s anæsthesia (at least we hope that’s it) and has been unable to do anything but post utter nonsense to something called “Tweeter,” which is apparently some kind of online club for weirdos. He is, of course, on a liquid diet, which we assumed meant gruel (he loved gruel as a child growing up in the workhouse). But he belligerently insists that the dentist specified gin and tonic (with limes to prevent scurvy). Since the dentist now forwards all our calls to a personal injury lawyer (evidently someone was bitten during last week’s appointment), we have been unable to verify this prescription and so must assume it’s true.

He is steadily, if slowly, improving, and he thinks he may be able to handle a little pizza next week (liquified in a blender, of course). We have tried to get him to do his homework and update this website, but he has built a fort out of the couch cushions and refuses to come out. This would be an acceptable state of affairs for the short term were it not for our well-founded suspicion that he is smoking some of his strange homemade cigarettes in there.

In any case, the poor little lad has suffered a month of pain and torment, so I hope that you will forgive his absence, and that this unfortunate turn of events will not affect his Google Rank and thus his chances of earning enough pennies from ads to pay the dentist bills and feed the cats, several of whom, apparently from hunger, have taken to licking his feet in a very creepy fashion.

If the other children on the internet would like to contribute, please tell them that, short of sending bales of actual cash, the most important, helpful and compassionate thing to do would be to subscribe to TWD-by-Email.

Yours sincerely,

Edith Freedle, Assistant to, and reluctant temporary caretaker of, Mr. Detective.

p.s. — Mr. Detective briefly emerged from his burrow a few moments ago, just long enough to insist that I warn his readers not to pay attention to the various political ads currently running on this site, which are in “no freaking way, shape or form” under his control. It was difficult to make out exactly what he said next as he seemed to be trying to hold his breath for some reason, but it sounded like “All those lying dirtbums belong in the Graybar Hotel.” Wherever that is.

And now, on with the show….

 

August 2012 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi

readme:

Well, that was un-fun. So, when we left our intrepid heroes last time out, they were just about to experience a weather phenomenon known as a derecho, which is apparently Spanish for Didn’t there use to be a big tree over there? and involves 80 mph straight-line winds arriving with very little warning. Unlike tornadoes, which usually can be seen gathering on the horizon out here and generally move a bit slower (allowing time for NWS tornado alerts, getting Dorothy down in the root cellar, etc.), these derecho things are more like a shotgun blast or some awful cosmic chainsaw ripping through the landscape. The entire storm at our house (which involved no — zero, nada —  actual rain) lasted 90 seconds, tops. But the blast of the wind bent major trees almost to the ground and filled the air with a mixture of dirt and vegetation that made it look like we were underwater. Very impressive.

Our appreciation of this stirring demonstration of  the Majesty of Nature was interrupted early on in that 90 seconds, however, by an explosion on the north side of the house accompanied by a very dramatic shower of sparks coming from up near the roof. A power pole on our property (we have four carrying the line back to the house) had snapped in two, breaking another pole up the line and slicing a 30 ft. pine tree (a former live xmas tree, in fact) in half vertically. More importantly, the force of the pole falling had ripped the power feeder cable out of the side of our house (thus the sparks) and draped it across our yard and driveway, and, in what I think was a particularly nice touch, suspended it a few inches above our ancient (and only) car. Power to our house was broken about nine different ways. No power out here means no water, by the way, since we depend on an electric well pump.

Long story short, everyone else on our road had power again within 24 hours. Because of the damage to the poles and lines on our land, we got our power back eight days later, during which time daytime temps were over 100 F. What made this more than extremely uncomfortable in my case is that people with ms can get hyperthermia — heat stroke — at fairly low temps, so we spent as much time as possible in supermarkets and coffee shops with a/c, all of which involved a 35-mile round trip from what was left of home. Giant Eagle, we discovered, has a “cafe” that closes at 7 pm, but they leave the wi-fi on 24/7 and don’t care if you sit there in the dark all night. (Not that we had the money for a week in a motel, but the few near us were booked solid the whole time, and were charging extortionate “emergency prices” to boot.) Driving down our road at night for a week and seeing every other house lit up with the a/c running and the Blue Glow of Happy Potatohood flickering in the windows was, I must say, a bit disheartening.

Eventually the power came back on and we began the grim task of cleaning up. My favorite part was emptying the freezer full of food out in the garage. The power line had fallen in such a way that it blocked access to the garage door, and the result, after a week in high heat, was the stuff of nightmares.

But within a few days it was mostly a bad memory. And then it happened again. Seriously. About a week after the power came back, another derecho with 80 mph winds hit us. Miraculously, it didn’t take out the power, but it did knock down a huge old tree which is still lying across our front yard.

While we’re on the subject of help, thanks to all the folks who have contributed to our continuing existence by subscribing to TWD-by-Email, and special thanks to those two wonderful people (you know who you are) who have sent us Holy-Cow-Level contributions in the past month or so. It’s no fun having electric power if you can’t afford to turn on the lights, and we really appreciate your generosity.

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