The Charlie Bravo Story


Just an average night at the Casa del Whackos…

Oba(Japanese for “grandmother”)is mom’s 83 year old, 4′ 9″ Okinawan mama-san that has recently moved in with us. As she is NOT a fan of dogs, the learning curve for all involved has been a bit steep at times. Imagine not being fond of a certain thing, then being immersed up to your neck in that very thing. I guess that it would be like me diving headfirst into a vat of cottage cheese.

One thing that she does like is cooking; actually is obsessed with it. Unfortunately, as she ages, her tastes seem to be reverting to those of her childhood in Okinawa, which produces some “interesting” smells around the Casa. An example: I was rudely awakened last week by the smell of the devil’s armpit wafting in from the kitchen. Oba had decided to whip up a delectable batch of smoked eel and stewed cabbage which is one of those combinations that smells exactly like it sounds. This is not a suitable replacement for bacon and eggs, sausage and pancakes, or even the last bowl of Frosted Flakes in the box; you know which one I’m talking about, the one with all the sugar settled to the bottom, enough to send even a hummingbird into a diabetic coma.

So strange smells are not an oddity when Oba’s at the helm of the good ship USS Stovetop. But yesterday was a new experience; she was conjuring up one of her unpronounceable specialties, when something drew her attention elsewhere, namely outside. I was in the bedroom attempting to fold some clothes that the dogs were obstinately refusing to relinquish custody of as warm bedding material, and my nostrils picked up a scent that could only be described as diabootus of the blowhole. Which dog was responsible for this latest eruption? And would I feel the evidence with my foot before seeing it with my eyes?

Then I opened the bedroom door to find the house filled with a acrid fog; Oba had forgotten to turn the stove off before going walkabout in the front yard on a journey of self-discovery. The remains of the ribs and whatnot she had recently conjured up were quickly being transformed into a miasmic form of third-world jerky, leaving the house smelling like a million chainsmokers had been indulging their favorite vice in my kitchen.

After the attic fan had been called into action and the house at least partially cleared of the fog, mom thought that it would be proper to give the inmates the less-burned ribs from the top of the pot. In her defense, I saw no problem with it myself; what could it hurt, right?


A short time later, this decision begat a chain reaction of yarking inmates, starting with Charlie and proceeding all the way through the ranks to Micro Polo. The carnage began outside, and we thought the worse was passed, so to speak, only to find the festivities continued after the dogs came inside.

Now, we’re no strangers to dealing with canine carnival salsa, but I have a distinctly aversion to cleaning it up once it progresses from a semi-solid state to one that’s a bit more gelatinous. So here I am, trying to suppress the heaving impulse to make my own contribution to the carnage, while mom is casually going about the cleanup with a bag of Doritos in her other hand.

That’s when it hit me; I had the perfect spouse, the yin to my yark. The very epitome of “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean…”.

Now, carry THAT mental picture with you as you go throughout your day. No, no, no need to thank me; just knowing that I have added a bit of sunshine and positivity to your weekend is thanks enough for me.

It’s always a party at the Casa del Whackos.

Happy Charlie Bravo Day, and dont forget to stock up on those 9v batteries for the smoke detector.

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