An Ode to the Crapper, The Big 80’s, and a Japanese Toilet, Too


Technology is beautiful…when it actually works.

When I was in high school, there was a discount department store that had pay toilets.  The theory was that you put a dime in the slot, turn the lever and the bathroom stall door opens.  It was slightly reminiscent of a parking meter, only it wasn’t timed.  In practical application, however, people liked to do funky things with the slot, such as jamming it up with popsicle sticks (what they were doing with those in the crapper I’ll never know) or super glue.

The end result was that even if you were one of those people who were willing to pay the dime to keep from having to slide under the stall door, the odds were very good that even with the dime you weren’t going to be opening that stall door any time soon.  Many individuals saw fit to shimmy under the stall door or barring that option, (somehow, considering this was a ladies’ room) pee in the sink, pee in the floor drain, or, which did happen on occasion, drop a deuce on the floor drain.


The motivation behind that great old poem:

Here I sit, all broken hearted

Paid my dime, and only farted.

I don’t think that I ever had to use the bathroom so urgently while at that store that I couldn’t make it across the parking lot to the Burger King to use their (free) toilet.   I was never good enough at doing the Limbo to consider trying to shimmy under the stall door.  I wasn’t tall enough to consider peeing in the sink either, and considering how many people just relieved themselves on the floor, I didn’t want to risk touching that floor with clothing, body parts or hair to begin with.

Today is one of those “somebody jammed a popsicle stick in the crapper lock” sort of days. It’s an automatic “go to option B” sort of day.  Our invoicing system isn’t working, which means I’m not selling anything.  I can’t do reports.  I can’t check inventory.  The phones are still on though, so I can still listen to people bitch, and I can freak out about all the people I’m going to have to call and all the catch up I’m going to have to engage in once the system is actually working again.


Leave it to the New Englanders to find another way to make you pay!

Pay toilets seem to have lost their popularity, at least in central Ohio.  I am surprised someone hasn’t figured out a toilet lock that accepts MasterCard and Visa.  If the City of Columbus can find parking meters that take plastic then I’m sure the technology exists. If I really, really had to go, I’d be willing to pay, let’s say $5 on my debit card to get in.

I probably shouldn’t give people ideas, although maybe there was a lesson learned from the behavior of the sink whizzers and floor crappers of the early-to-mid 1980’s.  It just might not be worth the potential $5 per crap in the toilet if most people forgo the pay device and just crap on the floor and/or pee in the sink.

Considering the dismal condition of many public toilets, perhaps a $5 debit card swipe at the door (at the main door, not the stall door) would be worth it IF the toilet was kept immaculately clean.  The Japanese have it pretty good as far as toilet technology goes.  I’d be willing to pay to use one of those funky self-cleaning Japanese toilet/bidet/health monitor things.


Elimination: Star Wars Style

Unfortunately most public bathrooms look more like this:

gas station crapper

No wonder I see so many trucker bombs.

I don’t understand the motivation behind wanting to trash a public restroom.  One might think it a good thing, a sort of karmic justice issue so to speak, to keep the crappers one uses tidy so the next time it’s necessary to use one it might be clean and somewhat safe to use.  Then again, the lesson I’ve learned over the past week is that logic doesn’t necessarily apply to what actually happens in the real world.

In high school I used the school bathroom once.  I didn’t even attempt it at the old Freshman Building, because it had the original (wooden seat) toilets from 1915.  In 1982 these were not safe to use.  The way they were originally designed was cool- you sat on the seat, used the toilet, and when you got up there was a spring-loaded device that automatically flushed.

I’m sure in 1915 that was amazing state of the art technology.  But by 1982, when (and if) they actually flushed, they would send a geyser of toilet contents skyward, often showering the toilet user with the toilet contents.

vintage toilet geyser

A shower that will not promote bodily cleanliness.

In the main high school (built in 1959) the functionality of the toilets wasn’t the issue.  They were regular industrial-style toilets with the toggle-lever flushers like one might see in your local Taco Bell. The things the girls did in the bathroom was the issue.  There was graffiti- everywhere- that would make a porn star blush.  Many people smoked in there.  I didn’t have the courage to light up in the school crapper though.

I used that bathroom exactly once.  It seemed OK, until for some inexplicable reason I looked toward the ceiling.  To my horror, a heavily used maxi pad was hanging by the tiniest bit of adhesive on to the ceiling.   If that tiny bit of adhesive had let go before I made a swift exit, I would have had a very nasty mess splattered all over my verdant, thick, big 80’s spiral permed hair.

big hair

Yes, I had hair like this at one time- long, long ago, back when the air was dirty, sex was clean, and Steve Perry was oh-so-hot in Spandex. Spiral perms (i.e. the infamous Uni-Perms) not only fried your hair, they sucked the color out of it too.  Needless to say it would have been rather nasty to clean a bloody mess out of a massive hair nest like that.

Skoal was bad enough.  At least the girl who saw fit to spit Skoal in my hair ended up getting pinned down and having her head shaved.  I did have a few good friends in high school who really enjoyed the fact that I had cigarettes- and a car.


The Big 80’s.  Steve Perry was probably the best thing about that entire decade.

Add One to the List of Things I Thought I’d Never Do


This is not my belly button area.

There are a few things that I thought I would never do in this life.  Some of them I’m pretty confident will never come to pass, such as climbing Mt. Everest or running a marathon, but I never thought I would (considering the dim view I take on tacky ones) get a tattoo.

I’m the first one to mock bad tats, and I’ll never forget the reason why my grandfather wore long-sleeved Oxford shirts with the button sleeves buttoned at the wrists every day of his life until he was dying in the nursing home.  Grandpa had some horrifically badly done tats on his forearms dating back to when he served in the Navy in 1943.  They did not improve with age.

I generally have a loathing for the “tramp stamp” or any other tats on a woman in places that are way too close to her naughty bits.  The idea of having an artist drawing on my cleavage, butt crack or any other area normally covered by clothing in polite company is a rather unsavory one.  I don’t want to subject anyone to that visual.

tattoos-star warsbad-tramp-stamp

Not my back or my “tramp stamp” area!  Especially not Jabba the Hut, considering that from reliable reports he bears more than a passing resemblance to my ex.

Even so, I have toyed on and off with the idea of a tasteful tat of a black cat on a non-naughty bit part of my anatomy for a long time. Weirdly enough, Steve-o was sort of behind me actually doing it rather than just continually mulling it over.

Steve-o is deathly afraid of needles, so much so, that last year when he had to have a routine blood draw I told him to grab my hand and look the other way.  I thought he was going to rip my hand off and jump up through the ceiling.  So when he said he was going to get a couple of tats, I said, yeah, right.  I didn’t think he had the balls, and I reminded him, in spite of his swagger, of his very unmanly drama with the phlebotomist in the ER, and that only involved one needle stick.

I told him that I’d go with him, and if he went through with it I’d get one too.  Part of me figured he would wuss out, but if he did it, then I was obligated.  The nice part about doing this with Steve-o, is that as in everything he had done his research and found a facility with stellar reviews, autoclave sterilization and talented artists.  He is so paranoid about needles and the prospect of blood-borne pathogens that he’s going to choose someplace that’s scrupulously clean.

Either way, no real big deal.  I am not freaked out by needles.  My pain threshold is much higher than it probably should be, so either way, I was cool with it, and I’d been toying around with the black cat idea anyway.

When I saw the designs he came up with I almost had to laugh, but hey, he’s over 21.  At least no cartoon characters were lampooned in the making of his tats.

The one he had put on his shoulder is in German and roughly translated means: We Must Live Until We Die.


The other one is way too close to naughty bits to show the actual picture of the tat, but let’s just say it’s an instructional diagram:

shift pattern

The motorhead crowd would know this (above) is the shift pattern for 4-speed manual Volkswagens, i.e. like his rail buggy.  In Toyotas and other civilized vehicles, (below) reverse is directly below 5th, but VW to this day still insists on that funky dog-leg reverse pattern.  It screws me up every time I drive one if I don’t consciously think about it, since I am used to driving the Toyota every day.

5speed Toyota

This one makes more sense to me.

The other bet Steve-o and I had was which one of us would be discovered first.  Since his are on his shoulder and in the nether region covered by boxers, and mine is on my calf, the Warden (Steve-o calls my Mom the Warden, which in some ways is sort of apropos) will probably notice mine first, being that it’s the season for wearing capris.  So I’m thinking the next time I go up there either I wear a skirt or long pants if I want to avoid the drama.  Unless of course, she already knows.  Mom will of course have a major tizzy fit when (or if) she finds out, because she thinks any tattoo is automatically tacky.  She may be right, but I’m 44 years old, and if I feel like getting a black cat inked on my calf I’m going to.  You only live once.   It’s not as if it’s on my face or hands or naughty bits.


For what it’s worth, I think it’s cool, and right now I’m the only one I really care about impressing.

I’ve heard people say getting a tat is insanely painful.  It probably depends on where you get it and who you are, but at the very worst- for me anyway- it only felt like a minor sunburn.  The more that I thought about black cats in art, the Chat Noir illustrations by Théophile Steinlen stood out in my mind as being the coolest black cat icons I could find, though I did take liberty with the hot pink eyes.


I do draw the line on a great number of things as far as tats go- where they can be, what they can depict and so forth to be considered tasteful.  Names are out of the question, as I remember all too well my best friend in high school having her boyfriend’s name- RAY- tattooed across her back.  When she and RAY predictably broke up, she was stuck with his name in three inch tall letters across her back.  I got smacked when I suggested she put BESTOS underneath RAY and get a job advertising brake pads.  There are just some things that aren’t meant to be illustrated on the human body, like this:

tattoo lenin head

Don’t be a Lenin-head!

You’re Up Next, After the Dead Dude: a Medical History Out of Monty Python


In the course of my life I have sort of drawn the short straw as far as physical robustness goes.  I’ve had bronchitis and pneumonia so many times I’ve lost count.  I’ve had sinus infections from hell- even after sinus surgery.  I got rheumatic fever from an untreated case of strep throat when I was ten years old which has led to countless joint sprains and strains.  Any time an orthopedist looks at any x-ray of mine, they anticipate the repeat business.  They see dollar signs and drool.   I’ve had ongoing female issues ever since the illustrious birth of the POMC – severe pelvic pain and other unmentionable nasties- that culminated in a hysterectomy almost four years ago (which hindsight being 20/20 I wish had been done right along with the Childbirth From Hell and saved me the years of hassle.)

To add to the fun, I’m also diabetic.  Yay.


One of the several surgeries I’ve had was memorable for the humor involved.  About 13 years ago I had a funky, mole-like growth on the side of my head about the size of a dime.  I really didn’t care about it much because my hair covered it up nicely, but I made the mistake of mentioning it at a Dr.’s appointment when he asked me if I had any funky skin issues.

Of course, that meant a trip to a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon, because said funky growth was right on top of an important facial nerve.  If it caused a problem (i.e. if it was melanoma or some other horrible cancer thing like that) or even if it was removed incorrectly, I’d end up drooling out the side of my mouth, and my speech would be incoherent.  Forever.  Oh, what fun to be a drooling imbecile, should this guy cut through the wrong thing- but should it be melanoma- well, let’s take the risk and get rid of that.


The good news is that the plastic surgeon was comfortable doing this surgery with a local anesthetic (oh, dammit, Lidocaine burns…) so they set me up at one of those outpatient surgical centers where people go to have stuff done that would have been done in the primary care Dr.’s office back in the day, but that they’re too afraid of lawsuits to do in the office now.

I got to the center about 15 minutes early.  I was supposed to have this done at 7:30 AM, be done before 9, and back to work in the afternoon.

One really sucky thing about even an outpatient, local-anesthetic surgery is they won’t let you eat a damned thing for hours and hours ahead of time, because they’re afraid you’ll ralph on them.  By 1:30 (PM)  I was getting pretty pissy from not eating, and highly annoyed from enduring the barrage of torrid daytime TV garbage cranked up in the surgical waiting room.  I had already finished both my word-find and my crossword books, and was actually thinking about reading the three year old copies of such lovely periodicals as Urology Digest, Hemorrhoid Monthly and Sports Illustrated.  I was so perturbed that I almost didn’t notice all the activity going in and out of one of the operating rooms.


There is boredom, and there is waiting room boredom.  It’s excruciating.

Apparently the guy who was on my surgeon’s schedule ahead of me dropped dead on the operating table while having some sort of minor surgery, like an ingrown toenail removal or something.  Only he took his time dropping dead, because they had the freaking trauma team running in and out of there for about three hours.

At 2PM the surgeon finally comes out to get me, and frankly, I’m somewhat rattled by that time.  I hadn’t eaten all day (or the night before) and I was not in a very nice mood.  He asks me if I want to go ahead and get it done. I told him hell yes, because I had only taken one day off work, and knowing the ass-clown paper pushers at that hospital I’d be 90 years old before they would see fit to schedule me in again.



So I get wheeled in and the surgeon starts in with the Lidocaine- with what I thought was a bit of unnecessary roughness, but I figured I better not comment because I know what happened to the last guy.  As my head is burning from all the Lidocaine shots, he comments,

“Just don’t die on me like the last guy.  It sort of makes me look bad when my patients drop dead.”


Five minutes later the funky growth was on its way to pathology, and I had about 8 stitches in the side of my head.   In spite of his roughness with injecting all that Lidocaine, the actual repair was done very neatly, and I’m happy to report he left me vocally articulate and drool-free.

Thankfully whatever the funky growth was, it never came back, and it wasn’t melanoma or anything else that would have killed me. It probably could have stayed there forever and not been any kind of big deal- but- Murphy’s Law being what it is, if I’d left it there it would have turned into something nasty.

bring out your dead

What scares me is that the way that the healthcare industry is going (and especially with the government gravy train and the abominable, evil Obama being involved in it) is that people like me with chronic conditions are going to be hurried along to die.  Part of me sort of goes along with that- and there is a time when medical intervention is pretty much pointless, but part of me wonders why it’s so hard to get just basic, necessary care.  Every time you go to a doctor they want to send you for this or that test or this or that specialist or this or that study, when they know that a.) nothing you have can really be cured, just managed somewhat, and b.) you don’t need to see 14 different specialists for every stupid basic problem that a primary care Dr. should be able to (and allowed to) treat.  The entire medical industry is geared toward how much money they can shovel in.  The doctors are more afraid of lawsuits than anything, and they can’t really afford to care much about actually getting people better.  They care more about not getting sued, and I can’t blame them.

How about tort reform?  Get rid of the bullshit lawsuits, and let doctors do what they’ve been trained to do.  Unfortunately that would make too much sense and save too much money, so nobody’s going to do anything to derail the gravy train.

If I could I’d go to the dogs’ vet.  She went to school longer and has a lot more actual sense than a lot of medical doctors, and she charges a whole hell of a lot less.

A Requiem for Common Sense (Part 2)

happy honda

Ah, the paradox.

This car I spotted in the Target parking lot cracked me up.  The likelihood of this decrepit old Accord attaining highway speeds is actually fairly good if it’s getting a reasonable amount of regular maintenance.  I just hope the timing belt’s been replaced some time in the past ten years, otherwise the unfortunate owner of this rather obsolete piece of automotive technology will get a thorough schooling on the definition of interference engine. Usually when the belt breaks, it occurs at highway speeds, out of the blue, in the middle of nowhere.  The non-motorhead translation is, that if that timing belt breaks on an interference engine, your engine is toast.  Instantly and irrevocably, as in bent valves, or even valves through the pistons.  The repair cost (i.e. engine replacement…) is usually more than the value of the car.

interference engine damage

This is one reason why I chose a vehicle with an engine that features a timing chain, but in their defense, the old Accords- properly maintained- are often 300,000 mile or more cars.  Toyota still uses belts on some models, but most of their engines are clearance engines, (if the belt breaks there’s enough clearance that the valves don’t hit the pistons) so the worst that happens to you is that the car immediately stops running. You’ll have to have the car towed and replace the belt, which will cost more than if you had replaced it before it broke, because the tech will have to line up the cam and crank before installing the belt.

Ok, enough motorhead jargon.  Automotive is almost worse than the medical profession as far as specialized language.  It’s sad,but every time I see one of those old Hondas I remember the people who didn’t pay attention to replacing that belt from time to time.   Just like every time I see an old Camry I think about (well, a number of things) but primarily about a certain primadouche technician who couldn’t stand the sight of blood and guts.  I couldn’t help it that mice liked to make nests in the blower fans.


This morning I was rather disappointed when I went to go to the Y and the pool was closed due to thunderstorms.  I know they have rules regarding closing the pool (even though it’s an indoor pool) during thunderstorms and for a little while afterwards, which may be based on dubious science, but it still sort of sucked.  I didn’t waste workout time though.  I got on the one of the elliptical machines and still got in my 40 minutes of exercise.  I do have to wonder, though, if lightning could strike the pool, isn’t there’s an equal chance that lightning could strike the workout room where the ellipticals and other machines are?  As long as the building meets modern electrical codes, which it should since it was built in 2005, you’re safer in the pool than you would be in the showers, in the locker room,- or dashing out to your car in the parking lot.  Hell, I’d probably been safer in the pool than on the elliptical machine, but either way the odds of getting struck by lightning while working out indoors are probably about as good as me winning the lottery or suddenly being 6′ and 120#.  Ain’t-a-gonna-happen.

However, sometimes rules are made either without considering the science that nullifies the need for them, or old rules hang about that were made using outdated standards.  Whether a rule is logical or not isn’t my judgment call.  When I was in high school the whole concept of having to abide by illogical and archaic rules drove me bat shit, and still does to a certain degree today, but doesn’t change the fact that I still have to abide by them.


Last night when Jerry and I were out at Little Sicily’s- a tiny but fantastic pizza joint on the far east side of Columbus- there were a group of geezers sitting across from us.  I like old people.  Their perspective is closer to mine than people my own age or younger seem to have.

So as I was eavesdropping on their conversation, one of the ladies mentioned that life has gotten way too complicated today.  In a lot of ways yes, and even in some ways for the better, but I understood her frustration at how unsafe the world has gotten.  It seems that the powers that be try to take all the danger out of things we consider fun- it’s a major ordeal to get a kid in and out of a car seat for instance, and anyone who would have worn a bike helmet back in the 70s would have been assumed to be someone who had a weak skull or prior brain damage.  But in spite of adding more precautions and layers of safety, the world gets more and more dangerous- or at least that’s what we hear about.


A good example is what people do with their kids.  Back in the day no one had a problem with letting the kids roam the neighborhood, because everyone knew everyone else, and any adult could correct a child and bring that malfeasant offspring to its parents’ attention.  It was a double shame to be caught in misadventure by someone other than one’s parent, because not only would the first adult likely tan your hide, so would Dad, for committing two offenses- the original offense, and the added offense of misbehavior within public scrutiny.


This was Dad’s definition of the “Board of Education.”

Today I would be positively mortified of correcting another’s spawn, even though the little barbarians may richly deserve it, for fear of being sued.  Parents are afraid of correcting their own children for fear either of the child him or herself reporting them for child abuse (another reason to keep your kids out of public school- as the kids are drilled from day one to report, report, report) or because some well-meaning but thick-headed bystander will mistake well-deserved discipline for a “beating” and call Children’s Services on them.


Personally I think that it’s abuse to keep a child locked up inside, to let them become obese, and to fail to discipline them when they deserve it.  The wussification and the overprotection of children is partially in response to the horrible headlines we see where children actually are abused, but most of it stems from a parental desire to “make things better for my kid.”  This desire to “make things better for my kid”- combined with the abysmal performance of most public schools- has resulted in an entire generation of overindulged, undereducated, young adults who expect everything to be handed to them and for their actions to lack consequences.

Inevitable Entropy: i.e. The Shithouse Rats Have Assumed Control


Anywhere but here!

I’m not the sort of person who tries to shove my faith down people’s throats, at least not in an overt manner.  My faith does inform my worldview, and it does influence what kind of an example I strive to be, (remembering that some of us are examples of what NOT to do) but I’m not going to be the one handing out Chick Tracts or scaring the holy bejezus out of people with threats of damnation and hellfire.  I believe there’s a real hell, but I can’t keep anyone out of it who really wants to go.  I can’t bring anyone to heaven either.  Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  If you want to inquire about heaven, then Jesus is the one you want to get to know, not a crusty old purveyor of automotive parts.

Anyway, I’ve made an observation that is not surprising.  I’ve known for years that the gene pool could use some more chlorine, but I think that the shithouse rat crazies have assumed control.  Mind you, I am no paragon of mental health, but today’s headlines (even as much as I try to avoid mainstream news) are positively insane.

chris christie

Chris Christie had LapBand.  Is this a surprise?

In my world “news” should be unusual or enlightening information.  I’m glad that Governor Christie could afford to have LapBand, despite the fact I’m one of the poor suckers who has to decide which scripts I can afford when.  I am sort of reminded of the morbidly obese who ride around in the WalMart motorized scooters.  If they would get off their rumps and walk through WalMart, perhaps the scooter would not be necessary.  If not for the expensive (and calorie laden, no doubt) diet, perhaps he would not have needed the expensive surgery.   But I will be merciful, because I know poor metabolism is a bitch.

As far as being one challenged by weight management, I will say one thing about the correlation between being poor and fat (as opposed to being rich and fat.)  When you can’t afford healthy food, you will buy what will fill your belly, even if it is discount mac-n-cheese, or all kinds of corn-laden, sugar-filled, salty snacky food.  Fresh produce (especially in places like Ohio) is of poor quality and exorbitant high price in winter.  Granted, if you are observant you can get frozen fruits and vegetables- which are almost as good health-wise as fresh, at a reasonable price without preservatives, salt or grease, but you have to look.

This isn’t news.  If he loses weight and gets buff, and stays away from Obama, AKA: Beezelbub, that would be news.  Maybe.  I lost a lot of respect for Governor Christie when he sucked up to Obama after the hurricane.  One does not kiss up to evil just because it is expedient, but hell, if I could afford a medical procedure (if if existed) that would make me 6′ tall and 120# I’d be the first one to break out the MasterCard.

kim and kanye

 Kim and Kanye– How Dare She Wear My Curtains!

I understand that most conceptions are accidental.  The illustrious Steve-o wasn’t planned, and neither was his daughter.  However, I think she could have done a better job at picking a baby daddy as well as picking a dress that doesn’t make her look like someone wrapped the Titanic in my dining room curtains.  Then again, should the DNA verify the unfortunate child’s paternity, Kim will never have to eat cheap boxed mac-n-cheese or have Cream-of Wheat for every meal the first week of the month ever again, as if she ever did anyway.

Missing Women Found

Now You Can Leave Cleveland!

I would be bat shit crazy too if I had to spend ten years locked away in Cleveland.  Ten minutes in Cleveland is too much for me.  Just think: one of these women’s captors was a school bus driver for the Cleveland public schools.  Think of all the little girls who rode on his bus.  Creepy.  Granted, Cleveland is the hotbed of far-left nut jobs (think New York, west annex) in Ohio, but I have to wonder how nobody noticed three women (and the six-year old girl) hidden in a house for ten years.   In all seriousness, I really feel for these poor women, especially the little girl, who probably has never seen the light of day.

The shrinks are going to be plenty busy with these people, which is really sad.


This guy hasn’t been impeached and removed yet.

The devolution of humanity is on the the fast track and is incrementally gaining speed.

Today is a New Day, the Hardest Things to Do, and More Victorian Post Mortems


As much as I dreaded what I had to do last night, I have an odd sense of peace about it.  Sheena’s not suffering anymore.  Even until the end she was herself- conscious, aware, but trapped in a body that couldn’t work right anymore.  She lost the use of her back legs Wednesday afternoon.  All we could do for her until the vet could come last night was to try to keep her clean and offer her water as she wanted it (she was not interested in food.)

I know all too well the scientific/medical reasons for Sheena’s rapid decline.  She’d had mammary growths removed twice.  The first time I didn’t send out for pathology, (there is only one veterinary pathology lab in Ohio, at Ohio State, and  it’s expensive and time consuming to get results) but the second time I did, and the lab said those were benign, but then the growths came back with a vengeance.  More than likely- at least the third go-round, anyway- it was mammary cancer, which can be virulent and spreads quickly in dogs.  By the time I had noticed the mammary growths again (round 3) there were growths in her “armpits” or more accurately, under her forelegs, (lymph nodes abide there in dogs, just as they do in humans) and I decided that I would not subject her to more surgery.  If anyone can gain anything from this experience it is that spaying dogs early can help prevent mammary cancer.  Sheena had several litters of pups before we found her.  We had her spayed, but spaying a 5 year old who’s had several litters doesn’t prevent cancer as effectively as spaying before the first heat.

Sheena didn’t have a good luck of the draw. She was deaf.  She was without a doubt inbred.  She had severe HD to the point of pretty much not having hip sockets at all.  Her teeth were a disaster from the cage biting.  Her physical coordination was worse than mine.  By all accounts, Sheena was “defective merchandise.”  But she was my dog, and she had a heart of gold.  Part of me wanted to end her suffering, but another part of me finds it hard to let her go.

Clara and Lilo know where she’s buried.  The two of them (they are both older than Sheena was) are still in good health, for which I am thankful.  Clara and Lilo have always been close, but as soon as they figured out Sheena was dying they have been almost joined at the hip.  Lilo has been carrying Sheena’s favorite toys around, and Clara has been rolling in the places that still must smell like her.   Dogs grieve, too.


Today is a new day, but saying goodbye to a friend is always one of the hardest things to do.  It’s got to be the hardest thing about life with dogs and cats.  They just don’t live that long.  For me, while it’s painful to say goodbye, it’s even more painful and empty to choose not to share life with dogs and cats.  No, I am not looking for another #3- I think I’ll let Clara and Lilo enjoy things with just two dogs.  I have four cats, after all.

The problem is, I know those are the famous last words.  If I know Jerry, we will be back to three dogs within the month.

While I’m in the realm of the macabre, and still feeling a bit melancholy, I’ve found a few more of everyone’s favorites: Victorian-era post mortem pics.  Yeah, I know it’s creepy, but as popular as these things are I can’t be the only one who finds them grotesquely fascinating.


I think this one was a mob hit- got the entire family, which was sort of sick.

baby two-heads

This one is more tragic than anything.  It’s bad enough these twins were likely stillborn, but for someone to want $756 for the original print?

baby stoned

This one sort of leads me to wonder if this child was OD’d on one of the many patent medicines of the day- that contained opium and alcohol?

I bet it happened a lot more than was ever found out.

baby cradle

From the unnatural position of the legs and arms, I almost thought this was a kid’s doll,

but then in Victorian times nobody would have wasted an expensive photograph on a doll.

Belling the Cat, Parents and Children, and the Virtual Graveyard

bell the cat

Jezebel is not happy with me this morning.  Not at all.  But I did level the playing field between her and Fanny.

Cats generally despise collars, and it takes awhile for them to get used to them.  Isabel never would wear a collar.  She was too good at removing them, and at some point several years ago I gave up.  Isabel’s almost 15 years old.  She has no interest in actually going outside anyway, so collaring and belling her is sort of pointless.  Miz Izz is quite content to lounge in the window sill, enjoying the climate control as she watches the birds and other little critters of nature.  She didn’t get to be an old fossil by being stupid.  F.B. is the same way- I’ve never tried collaring F.B., and it probably wouldn’t make much sense because she is even less interested in the great outdoors than Miz Izz.  F.B. has got to be the most sanguine cat on earth.

I put a collar, tag and bell on Fanny after her brief, unauthorized forays out in the great wide open.  Both times I found her large, frightened carcass under the dump truck on the body shop lot.  At least with the bell on, I have a chance of hearing Fanny if she tries to sneak out the door.


Jezebel spent a good portion of the evening trying to run away from the bell.  Hopefully by tonight she will realize the bell’s attached, and hopefully she will begin to understand the more you move the more noise it makes.   I’m hoping she will chill some, and at least partially forgive me.  I’d put a collar on her much earlier to get her used to wearing one, but she is so tiny that I have the collar adjusted almost as small as it will go as it is.   I thought about those teeny collars for ferrets or the collars for ankle biter dogs, but cat collars are specifically made so if a cat gets tangled and is dangling from something the collar will release before the cat is asphyxiated.

bad kitty

Jezebel doesn’t really try to get outside, but she does torment Fanny every chance she gets.  Fanny- all 17# of her- is a wide target.  Fanny’s not only slow, she has a bell on to boot.  So Jezebel, being young, lithe, fast and silent, can stalk and ambush poor fat Fanny with impunity.  Even though Fanny is about 3-4 times as large as Jezebel, Fanny is a poor fighter and has a hard time defending herself, especially when Jezebel wraps herself around Fanny’s neck and starts in with the rabbit kicks.

So I have to try to make it fair.  Even though I know, life is not fair, and some things really suck no matter what you do.

Sheena is not much longer for this world, and in some ways it breaks my heart.  I scheduled the mobile vet to come to our house tomorrow (if she’s still with us then) to put her down.  I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, but she’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t want to eat, and isn’t enjoying being a dog anymore.  She’s actively dying at this point, and it’s not right to let her suffer.

In some ways I wish we could have done more for her, but she was so ill-treated and in such poor health when we found her, that there’s only so much you can do.   She has had numerous issues with mobility from the beginning with the severe HD, but now the mammary growths have come back with a vengeance, and they are everywhere.  She is barely able to stand and walk and it’s getting hard for her to breathe.   I’m glad I got through to the mobile vet.  I wish he could have made it out today but tomorrow’s the soonest I could get.  Although Sheena has never had problems with going the vet, let’s face it, she’s not going to have an easy time getting in the car to begin with, and even worse, it’s not easy to load 75# of dead dog back in the car.  I took Heidi to our regular vet when we had to let her go, which I preferred in a way, because we love our vet, but it’s not a pleasant 40 mile road trip back home knowing you have a dead dog in the trunk that you’re going to have to both unload and help bury.  It was awful enough with Heidi, and she only weighed about 60#.

goodfellas trunk scene

I can’t help it, and I know it’s macabre, but there’s something about transporting a dead body (even a dog’s) in the trunk that reminds me of the movie Goodfellas.

I really don’t want to do that again.

We had a mobile vet come out when Kayla was dying.  I think it’s the same guy who came out with Kayla.  I hope so, because he was very understanding.  Kayla was a good 90# when she died.  I could not lift her by myself.  It might sound cruel, but we laid her out on a large blanket before the vet started in with the chemicals, so we could sort of roll her up as if she were in a hammock- so we could carry her outside and lower her into her grave.  I know it sucks, but even in the mechanics of death, someone still has to think about the logistics.  We will have to do the same thing with Sheena.  I can go on and on about how it sucks that we outlive dogs (and Sheena’s probably only about 7 or 8, which really sucks) but you can’t change reality.


I think most people have a sort of love/hate relationship with their parents to some degree, but the older I get the more I appreciate my parents and their work ethic and old-school values.  They did the best they could, especially considering Mom is bi-polar, and no matter how much Dad worked, it never seemed like there was enough money to get by.    I could barely afford one child, let alone three, and Steve-o (thank God) had very few illnesses or medical issues.  I do think it a bit creepy last Sunday, out of the clear blue sky, Mom starts apologizing to me for my trainwreck of a childhood.


What Mom doesn’t get, is that even had I been born into a family with every possible material advantage, it wouldn’t have changed my overall reality much.   I might not have been cursed with an uncontrolled, sadistic older sibling.  I might have worn better clothes, and might have had new glasses when I needed them.   Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten rheumatic fever, or maybe I would have gotten a more extensive formal education, but the fact is that in the 1970s, nobody knew how to deal with people who are wired like me.  Hyperlexia only occurs in about 1 in 50,000 children, and 75% of those are male.   Nobody knew what to do with my precocious reading, and nobody knew that it went along with constant anxiety, poor motor skills, abysmal social aptitude, and weak health.


High fashion, no.  High IQ, well, intellect does have its advantages.

Mom did the best she could with what she was given, and no apology was ever necessary.  After all, I’m not a correctional institute inmate, I’ve managed to be gainfully employed, and I’m not a serial killer.  I went to school with people who fared much worse in the long run than I did, and they were given many advantages I could only have dreamed of.

Perhaps had I been given every “advantage” I might not have had the fortitude to work for anything or appreciate anything.  Perhaps scarcity and adversity are good for the soul, even though neither of these are fun to endure.


The older I get, the more I believe the great theologian/philosopher Mick Jagger has it right:

“You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can try sometimes, you just might find

You get what you need-“