I Don’t Seek Approval, Party Like It’s 1899, and Things that Don’t Suck

2013I usually don’t succumb to the lure of corny party kitsch, but the light up necklace was cute.

I’ve said before I don’t deal much in the currency of optimism, so I don’t see this year being much of an improvement over last.  In fact, I started today out rather depressed.  Today’s been one of those days where I’m actually trolling for things to cheer me up a bit.  I’m actively fighting against the urge to just concede to the Dark Funk and give up.  I guess the fact that I’m fighting the temptation to just give into hopelessness is either a good sign, or it’s just an unwillingness to face the reality that my life is pretty much hopeless.

The best way to give myself a reality check, I’ve discovered is to make three lists- Things that Suck that I Can’t Change, Things that Suck that I Can Change, and Things that Don’t Suck.

Things that Suck that I Can’t Change:

Obama.  ‘Nuff said.

Personal poverty/ not being financially independent

Being stuck in Ohio, especially in the winter

Health issues* (can mitigate but not eliminate- bad heredity and effects from past diseases/injuries suck)

Jerry – especially when he gets into his “bitch about everything and blame everything on me” mode

Things that Suck that I Can (*theoretically anyway) Change

My own reaction to things that suck

My neglect of friends that I should make an effort to see and communicate with more often

I already turn off the “mainstream” TV news (can’t handle the constant Obama worship) and I already avoid following garbage on TV such as anything Honey Boo Boo or the Kardashians are doing.  Admittedly I probably get into true crime shows (TruTV, Discovery ID, etc.) and the Military Channel way too much.  I should probably cut down on “World’s Dumbest” and “1000 Ways to Die” and get back into reading a lot more than I do now (although I read a lot by any standard) and maybe get into something a bit more uplifting than unsolved murders, people earning their Darwin Awards, and 20th century history.  I mean, how much is left unturned regarding WWII and Adolf Hitler?

Things that Don’t Suck

God

The dogs and cats

The vacuum cleaner when it gets clogged up with Tipsy McNumbNuts’ cigarette pack cellophanes (the irony of which is that it sucks when the vacuum cleaner doesn’t…)

vacuumThere is no vacuum cleaner made that I don’t have to unclog, tear apart and otherwise rework every time I use the damned thing.

2013 pic

Somehow the deer in the headlights look is a little too typical for me.

Now that I’ve determined that God and the dogs and cats don’t suck, then it should probably follow that I should spend my time in the company of Entities that Don’t Suck as much as I can.

not dead yetSince for now I do appear to be vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen, let’s be creative and try to enjoy it!

I rather enjoy Victorian ephemera- especially patent medicines and other creepy stuff from that era.  I’m surprised anyone survived being treated with the stuff they used as medicine back then, since most of it included either alcohol or opium or various poisons like arsenic, but even today there’s some pretty questionable stuff being used as medicine.

pain killer axe woundImagine the same scenario today, only the rednecks have chainsaws, and the little girl has a bottle of moonshine.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

That’s actually one of the few French phrases I remember from high school French class (Why in the hell did I take French?  Did I think I was going to be deported to Quebec?) and it means, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Yes, they do, and not always in a good way.

Mugwump VDI didn’t think Harry Potter had to worry about VD.  Or was that “mugworts?” That sounds like VD anyway.  Something like that.

I’m thinking “Bad Hump” would be a better name for a VD cure-all.  “Take this stuff for last week’s bad hump.”  Or you could just leave it to Dr. Butts:

butts_dispensaryI want to be cured via the US Postal Service.   By Dr. Butts. Yeah.

It’s really kind of scary considering that there really were no cures for VD in Victorian times, and if you got the syph or the clap it could kill you.   Sort of like AIDS today, and heaven only knows whatever other deadly STDs are lurking out there that nobody knows about yet.  Forced chastity might bite in a lot of ways, but I’m old enough to know that 1.) no man is worth a deadly disease, and 2.) there are such things as “meat substitutes” if you get my drift.  The advantage of the “meat substitute” is you don’t have to fix it dinner or unclog its cigarette pack cellophanes from the vacuum cleaner.   I only wish I’d figured that out 20 years ago. Just don’t run out of batteries.

piles-cure01va

Piles: Old time word for “hemorrhoid” – just an FYI

Why is it that back in the day being German cast some sort of legitimacy upon medical quackery?  And I find it hard to believe that a medical doctor would spend most of his life on a hemorrhoid cure, but then everyone needs a purpose.  I’ve still not figured out exactly why I’m still sucking up valuable oxygen, so I’m the last one to talk.

valium_bigThe 20th century wasn’t much better, but at least you could get a good night’s rest, forget about your hemorrhoids AND forget about your pathetic lack of self-esteem!

Snot, Snot, Everywhere, Interesting to Visit, and Sadness vs. Euphoria

Interesting to visit, but I don’t want to stay.

The Haunted Prison experience was awesome.  I’ve been to some really good haunted houses, haunted hayrides, etc. but this one takes the prize.  The bad thing is that you can’t take pics inside the prison- I took this one from the road outside, but we had to leave the cameras and the cell phones in the car.  I will say that I was a bit taken aback when I noticed the tickets include a warning that the management is not responsible for anyone losing control of his/her bladder and/or bowels.  I remained continent, which is saying a lot probably considering that I was one of the oldest people there, but I am really glad I used the ladies’ before I got in line.

The fact that the Mansfield Reformatory was a working prison for about 100 years adds to the creep factor quite a bit.  It’s a huge facility, but only a very small portion of it is used for the haunted prison excursion, and most of those areas are in the oldest parts of the prison. Some of the cell blocks are five stories high.  As the building aged, certain parts of it were left to decay while newer additions were built on.  I don’t see how it would have been feasible to heat the cell blocks with the five story high ceilings- let alone to work out some sort of plumbing arrangement.  Ohio winters can be deathly cold- and summers can be deadly hot as well.   Suffice to say without decent HVAC provisions this part of the world is unlivable even if you’re in prison. Some of the cells we saw had toilets while others didn’t, but then it was hard to tell which parts of the prison were shut down when.  The whole place was decommissioned in 1981, so all of it’s been sitting around rotting for over 30 years anyway.

As one who is cursed with the respiratory funk anyway, a bloody head cold really sucks.

I hate snot.  I hate drowning in it.  I hate hawking it up all over the place.  Green snot, brown snot, yellow snot, clear snot, I would love to go for a day without choking on it.  Even when I’m not suffering from any acute contagion of the respiratory system, the snot drainage down the back of my throat is constant, and I choke on it unless I sleep with my head elevated at a 45° angle.  When I am suffering from an acute contagion of the respiratory system, I am a veritable snot Niagara Falls. Elevation does not help, unless I am sitting straight up.  Vast quantities of anti-snot medications are required to keep me breathing at all- in between hacking up huge snot balls.  Think the Ghostbusters movies and you have it.

 No, I am not exaggerating.  I wish I were.

Of course I take three days off trying to escape the rat race and all that mess, only to spend those three days (and the weekend too) swilling Nyquil and spewing forth gallons of disgusting, slimy multicolored snot.  Today’s a lot better than the past few days, although I’ve got the Dayquil and the anti-snot pills handy should I need them.  The snots did have one good side effect though.  Jerry pretty much kept his distance and his whining was at a minimum.  As I get better that will probably change.  I did get some quiet time in between being heavily medicated and hawking up infinitely foul goo to watch some of my favorite movies and chill out with the dogs, so it wasn’t a total loss.  I do remember- as if I needed a reminder- why I am almost OCD about being around those with contagions though.  The bad part is that no matter how paranoid you are about hygiene and handwashing and all that noise, eventually you will get down and something will get to you.  Admittedly in the past few weeks I’ve been pretty stressed out and doing too much and getting run down so I think it was inevitable no matter how much Lysol I spray or zinc lozenges I take.  At least today I see marked improvement, which sort of figures, since I have a Dr.’s appointment Friday.  Either I will be completely cleared up or one step in the grave by then.   I never seem to be able to get in when I’m actually sick.  Go figure.  Personally as far as the various respiratory funks go, I think modern science hasn’t progressed much more than the patent medicine hawkers (man, I am using the word “hawk” a lot in this post) of the 19th century.  I’d probably done just as well and paid less for this:

Of course most patent medicines were either opium or alcohol or both.

Billy Joel wrote a song many years ago called “Summer at Highland Falls.”  I sort of wonder if Billy Joel might be bi-polar because the refrain of the song is, “it’s either sadness or euphoria.”  I can’t say I can ever remember being euphoric, but then I’m not bi-polar.  Living with a bi-polar person did give me future reference on how to deal with unpredictable coke head bosses I would encounter later in life.  Mom was never a coke head (thank God) but untreated bi-polar people and coke heads act remarkably similar.  I know the sadness end of the equation all too well, but most of the time my emotional state can be described as a quiet, bland sort of melancholy.  Unless of course I’m watching Beavis deep fry a dead rat as he’s toiling away at Burger World, or listening to Butthead point out every possible bit of double entendre he hears.  I don’t know why I find such puerile comedy so hilarious, but I do.  Euphoria, not so much, but I’ll take what amusement I can get.

The pisser is, as I found out right after having all four wisdom teeth chiselled out, I’m highly allergic to codeine, which is a natural opiate…no good drugs for me 😦

I did have a rather fortuitous encounter- actually two of them- as I was returning from the campground.  I was stopped in traffic coming back from Lancaster only to get a glimpse of the Romney tour bus. (I got a pic- though somewhat crappy since it was moving- that time.)  Then as I was coming home from Kroger’s later on Friday I’m stopped about a block from my house only to discover that Romney and his retinue are chowing at the City Barbeque next door.  That was rather cool.  I didn’t get pics that time but I did get to talk with one of the Franklin County Republicans who got to chow with Romney and company, so that was somewhat cool.  I hope that it’s a portent of things to come.  I’d been pissed if I’d had to wait in traffic for Obama and his minions, and even more pissed to think he was chowing next door to my house.  Both candidates have been spending a lot of time in Ohio.  My condolences- as I’m sure that they’re both used to much more exciting places- but maybe you’ll both see how us ‘po folk live and have a little empathy for us, eh?

Domestic Insanity and Drunk-n-Stupid Meet Passive-Aggressive Revenge

I know better.  I really do.

I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about taking Mom and Dad down to NC this Saturday.  I really doubt if Dad should be travelling this far this soon after open heart surgery, and I am freaky about taking him down in places where medical assistance is either not available or, if it is, it is, shall we say, primitive.  My sister lives in the middle of nowhere, and you have to drive through 12 hours of mostly nowhere to get there.  On the positive side Dad goes to his Dr. again tomorrow, and I will know for sure then if he will be OK to go, at least on a medical evaluation.

Another thing about this potential road trip that kind of freaks me is that I’m still having exactly the same issues I ended up in the ER for back in June.  Still have the heart palpitations and chest pain and all that mess, but according to the Dr.s I’ve seen including my family Dr., it’s nothing that’s going to kill me.  Yet.  I am still a wee bit apprehensive about driving continuously for 12 hours- Dad is allowed to drive, and probably will at least part of the way down, (Mom won’t be driving at all because she can’t drive manual shift,) but I’m coming back by myself since they’re staying all week. My sister or my nephew will be bringing them back.

I can’t die yet, because I don’t want to vote Democrat.  Ever.

Maybe I’m already on Obama’s death list and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe there’s a little note in my medical records that says, “let this one die, so we can have more money to buy more pecker pumps for geezers and pay for birth control for people who should be keeping their legs together to begin with.”  I don’t think having heart palpitations constantly and up to the point of barely being able to catch one’s breath is “normal.”  But what the hell do I know?

Or maybe not?  Who knows?

I do know that I don’t want to go back to the same hospital where they called me Mildred and asked about my (non-existent) diarrhea,  put me in the same room with a howler monkey, and then told me that the reason why I have heart palpitations is because I don’t get enough sleep.  Then I go for the sleep study, get told I have sleep apnea, but not to the point where I need to be on a machine…I’m frustrated on that point.  I still don’t sleep for shit, haven’t for years.  I have to sleep at about a 45° angle to keep from drowning on the snot that drains down the back of my throat.   I don’t think I’ve had a really good night’s sleep since before I was pregnant with Steve-o- and he’s 21.  It doesn’t help that I have Tipsy McNumbNuts, who smokes like a chimney, screams like a banchee after a 12 pack or so, and has a taste for bad country music in the middle of the night, conspiring against my nightly repose.

Drunks should come with warning labels.

Jerry was on a roll last night even for a Monday.  I hope the boys at the shop are enjoying Tuesday Hangover Jerry today, ’cause it’s going to be a good one.  I hope they’re at least as loud and obnoxious as he was last night.

His TV, cable box, DVD player and stereo have been carefully configured (by me, he can’t figure out electronic anything) to be very simple to operate.  There is one button on the remote that turns the TV and cable box on and off.  It’s very simple.  Push the power button, TV and cable box turn on simultaneously.  Push the power button again and the TV and cable box turn off.  It’s not rocket science.  It is, however awkward at best to plug all this stuff in so that it works correctly.  I know what plugs in where, but I’m not particularly fond of the gymnastic feats I have to attempt to get the right things plugged into the right places.

It’s too hard for some people.

For some reason only known to God and maybe another drunk, finding the power button on the remote was too difficult for Jerry last night.  He wanted the TV off. So he unplugged everything- even unscrewed the freaking coax off the back of the TV and unplugged the AV leads from the DVD player for some bizarre reason.  Hey, kids, alcohol kills brain cells, just so you know!

Then to make it all the more entertaining, after prattling on all night last night on various rants and assorted nonsense, he’s sitting in the bed whining this morning that “the TV won’t turn on.”  Well, no shit, Sherlock, you unplugged every single wire you could unplug from every single AV device you have…

“Well, I need to watch the news,” he pouts, (insert Eric Cartman voice here) “and if I can’t watch it in here I’ll just use your TV.”

Oh, no you won’t.

Suffice to say as Jerry is a smoker with essential tremor, the world is Jerry’s ashtray.  To top that off, not only do I not want my bed to be full of stale beer farts and cigarette ashes, he doesn’t know how to operate my TV either, and I don’t need that screwed up too.  If he wants his little hole to be a fetid filth den, fine by me, but I like clean, fresh-smelling, burn-hole free sheets and a TV that works.

So at 6:30 this morning I’m back in the filth hole smoking lounge that is his room, behind the dresser, untangling wiring, plugging everything back in and moving the various electronics back to their proper places.  20 minutes later he was watching the stinking news on his own TV.  I could have wrung his neck.  Maybe it wasn’t nice of me to keep on muttering “dumb ass,” but it’s not as if Jerry being a dumb ass is a secret or anything.

I call ’em as I see ’em.  Then again, I’m fully aware he was raised by wolves.

I know he’s pissed at me for volunteering to take Mom and Dad to NC this weekend instead of frying my patoot off at the campground (I like going down there, but not when it’s supposed to be 95° and hotter all weekend.)  He’s pissed because he will have to remain sober so he can go back home Saturday night to take care of the dogs.  So all week long it will be passive-aggressive revenge (and as much drunk-n-stupid hijinks as he can stand to perpetrate) just so I know how much he will be “suffering” in his weekend sobriety.

Squirrels in the Family Tree, the Cat Lady, and Everyone Has an Uncle Bob

Every family has its skeletons in the closet.  This is an encouragement to me, knowing I have ancestors who were crazier than I am.  Then again, heredity explains a lot.

Part of the fun in genealogy research is finding all the squirrels in the family tree, and I’m discovering I have more than my fair share in mine.  It’s been a bit of an adventure finding out which family members had issues with mental illness and to what degree.  Let’s see, for starters, Mom is bi-polar.  Her biological father was certifiably crazy- most likely he was bi-polar (with an emphasis on bizarre manic episodes) also as well as being an incorrigible alcoholic.  He died at age 53 of cirrhosis of the liver.  Thankfully Mom never had a taste for liquor.   Mom didn’t need alcohol to go off in a frenzy.  Her manic episodes were bad enough without it.

Mom and her biological father are not the only ones by a long shot though.  One of my great-uncles was institutionalized most of his adult life, after he had a severe head injury while working for the railroad. It was really quite tragic.  Oddly enough on his death certificate the cause of death was listed as pneumonia resulting from “Huntington’s Chorea,” or Huntington’s Disease, which is (99% of the time) a genetic disease.  In almost all instances, one of your parents has to have it in order for you to get it.  He was 46  when he died, but neither of his parents had it.  However, the tremors, violent outbursts and general insanity this poor guy suffered from was more than likely connected with brain damage.  I would be curious to find out, but I would guess that rather than Huntington’s Disease, he probably had damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. That wasn’t inherited- which is sort of a relief, but still sad.

Alcoholism is a big character flaw on both sides of my family.  My great-grandfather and another great uncle were notorious for boozing.  Being a drunk isn’t necessarily what I would call mental illness, but way too many drunks drink to drown their depression and despair.  I was enough of a binge drinker in my youth, but thank God the whole binge drinking thing lost its charm for me.  Dad for all practical purposes is a tee-totaler (he likes a very occasional beer) and Mom is a complete tee-totaler, so we never really had to deal with alcohol at home except when my oldest sister came home wasted from time to time in high school.   I was smart enough to crash where I partied when I got wasted.  She is still somewhat of a casual drinker but not a real boozehound.  Of course Mom thinks drinking a social beer now and then will turn you into a lush, but it really depends on the person.  If you’re drinking every night or downright getting stupid with the binge drinking then you need to evaluate your relationship with booze.  I don’t have much use for it other than a very occasional glass of wine.

Then there are the relatives you just don’t want to claim because their behavior makes you really wonder how much DNA you share with them.  I had some really interesting ones.  Aunt Frances, for instance, was a 400# cat lady with a deep disdain for all things foreign (especially my old Subaru,) a loathing of ear piercings and earrings (thankfully she never got to see Steve-0’s 7/8 gauged earrings, or the SS helmet for that matter) and a general distrust of females who insist upon wearing makeup.   I have nothing against cats- I have three of them- but having thirty five of them wandering in and out of your house, eating you out of house and home and breeding uncontrollably is not the proper way to keep cats.  Sending half of your Social Security checks to Jimmy Swaggart probably wasn’t the best decision either, but she just couldn’t resist the televangelists when they appealed for cash.

Uncle Jack was actually one of my great-uncles.  He was a tiny dude, about 5’5″ and slightly built.  He had a withered hand, a taste for whiskey and he chain smoked unfiltered Pall Malls.  Every time I saw him, he always seemed to be either getting ready to go to jail for something or had just got out of jail for something.  He had some really hideous tattoos,  and used language that would make a trucker blush.

I had twin great-aunts- Glenna and Gwendolyn.  I don’t know for sure if they were identical twins or not, but they had the identical horrible bleach-blonde hair do.  I remember when Great-Grandma died (their mother) they got in a fist fight over her stuff, none of it worth a whole lot.  Gwendolyn was married to Uncle Bob- the one with the nudie pics all over his garage- who gave my sister a Budweiser when she was six or seven, and who would look up girls’ dresses if he got the chance.  They had a miniature poodle named Jacques who liked to hump people’s legs and piss on everyone’s hub caps.  Jacques went to the groomer, had his nails painted blue, and always smelled like girly perfume.  Dad always wondered why anyone would prissify a male dog like that, but they were kind of strange.

Everyone has an Uncle Bob- the family pervert.  Thankfully I only got to experience Uncle Bob once a year or less (Dad didn’t want us kids to be around alcohol, especially after the Budweiser Incident) but that was enough.  Everyone wondered why I would not run up and give him a hug.  First of all I am not a hugger by nature.  I am very selective about who I want to hug even today.  As a child I tried to avoid physical contact as much as possible.  So be happy with a handshake- and I was that way with most people I encountered.  I’m not being rude, but I don’t want you looking up my dress or trying to slip me the tongue.  Something about the nudies on the garage walls creeped me out.

This is NOT the Subaru DL I had, but it is the same model.  This one is a 1978, mine was a ’79.  Mine was also red -or at least it was painted red at the factory, before it oxidized, rusted, and ended up covered in fiberglass body filler, primer, duct tape and bumper stickers.  Either not many of them were built, or they just couldn’t handle Rust Belt winters.  It took a lot of duct tape to hold those marker lights in the fenders.