Duct Tape, Bad Body Work and More Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Oh, how I love examples of creative body work.  It seems the Kroger parking lot has yet again yielded me rich comedic fodder.  I wonder if the duct tape is simply holding the front fascia on or if the unfortunate owner of this POS is asking duct tape to do more than it was ever intended to do.  I don’t think the celebrated silver strapping would be terribly effective as a weatherstrip, so whoever is sitting in the driver’s seat better be prepared for a wet butt on rainy days. 

I have driven things worse than this, but not by much, and that was a very long time ago.  When the air was dirty, sex was clean, and Steve Perry looked awesome in Spandex.

Last night I was treated to an impromptu road trip to Cincinnati to pick up Steve-o.  I was also reminded why I don’t buy used cars with the exception (and I wouldn’t do it now because leasing is not a good option for me any more) of my own lease returns.  He bought that tasty Audi he was eyeballing forever back in September, and it appeared to be well-maintained.  He did his research and inspections and for all intents and purposes it seemed to be a good solid ride.   For what mysterious reason I have absolutely no clue, he decided to have the ECM flashed to change the presets- the things that motorheads will do in the name of performance- only to have the clutch plate fall apart on it as they were pulling back into the shop.  It was an interesting failure- the pressure plate springs were bent, the disc itself was warped and missing pieces of lining, and the rear main seal was leaking to top it all off.  Then again anyone who replaces a clutch without doing a rear main and input shaft seal is a bloody fool.

Pity be on those technicians, as putting a clutch in an all wheel drive car (worse than a 4X4 truck by all accounts) with a longitudinal engine (longitudinal: the crankshaft runs from the front of the car to the back, rather than transverse which is side to side- most front wheel drive cars have transverse engines) is no easy task.  I really pity them if Steve-o doesn’t get his car back tomorrow after paying the extra freight to get his clutch goodies overnight. 

I figure after 20 years I might not get stuck being his deus ex machina every time he gets in a spot, but at least I’m not paying for this repair work. I got off easy just having to get him and Spencer and cart them back as far as Columbus.

As the return roadtrip progressed and I treated the boys to dinner at Taco Bell (I am still paying for that 5 layer beefy burrito, but where else can three people eat for $17?) the conversation somehow turned to creepy things. 

Dad and Spencer had the misfortune of meeting up with the male biological contributor of Steve-o’s DNA at a car show last summer.  He thinks Spencer is Steve-o.  That’s fine with me.  It’s also fine with me that I didn’t have to witness his transformation into Jabba the Hut.  Jerry has his faults, but he would never be mistaken for livestock or for a beached whale.  Apparently my illustrious ex has gotten a tad bit portly in the past 16 years.  However, the way Spencer described him, it sounds as if he’s munched and pieced and gorged himself into the “morbidly obese” category.  Sad thing, that, especially because I can remember a time when he was not only thin, but obsessed with remaining so.  I wonder what the hell happened – for a minute- but in the grand scheme of things, since I don’t have to pay for his chow, replace the furniture, smell him, or clean up after him, I could pretty much care less.

Any dude with a swinging johnson (one that works anyway… but I really don’t want to go into my musings on the sad and deprived world of ED) can be the male contributor of a child’s DNA.  That doesn’t take brains.  I am sure that if one were to investigate the number of convicted felons, chronic government moochers, correctional institute inmates, and so on that it could be proven that some of these low lifes have sired many offspring.  There are plenty of “baby daddies” out there who have done absolutely nothing to contribute to the physical, emotional or spiritual maintenance and growth of their offspring.  For these types of scrounge puppies I have nothing but contempt. 

Granted, it can also be said that it is in a woman’s best interest to scope out and screen any potential breeding partners so that only the gainfully employed and nominally vertical and breathing get through, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  Sometimes decent women for whatever reason end up procreating with the scum of the earth.  It happens, especially for those naive enough to “listen to the heart” instead of being like my oldest sister and examining the dude’s bank statement and earning potential before getting emotionally involved.  Then again some of us can pick and choose while others of us don’t have that kind of luxury.  Hindsight being what it is I should have simply gone to the “lives alone with cats (and dogs)” step, but life is to be lived and learned.  The difference between ignorance and stupidity is in learning from one’s mistakes.

I have confidence that Steve-o will be more than just a sperm donor.  He better be.  Or I will kick his ass.

 

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (Yeah, Right…)

Cooking, I don’t mind.  I am a good cook, thanks to both of my grandmothers (God rest their souls) and the fact that I did the cooking and cleaning at home from the time I was 12, when Mom had her bad back injury and couldn’t do much of anything for several months.  I sort of ended up responsible for meals and laundry and cleaning by default.  My sisters were pretty much always out either playing sports or socializing.  Since I was forbidden both by health issues and by abysmal coordination from participation in any type of organized sport, having a good excuse for getting out of the house was a lot more difficult for me.  I couldn’t actually live at the library even though I spent plenty of time there. 

As an aside, I truly wonder if my heart valve damage would have been bad enough to make me drop dead from playing basketball like that poor kid in Michigan.  Is a “sports physical” for middle school or high school sports really anything more than simply checking to make sure you can breathe and have a pulse?  If that’s all that’s done, I probably could have passed a “sports physical” had I attempted it (not that I would!) because my valve defects are not always audible.   Even if I would have kept my mouth shut about having heart valve damage from rheumatic fever and went through gym class in spite of having the Doctor’s Note (oh, thank God for the Doctor’s Note that released me from that humiliation) would it really have made a difference?  I’d probably sat on the bench most if not all the time anyway.  I should have asked the cardiologist who did my echocardiogram back in 2001, just for my own personal curiosity.  I’ve been warned about getting my heart rate too high because I have an irregular heart beat and I’ll pass out- but I’m allowed to do all the swimming, walking and bike riding I want.  Unless I pass out, that is.

I didn’t do too much socializing either, other than avoiding getting my ass kicked, until I got a car.  Having a car- even one as distressed as that poor Subaru DL- afforded me both protection and people to party with, which was nice.   I am thankful for spending a good part of my teen years learning how to cook, fry, stew, bake, and make decent gravy. When it comes to acquiring Life Skills, nothing facilitates learning like being tossed in the trenches.  I know when I moved out Dad really missed those home-cooked meals.  Taco Bell just isn’t the same.

Cleaning is not one of my favorite things by a long shot.  There’s something about being awakened to way too many of Mom’s late night cleaning frenzies that has put me off of power scrubbing forever.  Especially because she is one of those types who worries about the crap you can’t see.  I am not going to lose sleep over dust bunnies under furniture, dog hair under the carpet, or that sort of thing.  I like clean laundry, a clean bathroom and kitchen and relatively clean floors, but I don’t have to Clorox the entire house every other day like she used to do.   I have a job and a life.  I also have dogs.  Large dogs.  Large dogs with hair.  The only time the dog hair issue really gets disgusting is in Spring and Fall when they blow their coats.  Sheena for some reason- probably due to the stress of her spay/partial mastectomy surgery- blew her coat in January, so I don’t anticipate her Spring blowout to be terribly severe.  Lilo is always an adventure because of her intense hatred for either bathing or brushing.  Thankfully she doesn’t have a really outrageously thick coat like Sheena does.  Clara’s seasonal coat blowings are barely even noticeable (gotta love that Malinois coat) and even if she were a heavy shedder, she adores being de-haired with the blade.

For those unfamiliar with the use of the shedding blade, it’s not cruel.  It’s actually a Godsend for short-to-medium haired dogs.  You glide the serrated edge of the blade with the grain of the dog’s coat, and all the loose undercoat, etc. is just peeled right off.  If Clara had her way, I could brush her out with the blade for hours on end.  The blade does not work well with long haired dogs, or dogs with heavy undercoats, such as GSDs.  GSDs, Huskies, Chows- (i.e. Sheena and Lilo…)-heavy coated medium haired dogs- require the rake.  That sounds like a cruel implement too, but it’s not.  It just digs deeper in the coat to remove all the loose undercoat.

Sheena is quite fine with being raked out, which is nice, because she has that ungodly wooly Husky undercoat.  Lilo also has a thick undercoat but she is incredibly body sensitive so I let Jerry go after her with the rake, and with the bathing.  None of our dogs like water.  I find it funny when we take the dogs near any body of water.  They all avoid getting wet, as if the water was hot acid, especially Lilo.  That is particularly amusing – our dogs cautiously avoiding the water- as we watch other people helplessly getting dragged into the drink by their Labradors.   Never take a Labrador to a body of water unless you are planning on either you or the dog or both getting wet. 

Sometimes the girls just plain get gamey. In spite of their dislike of water they must be bathed on occasion, which inevitably ends up with me, a boat load of towels, and the entire bathroom being thoroughly saturated. (Another reason why I need a working dryer!)  Clara tolerates her bath.  Clara is compliant, but she doesn’t like anything to do with getting wet, and she’s very glad when it’s done.   Sheena is mildly uncooperative with her bath and requires a little elbow grease to keep her contained.  Lilo positively despises being bathed, and has to be physically picked up and placed in the tub, but the last time I was able to keep her under control and get her reasonably clean. 

This is the reason why I never, ever touch the undersides of tables or desks- or the sides of bathroom stalls for that matter.  I remember way too many study halls in high school watching the gross kids scrape their boogers under the ledge of the desk. 

We had a particularly sadistic English teacher (thankfully he wasn’t smart enough to teach AP English, so I never had him for class) who was also a wrestling coach.  When he monitored study halls he liked to slam books on the desks to wake anyone who thought about sleeping.  I wonder if he quit or if he was fired for (allegedly) knocking up those cheerleaders.  That was back before DNA technology could scientifically pin him down as The Baby Daddy, as opposed to being maybe one chance in five, so I would assume the former.  I doubt if those dingbats even knew for themselves who the baby daddies really were.  The key to blaming one guy for being The Baby Daddy is to only do the horizontal mambo with one guy- unless you’re up for DNA tests on Montel, which was not possible back in the mid 1980’s.

I usually occupied myself by reading or drawing on the rare occasions my schedule allowed me a study hall.  I was very good at hiding my National Lampoons and MAD magazines inside of Scientific American (which I also read) or other serious-sounding techie type magazines, to enjoy throughout a mind-numbingly boring study hall if I wasn’t already in the middle of a Stephen King novel or other “recreational reading.”  Teachers generally left me alone as they just assumed I was reading above their heads (sometimes I was) and therefore was not into “contraband.”  I liked humor and smut as much as the next person. Unlike other people who were too stupid to change the covers on risque books, I got away with reading them whenever I wanted.  I read anything I could get my hands on, but even with a collection of smutty literature that would have made a trucker blush if it were illustrated, I could not completely ignore the depraved humanity around me.  The sight of assorted unwashed losers picking, examining, and then scraping their big slimy greenies under the desks is still enough, even after all these years, to keep me from touching anything under a ledge with my bare hands.