Creative Parenting, Culture Shock, and a Wardrobe Malfunction

I didn’t think the yellow rose would bloom this year- but it’s doing pretty well.

Oh, where do I begin?  The past week and a half has been absolutely insane, especially with all the stuff going on with Dad.  I have been trying to distract myself from the medical mayhem as much as I can- partially because I’ve already spent way too much time in medical facilities and hospitals due to my own laundry lists of ailments, and partially because it’s really difficult to see him incapacitated in that way.  My sympathies to the people at the rehab center- especially if he gets pissed or starts feeling a little too frisky- but I am very thankful he’s doing well.  Of course, because of Dad’s illness and surgery, I have been spending a lot more time up north, which is always a bit disquieting even when everyone is healthy and things are hunky-dory.  Things move a lot slower in a small town, and that’s different enough, but there are more subtleties for the vigilant eye to observe .  I don’t think I’ve seen white landscapers since the late ’80s. 

I thought only Jerry after a six pack or more, (or Mexicans) could get these things to run.

Here’s a solid case against the sale of multi-colored duct tape, and a caution against painting green moustaches on lame mid 90s GM sedans. Acck.  And this piece of work was sitting in the hospital parking lot. 

Along with the slower pace of life, one encounters a few things in rural areas that aren’t nearly as common (or perhaps as easily overlooked.)   I’ve seen some unholy pieces of attempts at do it yourself automotive body work, though to be fair, it’s more typically trucks that are customized in this fashion. 

It’s really scary that there’s someone out there who thinks the “General Lee’s” color scheme looks cool on an old lawn mower.

It would, however, be cool to be able to jump over cop cars like that.

Worse than the vehicles “pimped” by denizens of the trailer park, are the denizens of the trailer park themselves.  I had to have viewed at least as many bad tats just in the Wal Mart alone (though I admit I did not have the courage to get pics) as one would expect to see during Bike Week at Sturgis

Uh, I know this is your sixth margarita, but your pants are falling off…

I used to be a binge drinker, so I really shouldn’t make fun of the shitfaced, ’cause I’ve been there myself.  I really couldn’t help myself on this pic, though.  I was able to take this one relatively safely because with my good friend, digital zoom,  I could stay conveniently out of view.  Suffice to say the take home lesson from this tragic pic (and I cropped it so nobody can see her face or guess who it is) that if you’re going to get shitfaced with your buds, please wear pants that are going to stay up.  I’d even say wear suspenders if you think you can operate them seven or eight Kamikazes into it.  One would think it would be rather breezy with one’s cheek hanging out of one’s pants, but alcohol can hamper one’s ability to keep one’s drawers up- and it can obscure the knowledge that one’s drawers are dangerously low to begin with.  I get to see it all the time at home.

Now I know what to do with Jerry the next time he’s passed out.  Get creative with a red Sharpie.  Sure it’s not technically parenting, but I do have to manage a 55 year old toddler.  I need to have a little more fun with it.

I’ve always been one to practice creative parenting.  I discovered a long time ago that there are ways to keep your private things private.  Boys find certain things to be inherently mysterious and disgusting at the same time.  Nobody’s going to be looking for an extra $20 in the Summer’s Eve box, for example. 

A box no man will willingly open.  Even if he thinks there might be yuppie food stamps inside.

I found a creative way to hide perishables also.  I am not a huge fan of chicken gizzards, although I can prepare them in such a fashion that they are somewhat edible.  Though Jerry will look down at and refuse to eat dishes I might consider as delicacies, such as cocktail shrimp, Jerry and his buddy Bob adore gizzards whenever I can get them.  While hiding things in the gizzard container is not effective at all in deterring Jerry from investigating the contents, Steve-o would always steer clear of this:

Gizzardlyicious!

Even better if I fill those containers with cocktail shrimp.

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.