Ode to the Winter Funk, 54 Going on Two, and I Need a Cougar Cruise

Shit Happens.

The bad thing about the recent cruise ship disaster is that it’s a reminder that almost every time I plan a vacation and either a.) take Jerry with me, and/or 2.) spend money doing it,  that disaster is exactly what I end up with.  Taking Jerry with me simply means I will spend three or four times more than I’d budgeted for as well as I will be treated to a “vacation” of catering to him.  Oh, how I remember the 20 mile excursion through rural West Virginia to find a KFC, only to return to the hotel and discover they neglected to put eating utensils in with the dinners, and the lovely evenings spent in the smoking cubicle of the Niagara Falls Hooters because they were the only restaurant within walking distance that served American beer.  Believe me, Canadian cuisine leaves a lot to be desired anyway, (the food tasted greasy and bland with a faint hint of Clorox everywhere we went in the Niagara Falls area) and Hooters’ wings are way overrated even if you get them in the States. 

I will have to do some research if and when I ever get the opportunity to go on a cougar cruise.  The idea of being on a cruise ship (statistically, boating on an ocean liner is safer than driving, so why not?) still appeals to me even if I am the type of person who has to wear Factor 50 to walk out the door in the daylight.  Nobody said I had to use the outdoor pool.  However, I will make sure of a few things.  First of all I am not really one of those people who wants an iron clad schedule.  I understand that the ship stops at certain ports and you have a definite timeframe should you wish to go ashore.  That’s fine, a loose framework.  But to follow a group around in a micromanaged sort of fashion does not appeal to me at all.  Give me two hours to go investigate something and let me wander around and come back. 

The last time I took any time off for any type of what could loosely be called vacation activity was last June when I took Mom and Dad to NC.  In a curious turn of events, it seems when you do the math, it can easily be discerned that my soon-to-be born granddaughter was conceived right about that time.  That’s what I get for having Steve-o come to watch the dogs and leaving them free food and movies, but they are adults.  Sometimes things happen when young adults get bored, even if you do leave out the good movies like Super Troopers,  The Jerk, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Clerks I and II, Porky’s, and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.   I know it’s been a long time but even I can (distantly) remember young lust.  There was a time in my life (when the air was dirty but sex was clean- if and when I could find a compliant partner-) that any excuse was a good excuse to get busy.

I still need a real vacation, as in 1.) getting away geographically, including turning off the farking phone, 2.) getting away from being a babysitter, which means Jerry will have to fight the dogs for food for a few days, and 3.) going somewhere interesting to do interesting things. 

The problem with this is that in order to do any of the above for any length of time, one needs cash.  With Mr. 54-going-on-two going on his regular throw money away pity parties at the hell-hole every time he gets the least bit irritated at work I don’t see this happening.  It’s pretty sorry when you can’t trust a grown man to stay out of a rip-off gambling joint.  I would leave him at home alone for a few days if I could take most of his cash, all his plastic and his debit card so he wouldn’t be able to go to the hell-hole.  I figure he could eat on $10 per day, but he would have to do without beer and smokes.  Pity that….

I guess that’s enough of me channeling my inner bitch, although it gets aggravating.  I know winter in Central Ohio is depressing especially when you can go from torrential rain to frozen tundra in 24 hours or less.  One thing about January weather is that odds are, it’s going to suck.

Travel Envy, It’s Summer- So I’m Busy, and 20 Years of Steve-o

Yeah, I did get to go to Niagara Falls back in ’04 which was extremely cool.  If we decided to go now either I would have to get a passport, which I am loathe to do in these days of 1984 meets Logan’s Run, or we would have to stay on the New York side which is both expensive and dismal.  I don’t want my car stolen.   I am not arrogant enough to think that someone would specifically want to spy on me or steal my identity, but I do believe in Murphy’s Law.  Give Mr. Murphy and company time to screw about in one’s past records, and Lord only knows what might get added, deleted or screwed up.   I really don’t need to go to Canada that bad.  Besides, the food all tastes like Clorox up there for some reason.  I’m sure there must be some good cuisine in Canada, but it’s sure as hell not at Niagara Falls.

I thought taking Mom and Dad to North Carolina would be a disaster, but it was actually a pleasant long weekend.  The drive wasn’t as traumatic as usual – not a lot of traffic, and no rain.  The only thing that sort of sucked is that Dad didn’t want the stereo turned on.  It wasn’t incredibly hot either like it was last year, and we did get an afternoon out on the lake in the boat which was almost worth the trip.  How anyone can get sunburn in spite of marinating in Factor 50 is beyond me, but my back still itches.  I would hate to think how fried it would have been without sunscreen.

The only sort of drawback to summer is that’s when I’m the busiest- busy at work, busy at home and I don’t get enough time to do relaxing things like float about in the Cougar Pool (which is most delightful by the way) or read interesting books.  I’ve not even been able to be online enough to catch the whole Wiener scandal, which I really shouldn’t find funny, but of course I do.  Of course I adore travel, but I highly doubt I will get much more than a couple of day trips to the campground, up to Marion, or down to Cincinnati.  What I would really enjoy would be a Cougar Cruise, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. 

Steve-o’s 20th birthday is next week.  He wants to spend it down in Kentucky 4-wheeling through the hollers with his buddies.  He wasn’t born a southerner- but should have been one- as much as he is into redneck culture and activities. 

Maybe I shouldn’t have bothered to fix his teeth? 

Things to Add to the Bucket List, 30 Years Ago Today, and Simplicity is Complicated

On with the February funk, including the whole death theme, because it just plain fits.

I’ll put it this way.  At the end of this month I will be 42.  I have no illusions.  At least half of my life is most likely over, because I honestly don’t anticipate being able to make it to 84, barring extreme advances in medical science and some pretty serious Acts of God.  I know that if God wants to keep some poor sucker lingering about far beyond what we perceive to be his/her useful life He can and does, but I hope and pray I don’t outlive my purpose.  This being said, I still have no clue why I’m taking up valuable oxygen, other than (maybe?) to keep a few people entertained.  It’s not my place to know and I understand that.  I also understand that there have been at least three instances in my life where I narrowly escaped the Reaper:

1. I spent the first week of my life in the hospital with pneumonia and my entire childhood battling various respiratory ailments (as well as getting regular beatings from my sisters, their friends, and kids at school.)

2. I had rheumatic fever when I was 10 years old.  Save for a  two week long series of painful penicillin shots in the butt, and a year-long course of penicillin pills, I’d been worm chow over 30 years ago.

3. I understand first hand why at the turn of the 20th century 1 in 4 women died in childbirth.  In spite of an eleventh-hour c-section, (the whole Murphy’s Law as it applies to childbirth thing, believe that) I was almost one of them.  That was the closest I’ve ever gotten to the Dirt Nap, and at that time I was ready to go ahead and take it.  Some days I’m still very open to the possibility, though I believe the length of my time here is God’s decision not mine.

Again, somehow, I am still remaining vertical almost 20 years later, so there must be some reason why I continue to display vital signs- though said reason continues to elude me.

Before I go take the Final Trip, there are a few things I’d like to do.  Of course the Cougar Cruise is one of them, but I’d be happy just to go on a regular cruise with all the other geezers and so forth.

I’d like to do some international travel.  Granted, I’ve been to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls which was pretty cool, and I was in Windsor, Ontario for an afternoon as a little kid. Windsor is more or less Detroit’s French speaking quarter, and not much to write home about.  I did learn that Dad does not speak French.  I would caution that one does not go to Canada for the cuisine.  Everything we ate in Niagara Falls tasted like greasy Clorox.  It might simply have been the establishments we had the bad luck to choose, but from what I experienced it seems Canadians use grease like Cajuns use spice- and apparently Clorox is the spice.  Acck.  Then again, I believe the national entree of Canada consists of French fries smothered in gravy.  I don’t think I’ll be going for the gravy covered fries any time soon.   I still remember those nasty bland Cloroxy, greasy, slimy, luke-warm chicken wings we had for dinner one night, but even in the States, Hooters’ is not renowned for their culinary acumen.  There wasn’t even any hot sauce on the side to give them a hint of flavor.  It was as if they had never heard of Tabasco or habanero sauce.  Leave it to Jerry.  We had to eat there because Hooters’ was just across the street from the hotel, and they had American beer.  I hope it tasted like Clorox too, but even that would have been an improvement over Natty Lite.

I’d like to go to Europe, even though Grandpa said he didn’t lose anything there and there was no way in hell he would want to go back there.  When he went there, it was during the war.  It makes sense not wanting to go back to that. 

Australia sounds interesting too.  Aussies speak English so that’s a plus already.  The only thing that might not be so fun about Australia is all the venomous critters that seem to live there.  Perhaps I watch Animal Planet and Discovery Channel too much, but I might have to take a pass on the deadly spiders and the box jellyfish.

In a way I’d like to go to the Holy Land, but with all the foreigners fighting over there, I think I’ll have to settle for the shows on History Channel and so forth.  I’m not afraid to die, but I am afraid of torture and rape.

30 years ago, one could get a coveted ticket to see Journey on the Escape tour, which would be the one and only reason why I would like to see time travel made a reality.  I never got to see Steve Perry with Journey, live and in the painted-on jeans.  I’ve seen video with Steve Perry, which is sweet, but it’s not quite the same as being there live.   I’ve gotten to see Journey-which was awesome- once with Steve Augeri, and once with Arnel Pineda, but I never got to see them with Steve Perry, and barring a miracle, I probably never will.  I can’t blame him.  If I were 62 years old and had the life he did, I’d be happy to be retired with my memories and cats.

Today we get a lame-ass half-time show by the Black Eyed Peas, who never really impressed me to begin with.  New music absolutely sucks and no it’s not just because I’m old.  They’re trying to substitute sleaze and special effects for no-talent losers.  Give me a band who can actually play, and singers who can actually sing, and screw the costumes, the sleazy dancing and the light shows.

I’d love to get my life down to being more simple, but that would mean in some ways it would have to be more complicated, which doesn’t seem to make sense on the surface. 

All I can say at this point is that if I have 40 years or four seconds left, I can only pray for the strength to get through it- and to make something worthwhile of the time.