Tires, Testicles and Trouble, with Some Pent-Up Angst Too

Sometimes old pics are creepy, especially if they are high quality color pics.  The above postcard of Downtown Marion from the early 1950’s reflects that not terribly much has changed other than the cars and a couple of the buildings.  I know exactly where that pic was taken- right in front of the south side of the Courthouse looking west.  I can see the cigar store (on the south side of Center Street, on the east corner of the intersection) and what is now the Ohio State Bank across the street from it.  Further west on the south side of Center Street is the Harding Hotel, which is also still there but has been made into senior citizen apartments.  The Taft Hotel (on the north west corner of the intersection) was torn down in  1969.  The National City Bank built their ugly boxy windowless monstrosity of a bank there (which burned down in 1985 or thereabouts) and rebuilt another hideous modern architectural disaster piece there on the same exact spot, which PNC Bank inherited.  The Bank Fire was almost a funny thing to watch as the digital thermometer on the outside of the bank skyrocketed to over 500 degrees (F) before it melted.  Then again, when you live in a backwater town, excitement is where you find it.  One would think a bank of all places would be built of relatively fireproof material, but I guess as long as the vault holds, who cares?

The WWII In Color episodes are fascinating, but they are almost too personal, as if they are bringing something too antique and faded into real life.  Some things are better viewed through the distance of black and white.

Some things are just too powerful and frightening to experience in all their details.

Admittedly I have been more depressed than usual lately.  Part of it I know is coming off of the Late Winter Funk that lasts from the beginning of February until usually the middle of April or so. I just can’t get enthused about much of anything as the snowbooger grey days drag by, overcast, rainy and dismal.  My perpetual state of poverty does nothing to brighten the picture, especially when Jerry’s groundbreaking suggestions for “saving money” include options such as getting rid of my car, and cancelling cable except for the basic channels -so he won’t miss any sports.  At no time were curtailing beer-drinking, eschewing gambling or getting serious about quitting smoking put on the table.  Then again, I don’t drink beer, I hate gambling, and thanks be to God I quit smoking several years ago.  Jerry isn’t going to address cutting back on his vices but it’s OK to cut back on my base essentials.  Imagine that.  I am disappointed, but not surprised at his zeal to make my life as miserable as he possibly can.  He wonders why I absolutely can’t stand to ask him for anything- not even basic, common sense things like paying for his own scripts and for a reasonable amount of his own expenses.  However, I am not going to give up the car. If worse comes to worse he can cram the cell phone where the sun don’t shine. I can live without the electronic leash, but as far as I can help it I am not going to put myself in a position that I have to beg for the use of his truck.  Being at his mercy for transportation is just not a good idea.  Not happening.

But as I said yesterday, I am thankful that things aren’t any worse.  Maybe I can beat some sense into his head if he’s sober- or just ignore him as usual if he’s drunk.

I don’t know why he is so jealous of any social contact I have with people other than him, even women.  It’s a fight for me to go to church and other activities at church.  Maybe in his mind he sees that he’s missing his “live-in maid” or gopher and he resents not being able to order me around or bitch at me for an hour or two here and there.  Maybe deeper down he’s afraid that I’m trolling for his replacement.  Being with Jerry is sort of like driving an old hoopty. You get none of the options that make having a car fun or comfortable (no A/C, no stereo, etc.) but all of the problems inherent to an old POS. (POS: Piece Of Shit)  He reminds me of my ’79 Rabbit that I spent $800 in repairs on in one month.  It did have a good stereo but no air conditioner, and it was a crap shoot as to whether or not it would start and run from one day to the next without something major failing. Why the hell keep on dumping money, time and frustration into a lost cause?

If I’m going to pay out the ass to drive a car,I want one that works, and one that doesn’t give me fits.  The same goes for men. I had enough of nickel and diming away my life on pathetic hooptys in high school and college- and enough of nickel and diming away my life on mooching trolls from there forward.  I hate to admit it, but Jerry has simply followed the pattern- taking advantage, draining me dry, and browbeating me into feeling like a total shit every minute I am not actively kissing his ass.  It gets old.

I take responsibility for this in so much as I allow it and I have allowed it to continue for years.  I don’t know how to make it stop other than simply disappearing, which I can’t do because I have no money and nowhere to go (also my fault) so it’s a catch-22.  The vicious cycle continues.

I’ve never been able to find a trouble free man.  If anyone could find me one who isn’t a complete troll, please let me know by commenting on this post.  Seriously.  But then again, perhaps I would be better off alone.  I would be, if I could afford it.

It’s not that I am inherently anti-men.  I love men.  I love to look at hot dudes.  If memory serves me right, I like a lot of activities involving men.  I simply have a problem with being used and guilt tripped and ignored and made to feel as if I only have value if I’m either earning money or doing endless chores.  The minute I don’t have enough money to just pay for everything or I’m exhausted and can’t do anything else then the hell with me as far as Jerry’s concerned.  Steve-o treats me the same way.  As long as Mommy’s footing the bill everything is roses, but the minute Mommy’s broke it’s F.U. this and F.U. that.  At least my poverty and lack of stamina have served me in two important ways: to let me know I am not worth a tinker’s damn to anyone, and I’m pretty much destined to die alone.  If the dogs don’t eat me, I’ll be left to decompose for months until the guy who comes to read the water meter can’t get in and as he’s banging on the door he notices a funky smell.   That’s what happened to the creepy old lady who lived across from Mom and Dad.  She used to bitch at us kids for “stealing her snow” if you scraped up a handful of snow from her yard as you went down the sidewalk.  It was thought she died sometime in February, but they didn’t find her body and fumigate the house until high summer- the middle of July.  It took two weeks for the health department to fumigate that house.

I wonder if the “I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up” alarm people have an alarm for old people who live alone and whose relatives are either dead already and/or don’t give a rat’s ass about them?  If I live to be old, I will be one of those people I am afraid.  When said geezers die in their sleep the alarm could go off and call the coroner to come and get the corpse before it festers and rots for months or the deceased’s dogs start munching on it.  I’m going to need one of those, or should I say the poor suckers who eventually happen upon my remains would probably be grateful for an early warning.

Maybe that could be the invention that makes me rich- the Dead Geezer Warning System.  So the coroner gets to you before the smell gets to everyone else.

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.