I Thought I Was a Crappy Parent, Not Too Bad With Dogs, and Silently Seeking Catatonia

Go ahead, every lactating mother needs a good old case of the beer shits!

I can never claim to be any kind of a stellar parent. I’m not warm and fuzzy enough to be good at the Mommy thing.  I did monitor my illustrious offspring for signs of the Homicidal Triad.  He had one bad experience with fire (a Zippo does not double as a flashlight) but I never observed him engaging in any bedwetting or cruelty toward animals, so I think he’s safe there.   He has more than a passing interest in the opposite gender, but I disabled the pay-per-view after his first $300 pay-per-view porn fest, ensuring he would have to find his smut fix elsewhere.  Ironically enough, his best buddy worked the past few years at a porn store, so they both probably got to check out more XXX DVD’s than can be considered healthy.

I can say I never resorted to this little home remedy either:It’s amazing that any of our ancestors survived the Victorian era long enough to breed.

Even in light of my anemic parenting, the POMC has turned out remarkably normal.  The only glaring abnormality he had was that he was born with his tongue tied to the bottom of his mouth, which is a congenital defect.  The pediatrician and the ear nose and throat specialist both said poor Steve-o would not only need to have his tongue clipped, but that he would almost inevitably have speech deficits and would require years of speech therapy.   When he was six months I had his tongue clipped.  At eight months he started talking- clearly, loudly and constantly.  When he was a year old I took him to the speech pathologist to be evaluated as I had been directed to do.  After five minutes with Steve-o, the speech pathologist looked at me and said, “He’s way beyond most 12 month olds.  This child does not need speech therapy.”  As to his vocabulary, it is broad, though I would caution most of the time it is also rated “R.”

I’m curious to see how he’s going to react the first time his little girl drops the “F” bomb.  She will.  And we will all know exactly where she heard it first.

Daddy, did you have a nice effing day?

The only negative side of the tongue clipping is that freeing up Steve-o’s tongue endowed him with a really gross skill.  He is able to pick his nose with his tongue.  Couple this with the fact that he’s always been a veritable snot factory, and you get a visual that no one should ever be subjected to.  It’s gross to see a toddler with his tongue up one nostril.  It’s even more gross to see a teenage boy in the thrall of the Puberty Demon with his tongue stuck up one nostril.  It’s worse than the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos “science” experiment.

Yet, somehow, the ladies were still impressed.

The POMC even has a college degree now, YAY! – meaning he’s about 95% Independent of the Parental Units, at least for now.

I did try to be a somewhat adequate parental unit.  I was one of those expectant mothers who was paranoid enough to go over a year with no coffee, no alcohol, no over-the-counter remedies, and not so much as one diet soda.  I had visions of my child being born a one-eyed cyclops because I’d taken a Sudafed a week before I caught wind of the impending Blessed Event.  Even in the early 90’s, the common wisdom regarding things consumed was that even one Diet Dr. Pepper or one cup of coffee consumed during pregnancy or lactation could doom your child to a lifetime of slack-jawed idiocy.

Apparently the teratogenic effect of one Sudafed taken in Week 3 of pregnancy=tongue stuck to bottom of offspring’s mouth.  Then again, who knows?  Considering the genetic grab bag involved, Steve-o mostly got a pretty lucky grab. Except for the hair.  He has the world’s nastiest hair, just like the sperm donor.  It’s thick.  It’s greasy.  It’s mousy brown, and worst of all, kinky. Acck.   At least he’s a dude, so his hair can be buzzcut into relative inoffensiveness.  I would not wish that hair on a chick.  It’s too early to tell if my poor granddaughter is going to be cursed with that hair as hers really hasn’t grown in yet.  She’s not bald, but she doesn’t have a thick and flowing head of hair yet either.  Steve-o did when he was her age, so maybe she got lucky and will have normal hair, or at least more chick-appropriate hair.

At one point his hair was almost down to his butt.

I do better with maintaining dogs.  They smell better, cost less, and will never tell you to eff off.  I know had I told either of my parents to eff off – ever-  Dad would have beaten me to kingdom come (and I would have deserved it) and that’s only if Mom didn’t beat him to it.  However, times have changed, and with the prevailing politically correct “protect the offspring’s precious little self esteem at all costs” attitude in place, a kid can call his mother anything and everything but a fine upstanding white woman, and Mom’s the evil one if Mom does something about it.

Clara does not tell me to eff off.  Clara does not run up bills on pay-per-view.  Advantage: Clara!

Guess what? The world does not revolve around your happy little asses, kids.  The world would be a better place if there were more people in the world who would be willing to admit they suck, and it would also be a better place when people who know that someone or something sucks aren’t afraid to share that information.  I think a re-read of the Emperor’s New Clothes would be a good idea for everyone.  I’m tired of the idea that it’s somehow not OK to point out the obvious just because it may offend someone or reveal what everyone already knows even when it’s a glaring fact that person or situation sucks. (more on this topic later!!!)

I’ve actually managed to wheedle myself a couple of vacation days in which I seek to clear out my head and take a break.  It’s going to seem strange to take time off that isn’t directly related to illness, be it my own or a family member’s.  I don’t think I’ll know what to do with myself other than have a good time silently seeking catatonia.  If only those around me would let me…

Yeah, I think I need a break.

Walk Briskly, and Wear Rubber-Soled Shoes (Life Lesson #1)

In most things I’m all about practical application.  Having the dubious distinction of having lived and worked with hot-tempered people (and even having worked for a few people with white powder* problems) I have had to learn the art survival skill of subtlety.  This is not a skill that comes naturally.  By nature I am a very literal person, and unless I have a compelling reason to do otherwise, I say what I think.  Even so, I also have a very strong self-preservation instinct.  I learned this from my Dad, who didn’t have mental or chemical problems- but he did have a hot temper and a damned fine aim.  There are some people you just don’t piss off.  He falls into that category.  I got a refresher course on treading lightly when the psycho coke head from hell tried to throttle me in the service drive because our technician took it upon himself to complete some (free) warranty work on his car.

Of course self-preservation trumps most other instincts most of the time.  When I’m at work I do best if I am told what is expected of me and then I’m left alone to get it done.  I do not require micromanagement, and the more autonomy I have, the more I get done.  

I really don’t need any bullshit from the chemically impaired.  I learned very quickly how to spot when one of my former bosses had spent the night with a hooker, some cheap liquor and a LOT of toot-toot.  I learned to make myself very scarce and only respond when spoken to.  This was a guy who could go from being the greatest guy in the world one minute to the world’s biggest prick in 1.2 seconds.  This was the same guy who spent most days in the titty bar while I did his work and he conveniently took the credit (and the hefty bonus checks) for it.  I avoided him like the plague- but especially when he came in while riding the toot-toot train. 

If this dude confronted me when he was like that I would usually get stuck climbing around scrubbing down the tops of parts bins when I had more productive and profitable things that I should be doing, but this dude was anal like that.  I understand that you want your work area to be reasonably clean and organized, but the reality of any sort of automotive parts warehouse – especially a parts department in a dealership that’s right next to the mechanical shop- is that it is neither a surgical unit nor a kitchen and it isn’t going to be that clean.   I had a severe distaste for this kind of time-wasting for two reasons: one, you can scrub and Clorox it down one day and between the exhaust fumes and the techies (who aren’t exactly Mr. Clean) it’s going to be dirty again the next.  It’s an exercise in futility. 

The other reason I hated his little cleaning rants is his behavior reminded me of Mom when she used to go on the manic cleaning rampages.  Mom is bi-polar and when we were kids, unmedicated.  Although she exhibited a lot of the same bizarre behaviors as a coke head on a bender, Mom did not do coke, thank God.  Dad didn’t have that kind of cash, and Mom was far too näive to go trolling for drugs.  Hindsight being 20/20 I wish someone would have had some Valiums or Xanaxs handy when she got on a roll.   I shudder to imagine a bi-polar person in manic phase AND on coke.  Believe it or not the behavior of a bi-polar person in manic phase and of a coke head in full coke rage is remarkably similar.  I’ve had the bad fortune to be the target of both, and it’s taught me how to make myself scarce.

Blending into the wall can be a handy survival skill.  So can walking briskly and wearing rubber-soled shoes.  I find myself doing that a lot lately.  Do my job, flit about from here to there, as quickly and quietly as someone with dismal gross motor skills can, and go along my merry way.  I have to do a lot less explaining, a lot less chatting, and I get sidetracked a lot less if I can just plow right on through.

Thankfully I’ve not had to work for the cocaine addicted for many years.  It’s a bit stressful going to work not knowing if your boss is going to be:

1. At the titty bar/brothel.  This was the best place for him to be, because I didn’t have to deal with him, and since I had to do his job anyway, it was nice to be left alone to do it.  The only bad part was I felt guilty lying to his wife when she called.  I knew damned good and well he wasn’t “in a meeting,” but it was a lot less messy than telling her the truth.  She found out anyway where he’d been going- when she ended up with a rather nasty social disease. 

2. At work.  This was a crap shoot. When he wasn’t jacked up on coke, he was usually OK.  That was the time to corner him for the few things that he had to authorize, etc. although I pretty much could do everything he did- even though I didn’t get the recognition or the compensation for it.  Even if he was coked up he could be decent -unless he started getting paranoid or something (and that could be anything) pissed him off.  Then he could go from your best buddy to the guy who’s having a screaming tirade about dust bunnies behind the oil filters.

3. Sick.  It was really bad if this dude came to work “sick,” because here was a dude who could turn a hangnail into a Shakespearian tragedy.  And on top of being the world’s biggest coke head, this dude was the world’s biggest hypochondriac.  I swear he asked me to inspect bumps on his scalp and arms (ewwwwwwwww!!!) and creepiness like that.  Yeah, you hired me to inspect your zits and dandruff.  Acck.  I am NOT a doctor.  I am NOT any kind of health professional.  If you are in doubt, stay home, quarantine yourself, or just skip the middle man.  Call 911 and have them take your ass to the ER.  Ironically, he didn’t say anything to me about the symptoms of the social disease that he (and his now ex-wife) had to go get shots and such for.  Go figure.  I hope it fell off.

I have to say I was delighted when I was offered alternative employment far, far away from this dude.  However, the life lesson that the hot-heads, bi-polar, and chemically enhanced people in my life have taught me still stands.  It is better to lurk quietly in the shadows and avoid attention than to be singled out and browbeaten. 

*white powder=cocaine

Exploits of the Inane, A Case for Devolution, and Early Bird Birthday Requests

I don’t deal with the general public very well.  Perhaps my cynicism and wafer-thin tolerance threshold comes from years of dealing with retail parts customers and (worse) service customers.  I have no problem dealing with the technical aspects of automotive repair, etc. but dealing with people when they’re being ignorant, stupid, or just plain out of control really gets on my nerves.  I think I lose my patience the most when I explain things to people multiple times and they still fail to get it.  As Ron White put it, “You can’t fix stupid.”  Even so, some people have problems with spoken and written language (not necessarily foreigners…) and perhaps it may help to have things explained to them in pictures.  This must be the logic behind today’s traffic signs.

I remember when I was growing up you would see signs like this when there was roadwork ahead:

This sign seemed self explanatory to me.  Somewhere up ahead some dude with a flag will be waving traffic past.  Apparently as time went on, political correctness crept into the world of road signs.  “Flagman” apparently implied that women weren’t allowed to wave traffic past, so someone came up with a new term and a new sign:

I always thought “Flagger” sounded kind of dirty.  It isn’t, but it should be. 

Then of course, because no one in state governments or Congress has the stones to insist that if people want to live, work and be in this country that they need to speak, write and understand the English language, the sign was changed yet again:

See how humanity has devolved in the past 30-40 years.  Devolution has been going on since the Fall, but I truly believe it’s picking up momentum.

Some people (rapists, murderers, child molesters, animal abusers) should not be permitted to suck up valuable oxygen.  Others are simply crazy as shithouse rats, and should be protected from themselves and the greater society.  Unfortunately, when you work with the general public you WILL encounter them.  The good thing is today I have my GPS equipped cell phone handy, and 911 on speed dial.

The most memorable “crazy as a shithouse rat” individual from my days of being a service advisor actually tried to throttle me, as in pushing me against the wall, grabbing me by the neck, and attempting to asphyxiate me.  White powder (i.e. cocaine) was a real problem back then. As we found out later, the dude not only was one of the biggest drug dealers in Delaware County, he had made the most common mistake of drug dealers- getting high on his own supply.   Had this happened in more recent times (this has been almost 20 years ago) I would have called the cops and had the dude charged with assault.   I was happy enough when my boss heard the fracas, (as well as I would assume he could smell the techies’ sneaker smoke as they were all running out the side door-the pussies!)  ran out, told the guy to leave, and threatened to call the cops if he ever came back.  Hell, I had the license number as well as the guy’s address, phone number and VIN.  Could have, should have, would have called the cops, but hindsight is 20/20.  My boss didn’t want any further trouble.

It would possibly been different if I’d done anything to deserve a throttling, but this guy was torqued for a really illogical reason.  He had bought an extended warranty on the car for which there was a $50 deductible for every visit– no matter how much work the tech did on it.  Most customers who have this program and who are endowed with any sense will tell the advisor, “fix anything the tech says needs attention,” and the tech will gleefully oblige.  This guy (did I mention he had a white powder problem) brought this late model Camry in and requested we repair the torn CV boot ONLY and nothing else, which I noted on the repair order.  Unfortunately the only thing the tech saw was the extended warranty, so (like any normal flat rate tech would do when basically given carte blanche) he went over this car with a fine toothed comb.  He fixed a few minor transmission leaks, replaced a wheel bearing and hub assembly,  replaced the distributor shaft seal, CV boot, water pump, and made some other repairs typically required on a high mileage Camry.  99.9999% of customers would be overjoyed to get all this work- about $1500 worth- done for $50.  This guy was out of his mind in more ways than one.  He was truly shithouse rat crazy as he went into a rage.  I just had the bad luck of being the nearest target.

Thankfully, two weeks later this dude and a few of his friends’ drug ring got brought down.  I wonder if he’s still in prison.  Being an asshole, as well as a white powder sniffer, has a way of biting one in the ass.

I need to watch the Three Stooges more often. There were a few episodes on AMC last Sunday and it was most enjoyable watching them.  The Stooges are still funny, albeit predictable, after all these years.  I happen to believe this is a perfect illustration for how I see golfers:

The major difference is the Three Stooges were less pompous and better dressed than most of the PGA wannabes I encountered at the Infiniti dealership.   From what I’ve seen of golfers and the holier-than-everyone-else attitude they emanate,  they can keep their hoity-toity sport all to themselves. 

Yes my birthday is coming up and since nobody gives a rat’s ass, and my odds of receiving birthday gifts I might actually want are slim to none, I might as well request big. (in order of most to least outrageous)

1. Bahamas/Caribbean Cougar Cruise- as in ten days of delightful sailing on the tropical seas, where I am The Cougar, and the rest of the ship is staffed with buff young men between the ages of 21 and 30 who are ready and willing to cater to my every whim.

2. Total body laser hair removal- all of my unwanted/superfluous body hair, gone forever.  I would never have to shave, pluck out the Unibrow, or Nair my face again!

3. A year’s membership to the “Y” so I can go to the indoor pool whenever I want.

4. A day at the indoor waterpark.

5. 10 3- packs of Hanes Her Way size 7 white hi-cut undies (thought I forgot about yesterday’s request, didn’t ya?)

6. A $25 gas card.

7. A 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Knowing my luck my Mom will buy me some more cookie cutters.  The gift that says to the diabetic, “Hurry up and die, already?”  She will remember my birthday, but the older she gets, I am afraid to think with what.