Tuna, Tab and a Twinkie

Tuna-Sandwichestabtwinkie

 

Navin Johnson’s (Steve Martin’s character in the iconic film, The Jerk ) meal that his adopted mother served him on his birthday was a tuna sandwich wrapped in cellophane, a Tab and a Twinkie.  Most of my favorite things are like that- simple, cheap and uncomplicated.  I  share Navin’s enthusiasm for Tab, and I like a good tuna melt from time to time, although I’ve not had a Twinkie in at least ten years.

classy

I’d like to admit to complicated tastes, as in: oh, yeah, I sit around drinking vintage Cabernets and imported cheese while conversing about world history and literature with influential and erudite people.   I study some rather obscure and esoteric subjects (have you seen my collection of 19th century postmortem pics, for instance) from time to time, but in social circles, I’m not that good of a performer. I’m not that pretentious. Since I am pathetically socially inept, and not at all well connected, my evenings are usually spent watching Jerry empty out the Natties, go from just a little drunk, to full-on fall-over shitfaced drunk, as he attempts to argue philosophy with the dogs.  Jerry is not an eloquent conversationalist even when he’s stone cold sober.  Alcohol does not enhance his verbal communication skills.

Natty

FYI: Natty does NOT make you an enchanting conversationalist.  Ever.

Jerry isn’t the greatest company, but he is predictable at least.  He tolerates my eccentricities, which is saying a lot. It’s easier that way, and I don’t have to worry about what to wear or whether or not I am avoiding eye contact again.   To him, I’m just the tepid body that pays the cable bill and medical bills, buys food, and wanders around cleaning up the beer cans.  He’s doing good to refrain from calling me Mildred and asking me about my diarrhea, but that’s OK.  I’ve been married to him for 19 years and neither one of us has succeeded in killing each other or making good on threats made in the heat of anger to leave,  so it must be all good.

I don’t know what to make of current events.  Robin Williams committing suicide was just plain bizarre, although I can certainly attest to the truth that comedy is the flipside of tragedy.  We shouldn’t really be surprised that comedians invariably suffer with depression and all the psychological baggage that goes along with it.  Humor is a defense mechanism. Usually the funnier a person comes across, the more tragedy that person has endured. Most of the time I try to laugh to keep from crying- or to fill that awkward void when I just don’t have the words or when that proper, polished façade just doesn’t materialize when I need it to.

man in pink tank

This dude must have had some pretty serious childhood trauma to try to rock the Daisy Dukes AND the crop top.

Perhaps it is better to elevate sarcasm to an art form than to take out one’s pain and hurt and anger in more destructive ways.  I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially in the ways that I have been.  It might be a bit mean-spirited to show pics of people who have made unfortunate fashion/life choices, but hey, you set yourself up for those.  If I appeared in public looking like a crack ho, or morbidly obese and/or otherwise badly dressed, then someone posting my sorry ass pic online should be a wake up call, a sort of, “Get your shit together, bi-atch!” statement.  I would be asking for it.

Now, going as a Twinkie for Halloween might actually be funny, but I don’t think that was this chick’s intent.

twinkie

Sort of like a Twinkie, anyway.

No, I Don’t Have Any Green Clothes

 

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I don’t own any green clothes.  I don’t like the idea of weirdos trying to pinch me, either.

St. Patty’s Day isn’t really high on my radar of secular holidays.  I don’t drink beer, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be green.

It’s sort of depressing that someone took the guy who brought Christianity to the heathens in Ireland and turned his festival day into a drinking holiday.  I still think green beer and leprechauns would be more suitable if we were celebrating Benny Hill’s birthday, but maybe that’s just me.

I guess it’s a good thing leprechauns are white.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to make fun of them.  Or get creeped out by them.  I always looked at leprechauns as sort of creepy mini-trolls.

leprechaun

At least it’s not Hans Strudel.

hans strudel

When did German=Fruity?

The Irish have always been sort of “people who get picked on.”  Maybe it’s because a lot of them are Catholic.  Maybe it’s because they like to get drunk and fight.  But the same descriptives also apply to Italians, and nobody bothers them.

thrifty scotsman

Then there’s the Thrifty Scotsman, which is a stereotype I can understand.  My grandmother’s father immigrated (legally, may I add- Dad has his documentation) from Scotland.  My great grandfather died long before I was born, but my grandmother was one of the most thrifty people I ever knew- cutting coupons, hitting the sales, stocking up on dozens of three-pound cans of Folger’s when it was cheap,  and so forth.  That might have been because she was half Scots (her mother was German) but it might have been because she grew up in the Depression, too.

folgers-coffee-in-a-can

Grandma always had a few extra cans of Folger’s.

I don’t think I’ve had green clothes since I was old enough to buy my own clothes.  Almost everything I have is either pink, black or jeans.

SSDD, and If You Have to Ask, I Don’t Have Time to Explain

SSDD

Depression sucks.

Same shit, different day.

I could of course, attribute my unshakable malaise by chalking it up to the horrible weather or the interminable dark that pervades this time of year.  Usually my mood improves when the holidays are over, at least a little bit, and then goes back in the toilet around mid-February until about May.

Maybe it’s because my life is pretty much lived stuffing ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag.  The worst part of that is that it’s usually ten pounds of other people’s shit that I allow to be unloaded on me.

despair corners

The sucky part of that is that one of my closest friends (who I really need to have a nice, long conversation with again, and sometime soon) once told me that life boils down to what you cause and what you allow.  I allow other people’s dumb shit to go on and on without telling them to piss off, and that’s my own damned fault.  I hear a lot of bitching through the course of a day, and a lot of it is in regard to things that either I can’t control or can’t change.  Hearing all that day in and day out tends to make me feel pretty discouraged and hopeless.

Then I go home and get to hear Jerry bitch about things that he should just deal with himself if they bother him that much.  This is the same guy who has no problem spotting shit or puke or some unfortunate object that Lucy has reduced to smithereens- but who does have nine kinds of excuses for why he can’t clean it up.

clean poop

Really? I so need this amazing shit-shoveling gnome in my house!

That, and my left arm is killing me right around the place where I broke it.  I think that might be because of the cold (it’s a balmy 1°F out there today) and low barometer, but it hurts something fierce today.  I dug out the big black brace I had to use for awhile after they took my cast off, and put it on, which seems to help.   Then there’s always the gift that keeps on giving- all my joints are rather creaky and stiff today- thanks to the lingering repercussions of rheumatic fever.   The good news is that I was one of about three people in the pool this morning.  I’d be much worse off today, at least as far as mobility goes, had I not gone to the pool.  The pool, opposed to the outside world, is usually somewhere around 80°, which is quite nice.

fantasy pool

If money were no object, this would be my personal indoor pool.

pool boy

And here would be a suitable personal pool boy.

Maybe not so blond, but the bod is right on.  Nice pecs.

It would be a total blast to lounge about in a lovely pool surrounded by buff young dudes, if I had the means, but as the old saying goes, “Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

Of course the fantasy would only be complete if I could have a big screen TV in my pool room showing Journey’s Greatest Hits Live 1981:

journey greatest hits 1981

Play ALL.  All night long.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually done a fairly decent job of cheering myself up. For now.

Please, Lord, don’t let me come home to a massive debris field left in the wake of the “Mouth of the South” (aka Lucy) because Jerry was too lazy to put the dogs back in their crates after lunch…

Or to a to-do list of Jerry’s errands to be ran (outside of course,) in sub-zero temperatures…

Give a poor white woman a break for a change, eh?  A quiet night with maybe a few military documentaries, or even a showing of Hot Fuzz or Super Troopers?  It doesn’t even have to be a cop-themed movie- Borat would do just fine… something funny, something light?

Misplaced and Out of Time, Airing Out the Christmas Baggage

traditional-christmas-decorations-21-554x554This is TV Christmas.  Christmas in my home has NEVER looked like this.

It just struck me this morning.  I was thinking about the one part of the secular Christmas stuff-you-have-to-do nightmare that was actually something to look forward to- going to my Grandma’s.  Grandma had lots of cheap and kitschy old decorations from the 1950’s and 1960’s, including the aluminum foil looking tree and the really fruity looking elves, and the hollow plastic Frosty with the lightbulb stuck up his ass.  She had a good number of decorations she had made herself too, which I thought were far more aesthetically pleasing than light-bulb-up-the-ass Frosty, but there was room for everything.  Her display was rather eclectic.  I enjoyed helping Grandma put up that corny kitsch, (and the pretty stuff she made) which was all carefully labelled, stored and you knew exactly where everything was supposed to go.  Grandma enjoyed Christmas and all the decorating, cooking and baking that went with it.  Her candy and pies and cookies were 100% homemade, and 100% legendary.

redneck-christmas2Jerry probably grew up with Christmas more like this.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the Christmas story and I love the way that God came to us as a human and that Jesus lived here on earth with us in a flesh and blood human body.  I love the season of Advent and observing Advent and Christmas as part of the church year.  It’s the materialism and the formalities and the stuff that people think you have to do that really gets on my nerves.  The world could do a lot more with more quiet contemplation on what Christmas really is about rather than running around spending money they don’t have buying crap for other people that they really don’t need.  Just my two cents’ worth on that.  When the “celebrations” turn into being too expensive, too awkward and just plain another whole big stress, it’s time to re-examine the whole hoo-hah and maybe just drop out of a few things.

NativitySceneThe real Christmas story (not Santa Claus or the kid with the BB gun) features a miraculous birth.  It was about God becoming man and coming to earth to save humanity.  I don’t care how much money someone has, you can’t top that gift.  Materialists, you might as well go ahead and admit defeat now.

As far as secular holiday celebrations go, I can cook.  The only thing I don’t do that Grandma always did is I don’t make my own pie crust.  It’s too easy and less expensive to buy the rolled sheets of pie crust than it is to try to deal with just the right ratio of Crisco-to-flour.  I have the delightfully tacky pink Christmas tree with blissfully tacky kitschy ornaments including a buzzard, (Jerry will not allow a live tree in the house, because Mr. Let’s-Get-Wasted-and-Start-a-Fire-With-Gasoline-in-the-Fireplace deems them to be “fire hazards”) and (less one Wiseman, because of someone’s bad decision to use gasoline in the fireplace) the Nativity set Grandma got for me the year before she died.

But it’s hard for me to get into the Christmas biz these days.  The traffic pisses me off.  The crowds in everyplace from Target to the Speedway station piss me off even more.  I don’t have the money to buy gifts for people the way I would like to.  I don’t have the time to do the crafts and cooking which made Christmastime fun like what Grandma used to do.  Jerry goes off on his I’m-so-depressed holiday funk that lasts from December until the end of February, and it just plain drives me batshit.  And to top it all off the past few years, I’ve been spending Christmas at my oldest sister’s, and that leaves me feeling more like the turd in the punchbowl than anything. I might have to break with that latter day tradition and do anything that does not require me to be around my sister’s boorish father-in-law as he’s swilling Chardonnay and catatonically staring at the football game.  Perhaps I will take the camera and go to the west end of Marion and take some tacky Christmas pics.  That is always fun.

72 super beetle sleighMy condolences to the unfortunate ’72 Super Beetle that’s flying high in this rather grotesque display.

Then this morning- I had a very sad longing, a sort of a dark epiphany.  I realized the reason why the holiday cheer was getting on my nerves more than usual.  As a kid, the best part of Christmas was the afternoon.  Grandma and Grandpa would have dinner ready, and it was an elaborate spread.  Everything from turkey to homemade cream pie and homemade candy, egg nog,  scalloped potatoes, you name it, it was there.  They had presents and goodies but that wasn’t the allure. There was something about the whole atmosphere in their house.  It wasn’t high faluting like the house in the picture.  It was modest, it was clean, it was perfect in an unpretentious way, and it was home.  Truth be told, my grandmother’s house seemed more like home to me than my own home.  Grandma was safe.  There were no heated arguments over money or the lack thereof at her house, or being treated to Mom and Dad constantly picking at each other about this or that petty issue.  My sisters were not allowed to beat on me with impunity as they normally could do at home, and most of the time when I was at Grandma’s they were somewhere else which was even better.

redneck whitey tightiesGrandma never decorated with whitey tighties, but now I am seeing some real motivation to decorate and innovate!

Now there’s a stranger living in Grandma’s house.  Grandma died back in 2009, though in all fairness she and Grandpa had both started declining not long after Steve-o was born.  Grandpa died in 2006 aged 91, after only three days in the hospital, and ten years after he had his bicuspid valve replaced (which was the first time since WWII that he’d been in a hospital for any reason.)  Grandma unfortunately died a more sad and lingering death from pancreatic cancer, heart failure and liver failure at age 93, a little more than three years after Grandpa died.  It was hard seeing her lose her sight from macular degeneration so for the last ten years of her life she wasn’t able to do the sewing and crochet and other crafts she loved.  I guess that’s why I hope and pray that my time comes quickly when the time comes, but you get what you get.

redneck-christmas-lightsNo, I am not going out and buying tampons to do this, (I am still delighted that I’ve been able to skip that aisle at the store for over three years now) but I never thought a feminine hygiene item could be made so festive!

Grandma’s house is still there but it’s not the same.  I’m sure the lady that rents it from Dad is alright.  Dad generally tries not to rent to serial killers and nut jobs, although his last renter’s family were pretty crazy after he died and they left the place a disaster area. I’ve not met her but she does have a lovely Pitbull that Dad says is a very sweet dog.  I think what bothers me even more than knowing that there’s a stranger living in Grandma’s house is that I’m not able to be anywhere near as involved in my own grandchild’s life as my Grandma was in mine.  I seldom get to see Sophia, and even when I can, I am beholden to her mother’s schedule and whims.  To make that even worse, I live an hour’s drive away.  I can’t live in the safe house across the field.  Her mother doesn’t want her to be in my house, because she doesn’t trust Jerry, and Jerry smokes in the house.  If I want to see my granddaughter I have to either go to her mother’s house or take her to my parents’ house.  I cherish any time I can spend with her, but I don’t see where I am going to be able to have much influence in her life.  It saddens me.

kissmyassBut, as far as doing what I want to do with secular holiday celebrations, I think this is the best suggestion of all.

When Is Panic the Appropriate Response?, Views of the Macabre, and Wake-Up Songs

 

Perhaps as a person who has dealt with PTSD, major depression, and panic attacks, it would be helpful for me to know when panic is the appropriate response.  I have been known to vascillate from near catatonia and total apathy to going postal over a popcorn fart.  One thing that I have noticed after being on Prozac for the past six years, is that my reactions seem to be a lot more “middle of the road.”  I don’t freak out easily and for no apparent reason like I used to when I had panic attacks on a regular basis, but I don’t go into total apathy mode either.  I do notice and still care about all the things that are screwed up in my particular dystopia, but not to the point of losing sleep or climbing the walls.  This is a good thing, I think, unless I should be freaking out and just don’t realize it.

Jerry freaks out about the grass.  I don’t know if all middle-aged to elderly men have a thing about having a perfect lawn and freaking out if you don’t, but Jerry sure as hell has a lawn fetish.   He always thinks the grass needs mowed, especially if he can see any dandelions.  Personally, I like dandelions.  They are nature’s way of giving lawn freaks like Jerry the finger.  There are limits to what you can do with grass.  Our lawn is not a golf course.  There’s a bus stop in front of our house, so a lot of the time, as they wait on the bus, the freakazoids from the drunk and domestic apartments behind the body shop are tossing their cig packs, drinkie cups and various other detritus in the front yard.  I swear I picked up- with the shovel- a trucker bomb in the front yard the other day.  So as long as the height of the plant life in the front yard is compliant with city ordinances, I wouldn’t be too paranoid about it.  The back yard is the dogs’ shitter.  Do they care if they shit in dandelions?  Probably not.  George Carlin once asked (in reference to cats, but same principle) how many gourmets lick their asses.  How many dogs really care about the quality of the greenery they’re dropping a deuce in?

Thankfully, yesterday, when he finally moved out of Tipsy McNumbnuts mode, Jerry decided to call his half-brother Ray Earl (oh, the joy of redneck names!) who repairs lawn mowers, to see if he would take a look at the one he trashed.  In the meanwhile, he managed to start one of the beat up old mowers he buys at yard sales to sell on Craig’s List, and he did quite fine last night mowing the grass with it.   Since he was sober and acting like he actually had half a brain for once, I decided to be nice and pick up all the visible dog shit in the back yard for him.  That was partially for my own benefit, because he always seems to either step in it (and then, of course, he will traipse it through the house so I get to clean it up off his shoes and the floors) or it gets mulched in the mower, so you step out the door and it smells like shit.  Neither alternative is pleasant, but  I was overjoyed to be spared a field trip through the seventh circle of hell with him in Sears or Home Depot.  Scooping up shit is not nearly as bad as following Jerry around in Home Depot.

I am not much of a shopper, especially for a woman.  I dislike crowds, and generally avoid stores altogether if I can buy what I want online.  But home improvement stores are Jerry’s equivalent of DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse- one of the hugest shoe stores in the Midwest-with locations all over beautiful Central Ohio.)  Jerry can spend hours looking at building supplies and tools and chain saws and trimmers and mowers and all the various crud available at home improvement stores for hours on end.  I find gawking at that stuff insanely boring unless I need a particular item to do a particular job, then I get what I need and get out.  It usually smells like fertilizer or paint in those places, and I really don’t want to linger. I don’t think I could spend as long in DSW as Jerry spends on his forays to Home Depot.   Ideally he would go to the home improvement store with Bob- they both know what they are after, they both like to gawk at things like varnish and caulk, and I don’t have a freaking clue.

I do try not to be one of those old geezers who bitch about really stupid things.  I don’t want to end up like the old bitty that lived across from Mom and Dad who complained about kids “stealing her snow.”  She was dead for four months before anyone realized it.  Her kids never bothered to visit her, and everyone who lived in the neighborhood avoided her because she was constantly calling the cops on everyone.  I don’t want to become so petty that I end up calling the cops over dogs barking or loud exhausts.  Usually I only bother law enforcement if there’s something dangerous going on, like people shooting off shotguns, or there’s a drunk guy passed out in the drunk and domestic apartments’ parking lot when it’s 20 degrees out, and he’ll freeze to death if nobody retrieves him.

I figure cops have better things to do than to hassle people about dogs barking or to give the young punks fits about the ass-nasty rap music they like to blare through their sub-woofers.  I’m not saying I like it when people let their dogs bark incessantly or when anyone plays rap music, but I’m sure I do things to annoy people too.   

Jerry got an interesting piece of junk mail yesterday- from a cemetery up in Lewis Center (a small town about 25 miles out) extolling the beauty (and quoting pricing and payment plans) of having your very own pre-paid grave plot

I hate to say it but I find such a thing a bit macabre.  It’s one thing to realize you eventually might need one, and go trolling for grave plots on your own, but it seems just a bit morbid for a cemetery to be sending out flyers with the ValPak coupons. 

I am planning on being cremated if for no other reasons than to save money and space.  I should consider buying my urn ahead of time. 

If I leave it up to Steve-o I’ll end up spending eternity either flushed down the toilet, or in an old Folger’s can that Steve-o will eventually mistake for an ashtray.

I am going to have to compile my CD of  “Songs to Wake Jerry Up” for use when he’s hungover because he was partying like a rockstar the night before.

Here’s a preliminary list:

“Stars and Stripes Forever” – John Philip Sousa (this is a wake-up classic!)

Ren and Stimpy’s “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” song

“Shiny Happy People”- REM (it can be a just plain annoying song)

“Dixie Highway”- Journey

“Rock and Roll”- Led Zeppelin

“Crazy Train”- Black Sabbath

“Bastille Day”- Rush

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”- Nirvana

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”- Metallica

I could have fun with this collection.  I will have to troll my MP3 collection tonight and see what I can find. 

Something tells me I really don’t want to know.  After Steve-o did the 7/8″ earrings in his earlobes, I didn’t have the courage to ask him what else he has pierced.  Some things are TMI, even for me.