Smells Like a Man Cave, Return of the Prodigal Fanny, and Feral Cats

I don’t have much of a sense of smell.  Even as a child I had really bad sinuses and constant upper respiratory infections.  After years of working in and around noxious chemicals, smoking two packs a day and then some for years, and the fire extinguisher incident, I was told not to be surprised if I was never able to smell anything.

What sense of smell I regained after having sinus surgery a few years ago is vestigial at best and not terribly reliable.  The only odors I can detect are strong- I have to be really careful with perfume, for instance,  and the scents I can detect fairly well are usually offensive.  I seldom can smell the peonies in May for instance, but I can always smell cigarettes, man-funk,  puke or shit.  Go figure.  Sometimes I smell things that I know aren’t there, which is really bizarre.  I guess one could call that phenomenon “olfactory hallucinations,”  if there is such a thing. 

I didn’t realize why non-smokers are so militant about people smoking in their airspace until I had not smoked for a few years.  After I had sinus surgery I especially noticed how noxious cig smoke is.  I might not be able to smell Chanel No.5 unless I take a bath in it, but I can smell cig smoke just getting close to a smoker.  Go figure that if I can smell anything, it’s almost always going to be nasty.

I have to be really careful with my use of perfume.  I love the stuff, but in order for me to smell it I pretty much have to marinate in it, and others around me might not appreciate that so much. 

If I go with the “poison toad” mentality(bright colors, bold patterns being nature’s warning signal) regarding personal odor, then maybe I should marinate in Chanel No.5.  I would if I could afford it.  The dollar store knock off stuff is not the same, and I want to smell good to me.  I’ve always liked bold, brassy fragrances- I’m one of the few people who really likes Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew- probably because they’re the only ones I can truly smell.  Jerry hates just about every kind of fragrance (odd because he’s a hard core smoker) so I am lucky to get away with Sand and Sable or Inner Realm (which is hard to find but lovely.)  Chanel No.5 or Liz Taylor’s Passion (another wonderfully strong, bold perfume) completely gross him out.  He thinks the body lotions from Bath and Body Works are too strong.  Puh-leeze!

Mom always hated Youth Dew, and if I wore it around her it would give her migraines.  I have encountered not a few people who have had the same reaction, so I don’t wear Youth Dew any more.  Pity.  I like it.  Grandma (Mom’s  Mom) liked it too, (she wore it often, and presumably, by the gallon) and anytime I smell Youth Dew it reminds me of her.  The irony in that is if she were still alive, she’d be 95.

I just don’t want to smell offensive to others as in smelling like bad breath, skanky hair, pit funk,  nasty feet, or butt crusty.  I’d rather smell too fresh and flowery than not enough.

Fanny is the big silver and white tabby cat in the foreground.  Those who are familiar with the song “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen will get the “Big Fat Fanny” reference.  Fanny is a large cat by any standard, and there’s some big meat on those big bones.  She’s about 15#. 

Sunday night Fanny got out which terrified me as she is an indoor cat, she’s declawed, and she’s slow.  Yesterday morning I think she finally got hungry enough and realized that I would be doling out wet food to Fluffy Butt (the normal sized, long haired cat in the background) and Isabel (the 5# all black cat not pictured here.)   So as I went to the back door yesterday (Tuesday) morning, I heard the pitiful cries of a very large cat who likely hadn’t eaten much in the past 36 hours.  Though she didn’t look any worse for wear and certainly didn’t appear to have lost any weight, she snarfed most of the can of wet food (Isabel didn’t get much) and crashed out on the bathroom floor most of the rest of the day. 

All three of the cats like to watch the ferals that live out in the back yard and on the body shop lot, but Fanny is the only one who takes any sort of interest in wanting to socialize with them.   She’s three times the size of the males- and the ferals want absolutely nothing to do with her lard ass.  I am sure she probably was greeted with a cold shoulder when she decided to sneak out the back door.  When she made her way back she seemed to be quite delighted to be back in the house sucking up 9Lives and spreading out to sleep on the bath mat.

I am thankful she came back and is safe.  Even though she is a lard ass, and she likes to chew on my fingers and ears when the cat food bowl is empty, I have to love Big Fat Fanny Cat. 

I am one of those strange people who likes cats equally as well as dogs.  For a long time I only had cats, because I will only have dogs if I can have big dogs.  Our household is a bit unusual also in that the cats and dogs get along very well together.  Sheena can be mildly annoying to the cats at times but they know how to get away from her when she gets too rough.  Isabel likes to sleep on the dogs and clean out their ears.

I made the mistake of picking up one of the feral kittens out back.  They are about 12 weeks old now and are delightfully cute.  Unfortunately for me, even though grabbing him was easy (the kittens were all munching on some food we left out back) keeping hold of him was not.  This adorable grey and white kitten turned into a raging razorball of teeth and claws.  I guess these little ones are too old to be socialized now.  On the bright side, my puncture wounds are already starting to heal.

Am I the Only One Who Notices? and Final Send Off Faux Pas

The other day I commented that I don’t consider items that feature either Dale Earnhardt or Elvis to be art.  That reminded me of Dad’s buddy who used to own the Certified station in Marion.  This guy lived alone, but for a dude he had a rather bizarre decor.  Most of Dad’s single male friends’  homes  were decorated in the “Late 70’s Flea Market Meets Soft Porn” mode.  Many automotive supply companies (since they were marketing to almost exclusively men back then) gave out free nudie calendars and posters.  These freebie nudies made perfect wall hangings for these guys, and they also doubled to cover up the holes in the walls from their drunk and stupid adventures with dart games, beer bottle tossing, or target practice with the BB gun gone terribly awry.  But this guy was different.  His house was spotlessly clean and by some unnatural miracle of nature, it was actually color coordinated.  The fact that it didn’t smell like a barroom and there was a strange absence of filled up ashtrays, beer cans all over the floor, and various filth and detritus everywhere as is found in a typical man-cave, did not mean this place was in any way aesthetically pleasing.

Elvis was pictured on almost every item in his house- including the toilet seat.  The only difference between the one pictured above and Dad’s buddy’s Elvis toilet seat is that his Elvis was surrounded with powder blue instead of powder pink.

His lamps were ceramic Elvis busts, also poorly airbrushed.

If only I’d had a camera with me (photography was not nearly as quick and easy before the days of the digital camera and the USB cable) the pictures could have said it all.  Deep blue shag carpet in every room (including the kitchen!)  Elvis decals affixed to each of the kitchen cabinet doors and to the front of the fridge.  All the clocks had Elvis on them.  The pillows and throws on the couch had Elvis on them.  His drinking glasses and coffee mugs had Elvis on them. This place could have been confused with the Church of the High Holy Elvis- and it probably had more badly made, tawdry Elvis kitsch in it than Graceland.  Elvis was the King in this joint, alright- King of the potholders, the crapper, the Kleenex cover on the toilet tank, the lamps and the curtains, ad nauseam.  My retinas were so traumatized that I can never view an object with Elvis on it without either laughing my ass off or wanting to retch.

I had to speculate that perhaps this guy inherited the house with all the Elvis junk. I thought perhaps it was his Mom’s, and then maybe his Mom died and he just left the place the way she left it.  But I soon learned that his Mom lived a few houses down and (though I never got the opportunity to peruse it) legend had it that she had even more Elvis crud in her house.  Then I thought perhaps the Elvis decor was the doing of an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, but his girlfriend had been in prison in Arizona for the past four years.  So this guy was decorating his home in this bizarre fashion on purpose. 

Maybe I’m being  a bit critical, but I don’t think I can afford to be a big enough fan of anything to decorate my entire house with it.  Maybe when I am old and live alone I can get away with painting every room pink and filling my home with as much Hello Kitty kitsch as I can possibly find.  My friends (the few I have) know how weird I am so it won’t matter.  But I am not a big fan of all the home improvement type stuff.  If it doesn’t need replacing or painting, etc. I am not going to replace stuff just to replace it. 

One thing I did observe yesterday that I thought was kind of cool was as I drove by the beauty academy I saw one of the girls leaving with what looked like one of those Barbie makeover heads you used to be able to buy for little girls so they could learn to put makeup on them and do their hair.  “Angelica” (my sadistic oldest sister) had one of these.  I inherited it from the dog when she (the dog) was done with it, but the dog’s attempts at beautification left Barbie Head snatched nearly bald and rather toothmarked. 

Anyway, for a split second I thought I’d like to have one of these, only with short black hair and a pale white complexion, so I can experiment with makeup before I actually try it on my own face.  Then I realized that it would just be easier to cut out the middleman.  I only wear makeup to keep people from trying to bury me anyway.

Ironically my poor Aunt Ellen never wore makeup until she was dead. 

The whole business of dolling up a deceased loved one for the viewing reminds me of my poor Aunt Ellen.  She was my great-grandmother’s sister, and was 84 when she died back in the late ’80’s.  Unlike my great-grandmother, she was one of those very conservative old ladies who belonged to one of those Pentecostal churches that forbade women to wear makeup or even to wear pants. I think when funeral people dolled her up for the Final Ride, either death had not done her appearance any favors, and/or they really got confused.  Her face was so heavily orangey-pancaked and rouged that it looked as if they were making her up to look like one of the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 


To make it even worse, they put some sort of orange day-glo lipstick on her that I swear was so bright it would have fluoresced if someone would have turned on a black lite. (This was a woman who never even wore lipstick until she was dead!)  And she was decked out in one of those Horrible Pink Nighties that funeral homes typically put on old women- the ones that look like someone’s prom dress gone seriously wrong, to boot.  I’m just glad they didn’t try to dye her hair green.

The icing on the cake (and as potentially disrespectful as it was, I could barely keep from explosive laughter by this time) was when my remaining elderly relatives filed by the coffin and remarked, “Doesn’t Ellen look goooood?”  All I could think was – “Have you guys been to LensCrafters lately?”  Ellen looks pretty dead to me!

I’m thinking at best, Ellen looked like an escapee from the Oompa-Loompa Prom, but what do I know?  There’s only so much that mortuary science can do. 

That’s one of the reasons why I want to be cremated.  I don’t want anyone filing past my coffin and commenting, “She looks better dead.”