Bodily Effluvia, Bizarre Dreams, and Silence

snot monster

I hate snot.  Green snot, clear snot, yellow snot, brown snot, bloody snot.  Snot out the nose.  Snot out the mouth.  Snot down the back of my throat.  I’ve had it forever with snot.

Yet for the past four days, excessive snot, in all its disgusting, messy, and inconvenient forms, has been my sad reality.

Sunday I was tempted to grab a big piece of cardboard and a Sharpie and just write on it : CAN’T TALK / GO AWAY.  When I’m feeling crappy I want to be left alone.  Let me snot and sneeze and choke and spray snot chunks in relative peace.  If I need something That Bad, I’ll go get it.  Leave me alone to my vast stash of Nyquil and related patent remedies, so I can drift off to restless and strange dreams of swallowing aluminum cans, climbing mountains, and hanging out with the dude from Survivorman.  That is not a good show to fall asleep to.  Especially considering the dude eats bugs.  That is not normal.

Eating-Insects_photo_medium

I know, lean protein, but ewwwwwwwwww!

I know that someone like me who is highly prone to a surplus of bodily effluvia of the mucoid kind should probably sell everything and move to the desert.  The only problems with that are: 1.) Even if I sold everything I own, it wouldn’t get me much further than about Illinois, which is even worse than Ohio- worse climate, worse economically, etc. and so on.  2.) The desert, while dry, is HOT.  I don’t do heat worth a tinker’s damn, especially since the Menopause Fairy has come to stay.  I still get the wayward hot flash, even in below-freezing Central Ohio winter.

I’m stuck here, although I don’t refer to Central Ohio as the Armpit of North America any more.  Not since I’ve been to Detroit.  I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe in Purgatory, but if there were such a thing as Beezelbub’s Waiting Room, it would be located somewhere on 8 Mile Road.  The greater Columbus area is paradise when compared to Detroit, or even Cleveland.

detroit-house

Clark Griswold wants to know: “Hey, kids, you see all this urban blight?”

Hint: It’s what happens when the gimme crowd takes over.

Not being able to talk has its advantages- once people get it that your voice has taken a hiatus they tend to leave you alone- but it has disadvantages as well.

It wasn’t very fun trying to communicate in the Sprint store on Saturday.  My phone (admittedly it had gone long beyond its intended lifespan) bricked (bricked (v.) – to stop functioning, i.e. to effectively become a “brick.”) so I was more or less compelled to go to the Sprint store to get another phone so that communication with my son and other family members would still be possible.  Even if I can’t talk, I can still text.  If I have a working phone!!!

Even though the poor girl in the Sprint store probably had a hell of a time understanding me, she understood me well enough to retrieve my SD card from the old phone and transfer as much of my data as possible between the card and what I’d saved on Google.  My old phone was old, but it was still an Android phone. It had some of the new amenities. Even so, now I know to save ALL my contacts to Google and not just here and there.

Thankfully (and with a much lighter wallet) I left with a working phone that I can text on and play my MP3s with.  Well, a bit more than that.  OK, so I let the tech geek in me have a bit of fun and I got the Note 3 that Steve-o was raving on and on about.  I can draw pictures on it, and the camera’s better than my actual camera.  I like it a lot, so far.

galaxy-note-3-renderR-5-369041-13

At least I can text…and then some.

I’ve been so choked up with snot that I’ve been without a voice pretty much since Saturday morning until this morning, and what little bit I have, is a little bit.  I was able to drag my carcass in to work today which is a plus.  I don’t like to call off on Mondays, but there’s no sense in coming in if I can’t talk to anyone and I’m blowing snot chunks all over them to boot.  There’s also no sense in spreading whatever freaking germs are lurking in all that superfluous snot, although this time of year is a veritable germ smorgasbord no matter where you go or what you do.  At least I wasn’t on the SS Montezuma’s Revenge like all those poor suckers who paid out the wazoo for cruises.  I got good and infected right here at home, for free!

Cruise_Ship

Which is worse?  Shits or snots?

Even though I generally don’t get to pick, I think I can live with the shits better than the snots.  Although neither are to be envied.

Simply Enchanting, Insect Apocalypse, and Solitude is Elusive

When I was a child I was terrified of almost everything- strange people, especially strange men, cops, other kids (because left to their own devices they generally beat the hell out of me,) strange places, being shoved and locked in closets, and I had an obsessive fear of being shot to death through the window, which considering the neighborhood we lived in until I was about 7 years old, wasn’t as irrational as it sounds.  People in that little slice of redneck heaven liked to get drunk and shoot off their shotguns in the middle of the night, so who’s to say?  But my most overwhelming childhood fear by far was of flying, stinging insects.

I still have a pretty hearty dislike for these bastards.

It didn’t help that my sisters (especially the oldest one, who was sadistic as hell) liked to toss live wasps in my hair.  There’s a number of reasons why I wear my hair very short today.  It is cooler, easier to color, and much easier to style, granted.  It is also easier to keep it insect-free.  It was bad enough to have live wasps tossed in one’s hair, but far worse when you have insanely thick hair that goes down to your waist.  I still really hate anyone or anything- besides me- touching my hair.  I’m weird about any kind of touching anyway.  Going to the hairdresser every month or so for a simple cut (I color my hair myself) is a necessary evil, but I can’t say I enjoy it.

Anyway, I found it most distressing to be informed that the insect apocalypse has arrived in what was my grandparents’ house.  Dad had rented Grandma’s old house out to a dude for the past two years who paid his rent and lived there without incident, but said dude died about three days after Dad landed in the hospital.  The dude’s girlfriend had been keeping a dog there and for some reason the electric had been turned off.  So she left the place- rotten food in the fridge, dog shit all over the floors, and unauthorized insect life- just as it was.  Poor Spencer went in to examine the disaster and ended up completely covered in flea bites. God only knows, but I’m sure in that neighborhood that the roaches are living high off the hog in there, and possibly bed bugs too.  There’s no way in hell I’m going anywhere near that.

Just call the exterminator, or the crime scene clean up people.  It’s not worth it to try cleaning up that nightmare without having the Extreme Prejudice to do it.

I still don’t like bugs.  Especially ones that leave welts.

So, I hope, when Dad is able to deal with his rentals, that he just gets the exterminator in there and lets them de-bug the place.  I do not envy anyone the task of cleaning out a rotten fridge in high summer, but I would want the bugs annihilated first.  Again, I think the crime-scene people are the way to go.

 Some things may not technically be considered HAZMAT, but should be.

I did attempt- with little success- to get some quality leave-me-alone-dammit time in over the weekend.  Mom calling me at 7:30 on Saturday just after I’d fed the dogs, let them out, got them back in, and then got Jerry out the door was a nice, annoying touch, since she usually never gets up any time before 10AM.  I was hoping to be left alone Saturday at least between 8AM and noon but that wasn’t happening.  It’s my own fault for forgetting to turn the damned phone off.  It would be one thing had she been calling me for emergency purposes, but she was pretty much only calling me to bitch at me because Steve-o was rude to her and it was a rant that could have waited until later in the day, or even a rant she could have saved for one of her nosy friends.

To make it worse, when she got off the phone with me, no sooner than I’d hung up,  and before I had the sentience of mind to turn the damned thing off, Steve-o called me with his own 37 minute rant on why he’s pissed that I’m not paying for his emergency room visit back in April.  I listened to him vent, but pretty much responded with,  “It’s called ‘you’re an adult now,’ so now you have to pay for your own shit.”  It sucks enough that he’s still on my farking health insurance so my deductible and my weekly premiums are even higher.  Needless to say, the cougar nap was out of the question Saturday morning, because I was so pissed by the time I got off the phone with him- after both his and Mom’s tirades- that I figured I might as well screw attempting to nap or read or even to put in a Journey DVD.  I decided I might as well work off some of my aggravation and start the day’s business early.

Step one for a nice, solitary day: turn this son of a bitch OFF!!!

Admittedly since Dad’s surgery and stay at the rehab I have been loathe to turn the phone off just in case there is some sort of emergency.  The sad thing is that I have no way of knowing the difference between a bullshit/nuisance call and an emergency call.  Mom will call me for the most banally stupid things- usually when I am not in a good position to waste an hour listening to her vent about how she’s pissed that the WalMart messed up her scripts, or how much Dad whines about the food at the rehab place.  Believe me, she is going to hear his whining about the quality and quantity of food available to him even worse when he gets home.  He knows how to cook.  I would suggest to him that as part of his rehab and recovery that he get really good at preparing his own meals.

Steve-o will whine and cry to me about virtually everything from how much he can’t stand how hot it gets at work, to how much he doesn’t like having to get up with his daughter in the middle of the night when he’s home, to how torqued he is that he can’t spend every dime of what he earns on playing with his cars.  That gets old too.  I feel for him as he does have a grueling schedule right now, but he sort of brought a lot of that on himself.

There’s no rest for the wicked.  I ended up most of Saturday in WalMart with Mom (I don’t believe in purgatory, but dammit, that comes close- she’s slow and she knows everyone she sees) though I did get about half an hour in the Cougar Pool when I got home.  Sunday I ended up going back up there and spending most of the day with Dad at the rehab.  I hope he gets out this week, because I am going to stay home and in bed at least for a little while this weekend.  Unless I have to bring him food he can actually eat.

I think we all know how to prevent these- but I love antique posters and such.  This one is from WWI.

Not very politically correct, but it sure gets the message across.

The Power of Prayer, “No” IS an Answer, and the Freedom to Not Be In Control

I am a control freak.  I freely admit it.  While I may not completely agree that Asperger’s syndrome should be in the same category as autism, and I’ve never really thought of myself as being “autistic lite,”  (I do function fairly well out in the neurotypical world) but I can identify with the Rain Man really well on the whole routine and habit thing.  Although I don’t necessarily insist on buying my underwear at K-Mart, (I don’t live anywhere close to a K-Mart, going in to the Wal Mart near me is more terrifying than being the last one left standing in an ’80’s slasher flick, so I generally go to Target for such things) I have a certain brand and style that I pretty much buy and wear exclusively.  I have certain things that I like and certain order I like to maintain in my world.  I only like to change my routine when it’s my idea. 

One of the really wonderful things about the Serenity Prayer is that it’s a big reminder on Who is really in control, and thanks be to God, it is NOT me.   That is a liberating statement.  The fate of the free world does not hinge upon whether or not things go my way or whether or not I screw things up or even if I forget to do things.  It really has absolutely nothing to do with me, so I am free to play word games on the DS and to turn up the volume on the TV when Jerry starts in on his drunk and stupid diatribes in the middle of the night.

As a child growing up with a Very Strict old-school Catholic mother (someday I will have to expound on old-school Catholic motherhood for those who never had the distinct privilege of enduring purgatory here on Earth) there were Acceptable and Non-Acceptable prayers. 

Acceptable prayers were: The Our Father (without the “and thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever” line that the “heathen Protestants” add on,) and the Hail Mary.  You could never go wrong, if you were asked to pray, if you said either the Catholic version of the Our Father, or the Hail Mary. 

Unless of course, you were asked to say Grace, which had to be Catholic Grace.  No “Protestant heathen” Grace, such as, “God is great, God is good and we thank Him for our food.”  You dared not even to use the longer Lutheran Grace which is often sung, and starts out with, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”  It had to be the “Bless Us Our Lord, for These Thy Gifts” prayer, that’s Catholic Grace, and Mom liked to always add a few lines on the end of  it about her friend Judy’s boils, or about starving kids in Africa, or a thinly veiled nag fest on how Dad needed to stop smoking (he eventually did do that) and straighten up and go to Mass and be converted to Catholicism (don’t see that happening, ever.) 

Acceptable Prayer also included confession.  It was OK to tell God how nasty you were for having fantasies about sending your sadistic older sister to Africa with the starving kids, or how you got the telemarketers to quit calling the house by telling them Mom is not home because she’s been committed to the Asylum for the Insane, and she won’t be back for a year or two. 

Non-Acceptable Prayers included such things as:

“Protestant heathen” prayers, unless you were praying for the “Protestant heathens’ ” conversion.

Praying for stuff for yourself such as money, a pony, a remotely human looking boyfriend, a dirt bike, clean socks, or new clothing that actually fits, of your own choosing.  You weren’t supposed to waste God’s time with your selfish demands when there were far more pressing problems in the world such as Judy with her boils, Dad puffing away on cigarettes whilst being a “Protestant heathen,”  and  of course, there’s starving kids in Africa.

Praying for retribution- even if your sisters really do deserve to either be sent to Africa or to be abducted by space aliens, and even if the boys who put the used condom in your book bag really should wake up with a wicked case of jock itch for their trouble.

I prayed for a lot of crazy things when I was a child, and if I were God (in retrospect) I would have had to say no also.  It’s probably a good thing that my sisters didn’t end up in Africa.  They’d have gotten wicked sunburn.  Nobody in their right mind would have given me a Porsche 911 when I was 16 either.   Nobody in their right mind would give me a Porsche 911 now that I’m 42.  The distressed Subaru DL with its vicious oil leak, and four different sizes and tread patterns of tires, that I did end up with when I was 16, was oddly sufficient.  But “no” is an answer.  I prayed to be tall.  I’m 5’4′, the perfect height for “petite” pants to be high waters and for “regular” pants to drag the ground.   God has a sense of humor.  I prayed to be physically attractive, or at least not to have “the face that stopped a thousand trucks.”  I have the proportions of a mutant troll, and I have a face and hair combo that would scare the bejesus out of small children and dogs if not for hair color and strategically placed makeup.  Again, God has a sense of humor. 

If nothing else, my purpose in being kept vertical and drawing breath is to keep the Clairol and Maybelline folks in business, as well as ensuring that someone will always be out there to buy capri pants, whether or not they are technically in style.

I don’t want to run the universe.  I’m happy enough to have my own TV remote.  At this point in my life all I ask is for the grace to take what I’ve been given and roll with it- to be rich enough that I am not forced to steal, and to have enough to share with others.  No, I will never be beautiful, or even free from excessive body hair without continual vigilance.  No, I will never have a doting spouse, or piles of money, or anything even close to what the world calls success.  So what.  I belong to God, and He has good plans for me- and they will probably even be funny.

If God said, “No,” then apparently I didn’t really need what I asked for.  God knows what I need, but a lot of the time I don’t have the good sense to see it unless He shows me.  A lot of times He has something a lot better for me than the thing I asked for that He said “No” to, but I would never gotten to that point without getting that “No” answer first. 

The importance of prayer is not so much in praying for the “right” things but in the whole process of seeking, knocking and asking (see Matthew 7:7-8.)  It’s OK to ask God for what in retrospect may be very silly things.  God always has the perogative to say “no.” 

I have more than a few friends and acquaintances who claim to be atheists, and they are free to believe there is no God. I can’t argue for the existence of God only to quote the words of a wise Lutheran Pastor- “If you are saved, it is to the glory of God alone, but if you are damned, the fault lies upon you alone.”   

But I fail to see a logical answer for life, for order, for the existence of the universe itself,  in random chance.  I fail to see any kind of omnipotence in mortal men.  Everyone who has attempted to “rule the world forever” has fallen in a blaze of failed glory.  Even those who have attempted to usurp power that isn’t rightfully theirs on a smaller scale have ultimately failed. 

I make a lot of jokes regarding the current President and what I consider to be his dangerous, evil and failed policies, but it really isn’t funny.  I know that Christians are called to pray for the leaders of their government- even when praying seems like a silly thing to do because the person or situation you’re praying about seems utterly pointless.  But sometimes God answers “Yes” to impossible things, because He is in control and I am not.

So I’ll keep on praying that Obama gets impeached- or at the very least that the damage he does do will be limited and fixable, and that his heart will be changed from evil to good.  God may say “No” to my prayers for very good reasons that I can’t see, but He still wants me to pray.  Even if it’s silly.  Even if it’s trivial. After all, what do we talk to our friends about?  Do we address our friends with rote quotes using archaic words like “thee” and “thine?” Do we shield our friends from the rather unsavory parts of our lives, and try to put up a happy front when in reality we are pissed off and want to take someone’s head off?

Prayer is just conversation.  Sometimes it’s silly, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s angry, sometimes it is the wordless, airless, deep-void lamentation of grief.  God wants to hear it all- not so much the memorized “thee” and “thine” stuff (though rote prayer can be a good starting point, especially when your mind has lost its words) but He wants all of us-  the heartfelt anguish and questioning of Job, the joy (and repentance) of David, and the humble trust and obedience of Mary. 

Save by the grace of God…

I’m glad He’s in control and not me.

Proven: The Total Depravity of Man, Earthly Purgatory Remembered, and Middle Age Rules

I was one of those wise-assed kids who most teachers really didn’t want to deal with.  Not only was I a whipping post as well as a social pariah amongst my peers, the teachers didn’t like me either, especially in elementary school.  Hindsight being 20/20, I fully understand why a young first grade teacher would be intimidated by a  freaky looking five year old whose current reading list included Dante’s Inferno, the KJV Bible, the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and whatever happened to be lying about the house or in the daily newspaper.  I highly doubt that too many teachers have had the dubious distinction of dealing with a hyperlexic  (or Asperger’s/hyperlexic, because parts of both of those descriptions fit) child, especially in the backwater town where I grew up.  I have all the sympathy in the world for any educator attempting to deal with a child like me.  You can take all the conventional child development theories and throw them out the window because I didn’t come close to following the patterns or the formal stages.  Erickson and Piaget did not encounter kids like me, I can assure you.  I could have had a lot of fun with them though.

I could read when I was two years old, and I can’t remember a time in my life when I couldn’t read.  I read voraciously as a child and still do.  The school system had absolutely no idea what to do with me, so in their wisdom they decided I should go directly to first grade at age five.  The only problem with this was at age five I was reading on the same level as a college freshman. I can just imagine how embarrassed my second grade teacher was when I used the word “sarcastic,” which apparently was not a word in her vocabulary.  She thought I was making up words- until I spelled it, defined it, and looked up the definition for her in the dictionary.  I was transferred to the other second grade class the next day.  That teacher didn’t like me much either.  As a child I made the simple mistaken assumption that if I knew something it was common knowledge.  Today I know better.   It’s safer for me to assume that if I know something, most other people don’t know, which is not a testament to my intelligence, but a sad commentary on the progressive dumbing down of society.  Intelligence is a constant and the population is growing.  I certainly don’t know everything- the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know- but I do know that humanity has continued to head downhill since the Fall.  No matter what society wants to believe regarding technology and the human ability to build utopia, utopia is not happening.  Utopia is not going to happen at the hands of humanity, believe that.   Dystopia is alive and well though. If anything, human beings just screw things up in ever more creative ways.  Even though I would not consider myself a Calvinist in regard to theology (I lean more along the lines of being a confessional Lutheran as far as theology goes) John Calvin had it 100% correct in his teaching on the total depravity of man.  We are all born with the brown touch.  Everything human beings touch eventually turns to, well, you know, poo.

I’m not implying that I was some kind of prodigy or anything like that.  To this day I can’t explain why I could read at such an early age.  I still struggle with math (anything beyond basic business math is out of my realm) and I have the physical coordination of a drunken mule.  I’m scatterbrained and disorganized.  I remember things I don’t need to, and forget things I need to remember.  I am not particularly social unless I have to be for business reasons, and no one would accuse me of being Miss Manners or Emily Post.  What you see is what you get.

I’ve been trolling some blogs written by middle school teachers lately (oh, my condolences on that career choice) and thinking of that dark portion of my life almost makes me believe in purgatory again.  Middle school had to be the absolute worst three years of my life.  There were some funny parts, most memorably the day Ellen stuck a roach clip on Howie’s belt loop and then locked him in the science room closet, but for the most part it was a living hell.

“Howie” was my eighth grade science teacher.  I have all the sympathy in the world for this poor guy.  First of all, even considering this was 1981-2, he could have used a few couture lessons.  The polyester high water pants and white socks with black shoes weren’t winning him any fashion accolades.  He also combed his hair into an Elvis-style pompadour waxed up with that greasy Brylcreem stuff.  To top it off he had thick (and also greasy looking) coke bottle glasses- the style of glasses referred to in the military as “birth control glasses.” 

I have to wonder if Howie was one of those guys who went to college to avoid going to Vietnam.  I had several teachers in middle school and high school who readily admitted to doing exactly that.  I bet some of them wished they would have gone to ‘Nam instead of dealing with the hellions I went to school with.  Education was one of the easiest majors to complete back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, so a lot of guys who normally would have ended up as factory workers or truck drivers or roofers ended up going to college to avoid the draft.  This probably explains why I was volunteered to correct spelling for my freshman English teacher, and why my sophomore history teacher spent every class period reading the day’s chapter to the class in a dull, dry monotone.

Anyway, poor Howie had his work cut out for him.  My eighth grade science class was filled with every misfit and jackoff in the school.  Howie, being rather soft spoken and somewhat of a wimp, didn’t have any kind of control over that class.  It was cacophony and chaos every day. Most days I left that class with my hair full of spitballs and/or nasty notes taped to my back.  

One of the girls- Ellen- who was 13 going on 35, had a thing for Marlboro reds, enjoyed sleeping with anything remotely male, and rolling up a joint of Marion County Homegrown whenever she could get it, usually sported a pink feathered roach clip attached to her hair like a barrette.  I can only assume that she kept the roach clip handy should the opportunity to smoke some homegrown come along. 

One day Howie was trying in vain to get people to shut up and stop throwing spitballs, eraser tips and other divers projectiles.  At the same time one of the boys decided it would be fun to grab my notebook and draw swastikas and SS lightning bolts on it.   At least he didn’t spit on it or smear boogers on it, which would have been more typical of this particular dude.  There were so many things flying through the air and so much noise going on that it was difficult to discern how many rules were being broken and to what degree.  It was in the midst of this tempest that Ellen sneaked up behind Howie and pinned her pink feathered roach clip on his belt loop.  Howie had absolutely no clue and went back into the back closet to get something, wagging his roach clip tail behind him.  Normally I didn’t take any kind of joy in others being tormented, being no stranger to torment myself, but this visual was so outrageously funny that the entire class was laughing themselves to tears and I was laughing right along with them. 

The science closet had a locking door on it.  A key was required to open the door from either side.  The key was on Howie’s desk as he usually left the closet door open.  Just when the visual of the roach clip tail couldn’t get any funnier, Ellen shut the door, locking poor Howie in the closet with no key.   The entire class (I hate to admit it but me included) was absolutely howling in uncontrollable laughter.

About  fifteen minutes later the principal showed up.  I can’t believe it took him that long to hear all the racket.  He immediately starts looking for Howie and then he hears the frantic pounding from inside the science closet.  Howie was eventually set free, but it took the principal awhile to find the key on the desk.  Rumor had it that Howie resigned from the school system following that school year from hell and got a job driving a bread truck.  I don’t blame him one bit.

Middle school thoroughly sucked.  Also in eighth grade I had the misfortune of being placed with a classmate who had been in all kinds of trouble with the law and technically should have been in Juvenile Hall- he was sixteen, still in eighth grade, and he was a pervert.  Granted, all sixteen year old boys are perverts to a degree, but this lecherous freak was way too close to me- the only thirteen year old in eighth grade with a 36C chest.  Every morning before home room this nasty dude would chase me around trying to grab said chest to the chant of “titty, titty, titty.”   This dude scared me half to death- but there was no way in hell I was going to let him grab me.  One morning he was particularly randy and had gotten very close to getting his wish.  It didn’t help that the other boys were egging him on.  Then my best friend decided she’d had enough of his behavior, so she tripped him.  He grabbed back at her, knocked her down and broke her leg.  The part of this that really torqued me was that she got in trouble for fighting as well as the pervo which in my mind was completely unfair.  I don’t agree with the common school rule that both parties in a fight get punished.  In my opinion there is an instigator and a victim and no one should face a penalty for defending themselves or for defending someone else who is being victimized.  So she got to finish out the school year in a cast.  The pervo ended up being expelled because he had caused so much additional trouble in the school, so that at least was a good thing.

I had a few small victories in middle school, but the best thing about it is that it is long since over. There were too many mornings of being thrown head first into garbage cans, stuffed into lockers, and being chased by a pervert.

There are those who say that they would like to be young again.   I would only want to be young again with one caveat- that I could be young again knowing what I know now.  I think I’d have a lot more fun with it.  Middle age has its disadvantages, but for the most part cougardom is a lot more comfortable.  I don’t worry about impressing anyone, and I don’t think I have to worry about being tossed into garbage cans, stuffed into lockers or being chased by perverts.   I don’t have to wear my sisters’ old clothes nor do I have to put up with guys asking for my phone number to call them for dates.