The Wonderful World of Online Reviews and Other Assorted Subjectivity

black flag
I never realized just how entertaining Amazon reviews can be.  I went trolling online for reviews on a perfume I’ve been thinking about buying.  I like fragrances, even though I have to take a French bath in most colognes just to smell them at all. The only ones I can enjoy in slight doses are the really, really strong ones such as Liz Taylor’s Passion, Esteè Lauder’s Youth Dew or Opium.  I really like all three of those fragrances, although I don’t dare wear any of them, because Jerry says they all smell like a combination of “nursing home” and bug spray.
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So in my quest for more subtle scents, I check out the reviews, and stay away from the Dollar Store knock off shelf.  I have been assured by more than one person that the dollar store shit that is supposed to smell like Chanel No.5 (and it does- to me) really smells like a combo of Black Flag and drain cleaner.
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I did find an eau de toilette I found intriguing called Dahlia Noir by Givenchy, which I am going to try in spite of this review-
All I can say to this one is that I’m glad that I’m not “Dave’s” old lady:
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
 on November 18, 2014
I got this for my lady friend. It covered up her stink real nice.
“Dave’s” review notwithstanding, his comment reminded me of something Jerry would say, which sort of swayed my decision toward buying it.  I am a believer in stringent personal hygiene, and I’m pretty uptight as far as observing stringent personal hygiene practices at all times.  I shouldn’t have a “stink.”  Even so, hygiene practices aside, one can’t be too careful about one’s olfactory impact upon others when one’s sense of smell is pretty much transitory and unreliable at best.  So I do like to indulge in wearing a sensible and pleasing fragrance- just in case.
***
vagisil
I’ve never been the outdoors type, and I hate to be dirty or to sweat.  So I’ve never really had a need for Vagisil, but if I did, this is the most glowing review I encountered:

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful

By Geekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2004

Style Name: Original Size: 1 Ounce (Pack of 1)

It smells like burning fur, but who cares? If you’re out in the middle of the woods camping, or on a forever road trip and you haven’t had a chance to change your drawers in a day or two, chances are, your unmentionable areas are gonna get itchy. Some areas are more sensitive than others when it comes to persistent itching and scratching. Vagisil allows you to temporarily relieve the itch so you can concentrate on driving or sleeping instead of scratching your parts off.

Remind me to never put myself in a position where I don’t get to “change my drawers” and hose off at least from the waist down, Every Freaking Day. Some areas were never meant to be scratched.  If my nether area were to itch so bad I can’t drive, I think it’s time to see a doctor, not time to run out and buy some over the counter cream that smells like burning fur.
morality
Too bad a gauge like this doesn’t really exist.
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I have been accused at many points in my life of being highly subjective in my assessments, which is a bit ironic considering that I tend to be logical and pragmatic rather than emotional and flighty.
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Perhaps those assertions are based on the fact that I can have rather narrow parameters for passing a judgment or making a decision.  I make up my mind very quickly, and usually based upon the information I have on hand that I deem relevant at the moment.  I’m not one to hunt and peck or hem-haw around. The only disadvantage to that is that unless I make a conscious effort to do otherwise, I can be very closed minded and unwilling to try new things.  I know that a love of the familiar and a desire for order and routine go hand and hand with the way I’m wired, (oh, the joy of navigating the autistic landscape!) and sometimes I have to purposefully override familiarity, order and routine in order to learn anything, or to do anything fun.
***
I think rigid would be a better word to describe my decision making process than subjective. 
mutter museum2
I realize that my tendency toward rigidity makes spontaneity almost impossible. The older I get, the more difficult spontaneity gets.  I’ve been meaning to take that day trip to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. It’s not necessary for me to take Steve-o with me, which is good because his schedule is nearly impossible (although he would thoroughly enjoy it.)  I’m not afraid to travel alone, and have done it before, so what’s the big deal about a 500 mile (one way) road trip?
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Yes, I would need to book a motel room as well as make my admission arrangements in advance. I would have to see that Jerry takes care of the dogs for a couple of days.  They have survived being alone with him before.  I’m really good at trip planning, and this one wouldn’t be terribly expensive… so why haven’t I done it yet?
***
True, I have never been to Philadelphia.  I am concerned about crime, such as carjacking, rape, robbery etc. because those things happen in densely populated urban areas, but crime is just as statistically likely to happen right here in central Ohio.  Granted, I know the times and areas to avoid here, but would the additional risk of being in an unfamiliar urban area be statistically significant?  Probably not.  I have traveled alone in the rural South which is statistically safer- but if you were to be a crime victim somewhere down in the hollers, let’s just say your body and/or your car may never be seen again.
***
I need to shut up and just go. The medical oddities await.

Self-Restraint is Not One of My Strong Skills, and Isolation is Good for Me (and Everyone Else!)

joan

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m having a currently shitty run so far this year.  Never mind I’ve been bloody sick with the screaming snots since New Year’s Day and sleeping every moment that I possibly can manage to- when I’m either not at work or hawking up snot.  The past two weekends I’ve not bothered to move much beyond my bed.

There is no way I’m calling off for spewing snots, because everyone else (conveniently) already has.   I think the guys around here call off for hangnails, zits and even excessive vaginal sand, as wussy as they are.

As long as I can somewhat remain vertical and I’m not puking or having a hate/hate relationship with Montezuma, I will function, even if it is by being jacked up on cold medicine and Sinus Plumber spray.  It sucks.  At least I did finagle a 10 day antibiotic script, and the sinus infection part of it is starting to clear up.  The green snot is going away anyway.  The clear, and brown, and bloody snot is still stringing along though.

Sinus-Plumber--801x1024

This stuff burns like hell, but breathing is worth the burn!

Then to add a fantastic steaming hot turd to the top of this phlegmy mess is that I got rear-ended in the Target parking lot last Wednesday.  I’m sicker than hell, strung out from another stressful short-staffed day at work, it’s 3º below zero, and then some foreigner rear ends me.  I can only imagine the vision of the she-behemoth-bitch-beast that jumped out of the driver’s door on that fateful evening. The only good parts: a.) wasn’t my fault, and the other guy’s insurance (yes he had it) has to pay, and b.) the other vehicle was an SUV and has not even a mark on it.

The bad news?  I was in the Corolla and my rear bumper fascia is toast, and the left quarter panel and decklid are damaged.  It’s about $2500 worth of aggravation and God only knows how long to get it fixed.  I’m consigned to driving the truck (no, a 2010 Tacoma 4X4 is not a bad ride at all) which is not so bad except the interior smells like a dragon’s colon thanks to Jerry using it as a smoking lounge.

Jerry also has no sense of vehicle interior feng shui.  I found loser lottery tickets from 2011, various food wrappers from a variety of establishments, including Taco Bell and Waffle House, Pepsi Max cans, used Kleenex, a flannel shirt, an NRA ball cap, and assorted flotsam and detritus.  I’m sure he will love the fact that I douched the whole interior really good with lavender Febreze.

wpid-20150107_173054.jpg

I guess I’m just not supposed to have anything nice.

I’m sure this poor foreign guy and his wife probably thought I was some sort of snotting, rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth bitch when I got out of the car.  Even though his English skills weren’t the greatest, he was shoving that insurance card at me with the quickness.  It probably didn’t help that I refused to move the car until I at least called the police, (and apparently the word “police” is pretty high on the list of words taught in ESL classes… because the guy was really freaked when I said, “I’m calling the police,”) who conveniently won’t come out in inclement weather unless you have to call the squad.

I could have feigned injury, but then I would have been transported to the same hospital where the (hot, but clueless) male nurse in the exam room called me Mildred and asked about my diarrhea, and I would probably rather be dead than experience that particular medical facility ever again.  That, and I really don’t want to end up paying for a meaningless and aggravating trip to any ER unless I am near death or already dead, and not just suffering from the screaming snots and the fuming anger that accompanies having to deal with a trashed car.   Ironically, any other time in beautiful Central Ohio there would be cops and fire trucks and squads and sirens galore, unbidden, stopping traffic for miles for the least of fender benders, but apparently not when it’s 3º below.

ambulance-ford-E350

The moral of the story- only get rear ended if it’s a bright, sunny day!

I’m sure my family is sort of pissed at me too because for the past 2 weeks I’ve felt too shitty to make the trip up there.  I also don’t want to share my mucoid maladies with anyone up there, especially Dad, who gets sinus infections and pneumonia easily enough anyway. This weekend I probably won’t either, even if I am feeling better, because I’m sure Jerry might like to use his truck for something.  I know it sounds bad because I really do miss my granddaughter, but going up north every Sunday is a bit of a pain in the ass, and usually costs me money I’d rather not have to spend.  This weekend I might just lock myself in my room and troll for new reading material and enjoy my DVR’d episodes of Brickleberry. Isolation might be healthier for me and for anyone who might surround me for awhile anyway.

cheerup

I hope so.  Because I’m rather despondent at the moment.

Granted, Jerry works at the body shop that is going to be (someday?) fixing my car.  The bad part of this is that it’s winter and there’s been ice storms, so every body shop in a 50 mile radius is booked at least 6 weeks out, and this isn’t getting done anytime soon.  Technically I can drive my car the way it is even though it looks like shit, but that could make things more complicated to fix, and I really don’t want to screw with it until the other guy’s insurance adjuster approves all the (proper) repairs.  This car is a 2014 with less than 10 K on it, and they aren’t going to get away with a half ass job.  I didn’t ask for this shit and it wasn’t my fault.  I need my car back the way it was before Julio or whatever his name was saw fit to ruin the ass end of it.

 

People Are Frustrating and Vexing, but Solitude Brings a Strange Kind of Fun

  warmandfuzzy

I am not the poster child for things touchy-feely.  I loathe strange people touching me (even getting my hair cut is an adventure, though I endure it because I can’t cut my own hair with any degree of accuracy) and generally I’m not too thrilled about being groped by those I do know.  Unless they’re dogs, and that’s OK.  Why, I don’t know, but dogs are safe, at least for me.  Even when I was a little kid and was terrified of the world, from my sadistic oldest sister to unauthorized insect life, I had no problem climbing the fence and snuggling up to a 120# Rottweiler.

rottweiler

It’s not usually the big dogs you have to worry about.  Unless you’re up to mischief, that is.

The only dog I can remember having any kind of problem with was Andy the Chihuahua, but he was likely the product of many generations of inbreeding, and from the moment he was whelped he was certifiably messed up in the head.  He was my cousins’ dog, and even they couldn’t touch him.  It’s a good thing that pathetic little Andy, with his  high-pitched, constant and annoying yappy voice, severe underbite and thick cataracts,  (I think the wretched thing was born blind) didn’t live past the age of five. I’m surprised he lived as long as he did.   I think the only thing that saved him was that he was too evil for the cats to eat him.  He reminded me of a wind-up toy with an over-wound spring.  Such a toy will go like blue blazes- for a little while- then it just dies suddenly.  I think it was reported that poor Andy bit the big one mid-yap.  I don’t think he was very much missed.

psycho chihuahua

Andy the psycho Chihuahua is the exception, not the rule in the canine world.  Humanity is the exact opposite.

There is a sad irony that I feel safer with animals that technically are the same species as wolves (canis lupus familiaris is not far removed from canis lupus lupus after all) than I do with fellow humans.  But I do.

I’ve gathered from my own observations that “normal” people (begging the question, “Who defines ‘normal’?,” though I know I am most certainly anything but “normal”) generally have an easy time relating to other “normal” people.   While I’m usually looking for excuses to avoid excessive social interaction, as too much of playing that game wears me out, the “normals” blithely seek out more opportunities to be in each others’ faces.    I have to work at the communication game.  Really. Hard.  I have to consciously know which façade to pull out, and what (figurative) costume to wear for which occasion.

I have to pay attention to things that come instinctually to most, such as eye contact and body language and tone of voice. Otherwise, if I’m not paying attention, I just stare straight ahead and bellow out everything in a loud monotone.  I have acquired social skills- and over the years I’ve trained myself to practice them well- but that whole hoo-hah wears me down, just as the social dance energizes most people.

hermit

Sometimes I’d like to tell the whole world to bite me sideways and say screw it all, (and I would if I had the scratch to live as a recluse) but necessity dictates that I have to put up with other people and their shit.  Maybe it’s wrong or arrogant or selfish of me to see things that way, but that’s just the way it is.  That’s my reality-constant vigilance and constant anxiety, because I have to pay close attention to every word and every movement, at least when I am under others’ scrutiny.

Maybe that was where Shakespeare got the notion that all the world’s a stage.  Performing is hard work, and sometimes I just don’t wanna.

I don’t have to play the game with dogs- or even cats for that matter.   With them I can just be.

There are times I do enjoy the relational hoo-hah and find it a strange kind of fun, but it’s fun that I really only need in small doses, and even when I do enjoy it, it wears me out.  Right now I’m exhausted, and in a way I wish I could beg off human contact for a few months or so.

14corolla

What I really need is a nice, long solitary road trip.

I could use one of those trips where I leave, go somewhere randomly, do whatever, and then come back.  The last time I really did that was back in 1987, and I caught hell for it.  Of course, going 500 miles out with $150,  in a car that had no air conditioning, leaked oil horribly, had 4 balding (different sizes and treads) tires and a top speed of 45 MPH wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t dream of trying it today, especially without a phone, but those were different times.   Cell phones were expensive toys hard mounted in expensive cars back in 1987.  I was a young punk and wanted to do what I wanted to do, even if I didn’t have much scratch and my car was a very distressed, high mileage ’79 Subaru DL.   Today I would be afraid of being raped and robbed (well, in my case, probably just robbed and shot) if I would happen to get stranded.  Today I have plastic (though I am quite loath to use it) a modern car, a phone, GPS, roadside assistance and a (always loaded) .357 Magnum.

I’m not nearly as trusting as I used to be.

Jerry would have nine kinds of fits if I did something like that.  He would accuse me of being out trysting with some smoking hot young stud even though he (especially) should know I have the sex appeal of stale saltines and wet socks.    In reality he would miss subjecting me to his tirades, and would miss me fetching his food and beer.

Yes, a solitary road trip would be most delicious.  Even a day trip would be good.

Discipline Your Kids, A Fresh Outlook, and I Need a Road Trip- Bad

toddler-tantrum

Do your kids a favor- teach them to behave like civilized people- at least in public!

When I was growing up in the dark ages of the 1970s-early 1980s, acting out in public was a sure fire way to get yourself beaten into the next county by the next nearest adult.  If you were unfortunate enough to be beaten out in public by a non-parental adult, when one’s parents did find out, (and they always did)  you were beaten again- to make sure you were beaten good enough.  Now people are afraid to even say anything to someone else’s miscreant child, fearing the wrath and possible litigation by the parents.  That sucks.  There are a good number of kids I see out in public that could use a good old fashioned hiney-warming.  I’d do it… if I thought the parents would have the good sense to back me up.  I guess they would rather announce to the world that their children are being raised by wolves than to administer a bit of well placed correction.

There was no sparing the rod (or spoiling this child) in my family.  Believe that.

Mom (being the good Catholic mother she aspired to be) would beat the daylights out of you for messing up the Catholic Calisthenics during Mass.  Even if you were a toddler (sorry, NO nursery) you did not sit when the rest of the congregation kneeled, nor did you stand when the rest of the congregation sat.  You did not have a coloring book, crayons or Cheerios.  You sang every word to every hymn, and you did not fail to respond with the correct responses as printed in the Missal.

 

Missal

The word “Missal”- for those who were fortunate enough to have been raised in a Protestant tradition-isn’t a typo.  I am a bit of a spelling Nazi after all. “Missal” is sort of the Catholic how-to guide to Mass, and is never to be used as  a “missile,” as in a projectile to throw at an annoying sibling.  Even though my sisters did.

kid fight

Siblings fight.  So why do people have multiple children?  Especially if one of them just ends up being a punching bag?

As an adult I can appreciate liturgical worship- and I do- but it was baffling to me as a kid.

Sunday morning Mass sort of went like this:

Dad drops us off at church.  Dad did not do Mass.  Ever.  He would be back in about an hour or two.  Church wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, especially in a church where, as he would say, “the preacher wears a dress.”

priest robes

Follow Mom up the steps and (unless you wanted dragged out by the hair and back handed within an inch of your life) don’t forget to bless yourself with holy water and genuflect (another foreign word for Protestants- kneel before you walk down the aisle to find a seat because you’re approaching the altar) before sitting in whatever seat she thinks you should sit in.  Mom liked to park us in the second or third pew from the very front- where the priest can be sure to give you the stink eye any time the word “hell” is mentioned.  Hope and pray that (as usual) I didn’t get sandwiched between both sisters and therefore was open to assault from both sides.

Find the Missal.  Follow the instructions to the letter even while being poked, prodded, pinched and wet willie’d from both sides.

Spend a few minutes wondering why Jesus chooses to live in the funky gold box where the communion wafers were stored-  when He’s not out and about looking for sins and finding reasons why you should go to hell, that is.

Sing the closing hymn and hope Mom didn’t decide to chit-chat with every single one of her old bitty friends on the way out, although it was inevitable that she would.

It’s a wonder – or should I say a gift of the Spirit- that I can set foot in church at all.  But that is a very long story.

cathedral-in-Milan-752811

I do appreciate the aesthetic of Gothic architecture, especially if we don’t try to jack it up by doing a “70s update” on a 19th century (or earlier) building.  The church I went to as a kid was one of those beautiful Gothic style churches- until someone decided the interior needed a cheesy 70s update that included green astroturf carpet, everything painted white and green (acck!) and just plain hokey furniture.  Either you want to go modern or have the Gothic aesthetic, but the two styles don’t mix.  It’s church, not steampunk (which is half ways tolerable, ’cause steampunk is cool) and definitely not the set of “The Price is Right,” which is what that hideous “renovation” reminded me of.

price is right

Just substitute green for red, and that was pretty much how tacky it looked.

Church would have been a bit more interesting with Bob Barker.  At least when I was a little kid.  Grandma loved “The Price is Right.” That was back when Bob Barker still dyed his hair.

I need a road trip but don’t really have anywhere I want to go or, should I say, can afford to go and have time to go.   I still want to go to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and I’m going to have to figure out the logistics.  I have to go to my nephew’s graduation in NC next month, but that’s more of a “have to” than a recreational pursuit.  Not to mention Dad scares the living hell out of me with his need for speed while driving in the mountains.  I’ve never been comfortable with mountain driving- especially considering we will probably be in their Dodge minivan.   It will probably be my luck it will be rainy and windy too while he’s going 90MPH down a 6% grade.

The last time I let Dad drive on a road trip,  I closed my eyes and put the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” on repeat.  That helped.

I really, really need some quality ivory tower time, as in several days of being completely away from dealing with other humans.  The bad thing is that’s not going to happen.

Ignorant and Blithely Oblivious, Part 1

sword of Damocles

It’s going to drop.  Murphy’s Law says so.

It has been said, “ignorance is bliss.”  Perhaps in the short term that’s true.  It’s sort of hard to have fun when one can see the Sword of Damocles hanging over one’s head.

I remember the most miserable vacation I’d ever had.  When I was in seventh grade I had a rather difficult time with math, and I didn’t particularly like the math teacher to boot.  She was one of the teachers that assumed that since I had aptitude for and achieved in every other subject that I should excel in math as well.  Yeah.  Right.

Reportcard1915

In those days you got a report card every six weeks, that your parent/guardian/resident adult had to sign and return to the teacher.  In my family it was worse than that- DAD had to sign it, as his signature is rather ornate and hard to copy.  He always perused my report cards with particular scrutiny before signing them.  Anything less than straight A’s usually got me grounded, and usually the only subject that was difficult for me to get an A in was, of course, math.

That six weeks before Thanksgiving break I’d barely ended up with a C- in math class, as well as the teacher had included a nasty note on the report card that implied that I was a horrible slacker because I didn’t do well in her class.

The signed report cards were due back the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Joy.

Dad wasn’t particularly worried about report cards that Thanksgiving break as he was preoccupied with a long-planned trip to my grandmother’s in St. Louis.  Normally I would be thrilled about getting to see my grandmother (Mom’s Mom) who I only got to see once or twice a year and, if I was lucky, for a week or two in summer, but this was a miserable trip.

 vacationfamily truckster

I’d rather have been stranded with the Griswalds.

I kept wondering when Dad was going to ask about report cards, and/or when my oldest sister would remind him.  She was normally quite anxious to get hers signed.  She usually got mostly A’s and a B now and then.  Dad didn’t usually give her any trouble unless she got below a B in anything.  But even my sadistic oldest sister wasn’t in any real hurry to show off her report card this go-round. I would discover later that she had gotten 3 B’s and a bad conduct comment from the gym teacher, which wasn’t quite normal for her either.   Her conduct usually was bad- no surprise there- but she was generally very good at hiding her sadism from adults.  It was unusual for her to get caught.

My other sister always got crappy grades (Dad usually didn’t get on her if she at least got C’s)- but she had mostly C’s and one D- so she wasn’t in any hurry to have Dad sign her report card either.  None of us had the courage to hit Dad up for signatures until the last minute- mostly because nobody wanted to spend an eight hour road trip (one way) listening to Dad seethe and fume on about how bad our grades were.  I know I didn’t want to be around Dad in close proximity for four days when he’s pissed.  Let him be pissed on Monday when he’s at work and I don’t have to deal with it.

Even so, all I could think about the entire trip was a.) the inevitable browbeating I would get over Mrs. Vitriol’s (not her real name) catty comments, and Dad’s predictable volatility and malaise for the next six weeks. I wouldn’t be going anywhere besides school and the library for a long time.

teacher_behaviornote_sample

Mrs. Vitriol’s note was NOT this nice.

I actually tried to find an example of a “nasty note from school” online, and uncovered nothing more than vapid entreaties to parents that they should encourage Suzie or Jimmy to be his or her “best self” tomorrow or similar tripe.   My note was to the effect of, “Your daughter is lazy and doesn’t care if she achieves in my class or not.”  A little something to make Dad go medieval on my sorry ass.   Which he did- with extreme prejudice.  Nothing got Dad hot faster than having any teacher accuse me of slacking in school, warranted or not.

The sad irony is that math was the only class I ever really did study for.  It just didn’t make sense to me, and still doesn’t once I get beyond what I call “accounting math-” the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division one needs to navigate in daily life.   I can balance a checkbook, I can figure out what kind of mileage I get, and so forth, but that’s about the extent of my mathematical ability.  It was a real struggle for me to get to the point of having that much understanding.  I have about as much aptitude for things mathematical as I do for sports.

I would have had a lot more fun on that trip to my grandmother’s if I hadn’t gotten that report card until after vacation.  In that instance maybe ignorance would have afforded a little bit of bliss.

life easier when stupid

Perhaps, but intellect has its advantages.

The Grateful Dead said, “I may be goin’ to hell in a bucket, baby, but at least I’m enjoyin’ the ride.”  Apparently that’s how the ignorant go through life.

hell in a bucket

Biker Wisdom 101

One thing I can say for that philosophy is it probably cuts down on stress.  After all, most stress comes from worrying about things that never happen anyway.  Unfortunately I find myself taking the Murphy’s Law approach most of the time.  I figure everything’s going to go wrong anyway.

In all seriousness, though, worrying about things that a.) will happen anyway, and b.) I can’t change, really is a waste of time.

The Frequent Whizzer’s Club, Deaf is Not Dumb, and What Fools Believe

I survived.  500 miles, give or take a mile or two, is not a terribly short trip. I managed to get back in just about 9 hours, which is not bad time for someone who gets a bit wigged out by mountain driving, and is doing good to drive 200 miles at a time without having to stop and whiz.   Central Ohio is flat.  I have no problem with driving in the city, but I don’t have to deal with either curves or grades too much here.  There’s something unnerving about mountain driving when you’re not used to it.    I’ve seen a bit of the carnage that comes off the rural Interstates, and it’s not pretty.

The route I prefer is about 30 miles longer than going via the WV Turnpike, but I don’t go on the Turnpike for a number of reasons.  First of all, the Turnpike is a toll road.  Second of all, the speed limit is 75 and should be 45.  The last time I drove the Turnpike the speed limit was 55, and that’s way the hell too fast for those curves and grades.  Perhaps if I had a suitable rally car (i.e. VW GTI…) I would find the curves and grades exciting, but all I can envision in the Yaris is being blown off a hillside by either a big truck or a nice gust of wind.  42 MPG has its trade-offs.  Weight is one of them.  The Yaris is a light car with a moderate suspension, which is optimal for most road trips, but not for extreme mountain driving. Wind is its nemesis.  I have no logical reason to drive the Turnpike, and no pressing reason to find myself stranded in the middle of WV.  Let’s just say hotel accommodations down in the hollers can be a bit primitive, and the nearest trauma center is clear the hell back in Columbus.

I’ve been around body shops way too much.  I  often visualize the worst.

Granted, this dismembered Audi met its fate on the Autobahn, where there are very few speed restrictions.  I don’t see any blood and guts though, which meant that German engineering must count for something.  The driver likely survived.

Taking I-71 to I-75 to I-40 is the least offensive, though not technically the fastest route.  Most of that route takes one through the rolling hills of Kentucky- lots of horses and tobacco fields and, as Jerry was quick to point out, truck stops with $30 a carton cigarettes. If I had to take the Turnpike, it would be a few miles shorter, but any time gained would have been spent scraping the crap out of my pants.  The worst part of the trip is that stretch of I-40 between the Tennessee border and where my sister lives, in Old Fort.  When you see runaway truck ramps, going downhill is a tad bit disturbing- especially when Dad’s driving and he’s pushing 90, changing lanes, and laughing like a teenage kid.

This scares the living hell out of me.

Speaking of frequent whizzing, I don’t think Dad can make it 100 miles without having to whiz. I thought I was bad about constantly having to hit the head, and Mom’s not much better, but geez! I swear we stopped about 8 times on the way down, including munching as well as whizzing, which is why it took us 11 hours to get down there, in spite of Dad mistaking the Yaris for a rally car and doing about 85 all through that nice little stretch of I-40 from the Tennessee border all through NC.  The Yaris is not a rally car.  It will do 85 in the mountains, but suffice to say it’s ill advised.  I’m glad I was sitting in the back seat, trying to distract myself with the DS.

Suprisingly, Sheena is not weird about touch- as long as she can see you.

I’m still trying to get it through my own thick skull that Sheena can’t hear at all.  Many dogs with her coat pattern are deaf.  All puppies are born deaf, but if her deafness is inherited, she simply never acquired hearing at the age of two weeks like normal dogs do.  She compensates amazingly well, but knowing she’s deaf makes her shortcomings easy to understand.  She survives on what she can see and smell and even feel (she is very sensitive to touch and vibrations.)   Motion is a huge trigger for her.  Her peripheral vision is amazing- but stand directly behind her and she’s oblivious.  If she can’t see you, and you don’t stomp on the floor behind her, she has no idea you’re there.  To me that would be a scary way to go through life, but she has never known anything different.  You deal with life using what you’ve been given.  Sheena has survived and adapted remarkably well. Somehow she’s ended up incredibly outgoing and affectionate.

OK, a little original artwork of mine, in honor of Miz Izz.  Black cats are awesome.

I’m not much of an artist.  Sometimes I like to scribble about, and this actually looked kind of cool.  Of course, black cats are always cool.  If I were required to have a tattoo, which I’m not, and I don’t see it happening, I wouldn’t mind a cool design like this.

The 1950’s were such an innocent time.  Hell, all the TV on back then probably was educational.

Today Motorola’s claim to fame is cell phones, but back in the days of black and white TV, it was a popular brand.  This ad (and all those lovely “More Doctors Smoke Camels” ads) only goes to show that advertising is exactly that: an attempt to convince you to buy crap, even if it might kill you.

1950’s TV- no TruTV, no Investigation Discovery or Science Channel or History Channel.  That would have to have sucked, but not knowing any better, kids went outside to play.  Even in the 1970’s the TV landscape- at least for kids- was pretty bleak.  Mom didn’t mind us watching Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street.  Saturday morning cartoons such as the Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Fat Albert and The Hairbear Bunch were OK too, but usually she turned the TV off when Soul Train came on.  Soul Train was not appropriate, because 1. the girls didn’t wear enough clothes, and 2. they “dance dirty.”

Mom had no idea how much worse the world of “dance” was going to get.

Mom grew up in Catholic school, so I can understand her distress at this girl going braless, and shaking her booty, but this was long, long before Marion County got a Wal Mart.  If you want a true clothing FAIL, that’s the place to go.

And it doesn’t mean “Fantastic.”

Have you no self respect?

Domestic Insanity and Drunk-n-Stupid Meet Passive-Aggressive Revenge

I know better.  I really do.

I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about taking Mom and Dad down to NC this Saturday.  I really doubt if Dad should be travelling this far this soon after open heart surgery, and I am freaky about taking him down in places where medical assistance is either not available or, if it is, it is, shall we say, primitive.  My sister lives in the middle of nowhere, and you have to drive through 12 hours of mostly nowhere to get there.  On the positive side Dad goes to his Dr. again tomorrow, and I will know for sure then if he will be OK to go, at least on a medical evaluation.

Another thing about this potential road trip that kind of freaks me is that I’m still having exactly the same issues I ended up in the ER for back in June.  Still have the heart palpitations and chest pain and all that mess, but according to the Dr.s I’ve seen including my family Dr., it’s nothing that’s going to kill me.  Yet.  I am still a wee bit apprehensive about driving continuously for 12 hours- Dad is allowed to drive, and probably will at least part of the way down, (Mom won’t be driving at all because she can’t drive manual shift,) but I’m coming back by myself since they’re staying all week. My sister or my nephew will be bringing them back.

I can’t die yet, because I don’t want to vote Democrat.  Ever.

Maybe I’m already on Obama’s death list and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe there’s a little note in my medical records that says, “let this one die, so we can have more money to buy more pecker pumps for geezers and pay for birth control for people who should be keeping their legs together to begin with.”  I don’t think having heart palpitations constantly and up to the point of barely being able to catch one’s breath is “normal.”  But what the hell do I know?

Or maybe not?  Who knows?

I do know that I don’t want to go back to the same hospital where they called me Mildred and asked about my (non-existent) diarrhea,  put me in the same room with a howler monkey, and then told me that the reason why I have heart palpitations is because I don’t get enough sleep.  Then I go for the sleep study, get told I have sleep apnea, but not to the point where I need to be on a machine…I’m frustrated on that point.  I still don’t sleep for shit, haven’t for years.  I have to sleep at about a 45° angle to keep from drowning on the snot that drains down the back of my throat.   I don’t think I’ve had a really good night’s sleep since before I was pregnant with Steve-o- and he’s 21.  It doesn’t help that I have Tipsy McNumbNuts, who smokes like a chimney, screams like a banchee after a 12 pack or so, and has a taste for bad country music in the middle of the night, conspiring against my nightly repose.

Drunks should come with warning labels.

Jerry was on a roll last night even for a Monday.  I hope the boys at the shop are enjoying Tuesday Hangover Jerry today, ’cause it’s going to be a good one.  I hope they’re at least as loud and obnoxious as he was last night.

His TV, cable box, DVD player and stereo have been carefully configured (by me, he can’t figure out electronic anything) to be very simple to operate.  There is one button on the remote that turns the TV and cable box on and off.  It’s very simple.  Push the power button, TV and cable box turn on simultaneously.  Push the power button again and the TV and cable box turn off.  It’s not rocket science.  It is, however awkward at best to plug all this stuff in so that it works correctly.  I know what plugs in where, but I’m not particularly fond of the gymnastic feats I have to attempt to get the right things plugged into the right places.

It’s too hard for some people.

For some reason only known to God and maybe another drunk, finding the power button on the remote was too difficult for Jerry last night.  He wanted the TV off. So he unplugged everything- even unscrewed the freaking coax off the back of the TV and unplugged the AV leads from the DVD player for some bizarre reason.  Hey, kids, alcohol kills brain cells, just so you know!

Then to make it all the more entertaining, after prattling on all night last night on various rants and assorted nonsense, he’s sitting in the bed whining this morning that “the TV won’t turn on.”  Well, no shit, Sherlock, you unplugged every single wire you could unplug from every single AV device you have…

“Well, I need to watch the news,” he pouts, (insert Eric Cartman voice here) “and if I can’t watch it in here I’ll just use your TV.”

Oh, no you won’t.

Suffice to say as Jerry is a smoker with essential tremor, the world is Jerry’s ashtray.  To top that off, not only do I not want my bed to be full of stale beer farts and cigarette ashes, he doesn’t know how to operate my TV either, and I don’t need that screwed up too.  If he wants his little hole to be a fetid filth den, fine by me, but I like clean, fresh-smelling, burn-hole free sheets and a TV that works.

So at 6:30 this morning I’m back in the filth hole smoking lounge that is his room, behind the dresser, untangling wiring, plugging everything back in and moving the various electronics back to their proper places.  20 minutes later he was watching the stinking news on his own TV.  I could have wrung his neck.  Maybe it wasn’t nice of me to keep on muttering “dumb ass,” but it’s not as if Jerry being a dumb ass is a secret or anything.

I call ’em as I see ’em.  Then again, I’m fully aware he was raised by wolves.

I know he’s pissed at me for volunteering to take Mom and Dad to NC this weekend instead of frying my patoot off at the campground (I like going down there, but not when it’s supposed to be 95° and hotter all weekend.)  He’s pissed because he will have to remain sober so he can go back home Saturday night to take care of the dogs.  So all week long it will be passive-aggressive revenge (and as much drunk-n-stupid hijinks as he can stand to perpetrate) just so I know how much he will be “suffering” in his weekend sobriety.