Scary Bad Parenting, “Functional” is Not the Same as “Normal,” and Don’t Stifle My Creativity

Just blow that second-hand smoke all over your child’s developing lungs!

I have to admit, nothing contributes to the desire to chain smoke more than dealing with infants and toddlers, unless it’s dealing with automotive technicians.  At one time I had to contend with both, though in the end, chain smoking just feeds the nervous tension.  Thankfully I had taken a three-year hiatus from smoking, beginning a year and a half before the illustrious offspring arrived until about a year and a half after the illustrious offspring arrived. At least I didn’t knowingly contaminate the child whilst he was in the womb- mostly because I feared giving birth to a drooling slack-jawed cretin should I indulge in an aspartame-laden Diet Dr. Pepper, or a hit off a cigarette, or God forbid, a cup of coffee.  He’s potty trained, literate and gainfully employed, and he can pick his nose with his tongue!

I blame the tongue thing on the Sudafed.  One stinking Sudafed in week 3 of gestation, and the kid’s born tongue-tied.  Let that be a lesson.

Lávese las manos!  In NC, the obligatory employee bathroom instructions are only in English. In some parts of Ohio there’s 14 different languages on the sign – and there’s still millions of crusty people who don’t wash their hands in the bathroom.

I always wondered, since there’s dippy pictorial signs everywhere, either for the illiterate or the non-English speaking or both, why not a universal “wash your hands after using the crapper sign? ”  My art skills are pretty rudimentary, but here’s a thought:

Here’s my contribution for the betterment of humanity.  Enjoy, and wash your damned hands!

The cigarette jones is a strong compulsion, though. I know what possessed me to pick them back up.  I was stressed, sleep deprived, working a very shitty job with very shitty pay after I’d been promised all kinds of things that never materialized, and in the process of getting a divorce.  I was driving back from some backwater town running titles (which wasn’t what I was hired to do, but getting out is getting out) and happened to stop at a gas station for more coffee when I saw the Marlboro sign.  After three years of no smoking at all- from 1989-92, I bought a pack of Marlboro Menthol Light 100s and hot-boxed half the pack on the way back home.  I was a two-pack a day smoker for the next ten years, sometimes lighting one right off of the butt of the one I’d just smoked.  I apologize to Steve-o for letting him think that smoking was OK.  Strangely enough, he took them up three years after I’d quit (God willing for good) in 2002.  But he won’t smoke his cigs in that high faluting Audi, because he doesn’t want to “stink up the leather.”

No smoking in the Steve-o ride.  It might make the leather stink.

I’ll never make any sort of claim that I’m “normal.”  Functional, yes, but that’s not quite the same thing.  Rednecks piece together machinery and devices that are functional, but not exactly in the ways the designers had originally intended.

I don’t need no stinkin’ latches!  Though I think the bungees are holding the decklid and the rear fascia on too.

The Marion Walmart never disappoints as far as the panoply of redneck engineered motor vehicles in the parking lot.  Sadly this poor Pontiac is 1.) likely totalled and/or the one who hit it had no insurance or 2.) the one driving it when it was hit had no insurance, and making a police report would have cost him/her his/her license. Or, 3.) the driver of said Pontiac took the insurance settlement and spent it on crack.   If I were a betting person (which I’m not) I would wager on #3.  Perhaps it’s mean of me to photograph others’ misfortune, but it’s funny in a tragic sort of way.  I’ve driven my share of shitty cars, but that was in the days before digital photography made the disasters so easy to share.

What I don’t get about this 70’s Midol ad is the guys deserve some of the aggravation right back at them.  Especially Jerry.

Another thing I discovered about menopause is that you don’t need Aunt Flo as an excuse to channel your inner bitch.  I can be bitchy all month long AND wear white pants while I’m bitchy, even when I’m sitting in the freezer.  The hot flash thing isn’t nearly as bad as it was a year or two ago, but it’s still bad when I’m watching polar bears on TV and at times I wish I was hanging out on the icebergs with them.   I don’t think I’ve worn a sweater for years, or more PJs than light PJ pants and a t-shirt.  I would probably be smothering to death if I had long hair.  Now I know why old women have short hair.  It’s easier to color, yes, but it’s also a hell of a lot cooler.

I have every right to keep on bitching!

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?