Creative Use of Just About Everything, and Adventures in Eclectic Home Décor

 

warmandfuzzy

If Steve-o thought I had problems with the whole “warm and fuzzy” mommy bit, just wait until I try my hand at home décor- in his house.  That is just plain scary, given that my idea of decorating has much more to do with function than the aesthetic.  I still have the big Ohio State tapestry on the wall in my room that Jerry put there, for some inexplicable reason.  I’m not even that much of an Ohio State fan.  I like some hangings on the wall to break up the monotony, but I don’t really give décor much thought.  Unless, of course, it’s funny.

wpid-20150301_132111.jpg

For example, this is funny.  It will be even funnier when I get the outhouse next to it done.

For the most part, however, I can live without a whole lot of kitsch.

I already told Steve-o he will have his very own G T F O sign- since he doesn’t really get into cute little “Welcome” signs.

wpid-20150430_152240.jpg

Figure it out.. it’s not difficult.

Of course he will probably come up with his own unique flair:

bad lamp

I can imagine all the other funky things that being a man, he won’t mind, such as shall we say “dated” furniture, archaic bathroom fixtures and strangely colored kitchen appliances:

vintage-bathroom-crapper

70s kitchen

In all seriousness, Steve-o’s house has two full bathrooms.  Both of them have new plumbing and faucets, but the tubs, sinks and toilets are straight out of 1975.  One bathroom set is this horrible yellow (like the above kitchen) and the other one is a sort of medium brown.  On the plus side, the brown will probably hide a lot of stains.  Especially in the toilet bowl.

I envy him the 70’s non-low-flow toilets though.  Those things are industrial strength, heavy duty beauties that will flush down horse piles, and various and sundry objects up to as large as Jimmy Hoffa.  The way he shits, that’s going to be necessary.  I don’t know how many times he has had to run for the plunger not just in my house but in my parents’ house (Dad replaced the toilets in the early 2000s and they are awful) as well.

plunger

I’m still getting him a couple of plungers as housewarming gifts.  In fact, three- one for each toilet, and one for the sinks.

I’ll have to put together my list of crap you need when you move but don’t think about, and then work on collecting said items for him.

1. Drain cleaner.

2. Clorox.

3. Paper towels.

4. Cleaning rags and towels (cloth.)

5. Lysol and various spray air fresheners.

6. Mop and mop bucket- also Murphy’s Oil Soap and magic erasers.

7. Plungers.

8. Coffee- coffee pot, coffee filters, coffee cups.

9. Paper plates, Dixie cups, plastic silverware and napkins.

10. Toilet mints (the blue things you put in the toilets to keep the water blue and to keep dogs from drinking out of the bowl)

I’m sure I’ll come up with more. I have time.

An Ode to the Crapper, The Big 80’s, and a Japanese Toilet, Too

office-space-copier

Technology is beautiful…when it actually works.

When I was in high school, there was a discount department store that had pay toilets.  The theory was that you put a dime in the slot, turn the lever and the bathroom stall door opens.  It was slightly reminiscent of a parking meter, only it wasn’t timed.  In practical application, however, people liked to do funky things with the slot, such as jamming it up with popsicle sticks (what they were doing with those in the crapper I’ll never know) or super glue.

The end result was that even if you were one of those people who were willing to pay the dime to keep from having to slide under the stall door, the odds were very good that even with the dime you weren’t going to be opening that stall door any time soon.  Many individuals saw fit to shimmy under the stall door or barring that option, (somehow, considering this was a ladies’ room) pee in the sink, pee in the floor drain, or, which did happen on occasion, drop a deuce on the floor drain.

paytoiletlock

The motivation behind that great old poem:

Here I sit, all broken hearted

Paid my dime, and only farted.

I don’t think that I ever had to use the bathroom so urgently while at that store that I couldn’t make it across the parking lot to the Burger King to use their (free) toilet.   I was never good enough at doing the Limbo to consider trying to shimmy under the stall door.  I wasn’t tall enough to consider peeing in the sink either, and considering how many people just relieved themselves on the floor, I didn’t want to risk touching that floor with clothing, body parts or hair to begin with.

Today is one of those “somebody jammed a popsicle stick in the crapper lock” sort of days. It’s an automatic “go to option B” sort of day.  Our invoicing system isn’t working, which means I’m not selling anything.  I can’t do reports.  I can’t check inventory.  The phones are still on though, so I can still listen to people bitch, and I can freak out about all the people I’m going to have to call and all the catch up I’m going to have to engage in once the system is actually working again.

paytoiletlockcompanyvig

Leave it to the New Englanders to find another way to make you pay!

Pay toilets seem to have lost their popularity, at least in central Ohio.  I am surprised someone hasn’t figured out a toilet lock that accepts MasterCard and Visa.  If the City of Columbus can find parking meters that take plastic then I’m sure the technology exists. If I really, really had to go, I’d be willing to pay, let’s say $5 on my debit card to get in.

I probably shouldn’t give people ideas, although maybe there was a lesson learned from the behavior of the sink whizzers and floor crappers of the early-to-mid 1980’s.  It just might not be worth the potential $5 per crap in the toilet if most people forgo the pay device and just crap on the floor and/or pee in the sink.

Considering the dismal condition of many public toilets, perhaps a $5 debit card swipe at the door (at the main door, not the stall door) would be worth it IF the toilet was kept immaculately clean.  The Japanese have it pretty good as far as toilet technology goes.  I’d be willing to pay to use one of those funky self-cleaning Japanese toilet/bidet/health monitor things.

hightechtoilet_Miyako

Elimination: Star Wars Style

Unfortunately most public bathrooms look more like this:

gas station crapper

No wonder I see so many trucker bombs.

I don’t understand the motivation behind wanting to trash a public restroom.  One might think it a good thing, a sort of karmic justice issue so to speak, to keep the crappers one uses tidy so the next time it’s necessary to use one it might be clean and somewhat safe to use.  Then again, the lesson I’ve learned over the past week is that logic doesn’t necessarily apply to what actually happens in the real world.

In high school I used the school bathroom once.  I didn’t even attempt it at the old Freshman Building, because it had the original (wooden seat) toilets from 1915.  In 1982 these were not safe to use.  The way they were originally designed was cool- you sat on the seat, used the toilet, and when you got up there was a spring-loaded device that automatically flushed.

I’m sure in 1915 that was amazing state of the art technology.  But by 1982, when (and if) they actually flushed, they would send a geyser of toilet contents skyward, often showering the toilet user with the toilet contents.

vintage toilet geyser

A shower that will not promote bodily cleanliness.

In the main high school (built in 1959) the functionality of the toilets wasn’t the issue.  They were regular industrial-style toilets with the toggle-lever flushers like one might see in your local Taco Bell. The things the girls did in the bathroom was the issue.  There was graffiti- everywhere- that would make a porn star blush.  Many people smoked in there.  I didn’t have the courage to light up in the school crapper though.

I used that bathroom exactly once.  It seemed OK, until for some inexplicable reason I looked toward the ceiling.  To my horror, a heavily used maxi pad was hanging by the tiniest bit of adhesive on to the ceiling.   If that tiny bit of adhesive had let go before I made a swift exit, I would have had a very nasty mess splattered all over my verdant, thick, big 80’s spiral permed hair.

big hair

Yes, I had hair like this at one time- long, long ago, back when the air was dirty, sex was clean, and Steve Perry was oh-so-hot in Spandex. Spiral perms (i.e. the infamous Uni-Perms) not only fried your hair, they sucked the color out of it too.  Needless to say it would have been rather nasty to clean a bloody mess out of a massive hair nest like that.

Skoal was bad enough.  At least the girl who saw fit to spit Skoal in my hair ended up getting pinned down and having her head shaved.  I did have a few good friends in high school who really enjoyed the fact that I had cigarettes- and a car.

steveperry80s

The Big 80’s.  Steve Perry was probably the best thing about that entire decade.

My Old Friend Montezuma Stopped By, and He Brought His Cousin, Ralph

happy superfriends birthdayThis year’s birthday really, really sucked ass.  Then again, I should refrain from any toilet-related verbage for awhile, probably.
I appreciate the birthday wishes everyone sent me Tuesday even though I didn’t reply to anyone on Facebook or anywhere else.  I wasn’t being rude intentionally.  I was home in bed and quite miserable- and not because I wanted to be.
Monday, when I’d already arranged (of course) to take the day off for Sophia’s birthday and then to take Tuesday off for my own, I got to spend both days in the company of Montezuma and his cousin Ralph.  They are not nice houseguests.
diarrhea tsunamiNot my idea of a good time.  Ever.
Steve-o and I left early Monday morning with Sophie to go to Easton so she could do Build-a-Bear for her birthday.  We got through the Build-a-Bear (she picked the Hello Kitty- and her clothes) and then I got deathly ill.
I’m just glad I knew where the ladies’ was at Easton, and that I could trot fast enough to get there in time to avoid a most embarrassing and aesthetically unpleasant scene.  Not too many people are “down with the fountain of brown.” Steve-o had to take me home and I spent the rest of the day Monday and most of the day Tuesday between bed and…well, you know where.
overflowI had better aim than that, thankfully, but yeah, it was about that bad.
It was my typical bad luck to schedule days off only to be sick, but then I thought at least, 1. I had taken vacation time already anyway, and 2. getting sick while on vacation saved me the dreaded necessity of calling off, which I won’t do, unless, of course, I am physically unable to remain vertical.
Tuesday night, once I did manage to keep down some saltine crackers and Diet 7UP, I felt a little bit up to reading the pages on fasting in our Lenten study book from church.  I know my sort of imposed fasting of late isn’t exactly what I’d call a spiritual discipline, at least not when the cause for one’s fast is: Don’t eat – unless you want to visit Cousin Ralph.  Even so, I did not fail to see the irony in reading about fasting when all I’d had to eat in the past 24 hours was a few saltine crackers.  Being hungry sucks.  It sucks even worse when you know that anything you think you’re going to put down is going to come right back up.
throw_upNot one of my favorite activities.  It’s right down there with standing in line at the BMV.
I know as a diabetic, fasting from food, in the traditional sense of a fast, is Not a Good Idea, especially when my blood sugar was 60 Tuesday morning (don’t worry, it was 110 yesterday morning and 118 this morning, which is acceptable, so today at least, I’m staying vertical.) For the past few days, though, in spite of being somewhat vertical yesterday and today, I’ve felt like a freeze-dried dog turd.
crappy-mug
However, even in my non-voluntary fast, I learned a few important things.  One is the ever present lesson that my physical body and stamina are quite limited.  Lately I had been burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle, and it caught up with me.  Sometimes these annoying (though thankfully, usually brief and not deadly in the long term) ailments give one just enough time to stop and rest and realize that there’s too much noise and too much running around and various crud going on.  Saturday I was between Columbus and Marion.  Sunday I was between Columbus and Lancaster and then back to Marion. Monday I’d gone back from Marion to Columbus after staying in my parents’ guest room, being kept up all night by the spooky sounds of the trains.
train2
It’s a backwater, but even in Marion the trains are diesel-electrics, not like the cool steam engine pictured above.
If you live there, you get used to the trains, but when you don’t live there, the incessant noise of the trains is creepy, probably like the airport would be for people who don’t live less than a mile from Port Columbus.
diesel-electricThis is a diesel-electric locomotive engine- the ones that are in use today- constantly hauling thousands of coal cars back and forth across central Ohio.
The bottom line was I was running too much, and trying to cram 10# of fertilizer into a 5# bag.  That’s sort of normal for me, only the older I get I have less and less tolerance for it.  If my body and mind don’t get the rest and recharging they think they need, sometimes they take it by force. Sometimes they hire Monte and Ralph to do the job.
I was forced to step back and realize that no, I wasn’t going to be able to get all the laundry done.  I was going to have to ask Jerry to go get catfood (and hope and pray that the catfood bags still have pictures of cats on the front so he doesn’t come home with hog feed or something.) I wasn’t going to get to spend a day traipsing about Easton with my son and granddaughter.  I was more than aware that if I wasn’t able to get myself vertical and drag myself out the door that calling off Wednesday would have been a distinct possibility (and maybe should have been…)
catfood
Jerry: no, it’s not cat meat in the bag, it’s what you feed the cats.  Just so I’m clear.
It’s hard to take a hiatus from our own demands, (even if we try to plan for it) but it’s even harder to take a hiatus from the demands of others.
I think I understand what John Lennon meant about sitting and watching the wheels go ’round and ’round.  I’d like to get off the merry-go-round from time to time, but it seems the only time I get that opportunity is when my grip on the merry-go-round gets overwhelmed by the centrifugal force of the world spinning.  I let go, and I fall off of it.  Unlike John Lennon, I don’t have the luxury of staying off the bloody thing for too long, but I need to do it more often, and before I have to be pried off of it by illness, weakness and sometimes, even, my own pride.
There is an even more profound lesson to be found in all of this.  All of our provision comes from God.  Apart from Him I am not able to do anything.  It’s not my strength we’re talking about, but His. Sometimes I need times like this to be reminded that it’s not about my plans or what I’ve set out to do.   Sometimes God simply says: “Sit down and shut up and rest for once. You have no power at all save for Me.”  It’s a necessary and humbling reminder.
Monte and Ralph have beaten me up pretty good over the past couple of days.  I will need to change the cat boxes tonight though, because Jerry will NOT do that.  I took him way out of his comfort zone by asking him to unload the dryer and hang up his clothes. 🙂
 Explosive-DiarrheaThen again, maybe not.

Good Morning, Mr. Plunger!- Ass Pilots, Weenie Commentators and Wrongful Sympathizers

plungerWhy am I the only one in my house who knows how to use this?

Ah, the lowly plunger.  It may not be my favorite household appliance (or would it be more rightly regarded as a tool, like a can opener, or a kitchen scrubbie?) but when you need, it you need it.  Especially in my house.

I should have known that the plunger would be necessary this morning, as Jerry had a lovely Natty-filled evening last night.  12 Natties or more usually = Natty splatters, but when you have the 12 Natties after half a bucket of chicken and a large pepperoni pizza, well, let’s just say the splatters increase both in bulk and volume.

Jerry is one of those rare individuals who can eat like a Sumo wrestler, drink like a whale, and remain svelte.  How anyone can be 5’10” and 180# in spite of taking in 5,000 or more calories a day, I will never understand. Bastard.

Anyway, just as I am about to beat feet out the door this morning, and I try to do that before Jerry gets out of bed and takes his place on the throne, for obvious reasons.  But I hesitated just long enough to hear the plaintive, whiny, cry of, “It won’t go down!”

overflowThis is the vision that went through my head.  I have encountered- and had to clean up- similar blowouts.

Thankfully the mess was confined to the inside of the toilet bowl.  He didn’t try to flush multiple times, which would have resulted in slightly used Natties, pizza and fried chicken all over the bathroom, which would have been a most unpleasant scenario at 7:30 in the morning, but it was bad enough.  A few strategically placed plunges, and all was well.  I am glad sometimes that I have almost no sense of smell.   I was out the door and in the car.  But it amazes me just how helpless an adult male can be, and that’s even after I’ve figured in that Jerry was raised by wolves.

raisedbywolves1Jerry’s baby picture?

I have said it before but I’m really tired of the ass pilots who go off every time some moron commits a gun crime, saying that private gun ownership should be outlawed.  Guns don’t kill people any more than spoons make people fat.  It’s what a person does with the gun or the spoon that matters.

GunsCartoonHow about a conversation regarding personal accountability?

I understand why all those football fans are pissed at Bob Costas.  First of all, football is the last place for sentient minds to be looking for political commentary.  Second of all, though I’m not a football fan by any stretch, most of the football fans I know are rather conservative in their politics.  These guys, if they don’t understand anything else about the Constitution, they get the 2nd Amendment.  The comments Mr. Costas made about gun control in the middle of a football game were at best ill timed and at worst simple minded.  One part of winning hearts and minds is using the correct forum to speak out.  The other part is having a message that actually makes sense.  Poor Bob did neither.

gun-control1Criminalize guns and then only criminals will have guns.  Gee, that makes sense! (sarcasm alert!)

Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems as if there are so many misplaced sympathies in this world.  I don’t feel sorry for criminals, even if they had horrible childhoods and were raised by wolves.  I got the living hell beat out of me almost every day growing up.  I grew up poor.  I was lucky on some days to have a decent meal and clothes to wear. That didn’t make me a serial killer or a psychopath.  I’m sorry- but growing up poor, or getting the hell beaten out of you by everyone under the sun is not an excuse for criminal behavior.  Acknowledge that your past wasn’t exactly optimal, and get over it.  Do something productive with your life, even if it means merely refraining from harming others.

public hangingI think there would be a lot less crime if we went back to public hangings.

I am a believer in capital punishment in three instances.  Premeditated murder, rape, and child molestation- but these would have to be crimes committed without a shadow of a doubt, i.e. someone caught in the act, or proven guilty by means of irrefutable evidence.  Hang them high and hang them in plain sight.  I think that swift, public justice, as well as to stop mollycoddling violent offenders would do much to cut the rates of violent crime and thuggery in this country.  I also think way too much money and time and effort is wasted on drug enforcement.  Most of the violent crime out there is related to the drug trade.  Take away the incentive. If drugs became dirt cheap and readily available, then there would be a lot less stealing and killing over them.

CommonSenseIt’s probably a good thing that I don’t run the world.

small blue balls small pink treeEspecially when I decide to put up Christmas decorations.

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!

2001 Redux, Things I Do Not Wish to Repeat, the Good, the Bad and the Indifferent

I finally decided (Thursday) to call my Dr.s office about my heart palpitations and other funkiness and I got the answer that I pretty much assumed I would get.

Hang up, call 911 and let the squad take you to the ER.

Yay.  But I did follow instructions, mostly because I knew they weren’t just going to set me up to see a cardiologist in a week or two.  They wanted me to get that cardiac workup one way or another that I’d been denying I needed to get and that I’d put off for a few years.

The plus side of the fun 5 mile ride in the squad was the view.  Hate to admit it, but the one paramedic was maybe early 30s or so, and very easy on the eyes.  Shame on me for noticing, but I’m not dead yet.  Maybe I should have just told them that since I could still ascertain that the one guy was rather hot even while he’s putting electrodes all over me and getting an IV started in my arm, that it would be cool to just let me out.  However, I don’t think they would be allowed to just drop me off somewhere along I270, no matter how awkward it was that I was thinking some rather randy thoughts.

Yes, I watched the Emergency! TV reruns all through the 80s.  They were hot, except for the 80’s hair, which was considered hot then too.

When I get to the hospital (which was the one hospital where I really didn’t want to go, but they have to take you to the closest one that has room) then I get put in one of those exam rooms and get questioned as to what’s been going on and how long, etc.  Another interesting aside- in the ER all the nurses and techs I encountered were young men.  How distracting, but I’m not complaining.  I feel sorry for them for being forced to have to view my old saggy chest to wire me up.  I’m sure they’ve seen worse and they’re not there for the view, but still.

What was really scary (and why I wanted to go to a different hospital, because this one is notorious for its poor record keeping) was that as I was being put in the ER bay one of the techs looks at the computer and says, “Hi, Mildred, how’s your diarrhea?”

Dahlink, I thought you would never ask!

Mildred, apparently was the woman who was just being released from that room before I was assigned to it.  I heard the physician assistant almost screaming at this poor lady who must have been at least 95, to drink lots of water and have her son stop at the CVS to get her some Imodium, before they wheeled her out.  I looked over and asked the guy if I looked like a “Mildred,” to which I got a sort of puzzled look, then he asked me my name and what they brought me in for.  I didn’t bother to tell him that “Mildred” was old enough to be my grandmother, and I know full well what to do about the shits without going to the ER, but when you’re as old as that lady was even a good case of the shits can kill you.

So I sit and stew for about half an hour, when Jerry finally showed up (doing God knows what with my car) and, after a few phone calls and not a little bit of under the breath profanity, the nurses were finally able to find my information in the computer.  They were fortunate enough to catch some of the palpitation incidents on the monitor, which was enough for the physician assistant (who was the only woman I saw working in the ER) to decide to confer with her boss about admitting me for the night.   Just don’t call me Mildred or ask me about my diarrhea and we will get along OK.

In the meanwhile I’m just lying back on the cot while they wait to put me in a room.  Then another squad brings a lady in from a nursing home who won’t stop screaming.  After awhile they wheel her off and it gets a bit quiet.  Then the transport guy shows up to take me upstairs.  I’d been under the impression I’d end up in one of the cardiac observation rooms which are private, but all those rooms were full, so I end up sharing a room with the howler monkey from the ER.   Wonderful.  To make it worse from the time the squad brought me in- 3:30- until I landed in the room- 10:30- I’d had absolutely nothing to eat.  One of the aides was kind enough to dig me up a sandwich, and the nurse was finally able to find and give me my evening meds so I thought I could go to sleep.

Then Howler Monkey Woman’s sedation must have worn off because she kept setting off the bed alarm, and crapping the bed, so that the nurses and aides were over there hosing her down half the night.  The plus side of this is at least I had the toilet all to myself.  I might have slept an hour or two but I doubt it.

Yesterday morning (Friday) I finally got to talk to the cardiologist, who decided to do both a stress test and an echocardiogram to rule out any really serious stuff since I’d not had a heart attack but I wasn’t exactly “normal” either.  Suffice to say that the chemical stress test is not a pleasant experience and neither is the sort of reverse rotisserie machine they take pictures of you with. I was so glad to get out of there last night I immediately took a shower and went to bed.  It’s better to be home.

The conclusion so far?  I got referred to a pulmonologist for a sleep study as the cardiologist seems to think that my irregular heart rhythm and palpitations are caused by sleep apnea.

To me it sounds like 2001 all over again.  At least I’m not dead yet.  But I already know I don’t sleep for shit.  What I didn’t know is that not sleeping for shit can eventually kill you, which is sort of sad in a way.

I Think I’m Afraid to Flush, Way Too Much Rain, and All Points Converge Here

A peculiar quirk here in Central Ohio during the Monsoon Season (the two months – give or take a week or two- between the seasons of Snowbooger Grey and Stygian Heat, usually from mid-March to late May) is that occasionally storm drains overflow into the sanitary sewers, making it possible for effluvia rinsed down sinks, flushed down commodes, etc. to go the opposite direction than the one intended.  Low elevation, painfully flat landscapes, clay soil and torrential rains do not make for an optimum environment for natural drainage.

During the monsoon episodes, should one need to relieve oneself, in a good part of Central Ohio, you get to play a rousing game of “toilet roulette.”

Should I flush?  If it’s yellow, let it mellow?  If it’s brown, will it actually flush down?  What are the odds of ending up with a floor full of unspeakable mess?

At home I am not too averse to waiting to flush until the storm subsides, and I can see that the storm sewer grate is clear outside, as I really don’t want a backflow situation in my own bathroom.  But in public places it is extremely rude to leave your leavings without giving them their final send off, or at least making the attempt.

So far so good today.  For now.  Hopefully the deluge will take a break for an hour or two and let the storm sewers clear out some more.

I am glad it wasn’t raining like this yesterday when I was up in Marion.  It actually was a pretty good day. Steve-o got his hair cut and got some shades he wanted.

Dad had mentioned something intriguing when I was up there that I had some peripheral background on, but had not really taken a whole lot of notice.  I grew up not even really noticing the trains because trains went through town constantly and they still do.  You don’t notice them until you leave, and it either seems oddly quiet, or the trains are replaced with another background noise, which in my case today is the airport.  I live less than half a mile from Port Columbus.  I don’t notice the planes unless I make it a point to pay attention to them, but I certainly did notice the silence on 9/11 and the days following.  Passenger aircraft constantly taking off and landing, and F15s flying over have vastly different sounds.

In the early 20th century there were five different railroads that converged in Marion- from all points across the country.  Only two of those rail lines remain- the trains still go through pretty much constantly, with their endless cargos of coal, but the trains haven’t actually stopped in Marion since the early 1970’s.  If one looks close enough one can see where these rail lines once intersected which is sort of interesting.

At one time there were a lot of people going everywhere and nowhere.  Of course people are still going everywhere and nowhere, but the ride is a lot less scenic and usually is taken up with either phone conversations, electronic gadgetry, and the endless monotone of  flat, straight Interstate.  I enjoy a road trip (and even more if I make it a point to take a less traveled road) but I think something might be lost in the autonomy one has when you drive.  The train journey leaves your whereabouts at the mercy of another force, but paradoxically it also gives you the freedom to drift off into that void between everywhere and nowhere.   Sleeping (or even that delightful realm of half-sleep) and driving don’t mix.

The ghosts are restless at those convergence points.  It’s easy to imagine them at the train station even though trains don’t stop there anymore and only part of the train station remains.  Someone waiting for the next train.  Someone running down the platform.  Someone looking for someone who will never return.

I’m haunted by those stories, especially those of the troop trains.

Everywhere and nowhere.

Eventually the rain will stop, and I will get beyond my little melancholy foray into a past I don’t really understand.

On a lighter note, there are seasons here in Central Ohio. We have five.   That’s why the people who live here part of the year, but go to Florida part of the year, go down there for most of them.

Winter.  Begins right after Halloween, lasts until mid-February or so.  Best described as, “The Brass Balls Have Frozen off the Brass Monkey.”  Lots of precipitation. Dark most of the time.  Freezing rain, snow, ice, etc.

Snowbooger Grey. Mid-February or so until mid-late March.  Like winter, but with temperatures hovering right around freezing, so the snow all melts and the landscape everywhere looks like those snowboogers that accumulate in the splash guards and wheel wells of cars.  Since it’s slightly warmer than winter there’s more rain, and a bit more daylight, if you can notice through the overcast, grey haze that hangs over everything.  Dismal.

Monsoon.  Mid-late March-mid-late May.  Or so.  Just rain.  Constantly.

Stygian Heat.  100% humidity.  100% bugs.  Late May-mid-September. Plenty of rain.

Fall Monsoon. Mid-September-Halloween. Do you like rain? 🙂