Getting Away- Let’s Try This Again, and Why Not Take the Train?

 

 

vacationfamily truckster

I embark on “vacations” with a sense of trepidation.  Last year I was supposed to have two entire days of peace and quiet at the campground with just Clara as company.   Instead I got five days of Jerry barking orders at me- and to make it even more miserable, I had a wicked sinus infection throughout the whole “vacation” which lingered on for about 10 days after.

It was not fun.

How do I explain to him that part of the point of taking a “vacation” is not having to run and fetch for him?  When I think of a vacation I’m thinking of margaritas and pool boys and beaches and sleeping and reading.

tahiti

 

A vacation for him is never a “vacation” for me.   It is more reminiscent of boot camp.

boot-camp-55842982115_xlarge

Every time Jerry has ever imposed himself on one of my “vacations,” I’ve been happy as hell to get back to work.

I still want a couple of days’ peace and quiet with nothing but canine company.  It probably won’t happen.  I will be stuck running after beer (which I don’t drink) and lottery tickets (that I don’t play.)  I’ll likely be recruited to perform home improvement projects and maintenance for him that I am not very good at doing.  Then I will get nine kinds of shit about how bad I suck at hanging blinds or cleaning gutters.

The nearest establishment to the campground that sells beer and lottery is about six miles away.  Then *while I’m out- ha-ha* I will get demands to procure obscure items at hardware stores (even further out), to fix food and to run divers errands, until my head spins.   He will want me to take the dogs out at midnight, just because. There will be no quiet.  There will be no resting.  He will make a concerted effort to drive me completely apeshit.

I’ve taken vacations with my parents and/or Steve-o which do afford more relaxation time, but Mom and Dad can prove grating as well.  Mom’s insanely pokey and doesn’t get motivated easily.  Dad is constantly wanting to stop and go munch somewhere, which means it’s pretty much impossible to adhere to any kind of schedule.

solo traveler

Perhaps it is just my wiring that makes the fun vacation (for me) the solo vacation, where I can operate on my own itinerary and do what I want when (and if) I feel like doing it.

33 states honor my Ohio CCW, which is a comforting thought, as I don’t generally travel unarmed.  Most of the places where I would routinely travel are quite fine with concealed carry. The bad thing is I really, really want to see the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  But my CCW is not valid in Pennsylvania, which really sucks.  I have to ponder this one.  Is it worth it to travel unarmed and run the risk of being carjacked, robbed, raped and/or pillaged?  I will have to find out if open carry is legal there, but it’s probably not.  Once the gun control weenies ban concealed carry, they usually aren’t cool about open carry either.

It’s about 500 miles one way, which is a day trip to get there, overnight in a motel, all day at the museum, then another night at the motel and the trip back.  It looks like this trip is three days- if I drive and take it leisurely.

mutter museum

I’ll have to find out if it’s in a safer part of town.  I won’t go alone if I can’t carry and it’s in da hood.  Having a good time at a strange destination is all about the research.  I’ve traveled alone many times with little more than some scribbled directions and a general sense of where I need to go.  I remember going to one series of meetings (two days) with about 15 minutes notice and I ended up having to buy toiletries and a change of clothes at a freaking Odd Lots store. It was sort of fun but also quite harrowing to try to get by with a weird sized curling iron, soaps and makeup I’d never heard of, and clothing that was less than flattering.

I’d rather research the area, know where I’m going, and have my reservations ahead of time.

One thing I have planned for my brief upcoming hiatus is a train ride- the Hocking Valley Railroad offers a short day trip through southeast Ohio on a passenger train.  I’m planning to go next Thursday and I hope the weather cooperates.  Better yet, I hope Jerry shuts up long enough for me to actually enjoy the scenery.

 

Pennsylvania_Railroad_Passenger_Car

 

 

 

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.

Artificial Intelligence, Planning a Solitary Get-Away, and Cat Logic

blue hair

Let’s face it.  Most American women over the age of 35 use some form of hair color.  I started going grey in my mid-20s, so I’ve been using hair dye for a very long time.  I like the concept of gainful employment, otherwise I would try a variety of hair colors- electric blue, hot pink, deep purple, etc., but that sort of body décor is frowned upon in the very conservative automotive community.  Tats (which I don’t have) are OK as long as they aren’t on your face or hands, and piercings are generally only for women’s earlobes, (I do have pierced ears) but hair color is something that should at least remotely look natural.

Most of my contemporaries go the blonde or blonde highlights route to disguise their grey, but for me there’s a problem with that.  Since my skin tone could best be described as a half shade darker than albino, (tanning is out of the question) and I have a very round, moony looking face to begin with, blonde hair does not become me.  The platinum blonde that my sister, and many of my contemporaries prefer, would make me look like a giant moon-faced, troll-proportioned mutant.  I still have the troll-like mostly torso type body (short arms and legs, etc) but at least I look sort of normal- from the neck up.

For awhile I tried to match my hair’s original mousy brown, but I never really liked mousy brown much either, and the problem with attempting to match mousy brown is you end up with funky looking dark ends.  So I took the advice of a hairdresser from a trendy (read: expensive) hair salon: cut it short, and dye it black.  It seems to be the least offensive color/style, and dark ends aren’t an issue when they’re already black.

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1987 vs. 2007- at least I didn’t do the California raisin thing…like my sister…

The illustrious Steve-o says every time I dye my hair I am “putting on artificial intelligence.”  Whatever, dude.

Here you can simply enjoy the nature and your life

Someplace like this- accessible only by boat would be nice- would be ideal!

Last year I tried to schedule three entire days for myself, in the camper we already have down in Lancaster.  That worked for about three hours- until Jerry showed up with his loud, whiny self- and the other two dogs.  What was supposed to be three whole days of quiet, reading and rest, with just Clara, became two and a half days of dog-herding, Jerry-whining, NO quiet, and a wicked sinus infection from hell.  I ended up leaving early, after I’d begged and pleaded with the Dr’s office to call me in a script in an attempt to assuage the overthrow of my entire upper respiratory tract by the Endless Green Snots.  Of course, Jerry wasn’t to blame for the sinus infection, but he did his best to make it even more intolerable.  Some “vacation.”  I’d been better off, as far as stress, if I’d just stayed at work.

This year I am going to have to employ a different strategy, should I want a real vacation, and find a remote place to stay (but that has electricity, running water and flush toilets) that Jerry can’t find.  I’m thinking a little different area in the Hocking Hills, or a bit further south.  Maybe my sister will have her summer house in Kentucky habitable this year and I can beg a few days alone down there.  The only problem with my sister’s place is that the drive down there is rather lengthy and can be harrowing.  There is no Sprint access within at least 15 miles, either, so I’d have no e-mail, internet or even people pestering me on the phone.  Then again, those things aren’t technically “problems”- it just means that Jerry would be less motivated to try to find it and follow me, and it would be a forced hiatus from technology and pretty much everything else, which might be exactly what I need.

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Fanny is a BIG cat.

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Jezebel doesn’t care.

It’s actually funny to see them banter about.  How Jezebel rolls Fanny over and smacks her in the chops, I’ll never know, as Fanny is about five of Jezebel, but I’m glad that when all is said and done they eat out of the same food bowl and they have no problem with crashing together on my bed.  All four of our cats get along relatively well.

There’s a show on Animal Planet called “My Cat from Hell.” It’s interesting to see some of the solutions Jackson Galaxy offers, but what he suggests usually works.  That’s impressive in and of itself.  I’ve seen some weird stuff on that show, but I’d chalk most of it up to neurotic/weird/paranoid owners.  If you’re deranged, your cat probably will be too.

The World’s Still Here (Told You So) and the White Death Returneth

end-of-the-world snake food

The world obviously didn’t end on Friday, December 21, just like it didn’t end on May 11, 2011 or in 2000, or 1988 or 1986 or any of those other dates set by people who desperately look for meaning in the writing of the ancients and/or the scattered patterns of the skies.

It would be easier that way, maybe, but I don’t really want my life any more scheduled than it has to be.  Routine is one thing, but scheduling all activities down to the minute is bullshit.  I can imagine that might be part of the reason why today’s kids are so apeshit.  I mean, most of them have to get up way early to go to the sitter before school, then spend all day at school with every second micromanaged, only to stay after school to play sport “A” and/or do activity “B” which is also micromanaged, and then come home to a late dinner and chores, fall asleep, and repeat the same noise the next day.

daily_schedule_prekinderThis would drive me apeshit as an adult, let alone as a freaking four year old!  I really can’t schedule my whiz times.

There’s not much room for any quiet contemplation in that kind of rat race.  I don’t respond to micromanagement well, and I don’t generally function well as a part of a group.   What if I want to stare at the wall when everyone else is dancing about the room? I would be royally screwed if I would have to adhere to a day care schedule, let along to be a middle school or high school kid today.  Granted, very few if any people share my need for copious quantities of solitude, but I’m sure that after awhile the lack of spontaneity and absence of breathing room would- given time- have to disturb even the most extroverted neurotypical.

It’s not that I’m so averse to having a schedule- as long as it’s mine and not one imposed upon me.  It’s one thing if I set aside time for an activity that I’m interested in doing, and quite another if it’s something someone else schedules for me that I’d rather not be doing.  There are also some things- like bodily functions- that just really don’t occur on a regular schedule, at least not for me.  I take a lot of blood pressure meds, I like my coffee, and I don’t have much bladder capacity.  I have to stay within reasonable proximity to a toilet.

I think that’s why holidays and so forth are so stressful for me- strange toilets.  In all seriousness, there are people I want to see and spend time with, and others I’d really rather avoid.  This Christmas I was pretty fortunate in that I spent most of the day with Steve-o (someone I did want to spend time with) and got to spend most of the day Sunday with my granddaughter (who I also wanted to spend time with) so I’m cool.  I don’t need and I certainly don’t enjoy big formal parties and such.

ballroom gown meAll dressed up, (and this looks itchy to boot) with nowhere to go.

As far as the End of the World, I say let that be a surprise.  There are some things I don’t think I really want to know about in advance.

Central Ohio is positioned in a sort of strange place in relation to weather fronts.  It’s far enough south of the lake that we don’t get the “lake effect snow” that Cleveland and other cities too far north for human habitation experience.  Columbus proper- or at least within the confines of I-270- sits in a bit of a valley.  It rains a lot and it floods easily, but we get far less snow than the hinterlands up north.  There’s a huge difference in snowfall just in going 15-20 miles further north.  Most of the really wicked weather fronts end up either staying north or sort of blowing around us.  So when forecasters say the White Death is coming to Central Ohio, I believe it when I see it.  Far too often we’re supposed to get some huge-ass storm, the mere mention of which sets everyone off raiding the grocery stores on their quests for Velveeta cheese and Marlboros, and instead of White Death of the Apocalypse we get either a shitload of rain (that’s the default for Central Ohio anyway) or a piddly dusting of snow that doesn’t even warrant me putting on boots.

Velveeta-cheese1marlborosRedneck priorities- screw the milk and bread- we need smokes, and Velveeta cheese is good all by itself!

Yesterday we actually had a substantial snow- about 4″ or so within I-270.  Despite the arrival of the White Death, I was quite able to get to work and get home in my nice little Hello Kitty Yaris.  I think the traction control light came on once.

Maybe I’m jaded because the snow situation is very different where I come from, even though it’s only about 50 miles away.  I remember one surprise storm up in the hinterlands all too well.  My sister and I ended up pulling cars out of ditches with her ’68 VW Bug and a tow rope.    She had snow tires on the back of it which came in handy.  I also remember off-roading in snow-covered cornfields with VW Rabbits.  They’re geared low and are fairly high off the ground, so they would go through a lot more than one would think by their size.

1983-volkswagen-rabbit-gti1983- when Reagan was president, the air was dirty but sex was clean, and Steve Perry wore Spandex.  Damn, I should not have sold my ’83 GTI.

Snot, Snot, Everywhere, Interesting to Visit, and Sadness vs. Euphoria

Interesting to visit, but I don’t want to stay.

The Haunted Prison experience was awesome.  I’ve been to some really good haunted houses, haunted hayrides, etc. but this one takes the prize.  The bad thing is that you can’t take pics inside the prison- I took this one from the road outside, but we had to leave the cameras and the cell phones in the car.  I will say that I was a bit taken aback when I noticed the tickets include a warning that the management is not responsible for anyone losing control of his/her bladder and/or bowels.  I remained continent, which is saying a lot probably considering that I was one of the oldest people there, but I am really glad I used the ladies’ before I got in line.

The fact that the Mansfield Reformatory was a working prison for about 100 years adds to the creep factor quite a bit.  It’s a huge facility, but only a very small portion of it is used for the haunted prison excursion, and most of those areas are in the oldest parts of the prison. Some of the cell blocks are five stories high.  As the building aged, certain parts of it were left to decay while newer additions were built on.  I don’t see how it would have been feasible to heat the cell blocks with the five story high ceilings- let alone to work out some sort of plumbing arrangement.  Ohio winters can be deathly cold- and summers can be deadly hot as well.   Suffice to say without decent HVAC provisions this part of the world is unlivable even if you’re in prison. Some of the cells we saw had toilets while others didn’t, but then it was hard to tell which parts of the prison were shut down when.  The whole place was decommissioned in 1981, so all of it’s been sitting around rotting for over 30 years anyway.

As one who is cursed with the respiratory funk anyway, a bloody head cold really sucks.

I hate snot.  I hate drowning in it.  I hate hawking it up all over the place.  Green snot, brown snot, yellow snot, clear snot, I would love to go for a day without choking on it.  Even when I’m not suffering from any acute contagion of the respiratory system, the snot drainage down the back of my throat is constant, and I choke on it unless I sleep with my head elevated at a 45° angle.  When I am suffering from an acute contagion of the respiratory system, I am a veritable snot Niagara Falls. Elevation does not help, unless I am sitting straight up.  Vast quantities of anti-snot medications are required to keep me breathing at all- in between hacking up huge snot balls.  Think the Ghostbusters movies and you have it.

 No, I am not exaggerating.  I wish I were.

Of course I take three days off trying to escape the rat race and all that mess, only to spend those three days (and the weekend too) swilling Nyquil and spewing forth gallons of disgusting, slimy multicolored snot.  Today’s a lot better than the past few days, although I’ve got the Dayquil and the anti-snot pills handy should I need them.  The snots did have one good side effect though.  Jerry pretty much kept his distance and his whining was at a minimum.  As I get better that will probably change.  I did get some quiet time in between being heavily medicated and hawking up infinitely foul goo to watch some of my favorite movies and chill out with the dogs, so it wasn’t a total loss.  I do remember- as if I needed a reminder- why I am almost OCD about being around those with contagions though.  The bad part is that no matter how paranoid you are about hygiene and handwashing and all that noise, eventually you will get down and something will get to you.  Admittedly in the past few weeks I’ve been pretty stressed out and doing too much and getting run down so I think it was inevitable no matter how much Lysol I spray or zinc lozenges I take.  At least today I see marked improvement, which sort of figures, since I have a Dr.’s appointment Friday.  Either I will be completely cleared up or one step in the grave by then.   I never seem to be able to get in when I’m actually sick.  Go figure.  Personally as far as the various respiratory funks go, I think modern science hasn’t progressed much more than the patent medicine hawkers (man, I am using the word “hawk” a lot in this post) of the 19th century.  I’d probably done just as well and paid less for this:

Of course most patent medicines were either opium or alcohol or both.

Billy Joel wrote a song many years ago called “Summer at Highland Falls.”  I sort of wonder if Billy Joel might be bi-polar because the refrain of the song is, “it’s either sadness or euphoria.”  I can’t say I can ever remember being euphoric, but then I’m not bi-polar.  Living with a bi-polar person did give me future reference on how to deal with unpredictable coke head bosses I would encounter later in life.  Mom was never a coke head (thank God) but untreated bi-polar people and coke heads act remarkably similar.  I know the sadness end of the equation all too well, but most of the time my emotional state can be described as a quiet, bland sort of melancholy.  Unless of course I’m watching Beavis deep fry a dead rat as he’s toiling away at Burger World, or listening to Butthead point out every possible bit of double entendre he hears.  I don’t know why I find such puerile comedy so hilarious, but I do.  Euphoria, not so much, but I’ll take what amusement I can get.

The pisser is, as I found out right after having all four wisdom teeth chiselled out, I’m highly allergic to codeine, which is a natural opiate…no good drugs for me 😦

I did have a rather fortuitous encounter- actually two of them- as I was returning from the campground.  I was stopped in traffic coming back from Lancaster only to get a glimpse of the Romney tour bus. (I got a pic- though somewhat crappy since it was moving- that time.)  Then as I was coming home from Kroger’s later on Friday I’m stopped about a block from my house only to discover that Romney and his retinue are chowing at the City Barbeque next door.  That was rather cool.  I didn’t get pics that time but I did get to talk with one of the Franklin County Republicans who got to chow with Romney and company, so that was somewhat cool.  I hope that it’s a portent of things to come.  I’d been pissed if I’d had to wait in traffic for Obama and his minions, and even more pissed to think he was chowing next door to my house.  Both candidates have been spending a lot of time in Ohio.  My condolences- as I’m sure that they’re both used to much more exciting places- but maybe you’ll both see how us ‘po folk live and have a little empathy for us, eh?

Observations of a Cynical Old Bitty, Sports Commentary, and Keeping it Simple

I don’t drink beer.  I don’t like beer.  But to Jerry, this swill is the elixir of the Gods.  Go figure.

Tomorrow I begin a brief vacation.   Not because I’m sick, a family member’s sick or I have some stupid errand(s,) which is usually the only reason I take time off.  Granted, I did tell Jerry I would list a bunch of his crap on E-Bay tonight (joy and rapture) and I did put the rack of ribs in the slow cooker.  But he’s on his own for a couple of days which means the drive-thru better have some cold Natty Packs, and I better make sure he has Katie’s (the local good pizza joint) on speed dial.  Tomorrow morning I head for the hills- literally- where Sprint access is a crap shoot (so no internet and probably no phone either) and things should be somewhat bull-shit free as long as Jerry doesn’t show up and ruin the quiet.

I’ll have Miss Clara with me, to screen any potential “visitors.”

Clara enjoys being at the campground.  I do have to make sure she’s on a leash any time she’s not in the cabin, but I give her a long lead and let her explore.  Clara is obedient and usually a good listener, but my only fear is that with the prey drive she has that she would lunge off after a critter and get lost.  Prey drive is an instinctual thing with dogs, and when she’s locked on to something she may or may not respond to verbal commands.  This is why a lot of people who work with protection breeds use shock collars (no I am not going there) so they can get a dog’s attention should they get locked on a prey item.  I don’t want to take that chance in an area where she can get lost and/or mistaken for a deer.  Admittedly, I’ve been paranoid with Clara ever since she was hit by a truck three years ago.  She has never attempted to get beyond the fence since then, even when Sheena has found – or fabricated for herself- ways out.   Sheena has about ten pounds on Clara, so any hole big enough for Sheena is more than big enough for Clara.  Before she got hit Clara thought it was a fun game to try to find holes in the fence and such, but she has not strayed even once since.  Still, I’m not taking any undue chances with her.

I’m not trying to get my hopes up about the upcoming election, though I was most encouraged by Romney’s debate performance last Wednesday.  I’d never really thought Romney was much of a public speaker but this debate was a most pleasant surprise.  The man knows what he’s talking about, and more importantly, he believes in what he says.   The absence of the teleprompter was rather telling for Obama.  Apparently Eastwood was right.  Now if only the rest of the world will get a clue and see what I’ve known all along.  The self-proclaimed “emperor” is naked as a jay bird.

Bluejays may not wear clothes, but at least they do have feathers.

Bluejays are interesting birds in that they eat almost anything, and they’re rather aggressive.  A few years ago there was a huge scare in Franklin County regarding West Nile virus and people were asked to report any dead crows or jays (crows and jays are actually related types of birds) so the health department could test them.  Of course I’m the lucky one to find a dead jay out in the front yard that wasn’t visibly mauled by cats or hit by anything, just stiff and dead as a post, so kept my distance and called the health department to come and get it for testing.  I’m not a big fan of communicable disease, so I figure better safe than sorry.  If there’s crap like that lurking about in my yard I want to know about it.

In response to my call, some guy from the health department showed up, with his hazmat garb and everything, to pick up the dead jay (with thickly gloved hands of course.)  The health department guy observed that the jay’s mouth was open and that it had another bird (likely a baby starling) jammed in its throat in such a manner that it likely choked to death.  He still took the dead jay for testing, but assured me that the cause of death was most likely asphxyiation rather than West Nile.  Apparently this is a somewhat common manner of death for jays.

Thankfully no one needs to tell me this twice.

Most sports are pretty stupid when you think about it.  Football for instance, involves chasing a funky shaped ball up and down a field.  It also involves having very big guys jump all over your sorry carcass.  I spent the first thirteen years of my life trying to avoid having my ass kicked.  Even if I were coordinated and could play a sport for money, I don’t think the scratch would be worth daily ass kickings all over again. NFL players are coming out and saying that they are getting brain damage from all the concussions they get playing football.  Granted most athletes aren’t rocket scientists to begin with (and I say this from deep within the highly uncoordinated geek camp) but shouldn’t brain damage be your sign that playing certain sports might not be worth it?

Today you’re throwing a football on national TV.  Tomorrow you’re sucking up pureed bananas in a straw whilst shitting your drawers.

Hockey is another sport I don’t get.  It’s only fun if they fight.

Which brings us to NASCAR fans and WalMart shoppers….

Perhaps that’s mean of me,  and a bit ironic, because occasionally I go to WalMart, if I have to get something I can’t find at Target, or I’m in Marion where there is no Target.  But NASCAR, I can’t bring myself to watch that shit.  Ever.

Must have taken this pic in Newark (OH)- the Lardy Lady Capitol of the Midwest!

Freddy Mercury would have loved Newark.  Big fat Fannys everywhere!

Speaking of big fat Fanny- but she’s a cat- and she’s cute.

Some Enchanted Rednecks, A Few of My Favorite Things, and Improved is My Mood

I’m not generally the kind of person that goes around spouting sunshine out of my nether regions.  At best I’m pragmatic.  At worst I’m downright fatalistic, and that’s when the panic attacks and confusion set in. Anxiety sucks. I’ve taken that trip before, and I do NOT want to go there.  The past few days I’d been heading down that dark spiral, and letting things get on my nerves entirely too much, but today things are looking up.  I attribute the improvement in my mental/emotional state to the positive power of prayer.  Despite my dark mood last night, I dragged myself to my bible study class, and as usual, the conversation and the study material was both timely and spoke to my own dissatisfaction and melancholy.  There are times when I need a bit of a nudge to keep from falling into the same boring rut and despair.  After all, I have much to be thankful for, and I do have some activities to look forward to.

Saturday night I’m taking Steve-o to the Mansfield Reformatory.  This is the old prison where the movie Shawshank Redemption was filmed.  On the surface that sounds terrible, and normally the words prison and fun should never go together, but there’s an event called the Dead Walk that’s held around Halloween every year where you get to go through the prison, and legend has it, get the holy bejeebers scared out of you.  I love Halloween and all things slasher (I’m the only one Steve-o could get to take him to the Saw movies) so it should be a cool trip.

Zombies are awesome.  I’ll have to find a DVD of Shaun of the Dead to enjoy at the campground.

Next week I have actually arranged to take my three sanity days (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) and I’m taking Clara down to the campground for some peace and quiet.  Since the campground is pretty deserted during the week- especially in the off season- I want Clara with me.  If I want to use the phone there I have to go to the top of the hill, and even then Sprint access is sporadic.

Nobody gets past Clara.  Unless she approves.

Clara, on the other hand, is always alert, and I would have have plenty of advance notice should anyone turn up unannounced.   So all I need to do is bring some DVDs, some reading material, the MP3 player, clean clothes and toiletries and stop off at the grocery store in town for a few days’ meal fixings and it’s all cool.   Hopefully Jerry won’t ruin the blissful silence by coming down there. Then I’ll end up driving five miles one way to fetch his beer, smokes, lottery tickets and so forth, whenever he runs out of any of those.   My dream vacation- driving into the nearest town at all hours to fetch for Jerry.  I’d rather be at work.  It sounds mean, but a vacation with him is just work for me.  He gets plenty of rest at home.  I’m always doing his leg work for him.   He doesn’t need a vacation. The idea here is for me to get away and not be pestered.  However, I have a bad feeling he’s going to end up going down there.  If he stays home he might actually have to fix a meal, or heaven forbid, cart his own happy ass to the drive thru that’s just down the road (well within walking distance) to replenish his beer, smokes and lottery ticket needs.

Jerry, it’s not like we live in the ‘hood.  The drive-thru is not in Detroit on 8 Mile Road for heaven’s sake.

I’ve been on 8 Mile Road in Detroit.  Jerry had bought some wheels on E-Bay from someone up there on local pick up.  The dude lived in a very horrible neighborhood, which we didn’t realize until we got up there. I had both doors locked on the truck, and even at a stop light I kept it in first with the clutch in, ready to take off quick should the truck be jumped- and this was in broad daylight. Suffice to say it appears to be a war zone, and so far is the only place I’ve ever been in my life that is worse than both Cleveland and East St. Louis.   I never lost anything in Detroit and have no desire to go back there.  I did enjoy the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, but even getting there requires one to drive in places one should never attempt to drive- unless you have an armored car.

I’m pretty sure Steve-o wasn’t trolling about in the CVS looking for cosmetics.

I’d warned Steve-o about the diversity he might experience in the area around Children’s Hospital when the baby had to go there a few months ago.  We used to live near that area but now the hospital has bought up a good deal of the real estate, and what’s left has either been “gentrified” (aka: made too expensive for rednecks to live there) or ironically, taken over by crack-heads.  Steve-o wanted to walk over to the CVS to get smokes and pop with sugar in it (which they don’t sell in the hospital) so I cautioned him to watch his back because he’s used to rural locales and rural rednecks.  Steve-o no sooner arrives at the CVS when a rather effeminate man taps him on the shoulder and whispers, “Honey, I’ve got just what you need.”  Steve-o is not a small guy, and he’s also not shy.  Steve-o looked the little dude in the eye, shaked his fist, and replied, “I’ve got just what you need right here.”  Fortunately there was no altercation.  I don’t care about other’s lifestyle choices, but the mommy-claws still kind of come out on that one, which is weird, because Steve-o is perfectly capable of fending off unwanted attention.  It’s still creepy – at least to me.

Other people’s lifestyle choices don’t bother me as long as they’re not shoved in my face.  I could care less- until or unless the bull dykes hit on me.  So far that hasn’t happened, and I am glad for it.  Then I might have a problem, should a simple “I’m straight,” fail to deflect unwanted advances.  I probably won’t ever have to worry about it.  I don’t get hit on by men either.

I am no paragon of good parenting skills, but at least I never did this.

Steve-o did get himself duct-taped to a core support once, when he was about nine, but that’s his just dessert for mouthing off to the guys at the body shop.  Nine year old boys do tend to exaggerate their ass-kicking skills a bit much.  I only wish I’d gotten a pic of him hanging off the core support of that F-150.  Call me a mean mommy, but I made him beg and plead and cry “Uncle” so the guys would cut him down.   I hope that didn’t warp him any more than he warped the guy who he decorated with a Sharpie.  I guess it’s not good to be the first guy to pass out at a party, at least if it’s a party Steve-o is attending.   His buddy woke up with the word “PENIS” emblazoned on his forehead in black Sharpie, backward, so he could read it clearly when he looked in the mirror.

If this is how some people treat their friends