This…so much this…
And since there’s nothing but a blank white box there, and I wasn’t really struck by the profoundity (it’s a word) of blank white boxes…just go over to The Argyle Sweater’s page and look at the panel for today’s date.
Now go visit The Argyle Sweater for some more giggle-fits.
Sometimes I have stuff happen in my life and I write about it, and sometimes I don’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t still need to write about it.
I’m a writer, and writers write.
I also am not a big fan of cliches.
It’s just that after not writing for any length of time I get brain-stipated. It’s like I can’t function properly because there’s too much going on.
And at the same time, I sit at my computer and my hands hover over the keyboard. I can’t write.
I’m brain-stipated, and no amount of fiber is going to help.
I have to force myself to sit down and write something, anything, and fast.
I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t. I’m afraid my brain will shut down, and I’ll lose all sense of self. In effect, ceasing to exist.
It’s really that dramatic, and it’s really not.
How do people who don’t feel compelled to write see the world differently than me? Are they simply voyeurs? Watching the world go by with no dialogue streaming in their heads? No need to put into words all that they experience?
How does that work? I’d really like to know, because there are plenty of times when I wish I could just turn it all off for a while and instead of getting brain-stipated I’d just be calm and at peace.
Maybe, if I could figure out how to drug the endless procession of characters that bang on the inner doors of my head trying to get out I could relax.
Until then, though, you’ll just have to put up with the inane ramblings of the brain-stipated mind.
Time for some awesome, with a big dollop of sauce.
And I used to be able to create hyperlinks, but my computer got “upgraded” and that function is gone now…so just click on the mess above.
You know, as I was driving home that day I was thinking to myself…
Self, it’s been ages since you’ve had raw sewage back up into your house and overflow all over your floors. I think you’ve missed that.
Fortunately, the gods of all that is sewer-ish smiled upon me and suddenly shit (literally) got real.
The fastest plumber in the west (Swifty) came to the house, placed a camera in something he called the “main line”, and my brain heard as “stupidly expensive to fix”, and proceeded to show us some rather impressive images of a tree that had taken up residence in the aforementioned piping.
He said it would have to be dug up, and a large section of the main line would have to be replaced.
“How much will that be?” I asked.
He quoted an amount that I’m pretty sure was more than the GDP of Honduras last year..”..and, I can come do it tomorrow…” he finished, smiling.
Of course you can, I thought, and then you can take a cruise to Belize after you cash my check.
“Okay.” I sighed, knowing there was no alternative.
The next day, hubby was home while the plumber and his helper worked.
When I got home, I was rather alarmed to see a mound of dirt in the yard that looked exactly like the shallow graves we all see in movies and television shows.
Exactly. Like. That.
“What is that?” I asked hubby.
“A grave.” He said, offering no other explanation.
“Well, that’s what Swifty said it was and since he came with a helper and left alone…I didn’t ask questions.”
“Perfect,” I said, too tired from working all day to really care. “I guess the least we can do is get some kind of headstone.”
“And attract the attention of the police? Are you crazy?”
I just looked at him, and realized we were arguing about whether or not to mark the grave in my front yard with a headstone.
We weren’t discussing who was in it, why it was there, and how the hell this all happened.
No, we were contemplating the propriety of memorials in front yards.
It was as if we were discussing whether to have pancakes or waffles for breakfast. (There are definitely two camps on this issue, just like headstone or no headstone. I don’t like either, and hubby prefers pancakes…so maybe there are actually three camps)
Hubby smiled at me, “Don’t you want to know what happened?”
“Do I?” I asked, figuring that if it came up later I could always claim ignorance and not be lying.
“I came outside and saw Swifty mounding this dirt. I didn’t see Swifty’s helper so I jokingly said to him that if that’s a body there, I’m giving the police your name and number.”
“Swifty said, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a body buried in there. Also, I had to mound the dirt over the pipe to prevent crushing it. Over time, it will settle around the pipe and the ground will be more or less level.’ And he walked away…but just before he got in his truck he said, ‘Bird’ Now, I don’t know if he meant it was a bird or someone named Bird is buried there.”
“And you didn’t ask.” I said.
Hubby shook his head.
“Well, at least now we know what name to put on the headstone.” I said, and walked into the house.
The other day I had my regular quarterly appointment with my pain management doctor. When I walked into the waiting room it was so full it felt like there was no air to breathe.
It was a scheduling issue, and everyone from ‘tomorrow’ was moved to ‘today’, myself included.
The stagnant air notwithstanding, I sat down on the only chair left in the room and putting my ear plugs in to listen to “Outlander” (the book is pure awesomesauce, by the way) and resigned myself to a long wait.
From the corner of my eye I saw a very sweet older couple, also waiting, chatting and laughing with one another. They looked as though they hadn’t a care in the world, but I knew that was not true, and judging by the fact that the woman was in a wheelchair, I guessed it was she who was the one in pain. Nonetheless, her eyes sparkled and her giggles at things her husband said were like a magnet to me, and I removed the ear plugs so I could watch and listen more closely.
As a writer, watching and listening is something I find myself doing all the time. Sometimes, the object of my curiosity takes offense but most of the time I’m barely noticed.
As the man spoke to his wife, she leaned forward and tilted her head. He stroked her hands, holding them gently, and I noticed her perfectly polished nails. Leaning back, I took in the rest of her appearance and noted she was probably once quite striking and even now she was lovely. Her hair was combed just so, and her outfit was quite stylish. Even her shoes – sensible flats – looked as though they were well-made. Her husband had spent the same amount of time on his appearance, it seemed. I thought that even if they hadn’t left the house all day, these two probably made a habit of looking good for one another.
Seated next to them were a couple of pre-teen girls. One of them had a long side braid, ala “Frozen”, and the elderly woman remarked on how pretty it was. The girl smiled shyly as the woman told her that she “used to have hair that long, longer in fact and he braided it for me” she smiled at her husband.
“How long have you been married?” the mother of the pre-teen girl asked.
“Sixty-five years.” the man said.
“And I think I’ll keep him.” the woman said, winking.
The room’s occupants chuckled in appreciation.
The woman turned to me and asked why I was there. I told her it was a regular visit, and she said hers was for arthritis pain, “..but you know all about that kind of pain, right?” she asked. I nodded in agreement.
“Remember when beer was prescribed for pain?” her husband asked, a twinkle in his eye.
She threw her head back and laughed.
“Beer?” I asked.
“Oh yes,” she said, still chuckling, “when my sister had her first baby, the doctor prescribed beer to help relieve pain and stimulate her milk. They didn’t know better back then. Well, one day my mama was visiting her and she was drinking a bottle of beer. Just then, the pastor from our church came walking up the path to her front door. My sister panicked, he couldn’t see her drinking! She put the bottle under the bed and then my mama, trying to be helpful, pushed it with her foot. Well, she pushed it a little too hard and it fell over, spilling all over the floor!”
“Oh my!” I exclaimed.
“So, the whole house smelled like beer just in time for the pastor to visit!”
She and her husband laughed long and hard at the delightful memory, and we all joined in.
Soon, the woman’s name was called and her husband wheeled her into one of the examination rooms in the back. I went back to my book and waited for my name to be called, but I found myself smiling at the sweet and tender moments I’d been privileged to witness. How rare and precious this kind of love is, I thought, shaking my head slightly.
A few moments passed and a middle-aged man came into the office, pushing the wheelchair of a much younger man I guessed to be in his mid-twenties at most. My first thought was father and son, and my second was what on Earth had happened.
I was called to the back by a nurse I’d never met before, and as she led me in she said, “Hi honey, did you sleep?” to the wheelchair bound young man. I couldn’t make out his answer, as his speech was slurred and difficult, but she smiled and nodded so I assumed he had assured her he slept.
“That’s my son.” she beamed at me, as if to answer the unspoken question.
I thought back to earlier that day, when my own son had visited me at work. Only he’d bounced into my office on two good legs, bright-eyed, healthy, and full of vigor.
When we got into the exam room, the nurse offered more information, “He has a pain pump, and Dr. K takes care of him for me.”
“If you don’t mind my asking….” I said, my curiosity piqued, but my sense of decorum preventing me finishing the question.
“It was ten years ago when he was just 17,” she began, her eyes focused on that day in the past, “he was out past his curfew, and knew he’d be in trouble, so he was driving too fast, hit some loose asphalt, and the car rolled end over end. He was ejected, and the car landed on him. Spinal cord severed, severe brain trauma. He’s lucky to be alive.” She finished her story, and wiped at her eyes.
“I’m so sorry.” I said, touching her arm lightly and feeling terribly inadequate.
“Oh, that was not the worst,” she said, waving her hand. “The worst is now. Even with all kinds of medication on board, he cannot sleep. He does not sleep. And now, he’s convinced his food is not going into his stomach, but is in fact entering his lungs, his sinuses… so, he won’t eat.” she trailed off, shaking her head. “We kept him home as long as we could, but we finally had to put him in a nursing home just last week.” She wiped her eyes again. “You see, I have fibromyalgia, and….”
“I have it too!” I exclaimed, and then we proceeded to spend a few minutes discussing this bizarre illness. She seemed truly happy to be able to commiserate with someone who understood her situation.
“So, you understand… I just…we couldn’t keep him home anymore.” She said, as if looking for validation from this person she’d just met.
“Of course I do, and I think you have to know when choosing what’s best for someone regardless of how you feel about it, is the right thing to do. I consider what you did a selfless act of a mother’s love.”
Her eyes misted over, but she quickly shook it off and proceeded to finish the business portion of her exam.
At the end, as she was leaving, she turned to me and said with a big smile, “He does have a great roommate at the nursing home, and we’ve begun seeing a side of his personality we haven’t seen in a long time.”
She shut the door, and I was left with my thoughts.
I’d met two women that day. Two women on different ends of a spectrum of strength.
One buoyed by the love and devotion of a man clearly in love and devoted to her.
The other buoyed by the happiness, however small, she was able to give a son whose life had been so tragically altered by one childish mistake.
Two women, both strong.
Two women representative of millions of women, all of them…all of us, strong and unique and powerful in every way that matters.
Remember just yesterday, when I told you about the busted television?
And how the ‘incident report’ was supposed to be filed so we could make a claim against the cable company?
Yeah, it didn’t happen.
The incident report, not the bustage.
I was the one who had to call in the incident report, on Monday the 16th, and then yesterday I called on the status and spoke to a customer service supervisor named “Frank” (yeah, right…I’ve worked in call centers before and if his name was “Frank” then mine’s Xenia, Keeper of Figtail Feifings).
Frank: Hi, I’m Frank and understand you are checking on the status of an incident report?
Frank: I’m reviewing the notes, and it looks like the technician’s supervisor filed the claim on Monday.
Me: No, he didn’t.
Frank: Excuse me?
Me: I filed the claim, because when I called on Monday there was no record of it.
Frank: Oh, well ma’am I’m just reading the notes.
Me: And someone is lying. That ‘someone’ not being me.
Frank: Uh…well, I do see here that you called on Monday to check on it.
Frank: The claims person noted that he called you and left a voicemail on Tuesday, the 17th.
Me: That’s two.
Me: Two lies. No one called me, and no one left a voicemail. So, actually, that’s three lies.
Frank: Ma’am, the notes say he called (my home number, which we never use) and left a message to call him.
Me: Impossible. That phone has no answering machine, nor voicemail.
Frank: Well, Ma’am I’m just reading notes.
Me: You’re spouting lies, granted they are not your lies, but lies nonetheless. And, further, he just called once and that’s it? What did he think was going to happen? That I’d just go away? I’m out an $800 television. Not likely I’d just let that go.
Me: How about this…I give you a good number to use and you have whoever call me on it?
I give him my cell number
Frank: Thank you, and I will get this message to the claims supervisor right away.
Me: Isn’t it nice to know you work with people who lie?
Me: I’m not saying you are one of them, but then given the track record of your company just this week alone, how do I know?
Frank: Ma’am, I see you’ve been a customer for over 20 years and I assure you….
Me: (cutting him off) Never mind the assurance, just handle this issue.
Frank: Yes, Ma’am..
And, I hung up.
I can take most of the world’s idiocy, but I cannot handle liars.
They make me all stabbity.
Oh, and guess who called me an hour later to schedule an appointment to come out and settle the claim?
Last week our 2 1/2-yr. old Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television went on an acid trip.
We’d turn it on, and after a moment or two, the pictures would go all psychedelic colors and such.
I verified it wasn’t just me seeing it, and concluded that the television had dropped acid.
My husband gave me the side-eye.
“Well, at least that’s what I’d heard it was like.”
He shook his head…his wife may, or may not, have partaken in some 60′s psychedelic culture but that paled in comparison to the fact that his beloved Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television now seemed to be on a permanent trip.
“Maybe it’s the cable box,” I said, trying to be helpful, “let’s have a tech come out here and swap them out before we go assuming a television that’s only a couple of years old has gone on the fritz.”
So, we did.
That’s when things went horribly awry.
A young tech, bearing a striking resemblance to every young man I’d ever met in the 60′s (what is with me and the 60′s all of a sudden?), came to the house and powered up the Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television, simultaneously oohing and aahhing over hubby’s impressive man-cave interior decorations.
The television powered up, dropped acid, and psychedelic-ishness (it’s a word..now) ensued.
“Yep, it’s probably the HDMI interface on the flux-capacitor.” The tech said, or something like that I’m not technical.
So, the tech went and got a new box and cable and came back in the house, this time with his driver/helper in tow, and proceeded to swap stuff out while the driver/helper oohed and aahhed over hubby’s man-cave.
The task accomplished, the tech hit the power button on the television.
Nothing happened, except the blue standby light flashed.
It appeared, after several attempts, that the last acid trip had been a fatal one.
Our 2 1/2-yr. old Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television was dead and gone.
The tech was visibly shaken, and I didn’t know why until he mumbled something about “an incident report”. That sounded ominous, so I asked him what that meant.
“It means that since ‘we’ (as in we the cable company) were the last to touch the television, and it was working when we got here, then ‘we’ will take responsibility for replacing the television.”
“Oh…but…” Hubby shot me ‘the look’ and I stopped.
What I was going to say, though, was I didn’t see how swapping a cable box would kill a television.
But, I’m not technical, and maybe the flux-capacitor is touchier than I thought, so there’s that.
The tech and his helper left shortly thereafter, and I found a repairman to come out that day to see if our 2 1/2-yr. old Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television could be saved.
The two repair techs disassembled the back, placed testers on various components, clucked their tongues a lot and proceeded to shake their heads.
It appeared, the older one said, that our worst fears were realized. The television had gone to the big remote in the sky.
The good news was the part that failed, the main board, could be replaced.
There was rejoicing in the kingdom.
Except every television made around the same time as ours must have used the same main board because none were to be had, and no one was making any more. Ever.
“It is the company’s way of forcing you into buying a new television.” The tech added, not helpfully.
So, the television techs left and we proceeded to search online for a replacement television.
Guess what you can’t find anymore?
A Philips 46″ Flat Screen, LCD, 1080p, 240hz, television.
You can get a 48” flat screen, but then it’s LED, not LCD, and it’s 120hz, not 240 hz.
You can get a 240hz, but only in LED, and then it’s a Samsung.
You can get an LCD, but then it’s a ginormous screen and too big for our needs, or it’s a tiny screen and too small for the space.
Searching for hours, only to be disappointed time and again, we finally settled on a 48” Samsung, LED, SMART, television on sale for $799.
And, it was shown to be in stock at our local Best Buy.
Again, there was much rejoicing in the kingdom.
I called the store, and repeated the SKU number for the helpful clerk.
“Oh, the Samsung 48”, right?”
“Yes, the site indicates you have them in stock.”
“Yes, let me check inventory.”
*horrid hold music plays*
“Ma’am?” the clerk said getting back on the line, “we show those to be on backorder.”
“Do you have an expected ship date?”
We had a big Father’s Day barbecue at the awesomesauciness house on Sunday.
(big shout out – late of course – to all you Daddies out there – WOOT!!)
Anyway, oldest daughter, K, is the liberal in the family and not at all cool with guns.
Especially in the hands of her 6-yr. old son, Little J.
Let me explain.
It was an ‘airsoft’ gun. You know the kind that shoots tiny plastic pellets? Yeah, one of those had been given to his 7-yr. old cousin, W, and Little J was beside himself with anticipation and glee at the prospect of shooting some cans out of the trees out back.
Until K stepped in and pitched a hissy fit, “NO 6-yr. old NEEDS TO HAVE A GUN IN THEIR HANDS, I DON’T CARE IF IT IS NOT REAL.”
Big J, (K’s hubby and Little J’s daddy) quickly decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and ate ice cream.
In fact, most of us ate some of the homemade ice cream I’d made for the occasion.
While we were doing that, K went outside and set up the croquet set bent on teaching her son a more genteel way of playing with his cousin, W.
Little J did not get the ‘genteel’ part of the memo, and deciding a croquet mallet required a massive backswing, swung the mallet back in preparation for a shot and made direct contact with W’s eye, leaving an impressive shiner that we assured W the “chicks will dig”…even though, at seven, it’s not a thing for him, he was still gratified to know this.
K applied ice, kept apologizing, and administered many auntie kisses to W.
Big J, seizing the opportunity, took Little J outside where he proceeded to teach him the finer points of aiming an airsoft rifle at a non-human target and plinking the hell out of it.
Much rejoicing ensued, and K sat inside tight-lipped, until I said this…
“So, to recap here, K, it appears that whilst trying to protect the kids from the big, bad, gun you did, in fact, cause injury to W by placing a croquet mallet in the hands of a 6-yr. old that sees everything as a weapon.”
“And, has anyone been hurt by the airsoft gun?”
“I rest my case.”
I missed the first few texts, because it was late and you know, ninjas…
“Are we just going to stay in this awkward place, where we don’t talk ever?”
“Please talk to me.”
“I miss u.”
And that’s when I picked up my phone off the charger and realized I had suddenly become a teenage boy named ‘Alec’.
At first I giggled, and briefly contemplated being ‘Alec’ for the lovelorn, but then decided I’m not mean enough, so I picked up the conversation with…
“Sorry, wrong number”
“Cut it out Alec”
“Wait, is this seriously the wrong number?”
“No problem. Good luck”
“Alec, stop it”
“Ashley gave me ur number and ur just tricking me”
“Look, you have the wrong number. Check with whoever gave it to you. I’m a grandma, not a young man.”
“Alec, seriously stop it.”
“No, you stop it. I am NOT Alec.”
At this point, it’s nearly 11:00 pm and my hubby says, “Just turn your phone off.”
“No, I’m not going to be held hostage by a lovesick teenager.”
He shakes his head.
My phone’s text sound goes off again…
“I memorized ur number, and that is it.”
“Fine. Call me then.”
My phone rings, and as I pick up to say, ‘Hello’, I hear an audible gasp on the other end.
“See?” I said, “I am not Alec. You are texting the wrong number. Stop it.”
*click* – she hangs up, so I text her…
“See? I was not kidding.”
I put the phone down, and think the whole thing is over.
Ten minutes later….
“Ma’am, I am so sorry.”
“It’s okay, honey. And I wish you luck.”
The next day…
“Still not Alec.”
“Alec, who answered your phone last night?”
“No, it was a woman”
*okay, feck it, I give up*
“Yes, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time…..”
When I was a kid my parents bought a condo in a really nice community. It had lush common areas, a large floor plan, even a small back yard with a storage shed.
It was perfect.
It was also intended as a retirement community, but apparently Mom and Dad didn’t get that memo.
As I reached the teen years, my penchant for mischief increased exponentially. It didn’t help that the elderly residents of the complex were batshit crazy, but I think had they not been already me and my cohorts would have pushed them over the edge in due time.
One of our favorite spots to hangout, act goofy, play our music on portable radios, smoke, and eat junk food, was a common area between two large buildings that had a lovely hillside to roll down in summer or sled down in winter. One building had windows facing the common and if we were out there one nanosecond past dark a blue-haired woman stood in her window taking pictures.
Naturally, we posed and strutted or tried to time jumps in the air so she’d catch us mid-somethingcrazy. We’d also crank up the tunes and dance for her.
She’d then take those pictures and distribute amongst the various bulletin boards in the complex. Or, if she knew our parents, she’d go straight to them with the incriminating evidence of….kids being kids…dun..dun…DUNNNNN!
She called the police so many times on us that we got to know each of them on a first-name basis. They were decent enough, understanding, and exasperated with batshit crazy blue-haired women, and unruly teenagers. Whatever they were paid, it wasn’t enough.
Fast forward to a month ago when my sweet neighbor across the street apparently sold her house to me and my friends from lo those many years ago.
They act crazy, racing around the yard and up and down the street on their John Deere riding mower, have turned the workshop into a mini-club complete with a full drum set, and play music loudly at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
I’ve lived in this house 18 years, and never called the police once. And now, I’ve called the police to complain five times in the last two weeks.
I’ve refrained from getting out the camera and standing at my window to take pictures.
I’m not ‘that’ old woman, not yet anyway.
Which reminds me, it’s time to get the bluing added to my hair.