Monthly Archives: April 2012

I Am Obviously Lacking In The Politically Correct Department

But I dare you to not laugh……

 

UPDATED It’s Been A Heart Week

I have a relatively benign heart condition.

It’s benign as in it *probably* won’t kill me, but it will make miserable.

I’m currently miserable in a hospital bed. I should go home today, provided the rest of the tests look good.

I’ll post more when I get out.

And don’t worry, I will be fine.

*Update* I posted this yesterday, when it should have posted today-Friday-and I failed to mention what this condition is. It’s called PSVT. I’m still in the hospital, awaiting the stress test. Keep your fingers crossed!

The Apoca-Apocap-Apooca…End of The World

After getting a shout out from my blog buddy, Mark, I read his post on the awesomeness of his customer service experience.  Lucky stiff.

I also clicked a link in the post to a blogger named Jen, and then laughed to tears over her dining experience post and even better post on doomsday preparations.

I have a brother-in-law like the people she describes in the post.  And, I’ll bet he has a checklist.

I don’t ask.

I don’t want to know.

That, however, does not stop him from sharing his various survival strategies with me and my husband.

And that leads to some pretty hilarious shit.

BIL:  Yeah, in the back yard I have buried money in glass jars and bleach – for purifying water – and canned goods in these plastic bags that will last forever.  I’ve got a compound bow and arrows, and knives, waterproof matches, and even a cookstove sealed in bags and buried in different spots around the back yard.

HUBBY:  How do you remember where everything is?

BIL: I plant *certain* plants over the spot every year and have a graph I’ve drawn to show their exact location.

HUBBY:  And where are the guns buried?

BIL: Guns? I don’t have any guns.

HUBBY:  Yeah, and if this doomsday shit ever gets real, you won’t have anything else either.

BIL:  Yes, I will.  Because I am prepared.

HUBBY:  Prepared? For what?  To stop bullets with your arrows?  Dude,  yours will be the first castle to fall as soon as people realize that you have all this shit and you are, basically, unarmed.

BIL:  My neighbors, they wouldn’t….

HUBBY: Bullshit they won’t.  A bunch of starving people, maybe some sick or injured from fallout?  Shit gets real in a hurry in those situations, and neighbor or not, you are one dead dude.

BIL:  *makes the open-closed fishmouth thingy a time or two and then stares at hubby for a while*

HUBBY: *opens the cooler and pops the top on a cold one, grinning like the Cheshire cat* Beer?

And that, my friends, is why I adore that man.

I Think The Government Is Trying To Kill Me

And not in any blatant hail-of-gunfire kinda way.  No, the bureaucracy that is the U.S. Gubmint is trying to kill me by making me have a rage-induced aneurism.

Let me attempt to explain…

My father is a veteran.  He’s also a 176 lb. infant these days, due to advancing Alzheimer’s.  Knowing the end is inevitable I decide to do the responsible daughter thing and get funeral pre-arrangements going. (That’s another post..one with more funny and less rage.)

In my naiveté, I figure this will be a relatively *simple* process.

*proceeds to laugh hysterically for a moment*

Whew…oh yes, where was I?

Convo with me and funeral director:

Me: Hi, I’m here to do some funeral planning for my father.  He’s a veteran, so the interment and perpetual care are already taken care of…

FD: Do you have the DD-214?

Me: The wha…?

FD: The DD-214 form.  It’s your father’s discharge from the military.

Me: I have a discharge certificate.

FD:*shaking her head* That’s not the DD-214.  I’ll get you the web address to send an electronic request for the DD-214. It’s a fairly simple process.

The rest of the funeral pre-arrangement meeting went well….even though I laughed at precisely the wrong moments.  Every. Time.

I got back to my computer and proceeded to place the e-request for a copy of Dad’s DD-214.

This morning I got this e-mail from an Archive Technician (who knew they existed and are they like The Librarian?):

I have been assigned your request submitted for verification of military  service for the veteran:

Wyle E. Cattle 

Center Policy is that if the veteran is living, their signature is required to authorized release of information from military records.  If the veteran is not living, immediate next-of-kin must send written request for information.  Please identify your relationship to the veteran as you signed the web request indicating you were the veteran.

Additionally, the service number, provided in your request, is identifying a veteran with a different name than you submitted.  Was the veteran known by a different name during his military career?

I replied:

There was no place to indicate on the form who I am, but I requested the form on behalf of my father.  I am Awesome Sauciness (nee Cattlecall).

My father is Wyle E. Cattlecall.  I didn’t apply for the form under the name you list below.  I applied for it under his name, Wyle E. Cattlecall.

He is a resident at ******* in Redacted, TX. It’s a nursing home and he is in their secured wing as an elopement risk.  He has advanced Alzheimer’s and no language/writing skills.

I requested the DD-214 as part of funeral pre-planning arrangements I am making with You Stab ‘Em, We Slab ‘Em Funeral Home in Dallas, TX.

And I wait.

I have no faith I’ll get what I ask.  At least not until I trot one of these Archive Technicians over to the home and have him/her attempt to communicate with Dad.

Though if they are anything like the Librarian I would hope they have a Babelfish in their knapsack.  Then, maybe, I could talk to Dad too.

Then maybe I could explain to him why his next SS benefit check will be $200 short.

It’s because the SSA thinks Dad is not in a nursing home.

And that’s because the TX Dept of Health and Human Services told them that in October of 2011 Dad left the home he was in in Ft. Worth.

That part is true, but he wasn’t discharged he was transferred to a home where I wouldn’t get calls at 2:00 a.m. to tell me he had been beaten up again and had a head injury…again.

So the new home he went to filed all the necessary paperwork for the transfer, only somewhere along the bureaucratic nightmare of tangled webs the whole thing got lost.

I’ve now spoken to FOUR different people and gotten FOUR different answers about Dad’s benefits.

The only consistency is their insistence that I’m not someone to whom they may speak, but they must speak to Dad.

I finally told the last twit that I’d be glad to drive her over to the home and see, just see, how much of a conversation she could have with him.

I probably screamed that into the phone.

I have my own caseworker now.

And, probably, my own surveillance satellite.

 

I Am Much Sorry Random Blah, Blah

Hello and thank you for calling “I-Will-Now-Proceed-To-Make-Your-Life-A-Living-Hell” .

Diega Espanol, el prima-dose.

Please state the reason for your call.

ME: Order status

Please say or state the reason for your call.

ME: Order status

Please say or state the reason for your call.

ME: NO!

Please say or state….

ME: Are you out of your Vulcan mind?!

*I now begin mashing random buttons on my phone*

I’m sorry YOU are such a moron (though I’m pretty sure she said  “having so much trouble..”, please press….

ME: Pssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

*random clicks and I get a human*

“Thank you for calling Hell, my name is “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit-Because-My-Scumbag-Boyfriend-Is-Banging-My-Best-Friend”.  How may I help you?

ME: I need an order status, please.

“Thank you for calling Hell, my name is “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit-Because-My-Scumbag-Boyfriend-Is-Banging-My-Best-Friend”.  How may I help you?

Me: O-R-D-E-R S-T-A-T-U-S

“Thank you for calling Hell, my name is “I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit-Because-My-Scumbag-Boyfriend-Is-Banging-My-Best-Friend”.  How may I help you?

ME: Are you out of your Vulcan mind!?

“I am sorry not for hearing much you. Please to call try number back.” <<<I shit you not, that’s exactly how she said it.

ME: I am much hearing, you are not hearing. I am much sorry.

“Okay”

*click*

Feck.

I Never Shoulda Told Him About That Life Insurance

I think my hubby is trying to off me in some kind of spectacularly weird way that will in no way implicate him.

Or I’m just paranoid.

Definitely one of those.

You decide after reading the following text convo between us earlier this week, and keep in mind the man never texts anything more than one or two letter words…and here he is having an actual conversation with me.

I haz a suspicious.

Hubby:  Guess u should know I told baby girl and her hubby we’d watch the kids if they wanted to go out of town this weekend.

(they have two girls – aged 4 and 2 months, and the 2-mo. old does NOT sleep through the night yet)

MeThis weekend?!?

Hubby: Yes

Me: But aren’t we also having other grandson’s third birthday party at our house this weekend?

Hubby: Yes

Me: Are u just trying to kill me? Cuz if u are u should know I canceled that insurance policy.

Hubby: What insurance policy?

Me: Oh don’t act like u don’t know what I’m talking about.  Anyway, this is a waste of effort.

Hubby: Did u really cancel the policy?

Me: Why?

Hubby:  No reason..besides u used to watch 4 little ones when our kids were young.  What happened?

Me: 30 years!!!!

Hubby: So, about that insurance……..

I Was Rat Pack When Rock Was Cool

And I have my eighth-grade physics teacher to blame. His name escapes me, but let’s call him ‘Elmer’. That’s because the very first song I ever heard blasting from the speakers he had mounted on either side of his blackboard was a little ditty called “Elmer’s Tune”.

Elmer was decidedly off-kilter, just like Mr. Swartz and Ms. Floro.

As I’ve stated before, my entire junior high school was like the M*A*S*H 4077th of schools.

They were all nuts. Totally.

Elmer would blast big band and swing tunes every morning before school and during breaks between classes. He’d leave the door to his classroom open and since it was a pretty small building the sound really carried.

And carried.

After a while, I swear even the floorboards reverberated with the strains of Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo-Choo”.

This, mind you, was in the days of rock ‘n roll.

I was finding angst in Alice Cooper and cool in Fleetwood Mac. I dressed like Stevie Nicks, except for the funky hats…I mean, after all, my hair was a work of art – all straight-as-a-board and parted in the middle. A hat would have totally ruined it. I had the gossamer-winged ensembles in black down, though. I just skipped the heroin-vapid look, thankyouverymuch.

I did not get the appeal of the Dorsey Brothers or the aforementioned Glenn Miller.

 Then, one day, I heard something different.

 I’d heard the voice before.

 He was one of my totally uncool Mom’s favorite singers, which by definition, meant he had to be someone I’d detest.

It’s a moral imperative – when your square parents just ‘love’ some kind of _______________ (fill in the blank) you must, as a teenager, instantly hate said thing with every fiber of your being. I’m pretty sure you’ll find that in the “How To Drive Your Parents to Xanax-Land” teenager handbook.

The unmistakably cool and smooth sounds of Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody” came booming down the hallway at me, and I found myself smiling and enjoying that voice.

I guess that’s where I broke with my friends over music and embraced all that was cool – Frank, Dino, and to a lesser degree, Sammy and Tony. Not that those last two weren’t cool, I just preferred Frank and Dino.

If you are uncool I’ll wait here while you go figure out who I’m talking about.

*turns up the volume on her Pandora ‘Rat Pack’ station*

Those cats were, hell they still are, cool as ice and smooth as glass and I suppose I have Elmer to thank for providing this teenager a safe out to make such a claim.

I never told my parents, though.

That much of a traitor I wasn’t.

Another thing that Elmer did was come up with creative ways to spell the word ‘hell’. He couldn’t say it to his students, but by damn he would spell it!

We, being adolescents, would do our level best to push him to the brink every day. He was pretty tough though, and wouldn’t crater too often.

This just made him more fun to challenge.

Of course.

He’d invariably say something like, “What in the H*E*double-hockey-sticks is going on?” Or “What in the H*E*double-crooked-letter….?” Even though anyone who has ever had to spell Mississippi knows that the ‘crooked letter’ is an “S”, which meant he was asking us just what in the Hess was going on, and that made him a Communist.

And, if you don’t know who ‘Hess’ was, go look it up.

*considers asking Wiki founder for royalties for all the traffic she sends that way*

Sufficiently edumacated now?

Anyway, that last one would always bring a huge laugh from the class and a confused look to the face of Elmer.

Several years later I asked a neighbor who’d just started going to our junior high about Elmer and his fondness for music from the 40’s.

She told me he’d retired and then died recently.

Just like that.

I was sad, but glad too that Elmer had introduced me to something I would love the rest of my life.

And, I’m betting that in heaven there’s a doorway somewhere and from inside come the lovely strains of “Moonlight Serenade” even as the angels cover their ears and ask Elmer just what in the h*e*double hockey sticks he’s trying to do, deafen them?

Imma Come Out And Say It

I’m phone stoopid.

No, really I am.

Oh I can figure out all the fancy doo-dads on my iPhone, no problem.

Most of the doo-dads, anyway.

Where I utterly, completely and totally fail is in the ringtone department.

Here’s the scenario:

I choose a song, or sound effect, as my ringtone.  Usually, this is accomplished after scrolling through the availables or even paying for a favorite song, and then setting it up to activate with every call.

So, someone calls me and my ringtone goes off.

And I look up, look around, and sometimes even ask others in the room “Do you hear that? What is it?”  Or, “Where is that music coming from?”

And I do this, every single time. I never make that permanent connection.

Never.

I missed a helluvalot of calls that way, too.

The solution?  I changed my ringtone to “Old Time Phone”, so it sounds like one of those old-style mechanical ringers in those big, heavy, black phones you see in movies of the 30’s and 40’s.

Which brings me to my other problem.

I watch a lot of old movies and now every time a phone rings in one of those movies I grab my iPhone.

I give up.

Someday If We Are Lucky…

….we will get to grow old and grey, like Mary Maxwell…

May your ‘old age’ be filled with laughter.   

 

 

Blessed In Aging

 

~Esther Mary Walker

 

Blessed are they who understand

My faltering step and shaking hand

Blessed, who know my ears today

Must strain to hear the things they say.

Blessed are those who seem to know

My eyes are dim and my mind is slow

Blessed are those who look away

When I spilled tea that weary day.

Blessed are they who, with cheery smile

Stopped to chat for a little while

Blessed are they who know the way

To bring back memories of yesterday.

Blessed are those who never say

“You’ve told that story twice today”

Blessed are they who make it known

That I am loved, respected and not alone.

And blessed are they who will ease the days Of my journey home, in loving ways.

 

 

Let Me Put It This Way

I had an amazingly screwed up childhood.

And, I’m glad I did.

Yep, I’m glad because the insanity that was made the person that is.

I was born, against all odds and to the amazement of every doctor around, in rural farmland to a couple who’d never thought children were going to happen for them.

My mother desperately wanted a child, but my father didn’t. In fact, he often told me how much he didn’t want children as the years went by.

He wasn’t particularly mean about it, just matter-of-fact.  But, to a young girl the words cut like a knife.

A hot knife with serrated edges.

My parents divorced when I was six.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  Few things are as traumatic for a child as divorce.  I thought the world had ended.

I was wrong, of course.

My mother dated some after the divorce.  Her incredibly beautiful and exotic features attracted men like moths to a flame. 

When I was eight she remarried.  My new stepfather came with an added bonus feature – a six year old stepsister whom I loathed nearly as much as him.

Blended families are not like you see on The Brady Bunch.  They are forged from the fire of anger and the grit of determination.  In the end, some are beautiful works of art and others are left on a pile of discards, charred and misshapen.

Ours was somewhere in between.  My sister and I fought – I once broke a finger of hers and she graced me with a gigantic bald patch on my head.  Our fighting didn’t seem to affect the parental units much.  Of course, liberal applications of gin and vermouth might have had a lot to do with that.

Because of their need for alone time with Tanqueray and Martini & Rossi we were left to our own devices a lot.

Neither of us was particularly rebellious, but both of us were desperate for the attention that our parents now showered upon one another.

There were moments, when one of us was sick or hurt, that brought them both running and being the kind of parents we wanted all the time.

These glimpses made us both wish for a fever or broken bone.

As I entered pre-adolescence I discovered the magic of the written word. One of my first loves had always been horses, and Walter Farley introduced me to a magnificent horse named, simply, “The Black”.  I read every “Black Stallion” novel ever written and re-read them when I finished the series.

Truth be known, right now in my desk drawer is a paperback copy of “The Black Stallion”.  It is worn and rough around the edges, kind of like me these days, and I cherish it.

At thirteen someone loaned me a copy of “Christine” by Stephen King.  From then on, and to this day, I read his work whenever I can.

In high school I was completely in love with horror and science fiction writing, and spent time with H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and the aforementioned King.

It was also during this time that I began to write.  To date, though unpublished, I’ve written one young adult fantasy manuscript and several children’s stories – including an entire series on a pair of unlikely buddies, a dog named Angelo and a cat named Malcolm, that I will continue to write about so long as it makes me happy.  

I’m not sure where writing and reading blurred, but one thing I am sure of.  If I hadn’t discovered the escape of a good book I don’t think I’d of developed such a love for writing.

In high school I was awarded every accolade possible for my creative writings – short stories and poetry – and urged to pursue a degree that would help further a career as a writer.

Well, life intervened and it never happened.

And, I can’t help but think I’m glad it did.  For while life was happening, I was tucking the details away so later I could use them in a world of my own creation. 

A world where I could control the outcome.

A world where Daddies didn’t leave, and never told their daughters they didn’t really want children after all.