Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

April 3, 2020

Earl’s Eye

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 6:35 pm

Okay. So here’s what happened. Monday, Earl (the Corgi puppy) got something in his eye and has been squinty ever since. I also got a smoker. The two should have nothing to do with one another but wait. Also, don’t worry about the smoker. It’s not like cooking, which we all know I can’t do without an incident—or a shrimpcident, as I like to say. It is too a word. I just said it didn’t I? I’m surprised it’s not in the dictionary yet because I’ve been saying it since the Shrimpcident of 2012. You can read about that in one of my other blogs.

Anyhoo, Earl got a scratch on his eye. I got a smoker on the patio. I decided to try it out on some turkey drumsticks yesterday. I must say, I did an outstanding job (not as good as Jon Polcha, of course). As I said, I did pretty well. Except for the turkey leg that got dropped on Earl’s little face, and his bad eye, it turns out. Don’t you judge me! You try removing something from a hot oven-y thing with two Corgis stalking you. Not easy, I’ll tell you.

As I said, I was taking the drumsticks out of the smoker. Just then, Earl came out from under said smoker with his face turned up to see what that good smelling stuff was. The turkey leg fell off the fork and onto his face. The eye part of his face. Poor little guy.

After that he was really squinty, so I had to take him to the vet. Diagnosis: Corneal abrasion. Treatment: two different eye drops three times a day. Cost: $100. To add to last week’s $130 and the previous week’s $119 and next week’s neutering/vaccinating costs.

If the Coronavirus does nothing else it made it impossible for a person to get her hair cut, her nails done, or buy boots.  That way, I can pay $350 in vet bills.

What happened to that turkey leg? What do you think happened to it? We ate it. Five second rule.

March 16, 2020

FunnyPictures

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:39 am

Laughed till I peed.

The Meme Factory Pics

FunnyPictures

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February 7, 2020

Go toward the light, y’all

I can’t remember if I’ve already published this. I know I haven’t written much since November of 2016. What I like to write is funny, and it’s been super hard to find anything funny about the last 4 years.

Figure it out for yourself because I’m not letting that narcissistic prick’s name pass my lips. Or my keyboard. Whatever.

But.  I’ve been thinking a lot about funerals. Funerals in general, and mine in particular. In general, I’ve been to too freaking many funerals in the last few years.

The first was my nephew. Not a funeral, exactly, but a memorial service. I guess really most of those I’ve been to have been memorial services. My nephew’s would have been heartbreaking whether he was there in a casket or not. He had taken his own life. And he was young, just 36. His eight children, ages 2 to 18, were all there, wearing T-shirts that read “My daddy is Superman.” All the people who loved him filled the community center in Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Next was the wife of a dear friend. Mourners overflowed the sanctuary at All Souls Unitarian Church, -with a full four pews being family—husband, mother, sons, sisters, grandchildren.

Then there was a former neighbor, one of the few people I’ve ever known who could cuss like an oil-field worker and love every single person who crossed her path. I got to the funeral home on time and still had to stand in the back of the room—really not a bad place to be when there’s a casket nearby.  I was astounded to learn that the majority of the people in that sanctuary were family members. She had left behind, in addition to four of her five children and her husband, 21 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. No wonder I was standing in the back of the room. It’s a wonder I even got in the door.

Most recently, I had to say goodbye to my friend and mentor, Sally Bright. That one I still can’t write about. Not yet.

All these services were sad, to be sure, but they were also strangely affirming for me because they illustrated what I’ve always believed—regardless of whether or not there’s an “afterlife,” and I lean toward not—we do leave something behind, and that is so much more important, in my mind.

And that, as all things do, led back to me, as in, “How does this affect me, Carol Johnson?”

Well. I’ll tell you how that affects Carol Johnson. I don’t have enough people in my family to make a church funeral. If I were younger, maybe I could make some more people, but as it is, I’m closer to being worm food than making new people. Well, I did gain a son this year. I mean he was always mine, but he had been adopted by a lovely family and I never saw fit to disturb him. Until last summer when I thought sure I was going to die. I always knew not having him in my life left a hole but thinking I would die swept away any compunctions I had about disturbing his life. I figured he’s fifty years old. He can refuse. But he didn’t.

But still. He and his wife and three kids and three grandchildren, added to Jim and Christian and Tammy and my grandgirls,  still won’t create a crowd big enough to make a church turn on the lights and the heat or air or whatever.

So, after considerable rumination—get it? Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy? Bet you didn’t see that coming. Anyway, I decided what I have to do is make other arrangements. What are those arrangements? I am fixing to tell you.

I am going to track down Tom Bodett and have him tell Motel 6 to leave the light on for me because that’s where I’m going to have my funeral. And make no mistake about it. It will be a funeral. There’ll be no need to dispense with the body/casket thing, because like I said, I can’t make any more people, so there will be plenty of room.  I even know what I’ll be wearing—my black, full-quill ostrich Lucchese boots. Yeah, I know they think you don’t need shoes when you’re dead, but if anybody knows anything, they’d better know they leave those boots off at their own peril. Being dead doesn’t mean I won’t be lethal. And don’t worry. I’ll probably have clothes on, too. I just don’t care what they look like.

Now, about Motel 6 . . . If all the people who are talking to me now are still talking to me then, they still won’t fill up a room. They’ll all fit and there’ll still be a spot for Chris Moore, my pastor, who’s going to write and deliver my eulogy. And it will be AWESOME, because he’s an awesome writer who manages to both tell the truth AND make people glad they knew the deceased. I will be a challenging subject. Really challenging.

So challenging that maybe I’d better have him go ahead and write it so I can fact-check it. And by fact-checking, I mean I want to make sure it’s not ruined by too many facts.

When my time comes, all y’all have to know is to go toward the light.

 

 

 

October 12, 2018

Getting old is hard. Really.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:45 pm

My lament for the last six months has been, “People ignore me because I’m old.” I thought being invisible was the worst part of aging.  It’s not.

You know what the worst is? The worst is when you go to Walmart to buy a bottle of wine (I just love saying that). So, you go to Walmart to buy a bottle of wine, because, you know, you can. And you go to check out and the cashier says, “Are you over 40?”

And then she SNICKERS! Snickers, people. And she was old as f**k her ownself.

And then, like that wasn’t bad enough, when I said I was 65, she said—to my not-that-old- looking face—“I would’ve guessed older.”

I should have seen this coming. Five years ago one of my favorite students—who was close to 30—was in my office, and he asked me if I was Native American. I get that a lot. And the whole world knows now that I’m the whitest person on the planet. I’m probably the only person in Oklahoma who doesn’t claim that her great-great something was 1/37  Osage-Apache-Creek or something. Even my fair-skinned, blue-eyed grandgirls are card-carrying Cherokees.

Anyway, I said, “No. Not a drop of Native American.”

And Tyler—that was his name—said that was a surprise to him, because I reminded him so much of his Native American grandmother. I don’t know what tribe it was. I had already crawled under my desk and curled into a fetal position, and anyway, it’s hard to hear when your fingers are in your ears and you’re babbling, “La la la la la la la la.”

I mean, come on. I haven’t even made the step-down into granny panties and mom jeans. WTF? I may not wear an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini to the pool anymore, but I definitely wear a very not-grandma two-piece. I’m the most bikini-worthy person there. Well, except for that one woman whose floatation device mysteriously developed a leak three days in a row. And who heard that the pool might have some kind of antibiotic-resistant water borne bacteria. I don’t know anything about that. One day she was there, the next day—gone.

I know my bikini-worthiness depends on the presence of many other women who have learned to love their bodies and therefore don’t give a tinker’s damn how they look in a bathing suit.

That was never me. That never will be me. When I’m 80 I’ll still be asking Jim, “Remember when I used to be pretty?”

If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll say, “What do you mean, used to be?”

And if he doesn’t know what’s good for him, he’ll say what he’s really thinking then run like his head’s on fire and his ass is catchin’.

 

June 13, 2018

This is how you grieve

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 8:42 pm

This is how you grieve.

When you get the call, you know it’s bad before you answer, because nobody calls you at 7:30 in the morning. But you answer because you can’t think of any rational way to avoid it. When you hear the news, you come as near to throwing up as you have in the last 35 years, and you hang up and dig for the stale crackers you know are in your desk drawer.

Staring blankly at your office drapes while you try to fight back nausea with the dry, dusty saltine, you realize that your 35 years of not throwing up, although not connected, must have started the year your nephew was born, the same nephew who is now awaiting an autopsy on a cold steel table in a Kansas City morgue. For just a moment, there’s a flutter of hope. An autopsy means there’s doubt that he took his own life.

“Please let there be foul play,” you mumble through the crumbs. It’s a valid prayer. If someone killed him, there will be a place to deposit this growing anger and grief, somebody to blame, somebody to hate. Hate would be so much easier.

By the next day the coroner has ruled it a suicide, and the day after that, your nephew has been cremated. Already! Before you had a chance to—to what? To say good by? To cry? To hide? But secretly you’re glad that there won’t be a traditional funeral, that he won’t be stuffed into a coffin and put in the ground. Maybe a memorial service is just the thing.

Turns out it’s not. Your heart only breaks a little more as you see your brother’s grief, see the eight kids with their daddy’s snub nose and blue eyes, some so young they won’t remember him, some old enough that they’ll wish they could forget but never will.

For the next three weeks you do the things you must to make a living during the day, and in the deep, dark, unblinking night you do the things that get you through to the next day. You dig out all the family pictures, thinking you’ll put them in albums since you can’t sleep anyway. Instead, you sit, holding the shoe box on your lap, unable to look at what remains of a life.

You go on Facebook and friend one of his ex-wives and a couple of the older kids, because you think you’ll feel better if you can offer comfort to them. But you don’t, because you can’t. There’s nothing that will make them feel better and knowing that only makes you feel worse.

You text your brother every few days, not just because it’s easier than calling, but because you know if you call, you’ll cry, and if you cry, he’ll cry. You both cry anyway—he when he looks at the small urn that holds all he has left of his only son, you when he texts you that information.

So you’re stuck in this cycle of wanting to comfort and being unable to, needing comfort yourself but not finding it. Of course, you’re thankful that it wasn’t your child, but in the back of your mind, you almost wish it had been. Not because you could bear to lose your own son but because that grief would be pure, personal, not contingent on the grief of others, and you could pretend no one else was involved.

May 23, 2018

All I wanted was a little amusement

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 11:53 am

Why am I always so confused? Really. I need to know, especially since it’s just gotten worse in the last year and a half or so. I’m so discombobulated that I may have already posted this blog. If I did and you happened to have read it, please be so kind as to keep it to yourself. Everything below is ongoing, people. It’s never going to disappear.

For instance, everybody knows about the alleged separation between church and state, right? Well, why do the House and the Senate have chaplains, paid for with government money, who open each session with a prayer? Christian chaplains, I might add. I’ve read up on it, and I don’t think the fact that prayer is “rooted in tradition” is much of a defense. Racism, sexism, and about a dozen other isms are also “rooted in tradition.” So tell me. What’s up with that?

And while we’re on the subject, why do people keep saying kids can’t pray in schools? And by people, I mean politicians, who are really only pseudo-people, but still. Do they just count on us all being confused about the distinction between government-sponsored prayer and student-led prayer? Even I know the difference.

But surely school officials understand that distinction clearly enough to support student-led prayer but not organize or lead it themselves. I’ve seen that in practice. So, if they get that, why can’t they understand that ending such prayer with “we ask these things in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” tells every student who isn’t Christian that his or her god doesn’t matter? Do they realize it but don’t care? Are they stupid? Do they feign stupidity so as not to have to deal with the inequality? I mean, what is it with these knuckleheads?

Another thing. Why is teXas still here? Except for giving my son and his wife and girls a place to live (which they could find right here in Oklahoma if they wanted to because they are all handsome and beautiful and smart and an asset to any place they go), the only real purpose teXas serves is to keep Oklahoma from falling into the ocean. Really, though, if it did disappear and Oklahoma did fall into the ocean, could we be any worse off than we are now? At least we’d be drowning in cleaner crap than we’re covered in now.

And then there’s this. What’s with all this Pluto-shaming? One day it’s a planet. The next day it’s not. Why? So what if its orbit is erratic and elliptical, and it tends to swerve into another planet’s lane, so to speak? It’s acting like it’s always acted, and all of a sudden it’s not a planet? WTF? Of course, it may have regained its planet papers, or however they do that, but nobody bothered to tell me. That’s another mystery. Why am I always left out of the loop? It’s like you people aren’t even trying.

Here’s something I’ll bet someone can answer, if anyone is still speaking to me after they read it. Why do we keep adding letters to things? Like, I have no problem whatsoever with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, although I’m still not sure of the difference between “lesbian” and “gay.” I don’t have to understand to respect the terms people use to identify themselves, but damn it. I just got the LGBT down when they added “Q.” I thought it stood for “queer,” which I was taught never to say. I still don’t think I’m supposed to. I think you can only say it if you are it. That’s okay. But then somebody said it didn’t stand for “queer,” but “questioning.” I don’t know what that means. I’m always questioning something, but I don’t think I get to claim the “Q” in LGBTQ, because how weird would that be? I mean, it would make no sense at all. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Carol. See? Weird.

But, just like I’m not sure of the difference between L and G, I’m not sure how LG and B are different from Q, if Q stands for “queer.” I figured it didn’t matter if I knew or not, and I got used to LGBTQ. AND THEN THEY ADDED MORE LETTERS! LGBTQIA. I’m not even going to go look up that “I” and “A.” It will only confuse me further. I’m just going to trust that there’s a reason for those added letters, and it’s none of my business. Just please don’t judge me when I screw it up. And I will screw it up.

And why, oh why, do people persist in saying that because we once elected a black president racism is dead? That’s insane. Racism isn’t dead. It’s not even sick. Do they not understand institutionalized, culturally-embedded discrimination? I’m not smarter than everybody else, but I can see it.

And look at what we got this time around. A president who had already proven one thing if he never proves another: that regardless of how reprehensible a white man might be, he can get away with a hell of a lot more than a black man, even when that black man is the POTUS.

I mean, if Barack Obama ever told a woman he thought she’d “look pretty on her knees” or said a woman was “schlonged”—any woman, much less the Secretary of State—or God forbid confessed to groping women’s privates, the hue and cry would be never-ending. Seriously. Remember that time Obama used the word “folks”? I thought they were going to lynch him.

Crap. I just had to go there, didn’t I? To that place where I remind myself of what we’ve lost and what a sorry replacement we gained and how the country has just gone to hell in a handcart and how a monosyllabic Cretin has made us the laughingstock of the entire civilized world and how no person of color and no one with a vagina and no one born without a silver spoon and a forked tongue will ever walk safely again. All I wanted to do was amuse myself with my own befuddlement.

Now I’m going to have to go lie down with a wet cloth on my forehead. I don’t know if I’ll get up again or not.

November 21, 2017

Why going postal is an actual thing

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 5:27 pm

Here’s what happens when you try to have your mail held.

You go to the Web address of the US Postal Service. You click on “Hold Mail.” Every browser you try says it’s a malware threat and refuses to connect. You adjust the settings. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

You call the number indicated on the Web page. You get a robot. She wants your zip. You give it to her.

She wants your address. You give it to her.

She wants your name, last name first, and she wants you to spell both. You say J-o-h- and she interrupts you and says, “I heard interval break 300 milliseconds, interval break 200 milliseconds, interval break . . .” and on and on and on. She keeps asking you to repeat it and reprimands you for not speaking clearly, then decides you’re such an imbecile you’ll just have to talk to a live person.

Oh, and would you be so kind as to complete a survey of your experience with customer care after your call?

She’s asking for it is what she’s doing. You say, Oh, hell yeah.”

She says she’ll connect you. She does.

Her robot sister comes on the line and asks you to hold for the first available representative, because, you know, they’re all busy with important callers. She doesn’t say that last part but that’s definitely what she meant.

Then she tells you your wait time is between 20 and 30 minutes.

You hang up, pour a glass of wine, and lie down with a cold tea-towel on your forehead.

Screw it. Mail is over-rated anyhow.

Chipped

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:38 pm

So, it’s the day before Thanksgiving. I’m sitting on the couch in a murderous mood, stewing because my insurance company had denied coverage of the back surgery I was supposed to have Dec. 15. The phone rings, and it’s my car insurance. I got a new car two weeks ago, and last Thursday Jim backed it into a garbage truck. I know, right? What is it with him and garbage trucks? I had gotten an estimate on the repairs that same day, but now the insurer wanted me to take it somewhere else.

I did. After that, I went to Pet Smart to get some cat food, litter, and another water fountain for the cats. I came home and it took me almost an hour to put the fountain together. The diagram and instructions were ridiculous, people.

By the time I finished, I was soaked. So was the floor and the countertop. But the job was done—yea, me. Then I picked up the cats’ food bowl—a gravity feeder we’ve had forever—because I wanted to shake the food and make sure it wasn’t bottle-necked.

Well, the plastic was old and brittle and I got a little too jiggy with my shaking. The feeder top broke, the bottom separated from the top, and 5 pounds of expensive cat food flew all over the breakfast nook, the kitchen, and into both water fountains.

Crap.

I had no choice but to go to Walmart. I hate going to Walmart on any day, but going the day before Thanksgiving evokes a near-homicidal rage in me. I thought of a couple of other things I needed, though, so off I went. Got the feeder and some applesauce and some things to clean my glasses. Naturally the only check outs available were the self-check outs. I hate them and they hate me. They started it, too. But that’s another story.

I only had a few things, so I thought, oh, well. How bad could it be? It was going pretty well until time to pay. I had money, but I wanted to use my debit card. It has a chip and I stuck it in the little card reader thingy. It ground its little gears, then said “Card declined.” I did what any right-thinking Walmart shopper does and kicked it—just the bottom part. No harm done. The thing then told me to either use another card or pay cash. I pulled the card out and re-inserted it. “Card declined.”

This time my kick-fest was interrupted by a Walmart Associate who said, “Excuse me, ma’am.” Then she pulled my card out and inserted the other end. Card accepted.

Now, this wasn’t my fault. Not. My. Fault. The card has two chips. One on each end. It absolutely does. Maybe not all cards do, but my debit card HAS TWO CHIPS. I might be misinterpreting what is and isn’t a chip, but those cards should come with illustrated instructions. I made the same mistake at UPS, and the guy had to get pliers to get my card out of the reader.

I know I could have avoided most of what happened if I’d just fed the stupid thing money, but I like it when things that are supposed to work, do work.

When I got home, I stood in the den and screamed for two or three minutes. No words. Just screaming. In my other neighborhood someone might have assumed the crazy lady in the corner house was getting the beating she so richly deserved. In this neighborhood they probably just thought Whole Foods was out of organic cranberries.

All I can say is, stupid cats.

September 4, 2017

I know stuff. Really.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:47 pm

I know a lot of stuff. You may counter this with things like, I don’t know, the time I blew myself off the porch. I know you remember it. I’ve told that story so many times that people I’ve never met have heard it. Clearly, there was a time when not knowing things didn’t bother me.

That particular incident happened somewhere around 1988. I was going to TCC, then known as TJC, and the career office had all these wonderful aptitude tests. I love tests, especially if there’s no way to fail them. So I took all the tests they’d allow, and I didn’t have an issue with the results. My verbal skills were about as high as they could get and all my others—knowledge of science, nature, mechanics, and just plain common sense—were in the shitter. No. Really. That didn’t bother me much because I like words, but I wasn’t as fond of dirt and sticks and stuff like that. I was 35 and apparently never needed any of that, right? Right. So I just laughed and laughed.

Stupid tests.

I went home that day intending to cook hamburgers on the grill. This was back when charcoal briquets were harmless. You know. Before they caused cancer or whatever. The grill was in the yard but I was afraid it was going to rain, so I put it on the porch. Somehow the fire went out. I poured a bunch more fluid on the coals, which were warm, but not hot, shut the lid, and closed the vent. Sat on the swing for a few minutes. Got up, opened the vent, and dropped in a lit match.

What happened then was the minor explosion blew me off the porch into the driveway, almost to the hibiscus. I was picking gravel out of my thighs for a week.

Stupid grill.

To this day people act like that was my fault. I say if you don’t want people to blow themselves off the damned porch, put some explicit directions somewhere, like on the lighter fluid can, the grill, and the bag of charcoal. Maybe drop me a postcard. I’ve looked, people, and nowhere did it say, “Don’t pour lighter fluid on hot coals, close the lid and shut the vent, wait a few minutes, then drop a match in.” Nowhere. Consequently, not. My. Fault.

Anyway, that was a long time ago, and I haven’t blown myself up since then. I do learn from experience. However, there’s always some other something I don’t know, just waiting to bring me down. They’re smaller things, nowhere near the scale of blowing myself off the porch, but I’m afraid that many of them do have to do with that bogus science and nature stuff.

Like the other day. I was walking across the church grounds from the education building to the sanctuary with another member of the congregation. I asked if she knew what the huge tree with the little clusters of hangy down things (that is a technical term which I’m going to copyright as soon as I get a minute, so I’d appreciate it if you don’t appropriate it and use it as your own) was.

“I don’t know,” she said. “But those little balls have stickers on them.”

“Maybe it’s a sycamore.”

She shook her head and poked and with the toe of her shoe, poked a little round brownish thing on the sidewalk. “That’s from a sycamore. The ones from that tree over there have sticker-y things.”

I pointed at another roundish brown thing lying on the grass. “Is that one?” I asked.

She looked at me strangely. “No,” she said, edging away. “That’s an acorn.”

And then she sped up and almost ran into the sanctuary. When I got in she was talking to some other ladies. I think she was probably telling them I’m an imbecile who doesn’t know what an acorn looks like.

How am I supposed to know what an acorn looks like? It’s just another kind of stick, right?

It’s possible I’m losing brain cells from being old or drinking too much wine or just thinking too much. You know. Like you do. But I’ll tell you this. I know a lot more stuff than people give me credit for.

Like the tremendous number of serial killers whose middle names are Wayne. John Wayne Gacy. Keith Wayne Jesperson. Elmer Wayne Henley. Elmer Wayne Watson. Jeffrey Wayne Leaf. Ronald Wayne Clark, Jr. I could go on and on, but you probably want to know if this information is documented. Well, if you can’t trust News of the Weird, who can you trust?

It takes 142.8 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. Of course, that might depend on the size of your tongue. Mine is normal, so there’s that.

The quack of a duck doesn’t echo.

There’s a town in Canada named Dildo. And there’s a South Dildo. I find that unaccountably hilarious.

That little hashtag thing-y on your keyboard that makes you feel so much more clever than I? It’s called an octotroph.

For every non-porn page, there are five porn pages. And no. I will not share with you where I got this information.

In 1907, an ad campaign for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes offered a free box of cereal to any woman who would wink at her grocer. I can tell you, the guys at Quik Trip are immune to this. Even after I explained. Tradition means nothing to them.

The average sexual experience lasts 37 minutes. I don’t know why I believe that one. It certainly hasn’t been my experience.

In addition–new obscure fact–now I can tell you what kind of tree that was in the church yard. It’s an Arizona Bald Cypress, that’s what. I may not know a lot of things, but I can Google all day long.

And sometimes I do.

 

June 2, 2017

How not to change a flat tire

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:59 pm

So I’m just driving along, thinking about whatever it is I think about when I’m not worrying about something specific. Suddenly, I notice my tire is flat.

I know that because 1) the little low-tire-pressure light came on, 2) the highway is suddenly all bumpy, and 3) people are waving at me. Not like they like me. Like they think I’m so stupid I don’t realize my tire is flat. Which has, in fact, happened in the past, but they don’t know that. 
They probably thought I didn’t know because I was still driving. Of course I was still driving. I had to cross three other lanes so I could stop on the right side.

Everybody knows you can’t stop on the left side of a highway. I’m pretty sure it’s a law. Even if your tire is completely and totally flat you go to the right side. I sat on the proper side of the road and pondered my situation.

For my entire driving life, changing a tire has involved standing somewhere in the vicinity of the offending tire while looking perplexed. I didn’t even have to touch it, people. That’s always been Plan A, so that’s what I did. I stood. And I stood. When I was still standing tire-adjacent, looking perplexed after three or four minutes, I realized something was amiss. My tire was still flat. I now not only looked perplexed. I was perplexed.

I got back in the car and thought about it. It took a lot of ruminating to get to that “Aha!” moment, but I finally did. It was my butt. It had be. Oh, don’t look at me like that. I know we’ve talked about my butt, its mutinous, perfidious, treachery, how it was up there where it was supposed to be one day, and then just like that, with no warning whatsoever, it was licking at my heels.

What else could it be? I can assure you I have not lost the ability to stand perfectly still and look utterly, stunningly, agonizingly perplexed, and apparently, a befuddled look alone will not get one’s tire changed. Ergo, my ass is to blame.

No use crying over dropped asses, I decided, and moved on to Plan B. I called Jim. I know he can change a tire, because he’s tried to teach me. I declined. I mean, Plan A had always worked for me. Why mess with perfection? However, whether he could or could not change a tire was a moot point because I couldn’t find him.

When Plan B fell through, I remembered my insurance. I dug in the console and found my card, which promises “Roadside Assistance 24/7.” It might take a little longer than Plans A and B, but I was still ahead of the game in that it did not involve me actually touching a tire. On the phone, I went through all the “Valued Customer” rhetoric and all the push this number for that and then push another number for something else. I listen carefully because “These Menu Items Have Changed.”

I thought I was in like Flynn. I was indeed a “Valued Member of the Safeco Insurance Family” who did in fact need “Immediate, Efficient, and Complete Roadside Assistance.” With a happy sigh, I pushed the number “1” on my phone and was immediately greeted with . . . silence. Nothing happened. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I pushed it again. Nothing. So I pushed all of the numbers, one after the other. The same voice that had assured me of my value now snapped at me that the number(s) I had indicated WAS NOT A VALID CHOICE!!

And the very worst part of this very bad thing currently happening was . . . I was out of plans. Unless the next plan involved me changing my own tire.

I pulled the owner’s manual from the glove box and looked up “Tires.” Not only were there instructions but there were PICTURES. Pictures of tires and lug nuts and screwdrivers and jacks. Apparently, these things were stored in the trunk, back there where I keep my beach bag (in case I stumble upon a beach unexpectedly) and the plastic storage box of stuff from my last car and the cardboard box of stuff from the car before that and the pillowcase full of stuff from the car before that and the Walmart bag of stuff from a car I didn’t actually own but drove for a while.

So I go back there and dig among the bags and boxes and sacks and you know what? There. Is. No. Spare. Tire. No jack. No screw driver.

You know what there is? A blow up thingie. I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called. I’m absolutely sure that’s what it is. Apparently, in Korea people just blow up their flat tires. Yeah. I had a couple of problems with that, too. One, it was highly compressed air. Do you know how far into next week I could knock myself if I got on the wrong end of that? And two, the information accompanying it said it didn’t work on sidewall blow-outs. You know what I had? A sidewall blowout.

I did what I always do when the whole world fails me. Turned up the radio, curled up on my side in the back seat with my coat over my head, and waited for Jim to finally check his messages and come find me.

May 8, 2017

Shit I don’t understand

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes I’m awake all night because I’m worried the Dumpster’s pissing contest with North Korea or his kissing contest with Russia, the Philippines, and other dick-run countries is going to get us blown off the planet. Don’t even ask me where I obtained my bottomless knowledge of pissing contests and kissing contests. Let’s just say I’ve been around and leave it at that.

Sometimes I’m awake all night because I’m thinking about Shit I Don’t Understand.

SIDU #1: Why does news always wait to break when Wolf Blitzer is in The Situation Room at 3 p.m. Eastern, 4 p.m. Central?

SIDU #2: Why didn’t anyone tell me those little short concrete things next to the “No motorized vehicle” signs on bike paths are called “bollards”? If I had known that, I could have yelled, “Hey, bollard! Out of my way,” thereby completely avoiding the great bike-bollard collision of 2007.

SIDU #3: Whose idea was it that some people don’t deserve spare tires? Do they really think handing me a can of compressed air and a hose and calling it a “spare” is a recipe for anything but disastrophe? I’m sure that whatever genius came up with that is the same person who tried to convince us that 3 ½ inches is the official definition of 6 inches. In other words, a man.

SIDU #4: Why, when I try on a strapless bra, is there more pooching out the top and bottom on the back and sides than there is in the actual cup?

SIDU #5:  Where did my waist go? It’s not like my butt, just hanging out somewhere else. It’s totally gone.

SIDU #6: Why do people say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same”? Because, clearly, that’s a pile of happy horseshit. The more things change, the more they freaking change. If that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t call it change, now would they? Seriously.

SIDU #7: Why did The New Adventures of Old Christine last only 3 seasons and Married with Children went 11?

SIDU #8: What possessed the State of Oklahoma to hire a 2-year-old to design their new license plate?

SIDU #9: Why did the City of Tulsa hire the same toddler to design a new flag?

SIDU #10: Why does anybody want to build a new pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River when the one we have is good for another hundred years?

SIDU #11: Why is it OK to say “Take this pill, eat whatever you want, don’t bother to exercise, and you’ll lose 30 pounds in 10 days” but not to say, “I did not have sex with that woman”?

SIDU #12: When did people lose the ability to see that the Emperor is not only not wearing new clothes, he’s not wearing any clothes?

SIDU #13: Why do the same people who reject abortion embrace execution?

SIDU #14: Why are the dumpy men on sitcoms always married to hot women half their age, but no one ever mentions it?

SIDU #15: Why, at the end of movies in which animals appear, is there always a disclaimer stating that no animals were harmed in the making of said movie, but in violent movies without animals, it never says, “No humans were harmed in the making of this movie.”

If you know the answer to any of these, shoot me an email. That is, if you read this before we’re all annihilated by assholes with nuclear codes.

 

 

May 3, 2017

The formerly unflappable Mr. Johnson.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:10 pm

My husband is unflappable. I’ve always thought he had some kind of automatic emotional stability mechanism that kept his level of excitability somewhere between a guy who’s just finished a ChongBong full of Purple Urkel and a guy who just rolled it and smoked it like normal people.

For instance, before he decided religion was a toxic, man-made load of horse crap, we went to some churches I can only describe as rigid and benighted. But they were my people, and they probably liked me better than I liked me. Some of the memories I have from that time in my life are indelibly etched in my mind.

Once, after 45 minutes of squabbling and finger-pointing over some minute piece of church business, a vote was taken and one person disagreed with the rest of the congregation. When the group as a whole didn’t swing to the side of the nay-sayer, he stood up, looked at us all, and said, “I hope you all go to hell and I get a job shoveling the coal.” Then he stomped out and slammed the door so hard a picture of Jesus fell off the wall.

Different meeting, same church, same man. Not having learned the lesson of the previous year, someone disagreed with him on a different issue, so he got in his pickup and drove around and around the church—not the block, but the church building itself—spinning his tires and blowing his horn. The ruts in the lawn were still there a year later.

Another time, a church member stood silently in front of a visitor who had inadvertently seated himself in said member’s customary place. Everybody knew it was her place, not just because her ass-print was there, but because she’d been sitting there for 41 years. It was a tense 5 minutes until he got the hint and moved, I can tell you that.

At least as uncomfortable was the day when a divorced mother of four felt the need to stand before the entire congregation and apologize because she had recently not only (gasp!) had sex but had become pregnant.

Or when the pastor called out a married man and the single woman with whom that man was having an affair. Called them out. In church. On Sunday morning.

And then there was the time a few years later when the pastor himself had to admit he’d been having an affair with the wife of a deacon (also his best friend). For 5 years.

Not a single one of these events fazed Jim. He didn’t bat an eye. Not. One. Bat.

So. A year and a half ago, for some inexplicable reason, he went to church with me. It happened to be a day on which we had a special congregational meeting to vote on whether to officially hire a new minister.

The way it happens in civilized places is you make sure there’s a quorum, which is decided in some math-y way that escapes me. If there is a quorum, the group can just up and say, “Hired,” or someone can request an anonymous poll, which someone did. A very sedate discussion about whether this was really the man we wanted to hire and were we perhaps offering too much money ensued, after which a vote was taken, and the deal was done. 

That’s when Jim leaned over and said, “Wow. That was kind of uncomfortable.”

At least he looked like Jim. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, what with the emotional outburst and all, but since he was my ride, I went home with him anyway.

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