Ruminations of a Red Dirt Hussy

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.

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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.

April 25, 2017

A list for the homicide-impaired

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:04 pm

I’ve watched literally hundreds of hours of Dateline Mystery, Joe Kenda, Homicide Hunter, Murder Comes to Town . . . you name it, I’ve probably watched it. Apparently, however, the people who actually kill other people have never heard of Discovery ID.

Here’s a little list just for them.

  • If you are such a cretin that you have to make a list of the steps you must take to kill somebody, maybe you ought to do the taxpayers a favor and just kill you first. It would save us a lot of money because we wouldn’t have to provide you with three hots and a cot and medical care and a college education and I don’t know what-all for the rest of your sorry life. I mean, a list? For shit’s sake.
  • Also, don’t bother setting up an elaborate alibi and then taking selfies of yourself doing everything you were supposedly doing when someone else killed your entire family. Do you really think a few selfies will take you off the list of persons of interest? Think about it. Who could possibly want your pregnant wife and your three preschool children dead, except you, Mr. They’re-Holding-Me-Back-from-Reaching-My-Full-Potential-and-Oh-Yeah-That-Last-Kid-Ruined-My-Wife’s-Figure?
  • Don’t underestimate the load of shit that cellphone can get you into. You think they can’t recover those text messages between you and the stripper? Or that they can’t ping your phone and triangulate the cell phone towers to locate you? There are apps for that shit, dude.
  • Forget the insurance, too. Who takes out a million-dollar policy on a stay-at-home mom. And only a month before she “died,” too. I mean, seriously. Are you a moron?
  • Don’t cover them up after you kill them. Everybody knows random killers don’t cover their victims. Only people who know them well do that. Like jerk-off husbands and shit.
  • Don’t ransack the house then leave all the valuables. You think people don’t notice that?
  • Don’t put your victims in the damned trunk. That’s the first place the cops look when they can’t find your family, stupid. And even if you have long since rid yourself of those cumbersome dead bodies and had the car professionally detailed, there’s going to be a hair. A pinpoint drop of blood. A fiber.

Stupid people are just not good murderers. Now put down the damned gun and call a divorce lawyer. Idiot.

January 22, 2017

Thanks, Donald!

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 4:42 pm

Before I even start—I owe all this to Donald Trump.

Ever since the election I’ve been having Trump-mares. Really. Not Trump-as-president-mares, but dreams in which he is personally threatening me. Sometimes he’s just standing in my bedroom doorway, shaking his big orange head saying, “Sad. Sad.”

Sometimes he’s in my classroom, stalking around behind me as I talk to me students. “Wrong!” he interjects. “Wrong. Stupid Carol. Bad Carol. Wrong!”

I am not making this up, people. I, for one, am able to tell the truth, due to my recent experience, I forgive President Trump because he can’t.

Because of my Trump-mares, I spend a good deal of time lying awake, sometimes staring at the ceiling, wondering if I could just personally secede from the Union, and sometimes watching TV. The best infomercials are in the wee hours, in case you ever wanted to be sure and get the best price on some of the necessities of life, like, I don’t know, Skinnies Instant Arm Lift (so you can tape any hangy-down fat under your arms to the back of your arms). Or maybe Kush. You know, that thing you put between your breasts when you sleep on your side so the top boob doesn’t look all saggy and shit? I mean, you sure as hell aren’t going to find that in a brick-and-mortar store.

Or the Better Marriage Blanket! I’m surprised more people don’t set their alarms to wake up on purpose to get one of these. They absorb your spouse’s silent-but-deadly-under-the-covers emissions! Who doesn’t need that!! And you know it works, because the commercial says it’s made of the same material the military uses to protect troops against chemical weapons! Or maybe you’re just looking for some Pajama Jeans. They don’t sell those at Dillard’s. I checked.

But I digress. I’m lying there flipping channels, and what comes on but Country Heat, the Core de Force to give me a beach-ready body! In 21-days, no less! Plus, it’s not really exercising. It’s line-dancing for 30 minutes a day. In the house. Alone. Which is, as we all know, the only place I should be allowed to dance.

I had to have it. So I called the number on the screen and talked to Debbie. I must have called at just the right time, because before I knew it, I was on the VIP team. Not only did I get the 6 DVDs that comprise Country Heat, I get Autumn’s (Autumn Calabrese, creator and trainer, but she likes us to call her Autumn) patented portion control containers. If I can stuff it in one of those, I can eat it! I am not making this up.

And then, because Autumn really, really cares about my health, Debbie said she was authorized to send me a free 30-day supply of Autumn’s ActiVite multivitamins (also patented) for only $1 and an additional $3.95 shipping and handling. If I was satisfied, they would set me up to automatically receive a 30-day supply each month for only $29.99, which is, I’m not kidding, 54% off the regular price.

It just goes on and on, people. Debbie said because Autumn truly wants me to reach my goal of a beach-ready body, she is personally giving me a free 30-day membership on team-beachbody.com so the coaches there can keep me on track. If I like it, I can keep it for only $2.99 a week. She’ll even throw in three of her best-selling Shakeology Smoothies. 70 minerals in a single glass!

I had to pinch myself. Here I’ve been sad because in the last few years I’ve gone from beach-ready body to neighborhood-pool adequate body to lawn-chair-between-the-house-and-the-privacy-fence body, and I could regain that beach-ready body for only two easy payments of $39.99. There’s a money back guarantee, too (I get to keep the shakes even if I send the rest of it back).

And I thought Donald Trump’s presidency would be a disaster of epic proportions! Sorry, Donald!

January 16, 2017

RIP Clancy Lee Johnson

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 6:40 pm
Tags:

Clancy Lee Johnson died at on January 9. He was 12 years old.

Clancy came to us at 3 weeks old. He was standing on the corner at about 131st and I-75, a privacy fence behind him and a highway in front. He went for the highway. Over and over and over again. He weighed less than a pound, so when a car flew by, the gust of air threw him a few feet back toward the fence. When a semi went by, he hit the fence.

Along came Jim, who picked him up and called me. $300 later, Clancy was de-flea-ed, de-wormed, de- exotic parasite-ed, and ensconced in a Kitty Tent in a room with me for two weeks. So we could bond.

Two weeks later, he came out of the room and ran straight to Jim. He was supposed to be a me-cat, but he was a Jim-cat. Of course, when you get down to it, most cats are Jim cats. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever known, but when he sits, he sits. Hours at a time, layers of cats on him. For 12 years, Clancy was the foundation of that layer.

He followed Jim like a dog. He knew the sound of his truck and met him at the door every night. If Jim went outside, Clancy ran from window to window to keep an eye on him.

Clancy was a little high strung, and he didn’t like anybody except Jim. Nonetheless, when visitors came to call, he was the only cat in sight. He sniffed everyone, repeatedly, and gave them come-hither looks, but extending a hand to pet him was an invitation to a hiss, at least, and a bite, at worst.

He had a special dislike for me. Maybe because I kept him in a room him for two weeks.  People say a cat can’t think deeply enough to hold a grudge, but I have to disagree. I don’t know how else to explain the fact that I came home from Seattle at 11:00 one night, put my suitcase in the hallway up stairs, and by 11:03 Clancy had urinated on it. Or that he peed on my absolute favorite pair of cowboy boots. Or that he peed on my pillow. Or that he peed on my coat, which was hanging on a coat rack! He had to go up the stairs and back himself between the balustrades to accomplish that one.

When he had to be put down, Jim said he couldn’t do it. I said I would. It’s little enough to do for a man who digs up your favorite dead cat and brings it to the new house and reburies it. So I took him. The last thing he did before he left this world was bite me. That was just so him. (I’ll let you guess which cat is Clancy).clancy

I said I wouldn’t shed a tear when he was gone, but I was wrong. Every time I leave a room and realize I no longer have to close the door to keep him out, I tear up. When I start back downstairs to put my iPad in a pee-proof spot then remember I don’t have to do that any more, I cry. When I take the marshmallows out of the cabinet for hot chocolate and he doesn’t scramble into the kitchen to get one so he can lick it then leave it on the floor for me to step on, it makes me sad.

In spite of everything, he was a pretty good cat.

December 31, 2016

What’s wrong with Kansas?

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:10 pm

This is what’s wrong with Kansas (besides Sam Brownback and the late Fred Phelps): You congratulate yourself on the fantastic rate you got for a night at Hutchinson’s newest hotel. The bed is great. The pillows you want to steal (but don’t). There’s free WiFi, a microwave, and a refrigerator, into which you put your Diet A & W Root Beer that is an absolute necessity for waking up.

In the morning you arise to a gorgeous day, only half as cold and windy as you remember it. You take your root beer and makeup and hair paraphernalia into the bathroom and twist the top on that root beer you’ve been dreaming about.

And it explodes. Literally. Because it froze overnight. It spews onto the mirror, walls, floor, ceiling, and you. Not. Your. Fault. Not your fault, people. But your husband–at least for the moment–who is apparently the arbiter of all that is morally correct, tells you you have to clean it up. Did I mention that it wasn’t your fault? I’m sure I did. But still, he insisted you clean it up.
So you wipe it all down, but you see it needs just a bit more–maybe a damp cloth. So you turn on the faucet to wet a towel and complete the tasks he so wrongly instructed you to do, and the faucet handle fell off. Again, NOT. YOUR. FAULT. But who do you think had to put it back on?

Ha! Wrong! It wasn’t me (and you knew all the time that by “you” I meant “I” and “me”) because I was on the way out the door with my suitcase. A woman can only take so much.

But guess what’s right with Kansas? 

There are people there I love and who love me. 

November 4, 2016

Stupid Halloween

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 2:09 pm

This was my Halloween.

10 a.m. Go to Walgreen’s and buy $30 worth of candy.

1 p.m. Go back to Walgreen’s and buy $40 worth of good candy to mix in with the shit candy I bought the first time.

3:15 p.m. Text Jim and tell him to pick up some Halloween decorations for the porch and yard.

6:40 p.m. Yay! First trick or treaters. A little Batman and a princess. Too cute to poot.

6:43 p.m. Two boys taller than I am, wearing camouflage and wielding toy guns. But they had plastic pumpkins for their treats.

6:50 p.m. A kid of about 16. No costume. No treat bag. I. Just. Couldn’t.  I called Jim, and he gave him a double handful of the good candy.  I sprawled on the couch with a wet cloth on my forehead.

6:56 p.m. A guy about 18 or 19. In a pink prom dress—noththatthere’sanythingwrongwiththat—3-days growth, a Kate Spade purse to hold his candy, and a marijuana leaf tattoo on his right shoulder blade. Without prompting, he told me this would be his last year. I didn’t ask him “Last year for what?” Didn’t want to know.

6:57 p.m. Closed the door, turned off the porch light, and took a Xanax.

Next day:

7 a.m. Woke up with a Three Musketeers wrapper stuck to the side of my face and and Skittles in the bed.

8:15 a.m. Went to Walgreen’s and bought 80 treat bags.

8:40 a.m. Arrived at work. Spent 48 minutes filling treat bags for my colleagues and students.

9:30 a.m. Finished distributing candy to colleagues, stowed the ones for students, drew the drapes on my door, and ate the rest of the candy.

I hate Halloween.

 

September 16, 2016

Change. It will be the death of me. Really.

Filed under: General — Vadasmaker @ 9:48 am

I have a job I love and I’m never ever ever going to retire. I’ll probably die in the classroom in the middle of explaining why the statement “A feces is a person, too,” is incorrect, or maybe reliving the day Jon Stewart left me or ranting about the over-heated room.
But I have been traumatized. It’s possible I will need therapy. Well, more therapy.

Remember how much I hate change and inconsistency (unless I want you to change or I am being inconsistent)? I mean, I’ve devoted whole blogs to it. I’ve lain awake nights worrying about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse or becoming allergic to wine or being abducted by a serial killer. If all my “What ifs” were cookies, I could put Mrs. Fields, the Keebler Elves, and Famous Amos out of business.

But for all my worrying I never thought anything important would change enough that I’d really notice, because, as you know, I can be a little self-absorbed.
And nothing ever did change significantly. Until it did.

“It” is the big-ass reorganization at work. In the end, I think many of the changes will be beneficial. But do they have to happen so fast? Some days I feel like I smoked a whole bag of pot and took off running backwards uphill in stiletto heels with my eyes closed.

Not that I would know anything about smoking pot. I just hear things. And I’m a writer. I can imagine. Or just make it up. Whatever.

My point, and I do have one, is that I’m being so bombarded by change that half the time I don’t know where I am or where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing or who I ought to be doing it with.

Oh, yeah. I know some of you smart-asses are saying, “What’s new about that?” Look, getting lost coming back from the bathroom at commencement and having to text someone to come find me was not my fault. Not my fault, people. In case you’ve forgotten, the Mabee Center is round. It could have happened to anybody.

This is different. You try carrying your stupid laser printer around in the trunk of your car because it’s more cost effective to have a few big printers instead of a bunch of little ones. You try to remember where your ID is every minute of the day because you have to have it to print on one of those big printers. You try having your arm get stuck inside the bowels of one of those printers while attempting to resolve the paper jam.

You try standing for 10 minutes in front of a fancy water fountain that’s supposed to automatically detect and then fill your water bottle but for some reason won’t. You try to remember that you’re not in the Communications Division anymore, that it’s not even a division any more, because now it’s the “School of Liberal Arts and Communication.”

You try wandering the hallways with an empty stapler in one hand and a lead-less mechanical pencil in the other, looking for wherever they’ve stored the office supplies so you can trade them in for full ones. And of course I don’t refill them. Are you insane? I am not an engineer or a mechanic.

All that’s bad enough. But today. Today was tragic. Absolutely tragic. My very best concert-going buddy, who is also my second favorite person in administration, and who loves all the same music I love, got a new job. AND LEFT ME HERE TO DIE. ALONE. IN THE RAIN.

I am completely inconsolable. We shared so much! Drive-By Truckers. Robert Earl Keen. Blackberry Smoke. Sturgill Simpson. Sturgill Simpson, people. And cows. Well, that wasn’t so much sharing as it was him sending me a picture of a dead, bloated cow yucking up a pond on his ranch. But still.

It’s possible that you don’t realize the magnitude of this event. I am a Highly Sensitive Person. It’s true. I took a test. (I also know that my hippie name would be Rainbow Freedom and if I was a character on Sex and the City I would be that gay guy they all hung out with, but that’s a whole other blog).

Back to the HSP. The HSP doesn’t feel. She feels. She doesn’t become annoyed at barking dogs. She goes batshit crazy, standing in the middle of the front yard in a nightgown and UGGS screaming at them to shut the f#%k up! She doesn’t just frown when Braum’s employees don’t give her the promised “square dip.” She demands the scales! That’s right. She makes them weigh the damned ice cream cone.

The HSP isn’t bothered by the little things. BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LITTLE THINGS, PEOPLE. .

Nothing is somewhat unpleasant, or mildly stressful. EVERYTHING is the worst thing EVER. It doesn’t have to be. All the Highly Sensitive Person needs is a calm, quiet, CONSISTENT environment where she doesn’t have to keep her printer in the trunk and staplers and mechanical pencils are always full and water fountains work and she always knows where she is and where she’s supposed to be and what she’s supposed to be doing and HER FAVORITE PEOPLE DON’T LEAVE HER. TO DIE. IN THE RAIN.

I told you it was tragic.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go send my buddy a blank text message to emphasize the fact that I am not speaking to him. I may send more than one. I am a Highly Sensitive Person, after all.

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