Thursday, July 28, 2011

Complicated Lives.....Part 13

Cinderblocks and Trees

It’s no secret. I was a young redneck child. Part of all good redneck child games involves flirting with death in some form of daily activity. I was a sheltered child from KY at the age of 5 who wore pretty dresses and only got dirty in a controlled manner with a sandbox and trucks, or with a shovel and hoe while helping bring in something from the garden. I was not a “dirty child” until I moved to FL with my cousins. Within one or two years, before age 7 I had been wrestling, gotten dirty with real dirt, bled, been fishing and gotten muddy, strutted about with no shirt on, flown over bike handle bars, played in the mud in a river, made mud pies, hidden under a boat in a lightning storm, eated unripe pears, eaten chestnuts straight from a tree, gotten chestnut burrs in my feet, learned about fire ants the painful way, had my cousin wash his hair with nair, cleaned squirrels, learned about Catawba worms, learned Chinaberry tree switches hurt like the dickens and do draw blood when spanked for waking Uncle Jesse, learned that Catfish can cut a drunk uncle, gotten melted marshmallows in my hair, eaten barbeque chicken, played in junked cars, driven a tractor, driven a pinto into a ditch, gotten impetigo, and learned sooo much more interesting stuff.

This was my first foray into redneck games. I forget what we called it. The object was to climb a tree and then throw a cinderblock at a cousin standing on the ground to see how many you could hit before they climbed the tree and you had to switch places. We had to climb down or have a cousin helper hand up the blocks. I got one cousin on the arm and then it was my turn to switch because his little brother started to climb the tree with a runny nose, gnats on his cuts from the blocks and worm residue around his mouth from the Catawba worms he ate regularly. In a totally UNFAIR move both of them climbed the tree giggling with blocks. On the ground you had to try to get up the tree so I had to wait through the first block throw and try to keep the first brother from getting a block. I moved the blocks to around the back of the trailer so it would take longer to reach them. One brother threw a block and got me in the arm, it scraped off a nice layer of skin, the other brother threw a block, it got me in the knee and slid down. I jerked my foot out from under it and got a nice scrape from the knee down. I was climbing back up the tree with my block when my flip flop slipped and I hit the tricycle on my back while holding the block and rolled kind of down a small rise. My cousins were laughing madly. Grandma heard the merriment and decided it must be stopped at all costs. She took one look at us, whipped us all with Chinaberry switches, patched our wounds, rubbed campho phenique on the youngest one’s snotty nose to keep away impetigo. She made us lunch gave us kool-aid and forced us to stay inside reading the rest of the afternoon. I miss being 6 sometimes.

cinder blocks

Catawba worm

the switches were made by stripping the leaves from the stem

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 12

My cat was a racist

She was beautiful. Blue eyes, silver grey puffy tail, paws, ears, and mask. Her body was a lovely white. Her hair was long and silky. She had a perfect face, no it wasn’t a Persian face it was a normal apple-head. I loved her dearly, but she had some issues. Namely….my cat was a racist. I have no idea how this happened. She also hated all other living creatures, whistling, Stars and Stripes Forever, pagans and veterinarians. She enjoyed car rides, boiled peanuts, donut holes, Popeye’s chicken, Christians, and caramels. We first discovered our cat was a racist when we went to a predominately African American section of town on a Popeye’s run before a road trip. I stayed in the car with her while my husband ran in. I noticed a low growl starting from her growing in intensity whenever someone passed the car. She usually only growled when someone was whistling, laughing, trying to touch her, playing Stars and Stripes Forever or singing Blue Christmas. She then began running from window to window growling at every person she saw. My husband got back to the car with the chicken, while sucking bones clean and flinging them out the window I told him of her strange behavior. He said it was probably just people being near the car. I was unsure because she’s been in a place with people around the car before and never acted that way. We didn’t think much of it until my husband picked me up from work one day. My manager walked me out to the car so he could see my beautiful yet insane cat. The plan was for my husband to whistle so my manager could see her get mad and bite him to make him stop. When my manager and I got near the car she EXPLODED at the window shrieking, spitting, hissing, growling and clawing the air. My manager jumped back, she flew out the window attached to her leash fighting the air. I stood there with my mouth open and my husband tried hauling her back through the window like a yo-yo. I grabbed her screaming clawing little butt in a bear hug and held her while my manager looked at her. He commented on how beautiful she was but also how flat out insane. He said “well, I’ve never seen a racist cat before…this is a first” She died many years later. We never figured out how she became so intolerant. Oh well!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 11

One night in Florida

I was about 14 and our neighbor in his 60’s went crazy one night. In retrospect it was probably a psychotic break. This neighbor, his wife and daughters were friends of ours. His youngest daughter (a surprise baby) was 18 and she and I were friends. She confided in me that she planned to become anorexic because someone famous was. I diligently researched this and decided I liked food way too much but wished her well on her quest. I think the first time I heard Jack and Diane was on their stereo. I spent a lot of time at their house and treated them like an Aunt and Uncle, they treated me like family too. We all thought a lot of one another. This is actually kind of painful and frightening to remember. The only way to look back on this is with some humour. (No I do not think mental illness is funny so don’t whine at me about being rude) I cared very much for these people and they cared a lot for us.

Miss Kitty isn’t my name but she was the coolest lady on TV back in the 70’s; so I chose to use Miss Kitty as my name in this story.

Ok, back to the night the lights went out for Mr. Crazy pants. Near 10 pm there was this banging on the door my Grandma and I both just stared at the door because NO visitors worth having came after 7pm, nor did they just pop up in the evening without phoning first. Lawrence Welk was on!! Anyway…the banging was loud and made the door shake. This was pretty scary for a widow and a teenager. Then the hollering started…”Oh Miss Kitty I need you so bad” …”Oh Miss Kitty open the door!” We were terrified! Needless to say we didn’t make a sound and did NOT open the door. At first I wanted to because he was my “uncle” and he told me to open the door. It's good manners and all to do as you're told, but he didn’t sound right. My Grandma told me to sit down. She told him through the closed door to “go home!” He started running around our house screaming “Oh Miss Kitty, I want to…(grandma put her hands over my ears and walked me to my room). The screaming for “Oh Miss Kitty” continued. He started running up and down the street screaming my name. I was scared to death and wondered if this was what small town life was really like. I also began to wonder if I would really stay in this small town. I also wondered if the door would hold because he was back banging louder than ever. My Grandma made the mistake of peeking out a window and saw much MORE than she bargained for. It was then that she called the police, she hadn’t before because his wife was due home soon from bingo and would surely reign him in. Also it isn’t exactly the neighborly thing to do, calling the police on a friend and all. The police came to pick him up about 10 minutes later. The sheriff called my Grandma to make sure she was ok; he was still screaming my name. Since the sheriff was a relative of ours they told her that they found him running up and down the street stark naked screaming my name. At his house he had tossed chairs through the glass door. There was raw meat all over his table. He had also emptied the freezer. The last we heard he was taken to the mental institution nearby……we never saw him again. His wife and daughter moved away shortly after this fun evening. Apparently his wife knew of his obsession for me, she also knew he was bat crap crazy, he was on medication for it, but she decided he probably didn’t need it anymore since he hadn’t tried to rape any young girls in years.

In order for this to be remotely funny you have to understand the effects of living in a small town and how it can lead to psychotic breaks.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 10

Can’t ya just?

Let us revisit Scooter and his woes. Since his wife died Scooter has gone well and truly off the deep-end. If you haven’t gotten up to speed on scooter please view complicated lives part 2. Scooter called me to ask how to check email. I patiently (for the first hour) explain how to sign in to email and check messages. Then the real fun starts…

S-can’t ya just sign in and do it for me?

Me- No, Scooter, you need to learn to do this.

S-“But it’s too hard

M- just listen to me…

S- hey this thing just said I won a free computer!

M-DO NOT click on the flashing signs you have not won anything

S-But it says I won a free computer! Shouldn’t I at least check it out?

M- NO! It’s a scam!

S-but why would they waste the time sending me a message?

M-It’s to trick you

S- but it says I won

M-NO! Stop…just go to the envelope on your desk top

S-I don’t have any envelopes do I need them for email

M-oh for the love of…No On your computer

S-well how do I find that?

M-just close the webpage with the flashing thing and you will see your desktop

S-but won’t I lose the free computer then?

M-Ok just give me the password and sign in for your email…I will check it for you

S-can you do that?

M-yes.

S-Oh this wants me to take a survey

M-you clicked the flashing thing didn’t you?

S-now it says I have a virus

M-just turn off the computer…I’ll read your email to you

That was about 10 years ago, since then Scooter has lost one computer mailing it to a stranger because “this stupid fool is going to give me hundreds of dollars of software for free if I just mail him my computer! What an idiot!!” Guess who never got his computer back? He lost a second computer because he gave it to “some stupid A—hole who is going to add memory to it for nothing I just had to buy the memory cards” Guess who never saw that computer again? Scooter lost a third computer and a net book because he traded them to a drug dealer for his live in hooker to get oxy. I am pretty thankful that I no longer hear “can’t ya just??” in relation to computer issues…

Monday, July 18, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 9

Are they all like that?

Ok, a friend of mine decided to go to an “undisclosed location” this will be known as UL. While in the UL (not West Virginia at all BTW... so stop bagging on them!) she discovered a phenomena called ‘inbreeding’. She and I both thought that inbreeding only occurred in a few places in the US and possibly in remote locations where planes crash and family members run amok knowing they will never be rescued and populate the island. I digress.

Within the first week she met 2 sisters, one expecting and one with two children. One of the children was by her first cousin Lenny. She told my friend “oh he was a terrible choice I won’t ever do that again!”. My friend was in shock and had more moonshine. The other sister was smiling and said “well he’s good to me”. My friend then realized that the ‘boyfriend’ this girl was living with was the same first cousin!! While my friend was up there she discovered that this cousin had sewn wild oats with MANY of the family members and a few second cousins as well.

There is a great deal of mental illness in this family but no one seems to know why. I think I may have the answer but I don’t want to go getting all judgmental. I haven’t seen the cousin myself so he may be a really good catch especially in that area of the country. He doesn’t actually have a job, but he does get a food stamp card, and he has Medicaid, and possibly social security disability for his mental illness. His mental illness makes it impossible to work especially since he won’t take medicine for it because it makes him feel weird.

This was many months ago, Lenny and Kate had their baby and I am pleased to report that it has only one head, 2 eyes, all the fingers and toes in all the right spots and so far seems normal. My friend fled the area before the birth so she only has this on verbal and photo confirmation. Hopefully the little boy isn’t hiding a tail anywhere or horns. I have heard no reports of a demon child being born in UL but anything can happen.

She left wondering if all small towns in remote areas were like that. I've lived in quite a few small towns and it's probably happening everywhere...I just know I keep to myself for a reason.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 8

Strangers (than fiction) on a Train

So, I decided to go home to Mommy for a visit since my last girls outing was 8 years ago and looooong overdue. I like to think (yes really) and I love to look at scenery. I decided to take a train. The mystique, the romance, the leg room, seeing things you wouldn’t see on the highway, like people in their underwear getting in a hot tub. So here’s the rundown

In the station waiting on the train….a nice looking, well dressed, middle aged lady ate a sandwich. Nothing odd there, lots of people eat. It was evident from the way she held her sandwich that she lived indoors and had some manners. Much to everyone’s delight/dismay, she then pulled out a piece of floss and started flossing her teeth less than 30 feet from the bathroom! She also wiped the floss with a napkin and threw the used food bits on the floor…eeeewwww . She may have even gotten the girl next to her with flying food drops.

Train arrived thank you Lord!

These names are made up, since I don’t know these people…just my 5 hour ride with them.

Darlene and Fred

Darlene apparently has never been outside her house, nor has she looked at a map it appears. We were all standing in a delightful downpour waiting for the train to arrive. The destination Chicago is a city to the West sooooo logic would dictate that the train would come from the East. Horn sounds, Darlene looks East. Fred says “no it’s coming from there” Darlene “well which way is Chicago?” Fred “it’s to the West.” Darlene “Chicago is West of here??” Fred “yes dear” Darlene “oh there’s the train!!! I want a picture when we get off !!” Fred “It’s not that exciting” Darlene “well to me it is, I haven’t ever seen one before” Fred (chuckling) “ok dear it is exciting then, yes you can take a picture of the train”. On board the train they talked about role playing games the entire journey….really hope the Orks in Chicago don’t like to dine on dorks. Maybe that was harsh, but for goodness sake…look at a map.

Terrific Trio

Our train was delayed. We all got notices via email and or phone that we should check for delays. In any transportation system when one part is delayed, generally other parts are also delayed. Terrific Trio apparently were not aware of the transportation web. Excerpt from a phone call;

Diane- The train Effie’s on is delayed!

Jack-So is she on it?

D- No, it’s delayed.

J- What does that mean?

D- It isn’t there yet

J- Is that her on the phone?

D- yes.

J- So ask her why it’s delayed?

D- They don’t know.

J- But she is on it.

D- No, it’s delayed, it isn’t there yet.

J- So she isn’t on it.

D- No she isn’t on it.

J- But it Is there?

D- No it isn’t there yet.

J- So where is she?

D- At the station.

J-So is she getting on it now?

D- Not yet, it’s delayed.

J- When is she going to get on it?

D-When it gets there.

J-When will it get there?

D- They don’t know because it’s delayed.

J-So she isn’t getting on it yet?

D- No

J-This doesn’t happen with delays anywhere but here. I went to Europe once and those trains were never delayed. There were no potholes on the Autobahn either.

D- I know, but her train is delayed.

J- Well when will she get there?

D- I don’t know because the train is delayed.

Jack did you know that spinach has no nutritional value unless it’s cooked? I mean zero, it strips vitamins from you, so it’s even worse than iceberg lettuce. Jack says to Diane, so all those people are eating that spinach salad thinking they are healthy but it’s ruining their bodies. Is Effie on the train yet?

Oh Jack it’s Effie on the phone. They’re putting you on a bus?! Are you on it yet? There are trees on the tracks? Well can’t they get them off? Diane is she on the bus now? Yes Jack she’s on the bus now.

Jack I wonder if we will have trees on our track too. Are we approaching from the same side as Wisconsin? Oh Diane I don’t think we’ll approach the same way we’re in Michigan. I think Wisconsin is to the left of Chicago.

Jack did you know Salvation Army has good kitchen utensils.

Jack- What are kitchen utensils? Like dishes and stuff?

Diane- No, utensils are like spoons and spatulas.

Jack- I thought they just had clothes and only college kids shopped there.

Diane-you know Effie got some earrings there and took them to a jeweler to have them cleaned and he told her they were worth $400!! Apparently if there is a K on there it means they are real gold!

Jack-you’re kidding! Why would they mark it with a K if It’s gold?

Other snippets of conversation…”Where are you going? The cafĂ© cart. Will you be back?” “Did you know coffee wakes me up better than alcohol does?” “Why do we build nuclear plants when there is no place to dispose of nuclear waste?” “I wonder if they have teabags in hotel rooms”

Either I slipped into unconsciousness at this point or suddenly became engrossed in my puzzle book because the rest of the trip was a blur.

Ah Strangers on a train!!! All aboard!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 7

HM-Oh NO!!!

It should come with a warning. WARNING!!-This insurance plan will cause extreme frustration!! HM O-crap!! They always require referrals. To those of us well trained in home surgical procedures and festering stuff out…we don’t need referrals. Just a needle, and egg shell lining, some thread and a stick…some leeches are good too but not totally necessary unless the hunting knife slips. Then you really need the iron to cauterize anyway….I digress..

So I was at the neurosurgeon’s office the other day (stop laughing!!) I was patiently waiting for my visit. My insurance does NOT require a referral to a specialist because I am a certified calamity on feet. I must have the freedom to find a specialist or specialists for any reason. For this reason I do NOT have an HMO. So I was serenely twiddling my hair waiting, waiting, waiting….then I noticed her. Electric pink toe nails, black bedazzled flip flops, a ream of paper and a cell phone with some odd bumper guard also be dazzled, pink fingernails. I saw those nails and thought…uh oh this one is going to be trouble! NO ONE wears fluorescent pink nail polish past the 4th of July! Or is it labour day? Memorial day? She sits down and starts playing on her phone. The office manager calls her up to get her license and insurance card.

Pinkie says “here are all my cards” The office manager said “we don’t have both of these cards on file only this one. This other is an HMO and requires a referral, do you have a referral? ” Pinkie says- Well just bill this one, because I don’t have a referral” The room stopped dead…you could hear the dust falling off the silk flowers in the corner. The other patient (mental health professional…I swear I am not making this up!) and I stare at each other and glance at OM, because we know it’s going to be good.

Mental lady goes for a bag of chips, I resume hair twiddling in double time.

OM says “we can’t bill just one because one insurance won’t pay if you have two and we don’t bill both” Pinkie- “just bill me” OM-“we can’t, we have a contract and agree not to bill excess” Pinkie- “but why can’t you just take one of them” OM-“because we can’t just bill one, we have to bill both, each of them pays part” Pinkie-“I’m sick I have to go back to work I need this done I need to know what’s wrong drove for an hour this isn’t fair no one told me” OM-“I’m sorry if you can get a referral from your primary care doctor we can still see you” Pinkie “Ok”

Pinkie gets on the phone and leaves, OM, mental and I all look at each other and snicker a little. Pinkie can’t get a referral for 24-48 hours.

Pretty much the same conversation ensues “bill me, we can’t, bill them, we can’t, we just can’t see you today, why, because you don’t have a referral…etc” ….Plus we get to hear how it’s the office’s responsibility to ask how many insurance carriers she has. Then we are treated to an indignant yell off about how it took 2 weeks to get an appointment…REALLY 2 weeks ONLY that’s a walk in the park! They even managed to get her in next week! Pinkie leaves…

Finally I get called back. OM and I burst out laughing. I tell her how awesome she is and admire her patience. We went over it a bit to make sure she was REALLY clear. She made perfect sense. Staring out the window twiddling my hair…I hear OM shriek

“She’s back!!” my very calm surgeon says “ NO WAY!” “tell her we simply can’t treat her today and send her on her way”

More conversation…’why? Because it’s not how it works. I don’t understand, just talk to my carrier! I can’t just get a verbal on the phone. Why?’

Surgeon finally comes in, looks at me…we laugh. I tell him OM is awesome. We discuss HMO-no’s.

Leave the office, front door now locked and lights off. Tell poor OM she needs a stiff drink and some chocolate…maybe a long hot soak

BTW my visit was filled with awesome news :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 6

The Axe man cometh!!

Ok same neighborhood, but now The Smith’s have left. Their friend Crystal kept in touch until he cell phone number changed. The neighborhood child molester had a live in girl friend. He lived just up the street from Billy Ray and his drug dealing family. One of his family members/girlfriends (I think she was a second cousin) used to walk down the street late at night. Tori used to smoke like a chimney late at night and read outside. She had ‘met’ Anna many times but didn’t really know her. Tori had seen Anna blasted out of her mind on meth more than once. Thank heaven they were moving, the neighborhood used to be so nice. So, about a week after The Smith’s moved Crystal called;

Crystal-“you will never guess what happened with Chester and Anna!!!”

Tori- “Chester and Anna? I thought Anna was dating her cousin still!”

Crystal- “No, they broke up…well anyway Chester is in jail because he beat Anna!”

Tori- “No way! He’s only in to kids!”

the story unfolds….apparently Chester wanted Anna out because he wanted to stay out of jail and actually reform his life. Her drug use wasn’t stopping and he wanted her gone, so he kicked her out. He tried to be civil but she attacked him, he hit her with a water hose then she showed up with…..an AXE!!! Somehow a fight ensued and she ended up getting cut with the axe. Chester ended up in jail even though it was self defense…she got his house!! WTH? Complicated lives and Tori missed it!!! Yeah Anna only needed a few stitches.....but loads and loads of meth

Monday, July 4, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 5

Jessie and the car

Tori and Miles Smith moved from Fl to TX and to a real house like folks!! They had a child by this point and all was going swimmingly. Miles got the word that they had to move to CA. Also that he was supposed to pick up a new truck for work there. They already had 2 cars but couldn’t take both. They decided to sell the 94 teal Cavalier, Beverly. 4 doors, about 100k miles, still ran great…Tori loved Beverly and had pegged out the speedometer many times. Also being a good white trash woman had allowed their 8 year old son to drive it!! They lived in a neighborhood of people with complicated lives and or immigration issues. A person with a complicated life found out they wanted to sell their car and told a friend, with an even more complicated life. The neighbor “old man” brought Jessie over. Old Man said Jessie was a good girl and just needed a break. The Smiths felt sorry for Jessie, she had a job but no reliable transportation, had no credit, was recently off drugs and trying to get away from old friends to keep her new clean life. They talked it over and agreed on $400 for the car; $100 down and then payments of about $100 a month. They were pretty sure they would never get another cent because they knew it was a complicated life. Jessie and the Smiths were supposed to meet at the DMV to transfer papers. Jessie already had the car and never showed up. Tori and Miles found out what they needed to do to cover their butts with the car and the transfer of plates. They left town, doubting they would ever see the rest of the money but hoping that Jessie would make good with her life.

MONTHS after they arrived in CA the tickets still kept coming, running this light, parking, speeding, camera shots of the beloved Cavalier leading its new life of crime! Somehow that mischievous car looked happy!! Tori patiently continued reiterating to the TX authorities the sale and details thereof, continued sending faxes and copies to all the pertinent authorities and offices to keep their names and licenses clear. There were many calls to and from Jessie…had to get new tires, couldn’t afford plates, had to put gas in it, couldn’t afford to keep up the insurance, had to take the car in for a tune up couldn’t afford the title, etc etc…There were other details, now lost in space. Tori did keep a photo of the beloved little car gleefully sliding through a red light from a traffic cam. Jessie never paid another cent as expected but did make Beverly an honest car again with plates and a title.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Complicated Lives....part 4

Mimi and Tori

It was about 120 degrees on a lovely breezy June afternoon in Florida in 1994. Tori was marrying her lifelong love Miles, in an outdoor ceremony to be celebrated by a barbeque reception. The bride was aglow with sweat, no deodorant and no undies because she had sweat through them and her maid of honor Mimi had failed to bring anything except her own make up, hair pic for her new afro and enough cigarettes for Mimi and Tori to smoke well into the night. The blushing brides mama had made the potato salad for the cookout. Tori’s friend made the roadkill groom cake and Tori and Mimi had gotten drunk the night before and made the wedding cake which looked like the Alamo. All during the service conducted by a notary dressed like a klansman children were leaping into the nearby lake screaming. The Bride’s Mom was trying to keep everyone from having fun, the groom’s Mom was giving the happy couple African American Precious Moments dolls (the couple and everyone at the wedding were and still are white-ish)

After the wedding the bridal party went to the best man’s house to get drunk and finish the reception with the opening of redneck gifts…water guns, a food dehydrator and wedding teddy bears! The bride had a good friend help give her away as well as her Mom. The bride’s Mom was not happy about this and started to demand that everyone go back to their houses and behave. So we all split and went home. Bride’s Mom got the wedding bed, groom got the floor, guy giving bride away got the sofa….Mimi and Tori took champagne, rum, cigarettes and a lemon candle to the front seat of the 1982 LTD.

Mimi and Tori got hammered! They were giggling like idiots and dodging the flying palmetto bugs. They sat in the front seat all night long pouring candle wax down the side of the LTD to keep the candle burning. They thought they had cleared the door. They polished off the full bottle of rum straight then popped the hot champage…the cork hit the side of the trailer after which they both yelled “SHHHH” At 6am Tori stumbled inside, stepping on the groom to make coffee and whisper loudly in his ear…”I THINK MIMI IS DEAD!! DON’T WORRY I’M MAKING COFFEE! I LOVE YOU CAN YOU SEE IF MY SISTER IS DEAD???” Mimi wasn’t dead. She was however throwing up profusely. Mimi looked at Tori and said “I love you Aunt Leah!!”, then threw up again.

Ahhhh what a wedding night that was.