Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Small Town Big News

The Citizen
Complete County Coverage

April 27/Debbie Turner, Reporter

Shitty Old Resident Finally Dies

Local old codger Richard (Dick) Duddy passed away belligerently at his home on Monday of an apparent heart attack while standing in his front yard and yelling at kids three doors down not to come near his grass. He was 72 years, 6 months, 2 days, and 8 hours old. He leaves his wife, Delores, of the home and three children, Mark, Beth, and Diane, who have been waiting.

Richard was a lifelong resident of Platte County. He enjoyed building fences, burning bridges, and writing letters to the editor of The Citizen. According to those letters Richard was an expert in county government, proper farming techniques, HOA legal terminology, feral cats, and everything else.

Visitation will be on Thursday from 2:00 to 2:10 p.m. at Pineview Drive-In Church and Theatre with private services to follow (come back that evening to see Two Mules for Sister Sara). The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Mr. Duddy’s nonprofit organization, Make Platte County Tolerable Again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Back in the Saddle

“CALL NOW TO WIN!” Skid Roadie was screaming.  I reached to turn off the radio, but as I did, I heard something about Aerosmith. My love for Steven Tyler trumped my dread of crowds and loathing for DJs with stupid names, so I dialed.

“You’re a winner! You’ve scored Aerosmith tickets! Listen Monday morning when we draw for the VIP prize!”

I didn’t listen Monday morning. My employer didn’t allow such frivolities. But I won- upgraded tickets, parking, and a hoodie signed by the band.

My boss said he was going too. I took pleasure in the fact that he had lawn seats five miles from the stage. For one day of my life, security would keep him away from me.

He wanted to buy my hoodie to score points with his girlfriend. He should have considered this prior to my last performance review.

I invited my daughter. “What’s an Aerosmith?” she asked.  Then I invited my coworker, whom we shall call Marlene.

On the night of the big show, I tied my sweatshirt around my waist, hoping to look young and hip (if only from the back), and we were off to the Route of All Evil Tour. The boss called to say he was parking, and to look for him. We wanted to look for him as badly as he wanted to give us two days off at Christmas.

The amphitheater was packed - with old people. Except the teen seated next to me, whose dad had brought her along as paybacks for taking her to see the Spice Girls.

We got $10 beers in Dixie cups, swore we wouldn’t pay that price for more, and out came Motley Crue to open the show.

Motorcycles revved onstage to “Louder than Hell.”

A racy video played as they sang “Girls, Girls, Girls” and just as I was thinking, Hey, I have those same underpants, Marlene suggested we go for another $10 beer. We did, but we swore we wouldn’t pay that price for more.

The boss kept calling my cell. Ignoring him, well…rocked.

Back at our seats, the Motley Screamers were wrapping up and the fans were fired up with Aerosmith anticipation.

“What’s that smell?” Marlene said too loudly. A guy behind me that looked like my uncle Norbert tried to pass me a joint, and spilled his drink on my autographed shirt. Aerosmith took the stage and opened with “Cryin.”

Marlene poked my arm and showed me her phone; seven missed calls from the boss. When the band got to “Eat the Rich,” she hit the call back button and dropped the cell in her purse.

I found my lighter and waved it, before realizing that not all of those iPhones in the air were snapping photos. The kid next to me looked nervous, like I might be getting ready to set her hair on fire. So I decided to go get a couple more $10 beers. Marlene stayed put, to guard my booze-soaked hoodie and wait for a song she recognized.

As I squeezed out of our row, Tyler sang “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and I knew he loved me back.

Ten minutes later, I returned with our beers. The crowd had shoved forward. I couldn’t spot Marlene. As I made my way along trying to count rows, a security guy (dude looked like a lady) shoved past, telling me to stay back.

Where my seat used to be, there was a pileup. It looked like a football game and the guys on the bottom were wrestling for the ball. Tyler was crooning, “I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” Marlene must have missed this by going to the restroom.

Security circled the pileup; first they pulled the guy that looked like Uncle Norbert from the stack. Next was the father-daughter team, then people that used to stand in front of us. Finally, just as Aerosmith started “Jaded,” Marlene and our boss were dragged to their feet by a couple of buff young men, who led them away. Clutching my hoodie, Marlene mouthed, “Meet me at the car.”

The show was ending- I chugged my $10 beer and Marlene’s too before the lights came up.

The final encore was “Walk This Way.” I was 22 again. I danced, I sang, I understood life. Then I was off to find Marlene.

Heading home, Marlene explained that she was just standing there trying to figure out Joe Perry’s hair when she was grabbed from behind.

“I thought it was the old stoned guy! ‘Til he grabbed your hoodie and tried to climb into your chair – then the chair collapsed and I swear I was just gonna help him up and get your hoodie off the nasty ground, but then all those people were on us.”

She mentioned I’d have to cover her next 37 sick days without complaint.

Monday morning, we were called to our boss’s office before the coffee brewed. We each got a rave albeit impromptu performance review, and a large bonus, too. If we promised to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Dream On.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Ouch, ouch!

I is for Itaiitai. 

Itaiitai is also often spelled itai itai, or itai-itai.

Here's a tidbit from The Superior Person's Book of Words, by Peter Bowler:

ITAIITAI   n.  A bone disease caused by cadmium. Said to be derived from the Japanese equivalent for "Ouch, ouch!" The interest of this to the lexicographer lies in the possibility of forming similar neologisms in English to provide more directly meaningful names for other diseases and conditions. Thus, "Eek, eek!" for arachnophobia; "Er, er" for aphasia; "Unh, unh!" for constipation; "Ha, ha!" for alopecia; "Oh, no!" for impotence; and so on.

Unh, unh!

Now I'm having fun coming up with my own names. How about "Eww, eww!" for halitosis?

Wanna play? Got any meaningful names for a disease or condition?

A Happy Place

H is for Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wise Words

G is for Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert shared the following post to Facebook this morning and it got me to thinking about the NOT THIS times in my life.

I moved from my parents' home the week I turned 18. At 29 I said NOT THIS to my marriage. I've said it to a few toxic relationships and to living in the wrong place(s). I'm sure I haven't seen my last NOT THIS moment.

I've known many people who can't say NOT THIS because there is no Plan B. They stay in a bad relationship until another is lined up because they fear being alone, or they think they can't leave a miserable job for a multitude of reasons, or they can't move because, whatever.

It's scary, starting over, and that's exactly what saying NOT THIS is. But what if you don't?

Here's Gilbert's post:

Dear Ones -
Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly...which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.
Maybe we will have to admit that we are in the wrong job. Or the wrong relationship. With the wrong people around us. Living in the wrong neighborhood. Acting out on the wrong behaviors. Using the wrong substances. Pretending to believe things that we no longer believe. Pretending to be something we were never meant to be.
This moment of realization is seldom fun. In fact, it's usually terrifying.
I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.
Because sometimes that's all you know, at such a moment.
All you know is: NOT THIS.
Sometimes that's all you CAN know.
All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won't be silenced.
Your body is saying: "NOT THIS."
Your heart is saying: "NOT THIS."
Your soul is saying: "NOT THIS."
But your brain can't bring itself to say "NOT THIS", because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don't have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, "It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options." You're not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don't know how to get out...
But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS...NOT THIS...NOT THIS.
I think some of the bravest people I have ever met were people who had the courage to say the words, "NOT THIS" outloud — even before they had an alternative plan.
People who walked out of bad situations without knowing if there was a better situation on the horizon.
People who looked at the life they were in, and they said, "I don't know what my life is supposed to be...but it's NOT THIS." And then they just...left.
I think my friend who walked out of a marriage after less than a year, and had to move back in with her mother (back into her childhood bedroom), and face the condemnation of the entire community while she slowly created a new life for herself. Everyone said, "If he's not good enough for you, who will be?" She didn't know. She didn't know anything about what her life would look like now. But it started with her saying: NOT THIS.
I think of my friend who took her three young children away from a toxic marriage, despite that fact that her husband supported her and the kids financially...and the four of them (this woman and her three children) all slept in one bed together in a tiny studio apartment for a few years, while she struggled to build a new life. She was poor, she was scared, she was alone. But she had to listen to the voices within her that said, NOT THIS.
I think of friends who walked out of jobs — with no job waiting for them. Because they said NOT THIS.
I think of friends who quit school, rather than keep pretending that they cared about this field of study anymore. And yes, they lost the scholarship. And yes, they ended up working at a fast food restaurant, while everyone else was getting degrees. And yes, it took them a while to figure out where to go next. But there was a relief at last in just surrendering to the holy, non-negotiable truth of NOT THIS.
I think of friends who bravely walked into AA meetings and just fell apart in front of a room full of total strangers, and said, NOT THIS.
I think of a friend who pulled her children out of Sunday School in the middle of church one Sunday because she'd had it with the judgment and self-righteousness of this particular church. Yes, it was her community. Yes, it was her tribe. But she physically couldn't be in that building anymore without feeling that she would explode. She didn't know where she was going, spiritually or within her community, but she said, NOT THIS. And walked out.
Rationally, it's crazy to abandon a perfectly good life (or at least a familiar life) in order to jump into a mystery. No sane person would advise you to make such a leap, with no Plan B in place. We are supposed to be careful. We are supposed to be prudent.
And yet....
And yet.
If you keep ignoring the voices within you that say NOT THIS, just because you don't know what to do, may end up stuck in NOT THIS forever.
You don't need to know where you are going to admit that where you are standing right now is wrong.
The bravest thing to say can be these two words.
What comes next?
I don't know. You don't know. Nobody knows. It might be worse. It might be better. But whatever it is...? It's NOT THIS.

Good stuff, eh? If you haven't read Gilbert's book Big Magic, what are you waiting for? 

Do tell, what was your biggest NOT THIS?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Cleaning Fun

F is for Fun with Fur.

Let's get crafty while spring cleaning. Let me assure you we aren't making anything from rabbit fur or fox fur or any fur from any animal that ugly humans kill for profit. That's just wrong.

Nope. I'm talking home decor you can make from things you already have on hand. Like dog fur.

You'll need:

An old boring pillow you don't use any more
Plastic wrap
Dog fur

Check under the beds and behind the sofa for wads of hair your pets dropped off. If you are left short, phone a friend. A local groomer was happy to provide me with fur. A friend with six large dogs mailed a package, with love, from her pets.

Wrap the pillow in plastic wrap. This protects it in case you decide to change up the look later.
Squirt glue generously on top side of pillow.
Throw wads of fur on glue, pressing gently to stick.
Allow this side to dry, turn pillow over, and repeat, being sure to cover entire pillow surface.
Remove dog hair that is now glued to your fingers.

And there you have it. A fresh look for spring without spending a dime. Now stop goofing off and go clean something.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Early Birds

E is for Early

Hey, it's 9:30 p.m. here, on day 5 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I'm winging it. And I'm obviously no early bird.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  —Ben Franklin

Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.  —Ted Turner

Early to bed, early to rise probably indicates unskilled labor.  —John Ciardi

Early to bed, early to rise, good for you, enjoy your prize.   —Me

If you're visiting from the A to Z Challenge, please leave a link to your blog so I can visit!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dogs. Barking Dogs.

D is for Dog.

Not my dog. She hasn’t done anything of interest since we went to a rescue together to choose another dog and she picked Damcat. It wasn’t the brightest decision, but at least the cat doesn’t bark.

My neighbor’s dog is a yippy yappy barker. A cute shih tzu named Chowder, who won’t. stop. barking.

The neighbor doesn’t have a fence and ties the dog out on a lead. The dog starts barking the moment the neighbor goes in the house. An hour later, the dog is still barking. It’s usually tied out four times per day. That’s a lot of barking. It gives me anxiety. It makes me mad. It isn’t Chowder’s fault. The owner should be chained in the yard.

So I’ve tried everything short of going next door and talking to the woman. Discussing the problem would be the mature thing to do, but I never said I was mature. I know she can hear the barking dog and doesn’t care, and I know she knows the barking bothers me and doesn’t care. So what in the world would we discuss?

Now you’re probably thinking, maybe she has no idea and would bring the dog in sooner to keep peace. Nope.

On occasion I have stepped outside and said, “Chowder, no bark.” Chowder looked at me and kept barking. I once offered neighbor who doesn’t care the option of putting Chowder in my fenced yard once in awhile – she could run around and even play with my dog. That never happened.

I trained my Coco to stop barking ages ago, using a hotel bell. The high pitch bothered her, so saying NO BARK while hitting the bell did the trick in a few lessons. I’ve tried stepping to my deck and ringing the bell for Chowder. Chowder missed one bark beat and started in again. My dog thought she was in trouble and hid.

One evening after listening to it until I was ready to shoot bottle rockets at their house, I found my car keys and hit the alarm button. I couldn’t tell if Chowder stopped barking until I turned if off – those babies are loud. It worked. Chowder was silent. Two minutes later she started barking again. My car alarm went off again. Maybe a couple more times.

I didn’t do that again. It didn’t change anything and just made me look like an asshole.

Two nights ago it started up again, for the fourth time that day, including the 6 am wake up bark. I’d had it. I went to the deck and screamed. I’m not a screamer – I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like loud. But I’d lost it. I screamed until I heard the neighbor’s back door open. Then I went back in and slammed my door shut.

Yesterday afternoon I was doing dishes when it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard any barking all day. Not once. I was embarrassed about my outburst but thought the nightmare might finally be over.

I glanced out the kitchen window to see the neighbor heading home on the walking trail. She was carrying her dog.

She carried it to her yard, tied it out, and went inside.

Good dog, Coco.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Damcat Stole the Xanax

C is for Cat.

I went to the doctor last week. She is a good doctor but also a pill pusher.

Specifically, antidepressants and anti-anxiety stuff.

No matter what the problem is, she always adds, “You know, depression causes aches and pains. We should get you started on meds.” And I always say, “No thanks, you know I won’t take them,” and then toss out the thought that maybe we could work on what I came in for, to which she replies that maybe anxiety is an issue for me.

After being told to arrive 15 minutes early to update paperwork and then waiting an additional 45 minutes past my appointment time, spending that wait time in the lobby where SICK people with FLU have waited, finding out what the cash price of my visit was going to cost me, and then freezing half to death in the exam room while we had our chat, well yes, perhaps I do have a little anxiety.

I paid and made two more appointments and then swung by the pharmacy to pick up the drugs.

When I got home I put the prescriptions on the kitchen counter and wandered off to do something.

Next day I went to make coffee and take my anti-inflammatory meds (basically prescription strength Advil for a $130.00 office call plus the 12 bucks to the pharmacy). The Xanax was gone. I checked the cupboards to make sure I hadn’t stuck it away.

It was gone.

No humans had been in the house since my doctor appointment, so I asked the cat what she did with my pills. She gave me the dumbest look, as if she didn’t understand.

I knew she did it. She has a gazillion toys and just wants to play with mine. Pens, keys, saltshakers, anything that isn’t hers…

So I searched under furniture and appliances. I leaned over the stair rail to see if she tossed the pill bottle to the basement. The Xanax was nowhere to be found. I hoped the lid had stayed on and the dog didn’t get hold of my meds, although she could occasionally use a chill pill.

I imagined calling the doctor’s office not 24 hours after getting the prescription and telling them the cat stole my controlled substance and I needed more.

Note in chart: “Patient may be abusing meds. Offer antidepressants again.”

Rather than stress over the missing drugs, which could create the need to take a pill I couldn’t find, I went about my day and forgot about it.

Come bedtime, I snuggled in with a book and then I heard the cat making a bunch of racket. I tried to concentrate on my book but the noise was too distracting. I got up to see what she was messing with.

When I rounded the corner into the living room, Damcat was curled up on an ottoman pretending to sleep. She’d heard me coming.

I headed to the kitchen, got a drink of water and headed back to bed. As I reached to flip the light back off I noticed something sticking out from behind the wine cabinet. 

It was the fortune cookie that went missing from my lunch. But behind it was a pill bottle.

I picked it up, confirmed that it was the missing Xanax, and put it in a zippered pocket inside my purse.

I went back to bed and tried to read. Five minutes later I heard a THUMP noise coming from the kitchen. I wanted to ignore it and doze, but then the wailing started.

Back in the kitchen, I found Damcat and my purse in the floor, all tangled up. While freeing the cat before she strangled herself, I made a plan.

Then I wrapped double stick tape around the pill bottle (cats hate that stuff) and put it in a Ziploc bag. Then I put more tape all around the bag. Then I put the bag in a box and taped it closed.

I found a Sharpie and wrote XANAX in big bold letters on the box. Then I took the box to the garage and put it on a high shelf. Then I made a note to myself in case I ever decide to take anti-anxiety pills and forget where they are.

At my next visit the pill pusher will want an update. I’ll tell her I feel much better, but I don’t need a refill just yet.