Monday, March 28, 2011

Asshat of the Week

I haven't done an Asshat for awhile---not because there weren't plenty of them, but because maybe there's just a kinder, gentler me.

Ok no. That would be lying. For the last year I've just been drifting in sort of a cloud of ennui. I think that what my good friend Kim Ayres said in my last comments section about getting a protective emotional layer stripped off when facing a tragedy holds true.

I avoid engaging in stuff that pisses me off, because I already have enough scary emotions to deal with.

Life goes on though, and I need to get over it.

So this week's Asshat goes to AOL commenters.

I have AOL, and now, after 13 years, I pretty much loathe it. BUT I have a lot saved on here. I don't want to lose any data, and I don't want to spend the time changing it over to something else.

Please don't comment on all the better things I could have. I've researched it, and just don't want to go through the hassle.

I click on the links on the welcome page if something catches my fancy. Many articles are inane and totally tork me off with the piss-poor writing and content. Some are interesting. What is consistent is the incredible ignorance and hatefulness of the number of AOL users who bother to comment on articles.

In practically every article, some nincompoop has to make it about race. Or immigration. Or Obama (If the article is about Scarlett Johannson's bikini wax the comments run to how it's the President's fault the rainforest is shrinking). Or their so illiturate thet u cayunt unnerstan wa thar talkin bout. And then there's the large percentage who don't read for comprehension.

Holy crap. It's scary to think these people can vote.

Last night I read an article about Baby Jessica McClure turning 25 and coming into the trust fund that was established by well-wishers when she was stuck in that little drainage hole. She's a married mom of two now.

Her parents were very young poor people when it happened. Over the years, AS her parents, they could have made all kinds of demands on the trust---we need a bigger, better secluded home (mansion) to keep us from the media---we need fancy cars to tote her around in, etc, etc.

Think of Michael Jackson and all of HIS hangers-on and their demands. Or any of those child stars (Gary Coleman, Patty Duke come to mind) whose parents' spent their children's earnings/assets on themselves.

But Jessica's parents didn't do that. The principal of her trust---800K---is pretty much intact.

So now that she is getting it, here is the gist of some of the AOL comments: She doesn't deserve it because she married someone of Mexican descent. "How dare she have some money to put in her little brown babies' college funds!" Gah!

Her parents are trash. How dare they profit from this. (WTF?? How did they profit from this?)".

Yes, Jessica got a windfall from people who were touched by her plight when she was a baby girl. Yes, it's easy to be envious of the whole thing.

But these comments are ugly. And stupid. It makes you wonder where in the hell these people come from.

So this week's Asshat goes to those ignorant, racist AOL users.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


When Big Kid got so sick a little over a year ago, I really had the smug knocked out of me in dozens of different ways. I confidently thought that I could handle most any hits that came our way, as long as I could put on my killer bunny slippers and kick butt.

Pre-H1N1, I used to watch the news and tragedies across the world in a somewhat detached manner. I would send up a prayer to the ether for the victims and their families because yes! what a horrible tragedy!, but would feel kind of superior watching 3rd World mothers wail, tear at their hair and faces and rend their clothes at the death of their children. That's not really the American Way, or maybe not the Anglo-Protestant Way. We're civilized and have better control of ourselves.

Stupid, superior Me.

That whole month when Big Kid hung between life and death on life support, minute to minute, I finally got it. The primal urge to rail against the helplessness, the hopelessness. The physical need to tear at myself, to let loose, to howl, to scream out my fear and grief.

Of course, if I had done that at his bedside, I would have probably been sedated and introduced to a nice soft hotel room with a sportcoat that ties in the back for my own protection. Because that's the way it is in our culture.

It was a very humbling experience.

Since then, this past year, I've tried to be more understanding of people's circumstances, to be less judgmental. I'm still very raw, and cry at the drop of a hat. Lost and found Doggy on the news? That's a crying. The tragedy in Japan? That's a daily crying. Geico commercial? That's a crying too. I've cried at real and stupid stuff more in the last year than I have in my previous 44 years. I guess having doctors tell you that your child is dying and they can't do anything more for him will do that to you.

But I guess I'm not done with being taught humble lessons.

Little Guy, who has Autism, has had a pretty crappy year. I talked a little about how his Fall Semester at our local high school was a bust, and how his and a few other transitional students' rights had been violated under IDEA. I was able to secure an extra semester(he ages out of the system next month) to make up for the lack of services, but I'm not going to get into it here. If anyone wants a private run-down, feel free to email me.

Last week, he came home with a flyer that advertised a "social" for adults who have disabilities down in the city. We live in the mountains, and there isn't any such activities here. Since Hubby was going to be out of town, and Little Guy really wanted to go, I made arrangements with Big Kid and Kitty (his girlfriend) to take them out to dinner while Little Guy attended this shin-dig.

This event is held monthly at the city's Senior Center (had no idea!). The place was packed. Tons of young people his age (the event is for 16 and older). I got Little Guy checked in, made sure of a place and time to meet (he didn't want his old mom hanging around) and went off to dinner.

I came back a half hour before the party was scheduled to end. There were a lot of parents/caregivers etc sitting around the foyer, which was very large. I came in, sat down and waited. Little Guy breezed through, we chatted a minute, and he went back into the event room to mingle and dance.

This incredibly gorgeous and well-groomed man stopped by and asked me how it was going. I looked around. Was he talking to me? Frumpy me? I said fine, how are you? Laughed. Said I was waiting for my son. Assumed he was a parent, a sibling, a caregiver waiting for someone too.

He sat down next to me and introduced himself. I told him who I was and said "it's nice to meet you".

He said, "this week is my birthday, I'm going to be 45". I congratulated him (while thinking it was a little weird to tell a complete stranger that). Looked at his ring finger to see if maybe there was another half to this Adonis. No ring (and no, I didn't forget there was a ring on MY finger!).

He went on, "Last year I was 44 and the year before that I was 43. Can you names things that they have at a birthday party?" So for the next 15 minutes we came up with everything we could think of (ponies, clowns, pirates, cake, presents) that could possibly be appropriate at a party. Then Little Guy found me and told me he was ready to go home. I shook hands with the gentleman and told him again how nice it was to meet him. "Will you be here next month?" he asked hopefully. I said I just might.

All the way home I mentally kicked myself. I like to pride myself on being a fairly astute person, but I guess I still let my assumptions lead the way. Humble pie.

Little Guy had a fabulous time. He didn't ask anybody to dance, but danced with himself to the songs he liked. Since Hot Cutie (his girlfriend) wasn't there, he didn't want to be a "scumbag" and dance with anybody else. I explained that since Hot Cutie doesn't like these kind of activities, and doesn't like dancing (and he does), I didn't think it would be a bad thing to dance with other people "as friends". He pondered it a minute or two and decided that "next time" he'd ask some of the girls who were sitting on the sidelines. LOL

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happiness Is...

Ok, my last two posts were kind of bummers.

I've been kind of thinking on a theme about blessings, good things, happiness.

Remember when Charles Schultz did the whole riff on "Happiness is a Warm Puppy?"


This is it for me:

Happiness is when I do my great big morning stretch and nothing hurts or is stiff.

Happiness is when I get up and there is no emergency late night calls on my answering machine.

Happiness is when I wake up and Hubby is holding my hand.

Happiness is racing into the bathroom (still taking diuretics) and finding that somebody else put a new roll of toilet paper on the hanger (doesn't happen too often in THIS house).

Happiness is when I step on something sort of round in my slippers and find out it's a magic marker and not one of the Little Sh*t's turds.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Don't Know Whether to be Pissed or Proud

The other day was a day from hell. I don't know how to feel about it.

Spent the morning running errands. The the Aspiring Adult (forgot to tell you guys that he's back home with us, but that's another story for another time. Let's just say he learned his lesson, is attending school and doing really great and working as well), needed me to pick him up after he dropped off his car for an alignment.

Ran to the store and the post office (selling all that crap for my mom on ebay--this time my dad's postcard collection). The Aspiring Adult had been sick for about a week, and finally manned up and got a doctor's appointment for the afternoon, which he needed a ride for.

Little Guy came home after culinary school about noon. Since I needed to run more errands in the afternoon, he had a choice---come and help, or stay home. He's been so responsible that for the last 6 months or so we've been able to leave him at home alone for an hour or two. When he comes and helps, he asks for a treat, so we agreed on a Creamslush from Sonic.

Took the Aspiring Adult to the doctor and dropped him off. Our agreement was that after his appointment, he'd run across the street to the store, get his prescription and call me when he was done to be picked up.

I waited. And waited. Tried calling the AA on his cell, but just got voicemail.

Since I had other errands to run, I figured I'd try to call him later from my cell. Little Guy and I were off.

First off, Little Guy got agitated because I hadn't turned the clocks in my car forward for daylight savings time. I explained that I didn't know how to do it, that I needed his dad to do it, and that I'd ask him as soon as he got home. It just wasn't enough. Little Guy kept going on and on about it. I finally said, "Please! I don't want to talk about this anymore! I'm stressed out and I need to concentrate on driving!"

Arrrggghhh. He got all bent out of shape about it. Not just the hairy eyeball, but kicks to the floorboard of the car and big huge sighs.

We went back to the post office to mail more stuff, and Little Guy was all stompy and rude to the postal workers, who he's really on friendly terms with. We went to the dry cleaners and he refused to get out of the car. So I ran in and out. We ran by Sonic, got the creamslush, and FINALLY got a hold of the Aspiring Adult. It had been 3 hours since I had dropped him off at the doctor's.

Well duh. While waiting for his prescription, he ran into some old friends and they were now at Starbucks. So "sorry", he didn't know that I had other things to do other than to wait on his call. Grrr. He'd get a ride home by himself. He wasn't aware that I had a life beyond his immediate needs, so he didn't think it mattered what he did.

Drove back to our little burg's shopping center, ran in to the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine we'd ordered for a gift and that was being held for us. I was in there for maybe 4 minutes.

Came back to the car, and Little Guy was gone.

He was gone. Totally gone. My heart just about stopped.

The creamslush was sitting on the seat, practically full.

I looked around the parking lot (which is large), and there was no sign of him. I called for him. No answer.

For the next 20 minutes I drove around, asked people if they'd seen him.

Of course, I said, "have you seen my child?" or "have you seen my son?"

I ran in and out of the various shops.

They all got concerned (my child) until I described him. He's almost 21 years old and an adult.

My big fear was that he might have seen someone he knew and went off with them, because he thinks everybody who knows him is a friend, and unfortunately, there are some people who don't wish him well. He wouldn't have taken off with a stranger. He's NEVER wandered off before. EVER.

My other fear was that he was so annoyed with me about the clock thing that he might have tried to walk home by himself up the highway.

I was about to call 911, when I saw him up by where I had left my car originally. He was looking around. I jumped out of where I was and yelled at him across the parking lot. It had been 30 minutes since I had discovered him gone.

So, the end game is that he had to go to the bathroom. He knew there was one in the grocery store across the parking lot from where we were. He decided to be capable and took off on his own.

I cried all the way home. I just couldn't help myself. The crying really freaked him out, but the situation really freaked ME out!

When hubby came home, we sat down and had a talk with him about it.

One one hand, I'm really proud that he recognized his need and found out how to take care of it on his own. On the other, he really scared the crap outta me.

Gah. I don't know if he was able to benefit from the teaching moment or if my immediate hysterical reactions of "I thought somebody took you!!" has colored it all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting Older Bites

I like corn, but corn doesn't seem to like me any more.

Yes, I said corn. Not porn. We still get a little giggle out of that. The word, I mean.

Neither do oranges.

Or salsa.

Now they all bite back.

Anything you used to be able to enjoy giving you heck now?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Things We Do For Love

aka No Good Deed Yadda Yadda Yadda

If you guys remember a couple of years ago my mom was trying to sort through and get rid of a bunch of crap and collections my step-dad (her late husband who passed away 4-5 years ago) had amassed over 75-plus years that were stuffed in her basement.

Bless her heart. She's spent the last few years trying to find good homes for some of this stuff. Since they didn't have any children together, she made sure that all his family heirlooms went to the obscure relatives on both sides of his surviving family however far and wide they might be.

There were over 2000 books---mostly theological (he was a Presbyterian Minister) that she called seminaries all over the country to try to donate them to, but since a lot of gone digital, it was hard going. They did take his yearbooks for their collections though. :-)

One of his collections was over 700 78-records. A friend from her church had a nephew or somebody who was an "expert" appraiser of that venue. He looked over the collection, told her that they weren't worth more than 10 cents a piece and offered her like 100 bucks for it all.

I said no, let me take a look, brought about 30 heavy boxes home. Sold most of it for 11 thousand dollars on Ebay. Feh, That mofo better cross the street when he sees me coming. But now that little endeavor has made me the "go to" gal for finding value in crap that family and senior friends have stashed in their attics.

Since she has remarried, she's agreed to try to get rid of more stuff from her basement. The biggest problem is that she just won't THROW ANYTHING AWAY! So I haul a trunkfull of stuff two hours home and throw it away here.

Several months ago, she gave me a box of shag-carpet toilet covers from the 70's. Seriously. The elastic was completely destroyed, making them unusable (as if the colors wouldn't make you run screaming from the room). This last time (her recent wedding) I took away with me a buttload of 70's Xmas centerpieces made of plastic pine needles.

I also came away with several drawers full of expired film (she was dithering about them, no sentimental value, didn't know if she should throw them away or not so I just dumped them in a bag and loaded them into my car). She also gave me some albums and boxes of vintage postcards my step-dad collected.

So being a "get to it" kind of person, I dutifully listed a bunch of this stuff on ebay. Amazingly enough, the expired film got snatched up right away (who'd have figured?) and there was a lot of lively bidding. I mentioned it to her---astounded that there was actually a market for this stuff---and what did she say?

"Maybe we should keep some of it to help sell the camera equipment!"


I explained to her that once somebody started bidding on items, you couldn't just pull them off auction unless you discovered some major flaw that you hadn't disclosed or the item was destroyed. Once you have bids, you have a contract.

Postcards aren't nearly as bad as 78's, at least in the storage/haulage department. But you still have to scan each one and edit it. Doing a couple of hundred can eat up a few afternoons. Many of the cards, although vintage, simply aren't collectible. A few garnered a lot of attention and bidding. Like a fool, I chatted with her about it instead of waiting until it was all over.

"Maybe we should keep those if they're valuable", she said.

Face Palm!! Arrggghhh!!

Next up? Pop's stamp collection. From what I've heard from my brother, there are about 60,000 of them.