Wisdom from 6062 miles away…

The Girl has settled into her university gig in Beirut.  It is beyond awe-inspiring to read her words as she shares details of her days getting acclimated to the people, culture and program.  From her earliest teen years, she has exhibited a quiet grace, and a “beyond her years” wisdom that has left me speechless on more than one occasion.

Tonight’s “update”?  Brought tears to my eyes as she shared unexpected insight.  Could not be more proud than when she brought the following possibility into my frame of reference – perhaps forever altering my perspective on that remarkable and gifted creature that shares my daily existence…

She’d read my last post – including the reference to the mess created by the random neural firings of Mr. Pickles, my canine life partner functionally retarded dog.  Because the dog has destroyed the rug where i was planning to install the billiards table, i had to regroup, adjusting plans for full “move in”.  Rather than get the pool table, i now have to address the underlying problem* and install ceramic tile.  To continue with the planned condo modifications, i moved forward with the purchase and installation of the home theater/audio system throughout my domain…

Sorry to hear about Pickles acting upon his dog signals and digging up the rug. Bastard. Gotta love him though, he just ain’t that smart. Or maybe he is and just wanted you to build up the home-theater/man-trap/man-cave first**? He knows that the theater guy he was cracker-dogging*** for would be the one to install it and that The Boy would become a constant fixture afterwards, and he just wants a buddy. The more I think about it, the more I think that Pickles is smarter than us all.

Perhaps i’ve completely misjudged the large, brown, and frequently aromatic, creature that shares my daily existence?  In an idiot savant way, perhaps the dog serves as a guiding force in my life?  Maybe he is my protector and “yoda”, teaching me the ways of life in his slow, slobbery and “get the fuck out from under my feet when i’m going down the stairs, you numb-nutted bastard” way?

So much to be gained from a fresh perspective…  Primary beneficiary?  The fur-encrusted destruction machine… who will live to see at least another week…

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* Cheap and easy… yeah, i know.  But if i don’t take the occasional verbal bunny shot, then i’m losing points.  At least that’s how it works on the basketball court.

** “home-theater/man-trap/man-cave” perhaps requires some explanation.  The new condo is truly going to be my “bubble”.  Barbie Dream House for middle-aged party girl.  Several years ago, i decided i wanted a pool table – i enjoy billiards, but suck at it due to lack of practice.  i also decided i wanted an integrated whole-house audio system, multi-zone, all digital, remote controlled.  Oh, and ya just gotta get wall-mount HDTV, Blu-Ray and all the fixins if you’re going to do that!  The Boy has begun referring to the new place as “Mom’s Man Trap”.  At the same time, he refers to the theater room as his future “Man Cave” as there are no windows, no clock, and he will be able to cocoon there with no interaction with the outside world…  All i know?  i ain’t building this for anybody but me… but if it tends to collect boy toys?  Who am i to complain?

*** “Cracker-dogging” – ummm, perhaps that also requires explanation.  i believe the term can be attributed to James Herriot, from “All Creatures Great and Small” fame… To anyone who has ever seen it, you will know what it means… Sometimes, when playing, a dog will simply go bonkers, racing wildly around a room, doing banked turns off furniture, demonstrating great “tires” through abrupt directional changes at high speed.  Mr. Pickles – for reasons only known to him – had a powerful response to the gentleman who came to do the site assessment for home theater/audio installation.  For quite a while.  The Boy and i (not to mention the salesman) were laughing our asses off as 100 lbs of smokin’ fast dogmeat tore around the room demonstrating banked turns, frantic bursts of speed, ferrari-like ground-hugging maneuvers…and a big ol’ tongue flapping along beside him…

No Exit

Jean Paul Sartre is fucking with me.

And if i knew where that motherfucker was buried at the moment?  i’d dig him up and feed his rotted corpse to my deranged dog.

Just too many wires crossed today… and i’m ready to crush something.  Like a beer can.  On my head. 

Nothing big.  Nothing earth shattering.  Just nuggets of annoyance that are making my brain melt.  OK.  Despite what my son has suggested, perhaps i’m not beyond the occasional PMS either.

Screwed up an on-stage set tonight.  Blaming a mangled finger only goes so far.  Truth is?  Horribly out of practice, can’t play for shit any more, and when i get de-railed with my guitar work, my vocal work sucks out loud.  literally.

Driving home?  Very distracted inside my brain – many reasons, good and bad – and took the wrong exit from the highway.  The one i’ve taken for 20 years to go home.  Um…  Oops.  As i found myself driving by my old street, and putting on the turn signal?  Realized “Dumb-fuck!  You MOVED two weeks ago.” 

Never mind.

Got home, let the dog out back for a quick ‘relief’ pee.  And noticed that he had clawed up about a 3′ square section of the rug downstairs.  No apparent reason other than a bad signal from the dog planet.

Final annoyance?  One of the eighty seven smoke detectors in my new condo has a low battery.  At first?  Hard to geolocate the right one.  Checked several – and as a result, they are all now chirping like sex-crazed electronic crickets.  I have no idea how to shut them off.  Ripping them from the ceiling seems a tad over-reactive.

So, i’ll simply turn up the TV and crawl into bed.  Sometimes?  That’s all you can do…

(sigh)

Trailer Park Police Blotter

no.  not my family.  but a REAL blurb in the local paper…

Schadenfreude… so thankful i am NOT related to either of these fine gentlemen…

CORNWOOD – Aug. 24: Officers arrived at the 500 block of S. Main Street on a fight call and observed one of the combatants (age 21) holding a washcloth over his left eye.

He told officers a 17-year-old male wanted to fight regarding a $5 debt and punched him, then said the man couldn’t hit him because he was a juvenile.

The man said he defended himself and hit the juvenile several times before the juvenile hit the man’s head to the ground, causing swelling and bruising to his eye.

The officer asked the juvenile if he was injured: “No, but he squeezed my junk real hard.” Both were charged with disorderly conduct.

No Relation.  Seriously.  Not related to this one...

No Relation. Seriously. Not related to this one...

Breaking News

Being a Trailer Park Superhero is risky business.

BJ – married to my niece, and certified construction working-man hero – broke his back on the job Thursday.  Working at a job site with his dad, a catwalk collapsed, and he fell 14′, and crushed a vertebrae.  Seeing a large hunk of grillwork headed for him, he managed to roll out of the way, preventing further injury from the falling metal.

As of yesterday?  He had been fitted with a back brace, given an assload of morphine, and sent home.  No signs of paralysis, neurological damage or other injuries.  He’ll be off work for about 3 monhts, and eligible for extended medical benefits.

Whew…

Plans for the construction of the new “double wide” home in the country – with an attached apartment for Mom – are temporarily on hold.  Plans for the “negligence” lawsuit against the owner of the jobsite with the inadequately secured catwalk?  Well underway…

Settling in…

It’s strange, but good.  After twenty years in a comfortable family home, i’m starting fresh.  Some observations on differences and adjustments…

– My dog can shit four times a day.  When i just put him out back in the fenced in yard at the old homestead, i didn’t stand there watching him do a poo.  Until i started walking him three or four times a day, i had no idea what a complete shitting machine he is… 

– The bathroom just isn’t right.  No shelves for all that “girl shrapnel” (make up, potions, lotions and gooey things).  Putting it in drawers isn’t the same.  Made a run today for some small shelves/baskets to help organize it.  Won’t be truly settled until i can put on my make up in a pre-caffeinated haze in the morning…

– My dog likes going for walks.  The first few times, Mr. Pickles was timid, nose down, and skittish.  After a few days?  Head up, tail up and a jaunty sproing to his step.  Sniffing here, peeing there, he’s having a great time when we go out.  Probably clocking in a mile or so every day, i look forward to the morning and evening walks as well.

– Speaking of evening walks… it is a bit difficult to find and bag dog poo while holding a flashlight – and a hyperactive dog.  i need one more hand.  Perhaps one of my camping headlamps?  Need to come up with something before winter sets in and it’s dark after work…

– Quiet.  i mean reallyquiet.  No street noise, generators, lawnmowers… or voices.  Just frogs, crickets, cicadas.  The Stepford Neighbors don’t seem to go out much after dusk…

–  i don’t miss the old house.  At first i had moments of squishy, nostalgic glurge… “my babies grew up there…” and “we had so much fun there…”.  After spending the better part of the past two weekends repairing odds and ends there?  Screw it.  i’m sick of replacing screens, washing windows, replacing outlet covers and mucking around in the old place.  ARRRRRGH!  i need it rented, and i want it behind me!

– i still have way too much shit.  Today, i took three more bags of clothing and shoes to Goodwill.  More to go.  i’m still in a “pare down” mindset… and i feels good.  But so much more to pitch.  Overwhelming…

– Empty… The Girl is settling into her new gig in Beirut.  The Boy is in an apartment on the main campus of his university (rather than living in a small apartment in a cornhole town attending a satellite campus).  Classes start in about a week.  He’ll have plenty of distractions, not to mention, his own washer/dryer.  i don’t expect to see much of either of them this year… as it should be…

– In six weeks:  i leave for a two week trip to South America.  Holy Crap.  i’ve got a lot to do between now and then… unpacking?  Still at the top of the list…

Letting go…

Seventeen years ago, a small girl bravely set foot on her first school bus.  On her way to half-day kindergarten, dressed in a pretty, stiff new dress, a small bow in her carefully brushed hair… freshly scrubbed face.  The Girl had that look.   A perfect mixture of anxiety, fear, determination… and excitement.

Tonight?  i saw it again.  On the face of a beautiful 22 year old woman.  Leaving her at the security check point, she was off to board a flight to Rome, and following a 12 hour layover, flying to Beirut, Lebanon.  After four years on the Dean’s List, working toward a dual degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, she’s off to spend Fall term at a foreign university – immersed in the language and culture that will serve as a foundation for her career.  Her life.

On the drive, she kept saying “it doesn’t seem real yet” and “it was such an abstract concept, I can’t believe I’m really leaving.”  But in that moment at the airport, it became real.  The same kid who headed off for three weeks on her own in Morocco last summer, and two years ago sailed around the world on an academic voyage, was facing the reality that she’s going halfway around the world.  Alone.  To Study.

So proud of her… And – as always – anxious about letting go.  Although this time the bus has wings*.  i won’t be there at the end of the day to listen to her excited recitation about her first day at school.  Suspect i’ll get an e-mail in a couple days.

Here’s to The Girl.  And a flattened world.  To peace, love and cultural understanding.  And to bravely facing adventure…  And letting go… 

Fly away, kiddo...

Fly away, kiddo...

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* Not only wings, but a digital personal entertainment system in the seatback, meals – and for the first time for this kid, in flight booze.  *sniff, sniff*  They grow up soooooo fast….

Adventures in Business Travel – Part 725

It was only on July 4th, while knocking back pints in London with bob that i decided to seriously consider purchasing a condominium and moving. A lot has happened in the past two months… most of it good, just a lot of it!

Work responsibilities, of course, have not been placed in a magical suspended animation state so that i can happily pursue all of these life issues, mind you. There has been a bit of stress percolating there as well. 

For the past three Wednesdays, i have been summoned to The Mothership*, preparing a high visibility presentation for an advisory board well above my pay grade.  Beyond the garden variety conference trip, where i drink my weight in coffee during the day and alcohol during the night, this effort has required me to DO things.  Can you believe it?  They expect me to DO something for that paycheck?

WIth the final event scheduled for 8 AM this morning, my team and i needed to fly out yesterday.  The other two members went out mid-day, but worrying about leaving a large dog – with gastric distress – on his own in my new white-carpeted crib, drove me to schedule a later flight.  This gave me time to stop home en route to the airport, and take Mr. P for an additional walk, praying for full colon blow and blessings from the carpet gods…

Continue reading

Girl Scout? You bet!

In a box of long lost treasures Mom gave me last week, i discovered my old Girl Scout uniform!  Since i’d been unpacking my day-to-day “stuff” in fits and spurts over the previous few days, it was fun to go through a box of things that brought me smiles* and happy memories! 

Never mind the fact that i’d been sippin’ a few rum and cokes on a Friday night…

Yes, i was a Girl Scout, but a bad one.  Not exactly kicked out in 5th grade, i was asked to consider quitting by the Troop Leader one evening.  To this day, i have no idea what her fucking problem was…

i was sick and tired of crocheting clown dolls and making useless shit for our mothers out of toilet paper tubes.  i was toughing it out to go camping – where i could terrorize the girly-girls by tossing bugs on them, burning hair in the campfire to gross them out, and hitting their tents with rocks during the night.  Our troop leaders were lame, didn’t want to camp, and were avoiding it with every resource at their disposal…

During a Troop meeting, i was pissed off as we were presented with yet another stupid craft project.  Walking outside the building for a smoke to clear my head, i was discovered** shortly thereafter by one of the Troop Leaders, who seemed to think it inappropriate for an 11 year old girl to take a smoke break during a scout meeting. 

Whatever…

This, of course, was why it was so much fun to find the ol’ uniform!  About a sheet and a half to the winds, trying it on was the most natural thing in the world… and adding some thigh-high stockings to complete the look?  Well, d’uh! 

i got yer “inappropriate for a girl scout” shit right here, Ms. Stephens! Ha!

Totally. Going. To. Hell.

Totally. Going. To. Hell.

In my entire “Imelda Marcos Memorial Shoe Collection”, i discovered i didn’t have any spiked heels that go with a Girl Scout uniform.  Damn.  Black thigh-high boots perhaps?  There are several other photos in the “naughty girl scout” series… but none of them suitable for family (or co-worker) viewing…

But damn, that was fun!  Wondering if Mom’s still got an old band uniform around anywhere?

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* Including stories that i wrote when i was 9 years old.  One, entitled “Drugs and You” must be scanned in… holy crap, i laughed so hard i about had a heart attack…

**Ratted out, most certainly, by one of the subservient little yappy girls…

Breaking and Entering

During the “pack and move” process, i’ve been cautious about burning out the good will of friends… Unlike the days of my youth, where buying pizza and a case of beer would get me from Apartment A to Apartment B, i’ve got too much shit, and have to rely on professionals. 

Trying to “spread the joy”, i’ve taken a selected few up on offers to help – trying to match their skills and interests with things i need done (or things i completely suck at…)

For instance, the garage sale?  Artfully executed by my friend KMD and her delightful Helper Monkeys.  Upon discovering that the moving crew would not transport alcohol, i accepted an offer of help from another friend, RJAK and put her to work packing and moving the wine and liquor collection… and we celebrated with a giant vat of cosmos consumed on my back deck.

ETS has been a friend of mine for 27 years.  We were both engineering co-op students working in the lab, and she was my first coach and mentor on the job.  Almost three decades of mutual support* and adventure**, we’re pretty good at knowing strengths and weaknesses.  So when she offered to help, i suggested the job of unpacking and organizing the kitchen.

When she arrived, there were perhaps a dozen large boxes still untouched in my living room – marked “Kitchen”, “Food”, “Spices” and “Kitchen – Misc”.  We started with a strategy session – recommendations on what to put where, questions about how i cook*** and use the kitchen, and a general ‘game plan’ evolved as we got started.

Ruthlessly throwing things into the trash bin****, or the Goodwill boxes, within three hours (and only one bottle of wine) it was done – and well organized.  Finishing the wine on the deck*****, she was headed home around 10 PM.

Although i didn’t pay attention at the time, ETS must have locked the doorknob on my front door as she unlocked the deadbolt.  After waving goodbye from the end of my walkway, i discovered that i was locked out as she backed out of the driveway!

Barefoot, and in my pajamas, i raced back to her truck – having to smack the right rear quarter panel to get her attention before she drove off!  Back in the driveway, we did a quick triage on options: any windows unlocked?  no.  garage access?  break a window perhaps.  lower door unlocked?  no.  hidden keys?  nope.  maintenance office/emergency line?  i have no idea!  back deck, top floor?  yes.  but no ladder… it’s in the garage.

Quick walk into the dark, wooded area around back – although i wouldn’t walk through one set of shrubbery because i saw a giant spiderweb – we were able to gauge that her 7′ stepladder would likely be just enough to get me up to the railing…

Hopping into her truck, we went 5 min down the road to her house for the ladder, had it in her SUV and were back at my place 10 min after that…  carrying the ladder around back, i was up over the deck railing in a flash, back in the condo, and scooting back down for her to haul the ladder back to her car.  My days as a tree-climbing kid, not to mention marginally skilled juvenile delinquent, came in handy here…

Entire “oh shit i’m locked outta my house” adventure:  under 20 minutes, with 10 minutes of that spent driving. 

it’s cool to have functional friends… but i better get a key stashed out there somewhere so it doesn’t happen again…
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* ETS is high a high functioning, independent woman.  i’ll never forget the call i got almost 20 years ago when a water line in the wall of her condo burst, spraying water all over her new furniture.  She was crying, freaked out and had no idea what to do… Showing up shortly thereafter, with two bottles of wine, a tool box and a shop vac, we beat our way through some serious water damage…

** And last year, we did a fairly impulsive jaunt to Iceland for a five day weekend!  She’s the mastermind behind my upcoming trip to South America in October as well!

*** i do cook.  just not often, and mostly when entertaining.  more often?  i distill… given the widespread knowledge of “daisyfae and the jello shot buffet”, i usually am simply asked to bring jello shots to parties… (sigh)

**** ETS:  “Daisyfae – why do you have three open cannisters of oatmeal, 6 bottles of vanilla extract and four cans of baking powder, one of which expired in 1994”

***** Is there a pattern emerging here?  i need to get unpacked soon or i’m going to turn into a fucking drunk…