ouch

After two shore dives on Sunday, and two boat dives on Monday, my current dive trip has taken a turn for the crap-a-rific.  

While hanging my vest on my tank this morning, something in my lower back went seriously wonky.  Spasms?  Wrenched?  i have no fucking idea – other than it hurts.

Managed to get in the first dive of the morning, with heavy “Gimp Assistance” getting into and out of the water.  Returning to the boat, however, triggered a degree of pain i haven’t often encountered.  Hurt like  a motherfucker – to the point of tears.  Not good.  Spent the second dive on deck – lying flat on my back, in the company of Luis the dive boat captain, while the rest of the group went down to play.

This, of course, was the first dive where the adorable hawk nosed sea turtle made an appearance…

Taking the afternoon off, eating ibuprofen and propped with pillows supporting various parts of my body… Hoping to heal.  Hoping to get back in the game.  

Dive Buddy, Studley, is off with a few other folks, knocking out some easy shore dives.  The only thing that would make this worse?  If my temporary debilitation interfered with his dive options on the trip.

In the meantime, i am reminded that i’ve been rather fortunate with my health.  i’ve encountered very few physical limitations in regard to living my life the way i want to, and chasing the adventures i choose.    

With four more days in the divers paradise that is Bonaire, i am trying to maintain some optimism that i can get back in the water… because i sure as hell didn’t travel this far to lie in bed and watch Telemundo.  

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Black Fried-day

The biggest shopping day of the year.  Called “Black Friday” because it isn’t until late November that most retail businesses are profitable for the year – go “into the Black”.

Incessant chatter leads up to the big day – bargains here, bargains there!  Don’t miss it!  Even the “news media” pushes this – noting the hype, and how retailers are pulling out all the stops to garner our precious cash!  But at the same time, they spew newsphlegm about how important it is for us consumers to get out there and spend money to save our decrepit economy.

Shopping is Patriotic!

Not to say that i don’t have my weaknesses* when it comes to “stuff”.  Nor would i say that i go out of my way to spend more on things than i need to by waiting until they are not on sale…But the corporate-fueled feeding frenzy that is “Black Friday” is just a big steaming pile of rancid horseshit.

Spending money you don’t have on shit you don’t need.  America – FUCK YEAH!

Christmas shopping?  i used to do this.  i spent an astonishing amount of time putting together happy little gift baskets for all of the admin folks at work.  Curly ribbons to tie up sparkly cellophane wrapped baskets.  Smelly lotions and potions, gift cards to their favorite stores.  Homemade cookies and treats.  Candles.  Cutesy little gift items and whatnots.

Same for teachers.  For friends.  Family.

i enjoyed showing appreciation.  Trying to find something that was ‘just right’ for so-and-so.  Something to bring a smile.  Something useful.  Took some degree of pride in the selection of gifts, as well as wrapping them – pretty and frilly and sparkly.

Over the past few years, something in my brain snapped.  i just stopped doing it.  i still bought gifts for my kids.  A gift for my mom.  If i got a baking bug up my ass**, i’d spend some time in the kitchen making biscotti and sharing with friends.  But i flat out quit partaking of the crass consumerist buffet of the holiday season.

And you know what happened?

No one fucking cares.  No one misses it.  No one has suffered because i didn’t buy that bacon-scented gnome candle and wrap it in a festive bag.  i have lost exactly ZERO friends because i stopped giving Christmas presents.  i have been abandoned by exactly ZERO members of my family*** since i gave this shit up.

Remarkably, my degree of stress during the holidays bottomed out.  i have fuzzy memories of staying up late at night in Decembers past, trying to “get it all done”.  Making list after list of things to do.  Things to buy.  Cookies to bake.  Gifts to wrap.

i now spend that time sleeping.  Farting around with friends.  Hanging out with my kids.  Drinking.  Watching movies.

And wondering why the fuck someone would stand in line for two days to save $200 on a giant-assed TV?

image found here

* Office supply stores and any place that sells camping or backpacking gear.  This shit is like crack to me…

** Treatable with pesticides.

*** Damn it…

Batty

Spent some time with The Boy this weekend.  He came home to verify that i had, in fact, installed the prodigal pool table light.  And to kick my ass at 8-ball.

As we talked shit, i told him of a recent string of “home invasion” robberies.  Assholes break down the doors of elderly folks while they are home, pillage belongings, and then take the unnecessary and mega-assholic step of knocking the crap out of the elderly folks they are pillaging.

The Boy:  You might want to think about getting a security system here.

daisyfae:  i’ve got one.  The bat under my bed, and the 12″ blade in the nightstand.  Good enough.

The Boy:  I’m just saying, you may be underestimating crackheads.  And you said they’re targeting the elderly.

daisyfae:  i’m not that old!

The Boy:  No, but you live here in “God’s Waiting Room”, where the average age is pretty high…

daisyfae:  i’m just not afraid.  If some asshole comes into my bedroom, there is nothing i’d find more satisfying than crackin’ him upside the head with a bat!  i can even hear the sound it would make!  He’d never expect it – and never see it coming!

The Boy:  But what if you don’t knock him out after one hit?  Can you imagine how pissed off a crackhead is going to be if he gets popped with a bat?

daisyfae:  One hit?  Who said i was going to stop at one?  As soon as the motherfucker goes down, i’d keep wailing on him…  And the NRA could go fuck itself!  i don’t need a gun for home defense!  How would they like when the media starts pimping the news that a 50-year old woman defended herself against a crackhead with a wooden baseball bat?  What would that do to handgun sales?

The Boy:  I’m thinkin’ I should buy you a shotgun for Christmas…

image found here

For want of a nail…

If my latest home improvement saga was a horror movie, there would be a slow-motion bit as i noticed the dead bugs collected in the flickering fluorescent light fixture at the bottom of the stairs.  Creepy music would play as i climbed up on a chair to pull down the diffuser panel – with the intent to shake off the crispy critters, and replace the flickering tubes…

“Noooooooo!  Don’t do it!  You’ll be sorry!”

From there? You know the rest…

The diffuser panel – being over 15 years old – was a bit of a crispy critter itself.  It cracked straight through the middle when i tried to put it back in place after swapping out the fluorescent tubes.

“Ahh…”, i thought, “i can just buy a 10-pack of panels at the hardware store.  Replace the lot of them.  They’re all kinda yellowed anyway…”

A 10-pack of shiny new diffuser panels, for $80.  Standard size, 48″ x 24″.  Thinking that i could drop the back seat of the Civic and slide the box into the trunk – i was confronted with the reality that only half of the seat folded down.  And the box didn’t fit… Hence, it could not be tucked in flat – to prevent breakage – but had to be wedged in through the rear doors at an odd angle, with the hope that the gentle torque i applied wouldn’t snap the panels into useless plastic shrapnel.

The box sat in my garage for a week, as i went about other business.  Finally getting a few free moments to swap out the panels – i learned something about the word “Standard”.  A “Standard” size diffuser panel, marked ” 4′ x 2′ ” is NOT, in fact, 48″ x 24″.  Each side was short – and off the top of my head, i couldn’t figure out an easy way to rig them securely without duct tape.

Motherfuck.

The standard panels are 47.75″ x 23.75″ – while the openings in my ceiling required 48″ x 24″ panels. Who knew?  The only solution: custom panels.

Reloaded the box, torqued it, and stuffed it back into my car.  The box kept me company while driving around for a few days before i found time to return it.

Finding the sexiest most helpful lighting department manager, i learned that custom panels would cost far more than i wanted to spend.  Given that this guy was really smokin’ hot when i moved in, i’d planned to replace all of the fluorescents downstairs with can lights, i decided to check out his can lights.

Invariably, this led to a meeting with an electrician for an estimate on re-doing all of my downstairs lighting – including installation of a light for my billiards table.  This light has been resting comfortably underneath my billiards table since i bought it.  Three years ago…

“Oh, while you’re here – how much would you charge* to replace the ugly light fixture in my dining room?”

“Ya know, if i get rid of that ugly light, i will need to replace the ceiling fan/light in the great room.  How much for that?”

Followed shortly thereafter by:

“i always bang my head on the light in the kitchen.  Can you add that to the estimate?”

As i awaited the six-part labor estimate for the lighting job, i started shopping online for fixtures.  “i like that one!  What? It’s not available at this store?” Now racing about on another lunch hour to retrieve the last-remaining, discontinued ceiling fan in the city from a store across town.

“Ya know, i REALLY should go with the LED lights…”  Sure, they cost more up-front, but they last 10 years and burn a helluva lot less energy.  “$600 for sixteen of them?”

At this point?  What the fuck?  Somewhere between discovery of the non-standard diffuser panel and the bit where i decided to have the entire downstairs re-wired, it’s become a major renovation project.

Two months – and a serious divot in the check book later – there is a moral to this long-winded story:

Never clean anything in your house.  It can only cause you trouble.

Hmmm… My patio door – the one the dog knocked out?  i should probably replace the screen… and maybe the window, too…

* Circuits aren’t hard – i can do electrical work.  But the fact is, it scares the crap out of me.  When you replace a toilet, you don’t lie awake at night wondering if it will burn your house down… After i did the microwave oven installation?  i checked the batteries on my smoke detectors EVERY WEEK.  From now on? i leave the electrons to the professionals.

The other white meat…

i woke up at 0500 this morning, wrapped around the pillows against the headboard of my bed.  Feet wrapped in the wrought iron bars…

No.  Not like that.

Turns out, a queen sized bed is not large enough for a lumpy, middle-aged* woman, a 90 pound dog and a 20 pound orange cat.

If memory serves me correctly, however, it was just fine when i shared my bed with my dog.  Since my daughter moved out, Huey has joined us in the family bed… and somehow this “waking up wrapped in the headboard” thing has become a bit of a regular occurrence.

i suppose i could start playing a game called “The Incredible Flying Cat”, toss the furry bastard out and go back to sleep.  But there’s something about cats that has always made me uncomfortable…

Perhaps i just need a few more fluffy pillows, and i can get used to it?

items available at The Onion Store

* The Boy recently reminded me that referring to myself as “middle-aged” is a bit optimistic.  “What?  You think you’re really going to live to be a hundred years old?”

Rage

It was a slow day at work – Veteran’s Day holiday tomorrow, so most people took a day off to get an even longer weekend.

Over coffee, i read a summary report from the Grand Jury, responsible for indicting a retired Penn State football coach, Jerry Sandusky, for the rape of eight children.

Eight.  Children.

As bad as this is, the final words of the report imply that this may be the tip of the iceberg.  “Victim 8’s identity is unknown.”

It is a tough read.  Graphic.  Legally precise language that shines a harsh klieg light on “findings of fact”.

Today?  The media is all over it.  Much outrage over the cover-up orchestrated by university officials.  Much outrage over the riot on campus last night, after students received word that their beloved Coach Joe Paterno had been fired.

But here’s the thing i cannot get my head around this evening…

A man walked into the locker room, and witnessed Sandusky performing anal rape on a 10-year-old boy.  And he walked out and called his father asking “What should I do?”

When one is being raped, one compelling thought is “let this be over!  FOR THE LOVE OF A NON-MERCIFUL GOD, LET THIS END NOW!”

That child may have heard the door open.  That child may have momentarily thought “It’s OVER! I’m safe!”

That child may have heard the door close again, as this man walked out…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Tuesday of this week, i listened as someone i love very much told me about being raped as a 12-year -old boy.

About keeping it completely to himself for over 40 years because he was so ashamed.  Felt it was somehow his fault.  Didn’t want anyone to know and thought it would just go away… Despite the decades of nightmares, he wanted it to just have never happened.

As i stared at my computer screen this morning, thinking about the 10-year-old boy in the locker room, i couldn’t help but wonder if someone had been close by when my brother was being raped at 12.  If someone saw something that seemed wrong and just turned away from it…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are moments when i am quite certain i could – under the right confluence of circumstance – kill with my bare hands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are times when i would like to renounce my status as an atheist.  There are people who should burn in hell, and i wouldn’t mind being a witness.

Old School Discipline

We try to get together at least once a year… The old neighborhood gang. These are the friends that i don’t remember meeting because we played together as babies.

Terri hosted a gathering recently, which consisted of us spending a few hours at her kitchen table, drinking Coors Light and bashing the best damn taco dip ever invented. And talking. About everything.

Family – Who’s dead?  How’s Mom?  Dad?  Did the foreclosure happen, or did your brother keep the house?  Cancer?  Damn… He’s young for that.

Life – Between jobs. Teaching middle school is a bitch*.  Kids buying houses.  Rehab (of both kinds).  Hair Salon politics. Husband going back to truck driving after surgery. Living single.

But my favorite category: “The Good Old Days”.

i had a glorious childhood, and the three women sitting around that kitchen table were a huge part of that…

Most disappointing moment: When Sherry informed us that she had, in fact, faked all of those slumber party trances.

daisyfae: NOOOOOO! i’ve been telling those stories for years!  “There was this one girl that we REALLY DID put into a trance! She’d act like a lamp and shit…”

Sherry: Sorry. Faked it. I’m good. Just ask my husband about that…

We talked of school days. Teachers did things in the 60’s and 70’s that would get them jailed today!  An offhand comment then = a fourth degree felony now.

The neighborhood squabbles. We’d pretty much duke it out amongst ourselves – parents were rarely aware of, let alone involved in, dispute resolution. Every summer there was some drama, and one of us would end up being held down and forced to eat a handful of grass. Or two.

daisyfae: Is it just me, or are we coddling the kids today by giving them the “bully” option? We went through all that crap, and i don’t know if any of it damaged me…

Terri: I think it thickened our skin a bit. Taught us how to deal with all the nasty people out there in the real world. We were all afraid of Tammy, though, and learning to leave the really crazy kid alone was probably an important lesson.

They asked about my sister, T. Relayed that she’s doing well – after many bumps and tribulations along the way.

daisyfae: She had a breakdown while working on her PhD. The therapists got ahold of her… rather than stick with the fundamental diagnosis of “bipoalar disorder” given by the docs, they thought there must be more causing her troubles. “She must have been abused!”  They swarmed in on the fact that we got hit with a belt on occasion by the parents.

Jenni: We ALL got hit with belts then!

Sherry: We got the paddle, or whatever my Dad had handy to throw at us.

daisyfae: Yep. It was community standards at the time. That’s what the parents in our world did back then…

Jenni:  Did you hit your kids?

daisyfae:  Yep.  But not as punishment – i’d slap a hand if they were about to stick scissors in the electrical outlet, or pop ’em on the ass if they were about to run in the street.  i figured it made sense to reinforce potentially dangerous activities with a bit of pain…

Sherry:  Me, too…  If anything, I probably should have hit my son more…

Terri:  Do you think it traumatized them?

daisyfae [snorting]:  Oh, hell!  i’ve done far worse to traumatize them!  i suspect, given a choice, that they’d have taken the damn belt…

* My favorite line from my teacher friend, Sherry: “Once school starts, I cannot smile again until January. You can show NO weakness, until the year is well underway.”

Doctor, Doctor!

Patient:  Doctor, Doctor!  It hurts when I do this [raising arm]

Doctor:  Then don’t do that.

And on a completely unrelated note…

Please refrain from whining incessantly about troubles you bring upon yourself.  Not only does it make you look like an imbecile, but it annoys the fuck out of the rest of us…

The Only Consistent Feature of All of Your Dissatisfying Relationships is You

Thank you.

i’ll go back to the futile search for my estranged estrogen now….