I Can’t Have Anything Nice

Pee-Tah gave me a shop vac once. It’s really nice, a very manly vacuum.  It can suck the paint off the walls if you try hard enough.  I’ve broken it once by hoovering up a bunch of water with it and not turning off the filter.  Or changing the filter.  I really don’t know what I did but it was something with the filter, and Pee-Tah fixed it by purchasing a new filter and installing it.

The other day I tried to clean my dirty new car, and as I stood there with the shop vac hose suctioned to the carpet, I noticed that nothing was cleared. The same dirt I started with was the same dirt I was left with. I was dismayed, thinking that the nap on my new dirty car carpet was too tight to release the hay pieces I picked up somewhere, and I could picture me with tweezers trying to get them out.  (Not really.)

I mentioned this lack of shop vac power to more than one person, and before I tell you their suggestions, I’m going to tell you another story. I’m nothing if not a story teller.

Back ages ago, when I was young and firm (cry), I lived in Colorado. It was a glorious time because Colorado.  It was also glorious because my mother, after having driven my tiny tin foil Karmann Ghia on I-65 through Nashville rush hour traffic, traded that Karmann Ghia in on a giant Jeep Wagoneer with the paneling down the side.  Those hummers are like tanks.  There’s not a lot of damage one can do to a Jeep Wagoneer with paneling down the side in an interstate scrape. I do not know this from experience – I promise you, the only car I ever wrecked was my mother’s Suburban when I backed it into a tree.  Anyway, I had that Jeep Wagoneer which was perfect for Colorado because it had 4-wheel drive and a heater that worked really well.  It also had door locks that would randomly choose to engage and the propensity to eat a starter.  I think I bought five starters during the four-year period I owned that Jeep.

Jeep

Representation of a Grand Jeep Wagoneer

Wrecked Jeep

Representation of a wrecked Grand Jeep Wagoneer, which you can see is barely scraped.

Upon reflection, until I bought this silver SUV that looks like every other silver SUV in the world, I’ve never owned a car that didn’t need a lot of unusual vehicle maintenance. The Karmann Ghia had no heater, no defroster, windows that would not go down and an exhaust leak that made me smell great.  The Wagoneer broke starters all the time, and then in one unfortunate incident, the motor seized up which required the purchase of a new motor.  The Dodge Shadow had a paint job that would peel off in huge sheets as I was driving down the interstate and it spent a lot of time in the shop because it would never start. The Rodeo went through brakes like I can go through a bag of cherries, and then I got the Sonata.  98% of this blog is dedicated to Sonata problems so we are all familiar with that.

But! In Colorado, where I was truly on my own for the first time, I dealt with a behemoth of a vehicle that would collapse under the weight of its own greatness every now and again. It didn’t take me long to meet a nice mechanic.  Really, that should be the story of my life.

“Tell me about your life, Jimmie.”

“Well, I met a nice mechanic. Works on cars like a champ.”

Mike was the mechanic’s name, and he could handle tears well. He was responsible for the installation of one of my four starters, and also responsible for fixing my Jeep when it got stuck in 4-wheel drive.  He taught me how to navigate the automatic door locks that would randomly engage, introduced me to Van Morrison, and one day, when my Jeep wouldn’t start, Mike drove up the mountain in the snow to check it out.  I had just driven it and it was fine until it wasn’t.  Mike clambered out of his big truck, over a snowbank, and into my big Jeep.  He popped the hood, checked the 4-wheel drive, turned the key, and then suddenly laughed.

“Jimmie,” he said, “a car won’t start if it’s not in park.” He ratcheted the gear shifter into park and started it right up.  The flames on my cheeks were from the tears, sure, but also the humiliation.  Sigh.

Back to the point of this article – I asked a few people about my shop vac suddenly not sucking and one super nice person said, “I’ll just check the filter for you. Hold on.”  Out he trotted to the garage, and immediately he trotted back in as he bellowed, “Fixed your shop vac! I sucked some paint off the walls with it, just to make sure. Works great!”

He was holding my missing scarf, the silk one that Auntie Anne took from Auntie Susanne to give to Madre, the silk scarf that Madre gave to me when I got a corporate job, the silk scarf I had been looking for over the winter because it went with my nice coat and was professional. It was covered in grease and dirt and crumpled up like a grocery bag, unsalvageable. I have no idea how I sucked that thing up into the hose of my manly vacuum and DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT. How do you people even stand me?

With flaming cheeks I threw my ruined silk scarf into the garbage. Later, to celebrate, I shattered my Pyrex 8×8 pan full of cooked chicken, the pan that I use at least once a week, and dropped my cell phone into a full-of-water sink for the third time.

I’m taking applications for new friends if anyone is in the market. My old friends will surely dismiss me after this.  I bet Pee-Tah never talks to me again.

IMG_5939

Ruint Scarf, Complete with Grease

IMG_5940

Busted Pyrex, Ruint

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Pee-Tah, Ex Friend

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So That Went Well

I casually mentioned to you recently that I had to have a biopsy due to some questionable cells found upon my person. I reiterate, I am fine.  I know I am fine.  I just have to prove that I am fine.  To prove that I am fine, I had to visit a new cookie doctor, remove half of my clothing to don the fetching paper towel they call a gown, and clamber onto a paper-covered table.  For this privilege I will clean out my HSA plus what remains of my emergency fund and hand it over to the nice new cookie doctor I just bawled all over.

(While we are discussing “bawling,” please note the spelling of the word “bawling.” People who write notes under the touching and tear-jerker videos you find on Facebook or Reddit are not “balling.”  They are “bawling.”  Unless, of course, they are “balling,” and then that’s a whole ‘nother discussion we should not have here.)

For twenty-five years I have faithfully and annually donned that damned paper towel, and for twenty-four of those years I have cried like someone just ran over my dog. 2014 was the year I did not “bawl” and if I knew what was different about 2014, I’d write a novella about it.  Twice in those twenty-five years I have had to don the fetching paper towel a second and third time in order to have a biopsy.  Both times those doctors insisted that the biopsy, nothing you can be numbed for, only feels like small cramps.  Also, both times those doctors indicated to me that they never personally experienced a cervical biopsy before.  To them I’d kindly like to say, “Fuck you. After you let some person whose first name you are not allowed to use scrape a metal rake down your cervix whilst you are wearing a paper gown that ripped down the middle because your tears rendered it soggy and defunct, you can tell me how it is supposed to feel.  Until then, shut your yap and bring me a new paper towel.”

You can see from my essay that this particular visit went well.

Actually, you know what? I lived through it. It is over.  It only took 36 hours for my eyes to return to normal after the crying, and my boss brought me flowers because she is nice.  I have no complaints.  Except this.

When I left the cookie doctor’s office, I trudged down to my car carrying my umbrella while the rain poured over me. I collapsed into my car, turned it on for some heat, put it in reverse and then realized I had no idea how to get to work from the hospital.  I dug out my phone and sat in my space while I fat-fingered my office address into my GPS.  It was hard to see and I was still hiccupping from all the crying so I was not at my best.  After a few minutes of mistyping the address, I heard a faint tap of a car horn.  I looked behind me and saw an SUV with its turn signal on, clearly waiting for my parking space.  It was a nice space, close to the hospital door and with less of a walk through the rain.

Instead of reacting like a sane person would, I was catapulted into a violent rage. I powered my window down, shoved nearly my whole body out the car window and yelled obscenities at the SUV while giving it multiple single-digit finger waves that would make my grandmother spank my behind a thousand times.  I jerked my foot off the brake and tore out of that space at a speed not humanly possible, screaming at the SUV the whole way, finger out the window.  I jerked myself all over the parking lot until I got lost in it (yes, I know), and then finally found my way back to the row the SUV was now parked in.  Angry does not begin to describe what I felt.

Then I saw him. The man who climbed out of the SUV was black. He was overweight.  He had his hair cornrowed back in braids and he walked with a limp towards the door.  He was wearing a uniform jacket, one of the navy ones that zips up the front.  He was just a man.  Probably a very nice man who simply wondered if I was actually going to reverse out of the space as I was indicating by having my reverse lights on.  He saw me looking at him, just sitting in my car and crying in the rain, and he looked away and kept walking.

If you thought I cried before, you’d be shocked at the tears I produced then. I can barely type this today without crying.  Scratch that.  I’m “bawling” as I type this and I still feel like utter shit.  What if he was going to visit his wife in that hospital?  What if he was having a health scare of his own?  What if – it doesn’t matter.  This was a human, a person of value, a man worth my love and not my hate and I just treated him in a way that embarrasses me and in a way that no one should find acceptable.  Ever.  I’d give anything to be able to find him again and apologize and do something nice for him so that he’d have a good day instead of the crappy awful one I tried to give him. God, please, I hope I didn’t ruin his day.

I’ll get my results in just over two weeks and I’ll happily let you know I am fine. In the interim, I’m going to find some people who look like they are having a day straight from the garbage can and I’m going to do my damnedest to turn their garbage day back into a good one. I’ll do it for that man and I’ll do it because it is the right thing to do.  I’d like to act like a human for a while.  Maybe it will get back to him and he will find some anonymous good in a perfect stranger who did a tiny human thing that makes his day.

Amen. Please, God, Amen.

A Walk In The Woods

A few weekends ago, I gave Martie and Coach their monthly date night.  They get at least one night per month to be randy teenagers, and I get to spend the night with my nieces and do crafty things.  This particular date night was the anniversary of Martie and Coach’s wedding so I came for the whole weekend, giving them two nights to be randy teenagers and they came back utterly exhausted.  Aging is a bitch.

Anyway, I had big plans for the girls that weekend, some of which included a crafty thing (which I will feature on Martie’s blog, A Hair In My Biscuit) and some of which included a walk in the woods with a picnic.  See, Martie and Coach, et al., recently moved into Madre’s house, Madre moved into the guest cabin behind the house, and now Martie and Coach, et al., have all this land on which to traipse and explore.  I want those children to be fearless when it comes to that exploring so I figured we’d take Madre, who knows every blade of grass out there like the back of her hand, and go see it all for ourselves.

Treacherous Creek Crossing

Treacherous Creek Crossing

We packed up a healthy lunch, threw our hair into pigtails and set off into the woods.  As we were leaving I said, “This is perfect weather.  Sunny but not hot, and too early in the year for ticks and mosquitos.”

Madre and Tigger

Madre and Tigger

After a bit of walking, we realized that carrying a picnic lunch and some blankets through the woods was a giant pain, so we settled into a clearing and set up camp.  Lucy, Madre’s dog, sat diligently at the edge of the blanket waiting for any kind of crumb to fall from our sandwiches, chips, or apples, and once it fell, would leap to attention and snap it up, usually along with some grass or weeds, so excited and diligent was she.  After lunch we left our paraphernalia and went exploring in earnest. We saw rabbit warrens and snake holes.  We crossed over trees that had fallen and drug branches out of our way.  We opted to cross the creek twice and had to throw big rocks into the water all the way across so that our feet wouldn’t get wet.  We got tangled in a bit of barbed wire and saw the dumping grounds for someone’s trash which just ticked me off.  Throw your stupid faded, busted up Big Wheel into the dump instead of our forest, please.

Young, spry children off in the distance

Young, spry children off in the distance

We are so cute

We are so cute

After a few miles of exploring, we walked back to our camp, occasionally swinging on a vine for the fun of it, or hanging like a monkey from an overturned tree.  (Incidentally, did you know that women really have to work on upper body strength?  I’m far weaker than I imagined, or far heavier, especially in light of all those free weights I do at the gym.  Yeesh.  My imagined leaping onto the tree trunks and swinging myself all around was actually more like tentatively grasping the trunk with both hands, lifting my feet from the ground, and dangling there like a spent worm for the 1.2 seconds I could hold my body weight.)  We picked up our blankets and picnic baskets and headed home to shower and prepare for crafting.

Lucy's rear

Lucy’s rear

Upon arriving home, I began to notice an itching sensation in my navel region.  I’d scratch, comb Pooh’s wet hair, scratch, get Tigger a towel, scratch.  Etc.  When I finally looked at what itched – y’all.  Oh My God.  Y’all!  There was a tick on me!  A tick!  Oh, you should have heard the screeching.  I was on that phone, banging out Madre’s number, bellowing, “Madre, get down here RIGHT NOW!  Bring the tweezers, OH MY GOD, there is a tick on me! Hurry!  HURRY!  This is an EMERGENCY!”

Pooh and Tigger calmly watched from the kitchen table.  “Can I see?” asked Tigger, and I showed her, groaning and moaning the whole time. This was a devastation.

“It’s just a tick,” said Pooh, and I looked at her with my eyes bugging all the way out of my head.  Just a tick?  No.  I can handle snakes.  Just step over them.  Keep your distance from the poisonous ones.  Throw a tarantula on me?  No big deal.  Just shove it off.  Kill the brown spiders and the black ones but not the hairy ones.  Rabid dog?  Kick him in the throat.  No biggie.  But let a tick attached itself to me?  The End Of The World.

Madre came down from her cabin and rescued me, and then again a second time when I found another.  Doesn’t that sound calm?  It wasn’t, I assure you.  I reasoned with God, “No more, please!  Pooh and Tigger are resilient little things.  They can handle this with their hearty children’s bodies.  It is too early in the year for ticks, GOD! Madre is 71, yes, but she’s not ailing in any way. She is not frail.  Give her the ticks.  She can take it!  Just, please, no more for me!”  And Madre listened to all that nonsense as she swabbed me down with alcohol and snatched the tiny, baby seed tick right out of my skin. What an ordeal.  I still have not recovered.

Let this be a lesson to you, people.  Don’t ever let me take your kids into the woods with my grand notions of instilling fearlessness.  Hell naw.  Or do.  Because nothing is more ridiculous than a 42-year-old throwing a baby fit over two ticks.  Even kids can see that.

My stomach still itches, though.  Really bad.

Pooh and Tigger

Pooh and Tigger – brave, fearless girls

Technology + Jimmie = HAHAHA, no.

The other night I used the GPS on my phone to find the restaurant that was hosting a party for me and some friends.  If you know me at all, you can just stop reading because that sentence will tell you the whole story.

After loading the address into my phone, I whizzed down Murfreesboro Pike at high rates of speed, certain that I knew where the location was.  I was looking for the 1000 block and had just passed the 1200 block, so I knew that I would be on time.  The next time my GPS updated, I was in the 600 block and I was instructed to make a U-turn.

I cruised up Murfreesboro Pike at high rates of speed, certain that I knew what had happened.  I had just driven too fast and not paid attention.  On the 1000 block, my GPS instructed me to make a U-turn.  “Narrowing the window,” I thought.  “Still have plenty of time.”

I sailed back down Murfreesboro Pike and when the GPS instructed me to make another U-turn just one street later, I was confused.  I had just been there and U-turned.  There was nothing in between except an abandoned car lot and since I was looking for a restaurant called “Honduras,” not a car, I felt prickly.  In the abandoned car lot, I thought I should recheck the address to make sure I had it right.  I cleared my search and re-entered my data.  I was again instructed to U-turn and motor eight miles down Murfreesboro Pike to the new destination.  Oh.  Just a glitch.  No problem.

Six times I U-turned.  SIX TIMES!  I drove all the way down Thompson Lane and all the way up Murfreesboro Pike, FOR AN HOUR, and do you know I never found that damn restaurant with that damn GPS.

I called my friends who were already at the party, all the ones who found it with no trouble at all, and said mournfully, “I’m just going home.  I have the present in the car, I’ll give it to you later, but I cannot do this.  I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to invite me to a place I’ve never been before because we all know how handy with a map I am, but forget you people.  I’m done.  This sucks.”  And then I slammed down the phone like a recalcitrant teenager and cried.

Before you judge me too harshly for my lack of navigational skills, let me tell you about my phone.  I got this stupid iPhone a couple of years ago because I kept hearing how great it was, how it would change my life, how I’d never be able to live without one again.  And to be fair, it really has changed my life.  Really.  Just not in any good ways.

When I call Madre, and I do this daily, without fail my phone will do one of several things:

  • Hang up on Madre
  • Put me on mute with no indication at all, leaving me to blather into empty space and Madre to wonder if I suddenly expired
  • Put Madre on hold with no indication at all, leaving Madre to blather into empty space and me to wonder if she suddenly expired
  • Dial Madre in on FaceTime after hanging up on her in our regular phone call
  • Put Madre on hold and dial my step-mother
  • Put Madre on hold and text Airport Parking, twice
  • Put Madre on speakerphone, so that suddenly she is yelling in my ear

I have not had a conversation with my mother in a year and a half where one of those things has not happened.  Not a single conversation.  For a while I thought it was because the phone was touching my face but I’ve since learned that my fluffy hair is enough to set it off as well.  We are at the point now where after I’ve dialed my mother back after hanging up on her for the second time, she answers by saying, “You hate your phone, you want to smash it with a hammer, I know, so back to your party . . .”

And then! Just the other day, when I was off in the bathroom fluffing my hair, one of my cats got too close to the phone and dropped some fur on it and that was enough to turn on the voice-activated system which then informed me it was “Dialing, La Paz Catering.”  What the F is La Paz Catering?

To add insult to injury, when I want my phone to be particularly touchy and capture every nuance, say, when I’m texting during a weekend with My Girls, the phone refuses to do it.

Like for example, when I’m texting Pee-tah, my phone might say: Can I have a pizza number?0

And Pee-tah might respond:  a pizza number?

And my phone might say:  I think we set tryint to order pizzazz

And then Pee-tah might say: Have you been drinking?

And then my phone might say:  Oh yes.  Verizon cards against humanity. Pee-tah my lips are numb.

Honestly, it’s disturbing how my phone just messes up all my communications . . .

Pooh recently asked me if she could have my phone.  She’s twelve now, and the last of all her friends to get a cell phone.  She’s pleaded her case thoughtfully and politely, pointing out all the ways it will be helpful and keep her in touch with her parents.  And I have thoughtfully and honestly considered her request.  Give my old phone to Pooh, the phone I consistently want to smash with a hammer, the one that has yet to keep me in touch with my parents, the one that gives me bad directions more often than it gives me good ones, and get a new non-iPhone that might let me finish a conversation with my mother in a single phone call?

Hell yes!  It will teach Pooh patience and maybe how to use a map when she realizes the GPS is crap, stuff that every 12-year-old needs to learn.  Merry Christmas, Pooh!  You got yourself a new phone!

As an epilogue, I’ll tell you that once I told my friends I was no longer going to attend the party, they called me back with some landmarks for which to look.  “We are right behind the Dollar General Market, in the hidden shopping center.  Want us to send out a search party?”

I made one last pass down Murfreesboro Pike, creeping along, wind no longer whipping my hair all around, and looked at every store front.  I finally found it, an hour and fifteen minutes after I passed it the first time.  I drove two hours that night for a party that lasted 90 minutes for which I arrived an hour late.  I had a really nice time, though.  I guess that’s all that matters.

Dating at 42

June – Conversation with a snappy dresser

Dandy:             Would you like to go to dinner and movie?

Jimmie:           Sure, I’d love that.

Dandy:             Great.  Meet me there. Do I need to bring money for you?

Dandy:             Oh, and wait.  You’ll kiss me, won’t you? I don’t go out with girls who don’t kiss on the first date.

July – Series of conversations with a lovely, tall man

Tall Man:         Jimmie, I am so glad that Freddie introduced us.  You are amazing.  I’ve never met anyone like you.  <grinning and blushing the whole time>

Jimmie:           I . . . thank you.  I’m glad she introduced us, too.  <also grinning and blushing the whole time>

Tall Man:         Gosh, I like you.  This is crazy.  It’s wonderful.

Jimmie:           Hee!

Tall Man:         Also, I’m 90% sure I just want to be friends.

Jimmie:           Huh.  In that case, I’m 100% sure I don’t want to be friends.  I already have a lot of friends.

October – Texts with a man with whom I had one perfectly innocent date months ago

Delusional Pervert:     Hey . . . .

Jimmie:                       Hey

Delusional Pervert:     I miss you

Jimmie:                        . . . . okay . . .

Delusional Pervert:     Are you busy tonight?

Jimmie:                       Not particularly.  What were you thinking?

Delusional Pervert:     I could come over . . . .

Jimmie:                       Uh, no.

Delusional Pervert:     But, XOXO

Jimmie:                       You know what, no.

Delusional Pervert:     🙂

Jimmie:                       What is my name?

Delusional Pervert:     Sweetie, XOXO

Jimmie:                       I’m serious.  You’ve been texting me randomly for months, clearly my number is in your phone, and you haven’t once said my name.  What is it?

<Five minute pause>

Delusional Pervert:     I don’t remember . . .

Delusional Pervert:     Look, we can be FWB.  I just really want sex.  XOXO

Jimmie:                       You’ve got to be kidding me.  I’m not your girl.  Get lost.

Delusional Pervert:     (and this part just slays me) Okay

November – Emails with another lovely, tall man

Man:                Email, email, email, question?, email, hahahaha!

Jimmie:           Chat, chat, chat, question?, question?, Chat, email, smiley face

Man:                Oh, email!  Email! Haha, love it, email!

Jimmie:           Blather, blather, blather, talk, email, blather, haha!

<This continues for some days.>

Man:                Email!

Jimmie:           Email!  Also, I know you’ve seen my blog and all my pictures but here’s one we just took today at the beach.

<radio silence> <dead air> <fade away blow off>

Show me the sexy in this.  There is no sexy in this!  There’s no sexy in me at all, is there?

Other dating posts here, here, and here.

Jimmie Brags, Part Deux

Continuing on with my humble and thoughtful posts related the blogging award I recently received, the one for which I was nominated because of my fine writing skills (yo), today I will answer 11 questions that Martie posed to me. Most of these she knows the answer to but since the point is to engage you people, not her, I’ll graciously answer them. Plus I like talking about myself. It’s the entire theme of this blog.

Answers to 11 Questions Posed by Martie
By Jimmie

1. What color is your hair? Tell the truth, now.

My enhanced color is blondie/brownie with three gray strands, right in the front. I am inordinately proud of my fake hair color.

My real color is mouse with three gray strands, right in the front.

2. What kind of car do you drive?

Oh, I know this one! A grandma car!

3. What is your favorite kind of gum?

Ice Breakers Grape Ice Cubes. I don’t like sophisticated gum.

4. Where were you when you had your first kiss?

Can I tell a story here? You knew this was coming.

In high school I had this mad crush on a boy named Shawn. Oh, I liked him desperately and I yearned for the day he’d discover me, make me his girlfriend and let me wear his football jersey every Friday before the game. A year or so passed from the onset of my crush and to my great surprise, Shawn and I became friends. Perhaps I should have struggled over the dilemma of “do I give up my crush for this really great friend, or do I continue to pine for him as he sits across the table eating Mom’s meatloaf?” For those of you who ever lived as a teenaged girl, the answer is obvious. Never give up your crush. Carry it till your death, or at least until he kisses you for the first time.

One afternoon Shawn came over and was eager to tell me that one of my friends had ratted me out. This friend told another friend who told another friend who told Shawn that I had a crush on him and also that I’d never kissed a boy. The clouds of dust behind the wheels of Shawn’s car as he raced over started Dust Bowl, 1988, I’m pretty sure. Shawn knocked on my front door, parked himself on my mother’s sofa and said, “I heard you’ve never kissed a boy before. I’d like to be the first.” Then he grinned at me with his braces-covered teeth.

Isn’t that romantic? Oh, my heart leapt all up into my throat and my stomach seized up in paroxysms of excitement! Shawn leaned over and sweetly, slowly touched his lips to mine. It was glorious. I swooned. And then he partly opened his mouth and I partly opened mine and he shoved his tongue all the way down my throat. I was so surprised that I bit down, hard, on the offending choking mechanism and he, so surprised at the pain, jerked back and said accusingly, “What are you doing?!”

“Choking,” was my reply, and we both scooted apart, nursing our injuries. I reflected on my first kiss as Shawn and I sat separately on the couch. It was nothing like the George Michael make out session I had dreamed about for the last three years. “What a big fat disappointment,” I thought, and with that, my crush simply disappeared.

So all of that tells you that my first kiss happened at my house, on my sofa with a boy named Shawn. The end.

5. Do you wear glasses or contacts?

Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. I think that neatly explains my single status.

6. How many siblings do you have?

One full, one half, two step and one outlier step that I’ve only met twice. So . . . nine.

7. Where did you go on your last vacation?

I went here:

Marvins

8. Where are you going on your next vacation?

I’ll visit these people:

Daddy-O and JiJi

Daddy-O and JiJi

9. What was your worst job ever?

When I lived in Alabama, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being poor. I didn’t like being poor so I decided that a second job was exactly what I needed. I found one in a factory, cleaning from 5:30 – 9:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I’d leave my professional job, arrive at my factory job and change into ratty cleaning clothes in the bathroom. Then I would don latex gloves, mix up my mop buckets, and cruise around the offices emptying garbage cans. Once that task was completed, I’d make my way into the factory where I’d clean bathrooms, clean the kitchen, and clean the break room. Someone more tenured than I felt that purchasing white, textured tables for the kitchen was a great idea, and lo I spent many hours scrubbing those tables with bleach to the get the factory dust and stains out of them. As the men walked into the break room for their evening meal, their eyes would tear up from the bleach fumes, yet no one complained. My fingernails stayed in a constant state of disrepair. I hated it. I hated cleaning toilets, smelling of bleach and realizing that no one was going to clean up their mess in the microwave. The job only lasted a few months before I tired of it, and someone more tenured than I tired of paying a cleaning crew, so the cleaning positions were eliminated. I’ve never been more relieved in all my life.

I did get a boyfriend out of that job, though. He was probably the nicest boy I ever dated.

10. Have you ever had a bad haircut? Explain!

Instead of explaining, I’ll provide photographic evidence.

Example One – my first real haircut and permanent.

Yeesh

The beauty expert rolled my side wings into those Shirley Temple curls and I, knowing no better, styled my hair that way every day for a year.

Example Two – my second real haircut.

img20141020_15001423

The beauty expert neglected to tell me that my hair was too short for the layered cut I wanted, and that cutting it this way would only emphasize the largeness of my nose, the squinty-ness of my eyes and would do nothing to camouflage my large bosom. Shawn, of the above make out story, said as I walked into school with my new hair cut, “What happened to your hair? Can you glue some of it back on?”

I have excellent taste in men.

11. Where is your favorite place to write?

I prefer writing at Panera, and that is largely due to their Thai Chopped Chicken Salad. But also, the Panera closest to me has a great corner table with two seating options. If I’m feeling cozy I can sit on the booth side of that table, or if I’m feeling rigid, I can sit on the chair side of the table. If my table is taken when I arrive (and I always go early to ensure I get it), I fall into a snit. I park myself nearby and glare at the offending patron until he/she leaves, then I schlep all my stuff over to my table and mark my spot while I get in line for my salad. Love Panera!

Thus endeth my answers, and thus endeth my post for today. Tune back in next week for the third installment of “Jimmie Wins an Award and Crows about It: Finis.” Don’t forget to let me know if you have a blog of your own I can check out. I’d love to feature you if you are amenable to that, and I’d love to read what you have.

Oh, Yes I Did

Fried Stuff With Chocolate

“Can you point me in the direction of the pig races?” I asked the police officer standing next to the information booth.

Daisy and I were at the fair, and currently she was standing somewhere behind me, looking earnestly off into the distance, pretending she didn’t know me.

“Did you really just ask me that?” the police officer wanted to know. His eyes were crinkly and he sort of laughed but sort of didn’t.

“That’s what my friend said!” I said, pointing to Daisy who was sneaking a look at me but then whipped around with her arms crossed like she didn’t know me again. “But you are standing here next to this information booth and I thought you might know.”

He continued to almost but not really laugh at me, and then headed over to someone more knowledgeable that the three of us to ask where the pig races were. As I waited for him to amble back, I said to Daisy, “What is that smell? It’s awful, isn’t it? Gross.”

She hissed from the side of her mouth, her back still turned towards me, “Yes, and I told you not to ask him that. I can’t believe you asked a police officer about a pig race!”

I wanted to see it, although not as desperately as I wanted to see the monkey rodeo. I’d heard from Woney that the piggies run for Oreos, and how can you not love a pig that runs for Oreos? And then Capuchins wearing racing gear whilst riding dogs around a race track? Come on, that’s genius! I had a plan at the ready: we would see the monkey rodeo and we would top that off with the pig races, and while we were at it, we were going to eat corndogs as big as our heads and some roasted corn. Perhaps I would cap the night off with fried banana pudding on a stick and then take some boiled peanuts home for later. In the midst of all that, we’d wander around looking at the rides we used to ride and lament the fact that those rides now make us barf due to age-related motion sickness. We’d check out the cloggers and the guy who carves bears out of logs of wood with a chainsaw. If we did all of that without getting food poisoning or an injury, it would be the best night of our lives.

Barber Shop

Sand Sculpture Competition

Unfortunately, Daisy and I were having difficulty having the best night of our lives because we could not find the pig races. We walked around the fairgrounds multiple times looking for that race track, literally from one end to the other. We found the corndogs as big as our heads. We found the roasted corn. We found the clogging stage and the sweet shop. We found the giant potato on the back of an 18-wheeler that they drove up and down interstate. What we could not find were the pig races.

“What is that smell,” Daisy asked as we walked by the police officer again, wrinkling her nose. “My gosh, it’s terrible!”

“I know,” I said. “We’ve smelled this before. How do we keep ending up here?” I noticed the police officer eyeballing us, so we scuttled off quickly. We lurched around, a little lost. The fairgrounds were beginning to look the same what with the barnyard animals and tractors everywhere.

Tractor

Donkey?

I heart this donkey

“Let’s just go back to the monkey rodeo area. At least we’ll get to see that, and honestly, if I don’t get a good seat, I’ll whine.” Daisy, humoring me, agreed and off we trotted, passing the sewage-like area again.

“Man, that really smells bad,” I said. “What IS that?”

Once we arrived at the monkey rodeo area, and I have to tell you, it’s officially called the Banana Derby, I ran squealing over to Gilligan the monkey and dug a dollar out of my pocket to give him. In return, I received a crappy postcard and a handshake from Gilligan who, quite frankly, could not give a shit. He took my dollar, threw it into the bucket, snatched the postcard from its resting place and walked it over to me. He was not nearly as moved by the handshake as I was and stared off into the distance, dreaming of mango. The race, which we sat 30 minutes on the bleachers in advance for, lasted about three minutes. The crowd was packed in around the racing fence and cheered in a collective holler. It was the best three minutes of my life and even Daisy, who had originally questioned my desire to see the racing monkeys, was enamored, I could tell.

I want!

Capuchins

The team on the left won

Once the Banana Derby ended, the crowd shifted over to the next trailer, and much to my chagrin, I realized that the pig races were less than 100 feet from the monkey rodeo. Good grief. I don’t know why you people let me drive anywhere.

The pig races were much more exciting than the Banana Derby, and it turns out that piggies run for Oreos in California, not in Tennessee. In Tennessee, piggies run for cheez doodlez. So do ducks, goats, and baby piggies. See how fast they run? Not a clear shot in the bunch.

Goats, I think

Definitely pigs

Geese

Daisy and I had eaten the corndogs as big as our heads already, but after all the racing excitement, we realized we were far too full for roasted corn, fried desserts on sticks, or cotton candy. The sweet shop was going to soldier on without our money. The boiled peanut vendor would not see our faces at all. It was a sad moment to think of all the fair food we were going to leave behind, but we perked right up when the roasted corn vendor assured us he could wrap some up for us to take home. We collected our corn and walked tiredly to the exit gate, the same gate where I had nearly gotten arrested by a police officer, and the same gate that was near the awful smell.

We neared the pathway and Daisy said again, “How does anyone stand that smell? It’s the most gruesome thing I’ve ever experienced in my life!” We walked around the curve, into the foul odor, and down the same path we had traveled three times already. Just as we neared the exit, we heard an announcer, right in that curve, holler, “Pig Races Countdown begins now!” Yep. We’d missed the big race, the one where the piggies probably run for Oreos. Oh, we’d seen the little race, the redneck one, the one over by the monkeys and the giant potato. Three times we’d walked by this pig arena, three times we nearly threw up our corndogs because of the pig smell, and three times we didn’t even see the sign, didn’t understand that the eau de manure was the pig pen. Good grief, I don’t even know how Daisy stands me, do you?

Oink

Potato

Rooster?

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