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.

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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.

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Ruint Scarf, Complete with Grease

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Busted Pyrex, Ruint

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Pee-Tah, Ex Friend

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Must Love Dogs, Peru

Do all you get my Christmas card? If not, do you want to? Look, I know cards are pretty when they sit on your mantle spreading cheer for the three days you display them before Christmas, and they make a nice garbage can filler when you toss them, but I do understand that not everyone is enamored of them. Usually they include a poem about someone’s specialness, either the recipient or the Lord, and occasionally you get a signature that says, “Love you, XOXO” but otherwise there’s not a lot of substance. My favorites are the ones with pictures of your family, whatever that format looks like. I don’t have one of those to put on a card but I do try to make my card special with glitter and also a letter in which I am charming and funny. Sometimes I’ll make you cry, and I’ll be honest, that is intentional.

This past December I wrote in my letter about the loss of my kitty varmints, one to old age and one to a sense of adventure (hopefully). It was with no sense of regret that I threw the litter box away although it did take me six months to do it because I remained hopeful that Seamus would return with a wife and children in tow. I do know he lost his neuters at the tender age of “kitten” but a girl can dream.

Anyway, if you receive my card you already know this but if you don’t, surprise! I’m animal free and have been since September which is often really lonely. I pee alone all the time now and I sleep with all six of my pillows all to myself. It’s nice until it isn’t.

Also, since I can’t (won’t) seem to write with any regularity anymore, I’ll also tell you that I recently redid my living room. I got new paint and new furniture and a nice new rug that mostly covers the cat barf stains, and the orange fur coating that once blanketed my house has virtually disappeared. Things look nice and clean, and I’ve been very pleased. It’s just, I guess I can’t have nice things because since the orange fluffy loves of my life disappeared, all I can think about is a dog. YOU ARE NOT TO ENCOURAGE ME. My looking at the Humane Society website daily is encouragement enough. Also my Instagram stalking of all cute dogs, and my seeking out people with dogs, and my researching adoption policies for doggie rescue centers – that’s all I can take.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not ready for a dog. I have a nice new clean living room with a new rug and new sofas. I travel way too often. I work way too far from home. I do not have expendable income to be spent on bowel surgeries after a dog eats the socks I lost under the new sofa. I don’t particularly like dog licks. My bedroom linens are solid white. I am not prepared. I still want one.

What will save me, I think, is my list of requirements for a dog. I have potential suitor requirements, found here, and I now I have dog requirements. Both of them are strict and if my ring-less left finger is any indicator of how well my strict process lends itself to actually putting a ring on it, I imagine I’ll be dog free for quite some time.

  1. The dog cannot have a dumb name. I’m really over the Hendrixes and the Cobains and the trend of naming pets after weed and then abandoning them to a shelter because you are too burnt to take care of them.
  2. My dog must wear t-shirts. Cool ones but not ones in memory of Hendrix or Cobain or weed.
  3. My dog must not be interested in showing affection by licking.
  4. My dog must not smell like Fritos.
  5. I need a tall dog, a burly dog, a dog with large feet.
  6. My dog must not have social anxiety or panic attacks or need any medication to control his mood disorder. A thunder shirt is fine, though.
  7. No puppies! I need a stately dog, with some wisdom and potty training.
  8. My dog must not need more grooming than me.
  9. My dog must be able to be a couch potato sometimes. We are not taking up distance running, no thank you.
  10. My dog must love dogs.
  11. My dog will be a rescue or adoption.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

I went to Peru, do you remember? Most of this content was a lead in for that question, and for the following photos, a collection I affectionately call “Street Dogs of Peru.” Guys, lookit them!

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I might have tricked you.  One of these might be a llama.  These dogs (and llamas) will also try to trick you. They will look at you with those sad eyes, in a posture of pitiful, but they aren’t, not even the hairless ones.  They are the most well-behaved, healthiest, cleanest dogs you have ever seen.  Happy, too.  Not when you walk by with American pizza, of course, or a street taco, because they want you to feel bad so you will share your delicious treats, those fat little beasts.  Some of them wear clothes and some wear collars. Some of them just roam all night like alley cats.  You won’t catch their names yet they have friends everywhere.  Aren’t they all so cute? Even the hairless ones!

Real Peru coming soon, not just Peruvian dogs.

 

Musings and Amusings, by Jimmie

It’s Monday.  It’s felt like Monday all dang day. 

Why is it that on the weekends I leap out of bed at the crack of daylight when by rights, I should be lounging around in the bed, sweet talking my pillows for hours?  I love my bed. We are very close.  Yet on the days when I can demonstrate how much I love it by spending quality time with it, I’m up moving around and giving it the cold shoulder as if it forgot my birthday or something.  And then on Monday mornings, when I don’t have time to demonstrate how much I love it (because I have class with Lynnette, y’all and she’s a demanding mistress), I cannot leave it.  I cannot tear myself away.  I give up friends (Lynnette and Jane and Body Pump and Spinning) for it.  I give up quality time with my razor (I should be spending time shaving my legs even though it is winter) so that I can cuddle up with my yummy duvet.  I give up my easy drive to work even though I know that the longer I lie around, the smaller the window I have of “good traffic drive time”.  Why is it so hard?

Eh, it’s a conundrum.  I should be wiser and all that now, now that I’m facing forty.  Unfortunately, the biggest change that comes with age, I’ve noticed, has nothing to do with wisdom but everything to do with the fact that now that I’m older, the longer I lie around being lazy, the puffier my eyes are.  Yay. 

For your Monday, which I hope was less blah than mine, I’ve included some pictures of things that made me laugh.  It will look like Christmas threw up in here, but trust me, these pictures are worth it. 

This here is my neighbor’s tree.  We had a big old windstorm come through a few weeks ago and I noticed his newspaper up in the tree afterwards.  He blames it on “those damn kids” in our neighborhood, but I disagree.  You see the newspaper way up there in the top?  It’s still up there and it’s been two months.

 

This here is a ceramic pig Phranke and I saw when we were out shopping one day.  It was just too cute to ignore.

 

Speaking of pigs, this here is the only Christmas decoration Madre has every year.  She has no tree. She has no wreath.  She has no bows or lights.  But you see how she put a hat and beard on that big old concrete pig?  That’s how Madre rolls, y’all.

 

And speaking of Christmas, will you believe that I took this picture just days ago? This here is my neighbor across the street and every night when I come home, it still looks like this.  Y’all, it’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day.  I am going to see how long they keep these lights blazing.

 

And speaking of holidays, I got a Valentine!  It was the only one I got this year, so I cherish it.  One guess who it’s from . . . .

 

If you were to guess Dammit Todd, you would be correct. 

And finally, this here is a lazy Sunday afternoon, where it seems that Murphy and Seamus have no issue spending quality time with my bed All Day Long. 

 

Lucky little varmints. 

Pictures Of My Tropical Vacation That Was Not Tropical At All

I wrote nearly a million words about my trip and my guess is that everyone had a hard time wading through all that.  To even it out, I thought this post could just be pictures of stuff that amused me last week.  Maybe look a picture here and then go read a paragraph.  It’s hard to condense a week of my life into 1000 words.  I’m so much bigger than that!  Happy looking!    

Might I have a bite of your lunch?

I don't even know what this means . . .

 

I’m Bruno. I’m badass. I weigh seven pounds. Don’t mess with me.

People in California are weird. No, thank you.

 

Hello ladies <eyebrow waggle>. Would you like to come nap with me? We could knead beautiful biscuits together.

Remember when I dropped that electric sander on my toe? That black cat covers that black bruise. Yay! Happy Halloween!