Thursday, July 26, 2007

Formalwear for Fishermen

Two years ago for our anniversary my husband and I planned a trip to northern Michigan. If you stay away from Detroit, most of Michigan is really beautiful and undeveloped, an outdoor lover’s paradise. Our long weekend together would consist of hiking, sight seeing and snuggling by the fire. I decided to surprise him with fly fishing lessons with a private guide in the area where we were staying.

At quarter till seven the morning of our lessons, we were having coffee in our car in the park where I had arranged to meet our guide Scotty. The morning was clear and frosty. We were a little early, not quite fully awake, hadn’t spoken much yet, but were enjoying the anticipation of the day. Our plans with Scotty were 4 hours of fishing and casting lessons at a private location, but the park where we were waiting for him seemed pretty popular for fishing too. There are a lot of guys in hip boots with pocket-y vests and such wandering about. (By the way the picture to the left here is from that morning and if you click on it you'll see just how beautiful and misty it really was)

MDH: How will we recognize our guide?

Me: When I talked to him last week he said he’d be wearing a black blazer. I should think he’ll stand out in this crowd.


MDH: Did he say that he’d be wearing a black blazer or in a black blazer – like the car?


I am mortified.

I flash back to my conversation with Scotty the week before to firm up our plans.

Scotty: Meet me in Boyne City Park by the slips at 7am. I’ll be in a black blazer.

Me: I’m not sure what we’ll be wearing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paging Charlie Barleycorn

As I am recently unemployed and at a loss for current real life material of any merit I think we can all (and when I say "we" and "all" what I really mean is me and my other personalities, as I can't imagine anyone is reading this) expect this blog to contain many random topics, most of which will pertain to other people in my world who are leading more interesting lives, or with things that have occured in my past. Jesus. That was a long sentence. I'm really bad about knowing where to put the commas.

Todays inane subject: I keep a list of weird names. Yes. You read that right, I have a weird name collection. I worked as the office manager (read - only person in the office) of a small contractor in Columbus and during my time there came into contact with all walks of life and began collecting names. In order to make the list the names had to meet two criteria, they had to be a real person, living or dead and they had to make me laugh out loud.

So in lueu of anything real to say I will share some of the names on my list. Think of the graduation march in your head as you read. These are real people in and around the Central Ohio region (in the order of when I first encountered them:

Anthony Slappy - a customer we did some basement remodeling for

David Branstool - he's a judge in Licking County and performed the marriage ceremony for my best friend.

Anita Parent - she's my cousin but since family love blinded my sense of humor I didn't realize it was funny until later.

Lucshonda McQuirt - it's like something they'd serve at Friendly's

Charlie Barleycorn - I heard him being paged at the Ohio State Fair in the agriculture tent then looked it up later - yep, he's real.

Bubba Winks - child of someone I used to work with (Southsider)

Joe Bobo - a client

Bo Bobo - Joe's dog

Morgan Assman - whatever - it was funny before Seinfeld

Phat Kao - went to high school with her son Phong

Myrna Aukerman - maybe it's just funny to me...

Dan D. Frye - sounds like a great place for mushroom poppers

Gretchen Schlub - I hope she worked against type and was voted most likely to succeed

John Frisbie

Bill MacCracken - rhymes with Phil is why it makes me laugh

Cassius Guttenaire

Joe Schleppi

Bobby Bushey - I believe that it's pronounced "Boo-Shay", but it makes me laugh either way.

Shegow Shegow - I have no idea

Emmanuel Baah - Just say Manny Baah over and over... the laugh will come.

Genya Nudelman - very much like the fictional "Cookie Gugleman" as played my Catherine O'Hara in Best in Show.

Di Nut - di only one

O. Nutter - oh cut it out!

Ima Hogg - look her up:

Donovan Butt

Ann McCann - too bad her first names not Pat - but the ryhming gets me every time

There's more, but they're not worth sharing. Feel free to send along some of your favorite names, but remember - real person - laugh out loud.

Harry Dick, by the way, isn't funny , I.P. Freely did not write a book called Yellow River and Hoo Flung Poo did not write one called Brown Spots On the Wall.

Don't be tired.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lordy, Lordy, I've Got It Good

So I’ve had a little over a week now to get used to being 40. Guess what? It’s no big deal. I don’t feel any different except that I love saying that I’m 40. It’s a number that people take notice of. The big 4-0. My birthday came and went in the fashion that I had requested. No party, no bells and whistles. I hate that shit on a regular birthday. Officially we went to Maui for my birthday earlier this year.

I allowed a party for my 30th birthday. It was small and Amy had an old Halloween photo of me impressed on the cake. I was wearing a witches costume with a long black wig, a ju-ju-bee blacking out one tooth and a cigarette hanging out of the side of my mouth. In icing was written “Happy Birthday Bitch”. That was a good year.

I remember when my parents and their friends were turning 40 back in the 70’s. They seemed old to me, but I remember all of them constantly smoking with a highball glass glued to one hand and that’ll age you. My dad spent his 40th birthday flat on his back in bed. His back had gone out and he’d missed his own party. It was at the Courtney’s house and there were black balloons taped to light poles on Lane Avenue that you could see on the way to their house and a huge sign in the yard that said “Lordy, Lordy, Jim is 40”. We called him in the middle of the party, but I seem to remember him not being able to make it to the phone.

As an aside, the Courtney’s were the laziest people on the planet and got in trouble with their neighbors because they never took down the sign in the yard or the balloons on Lane Avenue. Months later when we drove to their house the deflated black balloons were still sagging from the light poles. I swear I still look for them when I drive by today. Balloons probably don’t biodegrade.

Although I don’t remember my mom’s 40th birthday specifically, (mainly because we were all too selfish and lazy to think of throwing her one), I do remember her being 40. Contrary to what you may believe by looking at this photo, she was tired and cranky and generally no fun. She always wore giant swooping eyeglasses, the same four pant suits (a la Annie Hall with matching vests), drove a Ford station wagon with fake wood panels on the side, and listened to AM radio in our living room on the "hi-fi" that was as big as a camper. She was also working full time and taking care of me, my special needs (Down’s Syndrome) sister, and waiting on my dad hand and foot. No wonder she seemed old and needed a drink.

So how about this… I’m glad that I get to be a woman in her 40’s NOW and not in the 70’s. I’ve got no kids, a beautiful husband who shares the household responsibilities with me. I drive a pretty rockin’ VW with a kickass stereo that I plug my ipod into. My clothes are bitchin and I have over 50 pairs of shoes. We have excellent eye care so I can afford to get new glasses every year when I get bored with my current style (and I do). Every year we go on not one but usually two fantastic vacations to exotic locales and several weekend getaways in-between. Overall, life does not suck.

Dear Cigarettes

Dear Cigarettes,

It's been seven long months and although I miss you, I wanted to write to let you know that you're a motherfucker and we're through. Today I sat under the umbrella at the table on the backporch, or as I've always thought of it, our place. I brought a magazine with me as a distraction and you know what, I didn't need it. I can sit quietly with or without a cup of coffee and not want you back in my life.

You'll always be in my thoughts. When I'm in a bar or at a party, wherever anyone is lighting up, so carefree. When I've had a fight with my husband or had my feelings hurt and am dragging down. When I'm feeling nervous or worried. How is it that you were able to tap into whatever I needed at the moment and give it to me? How were you able to make me relax, aren't you a stimulant? You're such a mother fucker.

For years I was a slave to you and what did you give me in return? You stunk up my house, my clothes and my hair. You gave me a miserable wheeze when I excerted any type of activity. You have aged me beyond my years and given me wrinkles around my mouth I wouldn't otherwise have. You ruined my tastebuds and sense of smell and gave me the worst breath imaginable so that my husband wouldn't come near me. Oh, AND you cost me over $25 a week. You mother fucker.

Anyway, I've thrown away all traces of you that were in my house including my favorite pink lighter that somehow had lasted forever. All gone. I smell fantastic, breath and hair fresh as a breeze, my husband says so. I am exercising an hour a day (with no wheeze). My tastebuds are coming back and the house, although still dirty no longer smells like cigarette smoke and cabbage. It just smells like cabbage now, but I'm working on that.

So don't think you can come back here anytime you want. You're out for good buddy. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Sayonara, Riva Deerchee. Mother Fucker I don't need you anymore.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Express Yourself (or reason #1 why we don't have a dog)

Ever since I was a little kid my dream companion was furry with a wet nose and named Snoopy. My sister often came close, but her name was Lisa and the wetness on her nose would eventually dry up and flake off. She had sinus problems.

Once as some cruel joke (?) someone gave me an "invisible"dog, which for those of you that didn't grow up in the 70's is a dog harness with a wire in it. Hardy, har, har. Load of laughs, pal.

Then came Gretel. She was warmly welcomed into our home for about 3 seconds and then relegated to a rope tied to a tree in the backyard for 3 hours. I was 7 and Gretel was a lab mix that belonged to my uncle Paul who was getting divorced and moving to an apartment that didn't allow pets. Why my aunt Jean (the other end of the divorce) could not take Gretel I never knew, but for some reason my dad agreed to take Gretel. This was not expected as my dad, beyond watching endless episodes of Wild Kingdom was not exactaly what you'd call an animal lover. His solution to all pet (and sometimes child) behavior issues was a beating with a rolled up newspaper.

Uncle Paul stopped by our house on his way to work one Saturday morning with Gretel. I was crazy excited because I already loved Gretel from spending time playing with her at Paul and Jeans house. Gretel was very sweet natured, gentle, hardly barked and loved to be brushed. To me she was kind of like an extra large Barbie that drooled. Paul and Gretel no sooner stepped in the front door when our cat (the very originally named, Calico) came zooming at Gretel with full force, hissing and spitting and yowling. She was like a cyclone of claws and fur. Poor Gretel didn't see this coming and promptly shit herself on the entryway tile.

My dad of course, being the gentle, man of reason that he is starts hitting Gretel with a rolled up newspaper that seemed to poof into his had at such moments as if by dark magic. The cat, having been the target of the paper quite a few times in her day runs away and hides under my parents bed where she promptly takes a piss.

As he's beating the dog my dad also begins to yell at Paul to get that goddam mutt outta mah house and at me to clean up the shit. Mr. Charming. We tied Gretel up in the backyard until Paul could come get her on his lunchbreak later that day. I never knew what happened to Gretel after that. As for Calico, sometime later that year she began to piss under my parents bed on a fairly regular basis and eventually started pissing right on my dad's feet while he was asleep. One day I came home from school and she wasn't there. My mom said that they had given Cali to my aunt Ruth who had a friend with farm in the country. I really loved that cat.

We never had pets again. My dad made an official announcement and that was that. Don't ask, don't even hint that you want any kind of mammal in this house. After that I always had goldfish.

When I was 20 and moved out of my parents house the first thing I did, before I even got a bed was get a cat. He was half feral and terrorized my roommates and I loved him with all my heart. I named him after my favorite uncle Ernie. He once jumped 4 feet in the air and grabbed an entire sandwich out of my roommates hand as she was putting it in her mouth, and ran off and ate the entire thing under the couch. Ernie was too wild to be kept inside, didn't like to be petted, wouldn't stay off the kitchen countertops, sprayed on my closet floor and chewed up paper that was left laying around, including the mail. Once after returning from a 2 week disappearance (we jokingingly called them benders) Ernie died from what I'm pretty sure was anti-freeze poisoning. He had terrorized the neighbors too. I was heartbroken.

A few months later I adopted Ollie who gave me 18 years of love and joy. We lived alone together for most of that time and he didn't take kindly to strangers. In fact he bit them. Hard. During Ollies' time I had to issue this warning to everyone who walked through my door, "Don't pet the cat, he will bite you. No, seriously, he looks all cute and shit, but he will take your hand off. Okay, don't say I didn't warn you." Why don't people believe you when you say this stuff - including my dad. Yes! Ollie once bit my dad - he struck hard and fast, like a cobra and my dad was so startled that his eyes teared up.

Dad: Jay-hee-sus Kuh Rist! That little asshole!

Me: I warned you not to pet him.

Dad: He looked like he was enjoying it.

Me (to myself): Yes! Rolled up newspaper karma baby!

Me (back to my dad): Are you ok? Let me go get a band-aid and some antiseptic. Poor daddy!

Me (to myself): Ahh, ha ha ha - um hee.

This has veered off slightly from my original intention which was to explain why I don't have a dog. I'm officially a cat person. There, I've said it. It's not that I don't love dogs, and horses, and rabbits and all other manner of pets. Cats are just simply easier. Not that cats are easy, which is the point I was trying to make describing Ernie and Ollie. Cats are a pain in the ass too. However - cats do not need their anal glands expressed (squeezed) on a regular basis or sometimes ever. Yes - that's it right there. Having worked in the veterinary industry for 7 years that is the lesson I have come away with. Dogs anal glands will explode all over your damn house. It's the most disgusting thing in the world to me and I've seen some nasty shit in those animal clinics.
In all the time I've been an adult and living on my own, I've always had a cat and I've never had to deal with a single exploding anal gland. My cats have also never swallowed a towel, eaten and entire ham, drank paint, broken their tail chasing a squirrel, ran away, chewed the sofa, jumped on my guests as they walk in the door, tracked in mud or drooled on me. But this is ultimately why I don't have a dog: