Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear Jack,

We’ve had many fun years together, haven’t we? I still remember the day we met in high school. Those $0.99 tacos, all fresh and steamy and made just for me were the key to my heart. And when you made me my first Ultimate Cheeseburger, you filled my soul with deliciousness.

These past fifteen years have been so wonderful.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how distant I’ve been as of late. Until last night and this morning. It was great being back together, even though it was only a short time.

I’m sorry, Jack, but I can’t do this anymore. I have to put myself first. My body just can’t take what you have anymore. All the soy, dairy, eggs, and meat. I’ve always loved the way you handled them, just as I’ve always loved everything about you from that first afternoon so very long ago.

It’s not you, Jack. It’s me. I can no longer process your culinary goodness. My body rejects it faster than Volvo rejects my credit score.

Please know I still, and always will, love you, Jack. And we’ll always have those late nights we shared together, even if they’re only memories.

Uriah

More Adventures in Parenting Parents

You know that crazy high phone bill you get surprised with when your kid calls some chat line or sends 50,000 texts? I got one of those. Live and learn.

Sitting outside the VA hospital, waiting for Dad to get out of surgery. He’s got this bone burr thing. I read about it, but that was a year ago when they first said he needed to have some simple procedure to have it removed.

Looking for the smoking area I passed the barber shop and there was a tiny old man sitting in the chair, talking to the barber.

Once I start talking about Pearl Harbor and World War Two, I can’t lie about my age, ya know?

Kind of made my day.

It’s been one of those that’s an exercise in patience.

It’s Simply a Matter of Skill

I keep sleeping through my alarms. If I didn’t have anything important to do, it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, if I sleep through ny alarms and don’t open my store, I might get fired.

And that’s bad.

So I found this app where you have to do math to turn off the alarm or make it snooze. I thought it would be a great idea. Unfortunately I appear to have an amazing ability to add and subtract regardless of how awake I am. In fact, I seem to be better when I’m not fully awake than when I’m fully awake.

And that’s a scary thought.

Though it’s not nearly aa frightening as how many people it took to change the soap in the bathroom today.

I got this call from my store asking how to do it. They said they’d both tried, and nothing was working. So I asked if they had the key.

Which makes me sad, because what kind if world do we live in where soap dispensers have to be designed to keep people from stealing the specially designed soap container that only dispenses soap from an approved dispenser?

So, anyway, they found the key in another dispenser, however, they were unable to dislodge it. These aren’t little weakling nerdy boys. These are down to earth guys, one of which is delightfully blue collar and the other is active and athletic. Yet neither of them could pull one little piece of plastic out of the other. Right.

Uriah to the rescue.

So I get out of my oh-so-comfy bed and drive over to my store. Sure enough, the key won’t budge. I was emasculated three inches of plastic.

Somewhere along the way, while explaining how to do it over the phone, they got a thing stuck in the empty dispenser. This thing looks like the appropriate tool, however, it is not.

So.

I have to drop to my knees in this tiny bathroom and wedge myself between the toilet and the wall just to look at this thing.  (There’s a nice gay joke in there somewhere, I’m sure.)

Long story short, I was saved by my pen.  And I’m sure tomorrow I’ll get a call or text message from someone telling me I’m an idiot for not knowing how to unjam it.

The highlight of my day was The Grocery Store calling me in regards to my survey.  I wonder if they got my email yet? The woman on the phone sounded so cheerful.  Hopefully I’ll have some cool story about our conversation tomorrow.

The Grocery Store

I remember when my favorite grocery store opened.  I fell in love with it.  It was bright and shiny and new.  Everyone was happy and friendly.  My parents didn’t like it, but I did.  I’d even stop in during lunch in high school to grab some fresh fruit or something to munch on during class.

So when I moved back here in 2005, where did I go to do my grocery shopping?  That same store.  But, of course, it changed with time, as all things do.

Below is a copy of what I sent customer service tonight after my latest and, I fear, possibly last visit to what once was my favorite place to shop.

 

This store seems to be on a downward slide.  It’s been that way for a few years now.  Every time the store gets staffed with good people (hard workers, polite, friendly), they don’t last very long.  The store is often (regardless of the time of day) dirty, with bags laying in the aisles.  I work as a retail manager, and I cringe every time I walk into this store and someone is mopping because it would appear this store doesn’t have the budget to purchase the appropriate CAUTION signs.  When I arrived and tried to find parking, the cart attendant was loading carts and filling the thoroughfare, then proceeded to stop, while blocking traffic, and talk to friends.  When I left a different cart attendant was doing the same thing.  There was a kid in produce who almost ran over an elderly customer with his carts.  I’ve been in line at this store at 10pm and watched as they shut down registers, heedless to the customers waiting.  Honestly, however, the state of the produce department on today’s visit, as well as 7/27/12, have me rethinking my shopping habits.  There were fruit flies everywhere.  There was rotten fruit (lemons, limes, plums, peaches), the last batch of fresh blueberries I purchased were the worst I’ve ever had in my life.  I’ve never had a berry that was firm and beautiful outside, yet a mushy mess inside.  I understand this is a quality issue from the supplier, most likely, however, with the state of the sales floor, I cannot help but question the state of the storage area.  And this isn’t the first time I’ve purchased disastrously detestable fruit.  Last year I purchased three pounds of green plumcots, only to have them eaten from the inside out by pests.  This makes me question the quality of the produce from other locations and wonder if there are, in fact, adequate quality controls in place.  The cashier on Friday’s visit was blatantly rude to myself, the customer before me, and the bagger who came to assist him.  The bagger, however, was polite and cordial, and provided me with the greetings (albeit late) the cashier refused, even when I greeted HIM.  I was certainly glad I didn’t have any questions or problems with my transaction aside from his attitude.  What I would really like is to know what happened to my HEB?  I’ve shopped at this store since it was built.  I’d stop and get fresh fruit for lunch when I went to Clark.  It was a great store where everyone seemed happy and everyone was polite.  Please bring my old HEB back.

I’m going to miss the convenience of shopping at this store, but I’d rather have a hassle and no insect infestations.  I’d rather drive further and spend a few extra dollars at Sprouts, knowing I’ll be treated like a customer rather than an annoyance.

Besides, sprouts has blueberry pie.

Midnight: the ancient father

When I first moved back to texas in 2005, there was this crazy, stubborn, suicidal cat that would lay in the drive way. He never moved unless you got out and tried to pet him. You couldn’t shoo him away, you actually had to get down and try to pet him to be able to park without killing him.

I’ve taken to calling him midnight since no one ever saw him during the day for years.  Now he’s old, sick, and adores attention.

We don’t know who he belongs to. Hell come around from time to time, sometimes hanging around every night for weeks on end, only to disappear for a few months, then randomly stop in for dinner.

This has been one of those months where he seems to come by every night after not being around for a few months.  He has a few more scars he seems t have traded for his teeth.  We do know someone was taking care of him at some point since he looks to have been hit by a car, then taken to a vet.

His fur is matted. He doesn’t breathe well. But he still comes up to be petted in his greasy, dirty head.

It makes me sad that this sweet cat doesn’t have someone to cuddle up with. It makes me angry someone would just let him run around matted and malnourished. Why bother having the cat taken care of after running it over if you aren’t going to care for it yourself?

Midnight is a testament to things I think we’ve lost as humans, wallowing in our technology. We expect everything to be handed to us. We expect our cars to run, our air conditioners to cool us in summer, our meals to be simple. We’ve forgotten that it’s only from perseverance we’ve managed to accomplish so much. We’re not entitled to anything, from anywhere, for any reason.

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Take a tip from Midnight. He knows how easily life can be taken.

Get off your ass and do something.

A Cut and Almost Getting Run Over

The only thought that went through my mind as I dove for the brush, my safety, was, “DAMN! If only I could get a picture!”

And what did I want to get a picture of?

The car, in the hiking park, that almost ran me over.

Twice.

Don’t mistake my meaning. This wasn’t in the parking lot, or walking to the park. This was inside the park, surrounded by trees, plants, dung beetles, sunflowers, rabbits, and, apparently, motorized vehicles driven by homicidal maniacs who wave when they pass by.

I consider almost being run over by these smiling, waving lunatics almost ironic, and certainly fitting, considering my life, since I just read Fahrenheit 451 yesterday.

I also met a rock that didn’t like me walking on it, and therefore decided to run away.

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The end result was me cleaning my leg with tampons (why can’t we be a normal family and have cotton balls?) soaked in witch hazel, shaving the area (no leg waxing via bandaid for me, no sir), and butterflied it shut.

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Lovely view, right? Also, here is a picture of some pretty flowers:

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And Then Someone Potties in the Trash Can

Yesterday started off rather decent. I decided not to workout at all, something I haven’t done in weeks. I thought my body could use the rest.

Then I had a conversation with my boss and everything went to Hell. No matter, I’m getting what I need and I’ll be able to eat in June, and that’s what matters most, right?

Of course, that’s about the time my back started to hurt. No big deal. Can’t ride out the pain, I have meds for that. They didn’t kick in, but no matter, I can take it.

Then I go outside to do the trash. It’s late, about 9:30pm. It was a warm day, getting up into the lower 90s. I get all but one. The last one. And that’s when it hits me.

The smell.

There’s a certain smell dead things have when they start to decay. It’s unlike anything else. I’ve smelled it enough in my life to recognize it, or so I thought.

Things die all the time. Maybe some customer found a dead bird or had a pet they needed to dispose of and thought my trashcan would be the best place for it. I don’t ask questions. It’s better not to know some things.

I took the cover off and grabbed hold of the bag. This is one of the few times I’ve decided not to wear gloves while changing trash. There wasn’t much of it, and what trash there was consisted of mostly paper and cardboard. Nothing too messy.

I unrolled the bag from under the rim of the trash can, and the smell started to get worse. I turned my head to the side to get a bit of fresh air, then I lifted. The trash in the bag shifted. It was heavier than I thought, about 50 pounds. I took a breath to steady myself for the long pull. And it hit me.

It was like getting smacked in the face with a Louisville Slugger by Jose Canseco.  I stumbled a bit. It wasn’t that death smell. This was something completely different. I couldn’t place it. Rather, I didn’t want to place it. My brain knew what it was, it just didn’t want to share that knowledge. I poked it, prodded it, annoyed it like a little brother. And it told me halfway through my third try.

Poop.

Someone, many hours before, had pooped in the trashcan.

And it sat there.

In the sun.

In 90+ degrees.

All.

Day.

Long.

I staggered.  Put my hands on my knees for balance. And retched.  Repeatedly.  My eyes watered. My stomach heaved, roiled, tried to boil over.

I couldn’t get away from it because my body was trying to purge itself of some horrid thing it thought was inside.  It didn’t know what was attacking it was outside. I almost had to crawl away from the vile…creation, left for me by some kind and generous soul.

Somehow, the stench has managed to permeate every fiber of my clothing, and for the last three hours of my shift, I smelled of poo that sat in the sun, through the heat of the day. My evening was not pleasant after that.

God bless you, Trash Can Pooper.

On the bright side, this is my ride:

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This is my view from the driver’s seat:

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Gotta take the good with the bad, right?