How To Jinx Yourself Into A Sleepless Night:

  1. Tell the Spouse Thingy that you've been falling asleep within 5 minutes of turning the lights out.
  2. Further state that you're sleeping a solid 9.5 hours.
  3. Get online and tell the world that your bed turned out to be pretty spiffy after all.

If you do just these three simple things, then you will crawl into your nice, warm, broken-in bed, where you will suddenly be Wide Awake. You will get out of bed 2.5 hours later, check email, get back in bed, watch TV, cursing the fact that there is nothing worthwhile on at 3:30 in the freaking morning. When you do drift off around 5 a.m., it will be fitfull sleep, interrupted frequently by the cat sitting next to your head saying things like "So. Ya gonna get up and feed us or what? I know you're awake I saw an eye open. Get up and feed us. Please?"

There ya go. Lessons on jinxing oneself...


Because I Have That Not So Fresh Feeling*, I Will Now Update You On the Following:

The $20million** Swedish TempurPedic VisoElastic Foam Bed

The first night I slept on it, I tossed and turned with the mantra “I can send it back, I can send it back…” It was the most gosh-darned uncomfortable thing I think I’d ever slept on, except perhaps for the floor.

Cut to what, 2 months later? They can take the bed when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. Or thighs, really, because I’m pretty sure I’ll clench my legs around the mattress before rigor mortis sets in.

It took Way Too Long, but once the mattress cover was off, the bed was sufficiently broken in to allow for mostly pain free sleep. And now—I sleep almost too well. I’m sleeping for 9.5-10 hour stretches…I think I’m making up for years of crappy sleep.

The Cold That Almost Killed The PsychoKitty

Max is at about 95% now. Healthy, mostly his old snarky self, but he is noticeably more quiet than he was before. He’s back to trying to sit in my lap once in a while, usually while I’m trying to work, and this morning he woke me with his rendition of a fine feline aria (which he seemed to be teaching Buddah.)

He has one more round of blood work Monday, hopefully the last. About 3 weeks ago his amylase levels were still too high (pancreatitis) so he went back on antibiotics. Hopefully this last couple of weeks on the Baytril will bring the level down to normal.

Buddah Pest

He’s just about to turn 4 months old, and he’s already 2 pounds heavier than Max was at 4 months. But he’s skinny as a rail, so he could be heavier. And he’s smart. Too smart. Max is beginning to teach him things, so I am probably doomed.

Giving Up Aspartame

After the first couple of weeks of No Aspartame I was down 2 pounds and my sweet tooth all but disappeared. But that was it. It’s been about 6 weeks; my sweet tooth hasn’t come back and kicked me in the nads or anything, but I do get the munchies in a major way a few nights a week. I’m neither gaining nor losing weight. I’ve developed a preference for Splenda, though…soft drinks with it seem to taste a little more sweet and I like it in my tea more, as well.

I’m never going to be a fanatic about it, but as far as buying an artificial sweetener for home use, I’ll stick to Splenda, and not worry that Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper is sweetened with Aspartame. ‘Cause I have to have a can of that once in a while…

*No, that doesn’t have to make sense.
**OK, it didn’t really cost that much. But it’s not cheap…


Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These…

As a testament to what a wonderful person I am deep down inside, I offer you the following, the dream I had sometime in the middle of the night, from which I woke at 4:15 a.m. thinking WTF?:

It’s late summer, the temperatures are beginning to fall, and the Spouse Thingy and I decide to take four small children, all under the age of 6, to Disney Land. I do not know who these children are and I never hear their names, but it’s a group of 3 little boys and one little girl. We all hold hands as we walk across the Interstate, and voila, there lies the Magical Kingdom.

We take them inside for five whole minutes, then decide it’s time to check into the hotel, where they will take naps. And they do, they’re good little kids who snuggle into their beds in our three bedroom suite at the Motel 8, without complaint nor tears.

The Spouse Thingy and I are thirsty, so we go looking for a soda. That’s it, just ONE soft drink to split between the two of us, because we can’t afford two of them. We wander up and down corridors of the ostentatious Motel 8, through the Mall of America, into a convenience store, and stop to sit on a bench at the park while we drink our soda.

We turn around, and there’s the Motel, so we go back and decide to wake the kidlets to feed them green beans. Four kids, one can of green beans. And they ate the green beans happily. And no one cried when we declared it was time to go home.

And that’s when I woke up.

Let us point out how wonderful I obviously am:

  • We walked 4 strange kids across a busy Interstate.
  • We let them enjoy the Happiest Place On Earth for five whole minutes.
  • We made them take a nap.
  • We abandoned them while we went looking for a single soda.
  • We then fed them a canned veggie.
  • And then we made them go home.

Yep. That’s how wonderful I am. If dreams have meaning, I’m pretty sure mine means I’m gonna burn in hell…


It irritated me, last night when I was paying bills, to realize that I couldn’t just write a check to pay the BX credit card and pop it in the mail; it’s due on the 1st and there just wasn’t enough time for the esteemed US Postal Service to get it there on time. It meant having to go to the base and pay it in person. Mostly I was irritated with myself for not paying closer attention to the due date when the bill came in.

I stopped being irritated when I got up this morning and it was pretty much the perfect day outside. That means topless driving!

A perfect day to drive out to the base with the top down on the car is also a perfect day to sit at a table outside the BX, sipping a soda, watching people go by. It’s also a perfect day for an 8 year old boy to talk his mother into letting him get a hot dog at the outdoor BBQ stand. She was reluctant at first, because she needed to get what she came to the BX for and get going quickly. He proclaimed himself old enough to buy it himself, and he would sit down at a table and eat it while she went inside, and he promised to be good.

Anywhere else, she would have said no. It’s not safe. But being on base gives you a certain sense of security, and good or bad, she sighed deeply, handed him money, and told him to buy it, sit down, eat, and not move.

He got in line and she headed for the BX, glancing back at him with obvious uncertainty. Like, when do I let go? When is it ok to do this? Am I making a colossal mistake?

He stood in line, waited his turn, and paid for his hot dog. Then he turned around and looked at the tables—there was another one vacant—and it seemed to hit him. Mom really is not here. I smiled at him, and he seemed to take it as Everything Will Be Ok. He screwed up his courage, took a few steps, and then asked if he could sit with me.

It’s the Mom factor; it happens once in a while. Kids seem to know Moms will protect them, even if it’s not THEIR mom.

He sat down, unwrapped his hot dog, took a deep breath—and just stared at it. When I looked a little closer, he had tears in his eyes. Thinking he was feeling way in over his head, I asked what was wrong.

“It’s burned. I hafta eat it, but it’s burned.”

No, I assured him as I looked at the charred hunk of pseudo-meat, you don’t have to eat it. We’ll take it back and ask the lady to exchange it for a good hot dog. She won’t be mad because she probably didn’t mean to give him a burned one (momentous for me, because this means Talking To People, something at which I am not very good. Heck, they might bite or kick or something…)

He got his unburned hot dog, and a free small drink to boot; we turned around to go back to the table, and I spotted, right at the corner to the BX entrance, his mother’s head as she peeked around the corner. Whatever errand that had been so pressing was clearly not more important than making sure her little boy was all right, and not more important than letting him take a baby step towards even a fleeting moment of independence.

She mouthed “thank you;” I nodded and mouthed “go ahead,” and she disappeared into the BX. Less than 4 minutes later she was coming out, just as her little boy was swallowing the last bite of his hot dog.

He smiled brightly and told her, “That was a really good hot dog!”

“You’re getting too big,” she sighed.

He shook his head. “I had to get help.”

“Even grown ups have to ask for help sometimes,” she assured him.

I agreed. And as he shoved his drink cup into the trash can, he thanked me for helping him and sitting with him.

A few minutes after that I was back in my car, driving with the top down, wind whipping my hair, thinking that hell yes, it’s damned fine day.


It’s official.
I’m old.
I know this because today was the day I was prescribed bifocals.


While I’m looking forward to being able to read again, I do not care for what this signifies. A few gray hairs, that I didn’t mind. But bifocals…that signifies the beginning of the end.

Just hand me my walker, give me my Metamucil, and get outta my way.


Chris Pedersen has this wonderful, unassuming tenor voice; it’s not loud and booming like you might expect in a stage production, instead it’s smooth and has this perfect little warble right where a perfect little warble is needed. His voice projects just enough to make you lean in and want to hear more; it makes you want to fall into the song, and let it wrap itself around you.

So you can imagine how ticked off I was when, in the middle of his only solo in Guys & Dolls this afternoon (heck yeah! I had to see the closing show!), some 2,000 year old woman (whose head was damn near swallowed whole by her Giant Red Hat) blew her nose. This wasn’t any dainty clearing of the sinuses, this was a freaking foghorn cutting through the dead of night.

Mr. Pederson never missed a beat or allowed the distraction to throw him off key. If I’d been wearing a Giant Red Hat, too, it would be off to him.

The closing showing of Guys & Dolls was played to a nearly packed theater, and in my little hemisphere of it there were one hundred and ninety seven thousand people over the age of 80. And you know what? People over the age of 80 seem to enjoy talking through whatever they’re watching. We suffered through a matinee of the Ancient and Dust-Covered when we saw The Aviator—they talked and talked and talked through that, too—and today as I was surrounded by the smell of Ben Gay and Old Funk, I was treated to running commentaries coming at me from all sides.

Why, I was in this show when I was a young fella! No, sir, you were an adult long before the time period during which this show is set. You may, however, be recalling your days as a post-Depression crapshooter in the sewers of New York…

Oh! Those kids are just so cute up there! Yep, they’re cute all right. But with only a couple of exceptions, they too are adults…but I’m sure they would like knowing you think they’re cute. I’ll pass that along to at least one of them.

Harvey, did you take your fiber today? Because you know how you get when you don’t take your fiber! Ma’am, I’m sitting very close to Harvey, and I assure you, he took his fiber, and it’s beginning to work on him.

Hack, hack, hack, hack, hack… Yeah, 60 years of smoking’ll do that to ya…

The production itself was awesome. I don’t think there’s a lousy song in the whole show, and the actors playing the parts once again did it justice. But the audience…

Boys and girls, when you go to the theater (stick your little finger in the air when you say “theater”) please remember that you’re not at home watching TV. The people on stage can hear you. If you have to blow your nose and you’re not especially dainty about it, excuse yourself to the lobby. If you have a smoker’s cough, suck on something that will quell it during as much of the show as possible. Please don’t sing along, either. Most of us did not pay good money to hear you sing, we paid good money to hear the actors sing. And most of all… be quiet!

Thus endeth my rant today. Now excuse me while I go smack my head against the wall to get Luck Be A Lady out of it…


There’s a meme tag going around that asks what your earliest childhood memory is. And thankfully, I have not been tagged, because honestly, I have a very difficult time recalling specific memories (kind of like Heather talks about.) Once something triggers a memory I can get some pretty amazing detail out of it, bit for the most part, if you ask me something like “what was life like when you were 7 years old,” you’ll probably be met with a blank stare.

I don’t have a clue. I know we were living in Germany. How’s that for rich detail?

Generic questions won’t help me dig those memories out of the recesses, either. It has to be something fairly specific. We’ve been musing over the Spouse Thingy being in Guys & Dolls in high school because the Boy is in a production of it now, and I can remember pretty much in Technicolor Detail watching the play and talking to friends about it (because most of my friends were in drama), and those memories trigger other memories of the school and Senior Square, the smells of the campus, and other odd things.

But try to pull a memory out of nowhere?

I don’t think I can.

I was thinking about it earlier today as I sat here and stared at the computer screen; I realized my inability to draw on my own past is a reason I’m having so much trouble getting the story I want to work on out of my head. I know it’s a good story—it could very well be better than anything else I’ve written—but even though it’s fiction, in order to make it work, I need to be able to step back in time and draw details out of my own life. It has the potential to be a raw and personal piece, but face it, if you have a hard time calling on the particulars, you can’t write a very personal story.

My childhood is largely locked inside my head…I’ll give anyone who has the key a great big bag of M&Ms. Peanut or milk chocolate.

And Murf is ineligible. I already know he remembers things differently than I do…I mena, some on. We stuff him into a VW bug and piled 20 people on top of him, and he recalls it as me making sure he was included in things…

Laughing 1


Wabbit Dwoppings

  • It is not a sin to have both Green Day and the Backstreet Boys on your iPod.
  • Neither is it a sin to have Barry Manilow in the mix.
  • A kitty can, over a couple of days’ blog entries, raise a real ruckus.
  • Some good can come out of a kitty raising holy hell.
  • After 9-10 days of 100+ temps, 90 feels kinda good.
  • I’m still not acclimated to the heat, however.
  • After singing along with Bread in my car today, I now understand why the cats stick their paws over my mouth.
  • Everyone in nearby cars now understands, too.
  • Math is hard.
  • If really gross smelling food goes into a cat, well, you can guess what comes out.
  • I still have this really great story tumbling around in my head.
  • It still won’t come out and lay quietly upon the virtual paper.
  • I started reading the newest Harry Potter book around 3 p.m. yesterday.
  • I finished it at midnight.
  • I wish my brain worked like J.K. Rowling’s.
  • Money is not the root of all evil.
  • The love of money is the root of all evil.
  • I do not love money, but having a little more would be nice.
  • Like, before houses out here cost a million bucks.
  • If life was fair, there would be chocolate in my desk drawer.
  • No one ever promised life would be fair.
  • Fair or not, I would like just a little bit of chocolate right now.
  • Cats know when you’re about to sit down at your desk, which is right next to the bathroom, and they will poop vast quantities Just Because.
  • Ye will be missed, Scotty…


Luck Be A Lady Tonight…

I have that song stuck in my head. I woke up two or three times last night with it blaring between my ears like a radio stuck between mono and hi-fi stereo*. Before I went to bed it was mixed in with a medley of Sue Me, Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat, and Bushel And A Peck.

Guys & Dolls.

The Spouse Thingy and I, along with his parents, went to see The Boy in Guys & Dolls yesterday. It was a blast…the theater—small venue—was nice, and the production was pretty freaking good. I was blown away by the choreography (done by Fae Salfiti; keep her in mind, ’cause someday she’s gonna be famous) and hey! My kid can dance! And he looks pretty spiffy in a 50’s style suit and hat.

It was a real kick for the Spouse Thingy; in high school he was in the drama department’s production of Guys & Dolls as one of the gamblers. All the music came back to him as we watched; this version had slightly better scenery and production value, but it’s something he can connect with. I remember seeing it a couple of times, and for sure I never saw him get airborne the way the Boy does in this production!

The show ends its run next Sunday, and I’m going again. The Spouse Thingy probably will, too, if he can drag himself out of bed in time (he works night shift the night before. And that night.) Maybe if I hear the score enough, I can knock it out of my head…

If you don’t get that, you are far too young…


According to the dream I had early this morning, Heaven resembles the Mormon Tabernacle—just 500 times bigger—and God looks a lot like Annie Potts.

Not sure what the dream really means, but it was oddly comforting in a way. Because, hey, Annie Potts isn’t half bad, and I make it to Heaven.

The Tabernacle, though…I’ve been there, and the seating is not all that wonderful. Hopefully Heaven’s seats have more padding.


They’re sleeping together.

I took the picture at 6:15; it’s now 8:30 and they’re still up there together, snoozing.

It’s definitely a step up from this and yesterday had Max shoving Buddah down the escape hole at the top of that tower, but they’re doing a much better job of getting along.

Max actually seeks out Buddah to play, and Buddah has learned that there are times Max just wants to be left alone. He still doesn’t grasp that Max’s tail is not a toy and that it is attached to him, but he’ll back off if Max doesn’t seem so enthused about engaging in Feline WWE.

Earlier this evening, Buddah wanted in my closet and couldn’t get the door opened; Max did it for him.

Dare I hope they actually get to like each other…?
Should I fear it if they do…?


After bumping around online, I can only come to the conclusion that I may very well be the only person in the world who did not pre-order the new Harry Potter book, and I don't intend to be at some bookstore at midnight to snag a copy.

Oh, I'm going to get it, no doubt about that. I'm looking forward to it as much as anyone else.

But I'll be able to sleep in Saturday, wander into any bookstore--or even the grocery store--at noon and there will be thousands of copies still sitting there, waiting to be purchased and taken home and treasured like the Wonder it will surely be.

Maybe I just don't get it...if it were going to sell out, sure, I'd be paying for it early. I might get someone to drive me to a store at midnight. But it's getting a huge print run.

If I ever write that mega bestseller...sleep in, Peoples. My royalties will be the same whether you buy it at midnight or noon, and you'll be more awake to appreciate my fine musings if you've had a good night's sleep.

See, I'm writing it already...


It's 3 a.m., I must be lonely...

I woke to rapidly fire meowing that roughly translated into “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?” I opened one eye—hoping that the little pest wouldn’t see that—and looked at the clock.

1:45 a.m.

Oh, and he saw that one eye open, and was instantly in little kitty heaven. The purr machine roared to life, and with a body slam he could only have learned from Max, he dropped his 5.5 pounds right across my throat. If he’d just stayed there and gone to sleep, it would have been all right; I can sleep with him draped across my neck. But no, he had to wiggle ecstatically, rolling and stretching, dancing across my torso like he was all set to take down the celebrities on Dancing With The Stars.

And then he began to rub his face against mine, little black wet nose disgustingly sliding across my lips and cheeks. For a brief moment he paused, his head pressed against my ear, and I thought he was going to go to sleep….but no, he was simply gathering more steam.

I picked him up and placed him on the bed next to the pillow, where he likes to sleep. He got right back up and dropped onto me again.

For 45 minutes he rolled around on top of me, purring, rubbing his face all over mine. I was greatly relieved when he finally got up, and promptly fell back asleep.

It felt like it was only a minute later when I heard rapid fire meowing next to my ear, in a much more mature tone that roughly translated into, “I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving…”

3:30 a.m.

What Max wanted me to do was get up, open the Boy’s bedroom door, so that he could feast upon the kitty chow that Buddah doesn’t seem to bother with. What I did was roll over, hoping he’d take the hint.

He stomped over the pillow and resuming his meowing on the other side of the bed. So I rolled over again. And again, he followed.

Once in a while he can be placated with a little attention; I reached up and scratched behind his ears, mumbled “go to sleep,” and closed my eyes again.

“I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving I’m starving. I’m going to die!

4:15 a.m. I got up, stumbled into the bathroom where an extra food dish is kept, filled it, and stumbled back to bed. I fell asleep to the sounds of munching, and assumed that he realized it was either grown up cat food, or nothing.

But yay, both cats had been placated for the night, and I could go back to sleep.

4:45 a.m.

Rapid fire meowing that roughly translated into “Yo, Woman, thanks for the chow, but now I need this itchy spot on my back seen to. Come on, wake up, do your Feline Ownerly duty. Scratch, Woman, scratch!”

5:15 a.m.

“Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”

No reason. He just wanted to sit by my head and meow his little fool head off.

6:30 a.m.

“Hey. I’m hungry again. And I don’t want that dry crap. Could you get up and open a can for me? Like, right now? Come on. Get up get up get up get up get up get up get up! I’m not going to stop until someone uses their opposable thumbs and gets me some prime Stinky goodness!”

7:15 or thereabouts.

I hear a key in the front door; Max does, too, and no longer am I the focus of attention. In fact, I don’t exist anymore. I am free to fall asleep, and since I don’t have t be anywhere, I can sleep as late as I want.

8 a.m.

Rapid fire barking coming from the next building; someone’s rather large dog is on a balcony, barking his little fool head off, and I’m pretty sure it roughly translated into “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! You’re trying to sleep in and I’m not going to let you!”

It was a conspiracy.

It had to be.


This is a head I once grew.
Just a little grass thingy sent to me by a friend.
But tell me...
Does he not look like Bill Clinton???


Let’s Discuss The “P” Word Again…Unless You Read This Almost Same Thing 3 Years Ago, In Which Case Pick A Blog From The List to The Left And Find New And Exciting Things To Read…=OR= What Defines “One O Those Nights” =OR= Is This Blogdom’s Longest Title Ever?

Imagine, if you will, slugging back a Big Gulp filled to the brim—no ice because that would take up valuable space for more liquid—and then have kidneys that don’t know that they need to hold onto some of the water (soda, tea, whatever) you’ve just consumed.

It literally goes right through you.

Now, imagine, if you will, having sucked in a Big Gulp and still you’re thirsty. Not just a little, but incredibly, violently thirsty. So thirsty it hurts. You can drink until you throw up, but you’re still thirsty.

And you’re peeing like a madman. Truthfully, even if you weren’t drinking, you’d be peeing because those kidneys just don’t know to hold onto anything. But then you’d screw up your blood chemistry, and you might up and croak. So drinking is the wiser course of action.

That was my problem the other night, on the way back from the prison. It wasn’t just that I was trapped in my car with a full bladder; I was trapped in my car with a full bladder and with every second my kidneys were allowing more to dribble in, and at an impressive rate. They don’t know when to hold water because my brain no longer makes Vasopressin, the hormone that regulates water retention and release. Diabetes Insipidus (not to be confused with diabetes mellitus, or “sugar diabetes.” This would be more aptly called “water diabetes.”)

There’s medication for that; the previously mentioned DDAVP (Desmopressin) that ran out on me early in the evening. That happens once in a while; if it’s after 6 p.m. I generally let it go—I drink and pee and drink and pee all evening—and just medicate myself before I go to bed.

It’s not a big deal, really. As long as I pay attention to how much goes in and how much goes out, and when I need more DDAVP, it’s all good. It’s not so good for little kids, who often go through torturous months—sometimes years—without a diagnosis. People figure their kid pees a lot, so they withhold liquids, but the kid is so thirsty he’s going nuts…toddlers have been caught drinking out of toilets, their thirst is so bad.

But, I digress…

For me it’s not generally a big deal, not unless I’m in dire need of Facilities. Or something to drink. The Spouse Thingy is resigned to the idea that there will be times when we might be just 2 miles from home but I need something to drink RIGHT NOW, so he stops and becomes My Hero just by spending a buck on a diet soda. A big diet soda. That I drain by the time we cover that 2 miles home. And then, smart man that he is, he gets out of my way as I run towards the apartment like my ass is on fire.

If you’re going to have something that starts with “diabetes,” in my not so humble opinion, this is the one to have. No insulin, no checking blood sugars a million times a day. Yes, things can get ugly if you’re incapacitated and no one knows why pee is streaming from you like a fountain and then you get terminally dehydrated, your blood gets thick and won’t move, and then you die, but for the most part, it’s just One Of Those Things. It’s easy to deal with…

…unless you’re in the car and your bladder is screaming and you think you’re going to pee yourself right there in the driver’s seat where you will then FRY because the seat is all electronic and your luck means there will be some sort of short that will go zzzzzzzap when your bodily fluids hit it, well, then it sucks.

No, don’t ask me to go test that part of it.
I like my car.
Yeah, it already smells like cat pee, but still…


I knew by 8 p.m. it was going to be one of Those Nights. Which, for me, is defined by how much I drink and how often I have to run to the potty… When it’s not one of Those Nights I’m Perfectly Normal Person (shaddup, I am!) and I knock back a couple cans of diet soda (Splenda sweetened, thank ewe very much) and make a trip or two to the potty. When it is one of Those Nights, I kill off half a case at least and God help anyone who gets between me and the bathroom.

But hey, it’s late enough, I might as well let it go and just take my DDAVP at bedtime like always. All the running to the bathroom can count as exercise, dangit!

Nine thirty the doorbell rings. This makes me a nervous Wabbit because the Spouse Thingy is at work and the Boy is on stage half an hour away (opening night, I was not allowed to go… he wants us to wait until next week) and this is turning out to be not the safest neighborhood in the world… Ya know, that murder-suicide at the complex next to ours, the radio theft, tires around here being slashed. The peephole is my friend, and I’m not afraid to pretend I’m not there.

Anyway, it’s my neighbor. The nice lady who always asked how Max was doing when he was sick. Her car is deader than dead, and she’s late for work. It’s her first night in a new unit. She desperately needs a ride.

I’m night blind.
She has to get to work.
There’s no one else to ask.

I ask about the road lighting along the way; it’s brightly lit. It’s only 2 miles away. So okay, if she’s willing to be in a car I’m driving at night, I’m willing to risk it.

Where are we headed?

The prison.


The prison.
The big one where they once kept Charles Manson for a number of years.
The place with the guards with big guns.

It can’t be any worse than driving onto the Air Force base on 9/11, which was a surreal experience, and scary as hell when made to drive the long stretch between the crossroad in front of the hospital and the main gate alone, with more than one machine gun trained on the car. That’s what I told myself. Just like that, without the funky painted Hummers.

No biggee.

Um, yeah. The logic in my head was not working; I know this prison is a safe place to be around. But still. It’s a prison. There are Bad People there.

So yep, I drove her to work. And while I had to squint the whole way there and the whole way back, I didn’t run anyone or anything (that I know of) over, and I didn’t bang up the car.

But on the way home, it hit me.

Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty.

Worse yet, I had to pee like the proverbial racehorse, and trust me, 1 mile is not a short distance when you’re about to implode.

I reasoned that the cat had peed in the car a month ago and it still kind of smells, so if I didn’t make it, no one would ever know. They’d just think it was a remnant Max’s little gift to the wonderful world of car interior odors.

Gripping the steering wheel until my knuckles were white (well, I assume. It’s not like I stopped to admire them) and clenching my teeth until my jaw hurt, I kept right on driving. I pulled into my parking slot, jumped out of the car, and armed it while I ran to the apartment.

Both cats were waiting by the door for me. And being inquisitive, they followed me down the hall and into the bathroom.

And they watched.
Stared, they did.

I felt oddly naked in front of my kitties.

They didn’t appreciate that I’d driven at night without killing anyone. They were not impressed that I didn’t wet myself on the way home. They did not admire my specialness.

And dammit, I am special. [ Stuart Smalley ] I’m special and I’m wonderful, and gosh darn it people LIKE me. [ /Stuart Smalley] And yes, getting behind the wheel at night takes a Short Bus kind of specialness.


That’s me.

Excuse me while I go make room for the next 32 ounce glass of decaff ice tea…


Self Defense 101.1

After having prepared a dinner that was so bad that no one ate more than 3 bites (no one’s fault; the meat was pre-marinated), the Spouse Thingy and I headed for WalMart to buy kitty litter (immediate odor control, thanks to whatever crawled up inside Buddah and died…) And while we were there we figured what the heck, there’s a McD’s right there, we might as well eat something.

At the table behind us there was a family with two younger kids; they were extremely well behaved and were carrying on non-whiny conversations. Mostly it was background noise that was noticeable simply because the kids were small but happily talkative. And the parents were paying attention to what their kids were saying, even giving consideration to their son’s thought that someone needs to get a really big airplane and bomb all the mean people off the face of the earth.

Yeah, a little too young to understand irony, I think.

But what caught my attention, and made me want to get up and talk to the parents was something very innocent, but borderline terrifying. The only thing that kept me in my seat was knowing I would scare their kids.

Teaching your kids their names, phone numbers, addresses, etc, is a very good idea. Going over that information is essential: drill it in so they know it when they need it. Make it so ingrained that they can cough it up even when under stress.

But people…don’t, not ever, go over that information in a public place. I was sitting right behind them, I could hear their little girl saying her full name, her phone number, the street she lived on, and the house number. If I had ill intents toward kids, I’d know where to find one very adorable little girl and a sweet little boy.

I wanted to turn around and let the parents know that; I wanted to let them know the ramifications of strangers overhearing that information, but the kids were there, and I didn’t want to scare the kids.

The whole thing reminded me of something else, I note I’d read on a newsgroup years ago. One of the NG’s participants was quite proud of herself; she was in her yard and noticed a very young kid (I can’t recall gender, but for this, let’s just say it was a little boy…) looking miserably frightened on the sidewalk. She asked if he was ok, and quickly learned that he was lost, only knew his first name, didn’t know his mother’s first name, nor his address or phone number. She sat him down on her front steps, and said she would call the police, and they would find his home.

The kid freaked out. He didn’t want her to call the police—that would mean he was in big trouble. So she acquiesced; she didn’t call the police. Instead, she put him in her car and drove up and down the streets until he recognized his house.

Alls well that ends well?

One would think. However… she was extremely proud of having helped the kid find his way home, and was angry beyond coherent words when I surmised that she’d done the entirely wrong thing. Yes, I pooped on her parade. I peed in her Cheerios. But I had to.

You don’t want to frighten kids, but there are times when the adult has to be an adult; she needed to let him cry and worry about getting into trouble and call the police no matter what he wanted. This kid needed to see that the police are there for his benefit, not his terror. He needed to understand that when you’re in trouble, they’re there to help you, not hurt you.

She also put him in her car; this kid now had the impression that it’s okay to get into a car with a perfect stranger. After all, he did it before and it turned out all right. The nice lady helped him find his mommy.

But next time he might not be so lucky. Next time it might be a predator who offers him the ride home. Next time he might not live to see life beyond the next 5 minutes.

Our intentions towards the kids around us are usually pretty good. But we’re the grown ups. We have to think. We have to follow point A to point B and reason out the possibilities in between. We have to pay attention to our surroundings—who might be listening in on the things we’re discussing with our kids—and we have to gauge what we do accordingly to protect them. We have to stop and consider what taking the easy way out might mean for their future. We have to make the grown up decisions based on not just the immediate safety of these kids, but their future safety as well.

If that means making a kid cry hard because the police are coming, so be it. Better that that the lesson that strangers are okay. If that means waiting until in the privacy of a car or home to go over personal information that can definitely help a kid out of a jam, then wait.

Look around.

The people to whom we keep saying “act your age” depend on it.


In terms of telephone hell, I got the prize in the Cracker Jack box today. And not the crappy stickers they have as a prize now; I got the really cool little rubber bouncing ball AND a set of lick on tattoos, like they had when I was a kid.

Trying to make an appointment with my endocrinologist is “I Will Transfer You” insanity. You start with central appointments, they don’t have his schedule, so they transfer the call to endocrinology, only they think endocrinology I in the medicine clinic, which it’s not, so the medicine clinic tries to transfer the call the to sub-specialty clinic, which is the right one, but the call winds up being answered in radiology… :::pauses to take a breath::: Well, I learned that it’s just easier to drive the 7 miles to the base and make the appointment in person.

So that’s what I did today. I put the top down on the car and drove to the base, waved my ID card at the gate guard and went in, and proceeded to the hospital.

My doc does not have any appointments available this month, and did not have a schedule available for next. Since I will run out of at least one of my meds before then, I left a message…and figured I’d be back on Friday (when said schedule should be ready) to make the appointment.

But then the lady at the desk handed it to me.
My very own Golden Ticket.
A card with the phone number that goes directly to the clinic.

I won’t have to drive out there to make another appointment. I can smile sweetly and get the Spouse Thingy to call an make it for me (because, as most of the world now knows, I don’t ‘do’ phones…)

Granted, I will have to go back to pick up the scrip, but hell! I got the phone number!

Life is good.


He’s feeling fine, but it was time for follow-up blood work.

Now, being a sometimes nice person, I warned the vet that he was feeling a whole lot better and would probably put up a fight, based on how he reacted the first time we took him there.

The doc took him to the back room to draw the blood, and I could hear him snarl and hiss, his very distinctive growl cutting through the drywall. Moments later the vet came back, saying that the only way they were going to be able to get blood out of him was to sedate him. It was a polite way to say “Hey, your cat is insane, and rather than be ripped to shreds by his teeth and back claws, we want to drug him until he’s higher than a kite.”

That also meant I had to leave him for a couple hours. When I returned to get him, he was a very loopy kitty; on the way home he tried to stand in his carrier several times, only to cave in to gravity.

I took him to the back bedroom—no food, no water, no Buddah for a few hours—and let him out. He stepped out of it gingerly, and began to weave and wobble around the room.

My little PsychoKitty was drunk.
I tried not to laugh, really I did.

But he was 3 sheets to the wind, pupils wide, head tilted as if he was trying to understand why the walls were spinning and the world would not be still.

I’m pretty sure he was enjoying the feeling.

Now that he’s sober, I think he misses it.

Can’t say as how I blame him…


Because I clearly had nothing better to do (read: housework avoidance) the last couple of days, I decided to re-do the archive for my blog. Since losing the domain where most of the image files were hosted, anything older than 2 months looked pretty crappy, with all the little “this image is obviously missing” boxes.

Plus, I wanted to have them in some semblance of order; you know, not seeing the last day of the month first, and having to scroll down to read the first entry.

Because, you know, so many people read my archives…

Everything is there now, but I haven’t added comments older than January…I’ll get to it, but my neck hurts from sitting here so long, and my eyeballs are burning. I took a cake out of the oven about half an hour ago, and as the aroma reaches the bedroom, I’m thinking it may take priority over adding more comments to last year’s posts.

==>New Archives<==

Go on now.
Go read all my wonderful musings.
You know you want to.


Thumper Writes To Celebrities Who Will Never Write Back

Dear Luther,

Dude, you were way too young to go off onto the next adventure. We weren’t done with you yet; a great many of us were waiting impatiently for your recovery so we could hear your voice pouring like smooth melted chocolate through the stereo speakers again. The only good thing is knowing you’re gonna get your wish; just don’t step on your old man’s toes, okay?

Dear Tom,

Please. Stop. Really, just stop.

If you want to get up there and pontificate and say things to insult vast numbers of people on subjects you only think you know everything about, do what the rest of us do. Get a blog. Cyberspace was made for looking stupid and inconsiderate. I do it on a regular basis. It’s quite cathartic.

Just don’t get on national TV and tell Matt Lauer he doesn’t know anything about the history of psychiatry, because truthfully, you have no idea what he knows. Don’t rant about how Ritalin is now a street drug. So what if it is? There are tons of viable drugs out there that have become street drugs. Do we stop giving post-op patients pain medication because some kid on the street uses it for recreational purposes?

Thing is, you’re right about a few things. Psych drugs—hell, LOTS of drugs— are over-prescribed. There’s no real proof that chemical imbalances exist in the brain. But ya know, there’s no real proof that our bodies are inhabited by the remnants of an evil alien that we have to work to get rid of, but you don’t see me on The Today Show shouting at you because that’s what you believe.

Sometimes you have to treat the symptoms without knowing the root cause. Sometimes the responsible thing is to medicate the mom with post-partum depression before she drowns her kids in the bathtub, ya know?

Dear Orpah,

Was the Hermes thing really the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to you? I understand having a knee jerk reaction to something upsetting, but for someone with your past, I have a hard time grasping that that is the most humiliating thing that’s happened in your uber-successful life.

On the other hand, I also understand that having been molested, growing up dirt poor, and all the other assorted crap you’ve been through wasn’t necessarily humiliating, but traumatizing. And I know that because of the color of my skin, I will never know what the slings and arrows of abject racism feel like when they penetrate deeply. So maybe it really was the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to you.

If it is…count yourself lucky. There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who could trump the humiliation factor with stories that happened to them in junior high alone…shoot, ask any number of people who survived Parochial School. Like my bud Murf, who was punched square in the face by a nun right there in front of the entire church, all his friends, the priest, and God. All because he stuck a finger in his mouth when he felt like he was choking to death on the Host. Imagine being a 12 year old filled with a fiery belief in your church and religion, being cold cocked and told you’re Going To Hell because you dared to touch the Host instead of dying right there in front of everyone you know.

Here’s the thing, though…I haven’t seen you on TV saying the Hermes thing was all that humiliating. It’s all been “friends on Oprah SAY that…”

Yeah, I need to turn the TV off.




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