Random Saturdays – Hood Gratitude

For most of my teens and early 20s, I really resented my childhood and the way my parents chose to raise me.  I resented that I didn’t grow up in a sitcom where every problem could be solved in 30 minutes or less.  I resented that I didn’t even live in a family where I knew I’d see both of my parents every day, maybe share a meal with them or have a conversation about how our days went.  As an adult, I’m thankful for my childhood and for having weird parents because everything else in life seems so much easier now.

A few weeks ago, there was a pretty big storm.  That night, I came home to a blackout.  Once I got into the apartment, I lit the giant candle that I keep on the stove for power outages.  My iPhone was dying , and had I realized I would be coming home to a power outage, I would have charged it on the drive home.  However, I was issued a new Droid phone at work that day and had just charged it.  I was thankful that I still had a way to call the power company to make sure the outage was reported and to check on how long it was estimated to last.  I also used some battery power to send a tweet:

Oncor already knew about the outage and estimated it would be fixed by 2 am.  It was just after 10 pm at that point, so, I decided it was The Universe’s way of telling me to chill out and go to bed early because I hadn’t gotten much sleep that week.  I had tortilla chips and frosted cornflakes from the pantry and got ready for bed.  So, I took a very quick shower by candlelight and laid down in bed.  Then, I heard a soft rustling noise.  I hoped that it was just Elska in the other room, but I knew it was a big roach (we call ’em “waterbugs” in the South) walking on paper.  Normally, I just vacuum up waterbugs, and then vacuum the entire apartment, hoping to smother it in dust and pet dander.  No power meant no vacuum.  I lit my power outage candle again and got out of bed to look in a paper bag by my bed where I suspected the roach was.  I didn’t see anything in the bag and the noise had stopped, but I kept looking.  Then, I felt something under my foot…

(Gif Credit: http://mygifdump.tumblr.com/post/35296151766)

I’m pretty sure I called the roach a GD em effer as I ran to the bathroom.  I knew I had to act fast, so I got a wad of toilet paper.  Then, I got a bigger wad of toilet paper.  After flushing the bug down the toilet, I washed my foot and rubbed it with anti-bacterial stuffs.  I had the heebie jeebies, but I was pretty proud of myself because  I’d never “directly” grabbed a roach like that before.  I went to bed, feeling accomplished and began to mentally list the reasons why the the day had been good.

I began thinking about how I did most of what I did during the blackout on autopilot because I was used to it growing up.  Whether it was because of a storm or because someone forgot to pay the electric bill or because we couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill, I knew what to do and what not to do during a blackout.  As a kid, the electricity always seemed to go out right when I was taking a bath.  My dad would bring a candle or flashlight to me and would stand outside of the door while I finished rinsing off because I was afraid of the dark (well, not so much the dark as ghosts;  we lived in a haunted house).  I’d finish my bath and my dad would remind me that we have to worry more about living people than dead people and everything would be okay.  If my mom was home, we would all sit around, talking in the candlelight for awhile.  Sometimes, my dad would play his acoustic guitar and that would sooth all of us.  When I was ready for bed, my parents would tuck me in, making sure that I felt safe in the dark.  They’d even leave a candle burning for me so I could fall asleep.  I was reminiscing about all of this when I heard the click that meant that the power was now working.  It was 12 am, two hours before the estimated return to service time.  I continued to lay in bed, mentally listing good things about my life until I fell asleep.


Random Saturdays – Superhuman Strength

A couple of weeks ago, Amanda and I went to Del Taco to grab some dinner and then walked around Target for awhile afterwards.  At the crack-like dollar bins at Target, I got a mini-dry erase board and some St. Patrick’s Day socks.  Amanda got a flexbinder and St. Patrick’s Day socks.  Afterwards, we drove up the street to 7-Eleven and got some hot cocoa.  When we started heading back to the area where we started the evening, we came upon a road blockade.

At first, we thought it was probably a terrible car accident, but we didn’t see an accident.  There were two or three cop cars blocking the road and forcing us into a detour, two or three cop cars at the gas station on the corner, a few cop cars blocking off the road at the major intersection down the street, and there were cop cars parked in all of the parking lots in the shopping center between us and the major intersection.  Still, we couldn’t see an accident or anyone being arrested.  There were also no ambulances, so we couldn’t figure out what would require so many cops to be in one area.  There was a bank in the shopping center, though, so we thought someone might have tried to rob it.  Amanda drove while I searched for breaking news feeds on my phone, but I couldn’t find anything.  I even downloaded a police scanner app, but we didn’t hear anything on the scanners.  Meanwhile, Amanda tried to get out of the area, but we kept coming upon different parts of the blockade.

It was about this time that Amanda said she was scared that the cops would get mad at us for driving around so much.  I told her that it was more likely that while we tried to avoid the blockade, the guy that robbed the bank would run up to the car, bang on my window, stick the gun to my face, and yell, “Let me into the car!”  Then I would yell, “Eff you! Stabbing forever!”  Then Amanda and I would jump out of the car and attack the guy.  She’d throw the flexbinder over the guy’s head to blind him.  We’d use our St. Patrick’s Day socks to tie him up.  Then I’d hang my mini-dry erase board from his neck, and on it I’d write, “STABBING FOREVER!”  Then we’d be heroes.

Amanda said that after the guy was locked up in prison, she and I would feel like something wasn’t right because we had been following the trial.  We’d realize that Sargeant Sherman framed the guy locked up in prison.  We’d get back on the case and find proof of Sargeant Sherman’s guilt, which would free the other guy.  Again, we’d be heroes.

Then, I said that the news people would interview us.  “You’ve been through so much over the past year — you were held at gunpoint, you took down an armed robber, you uncovered a dirty cop, and then took down that scumbag.  You must’ve been frightened.  How did you overcome your fears in order to become heroes?”  I would tell the news people, “We were never really scared.  It’s kind of like when a momma bear is protecting her cub and she suddenly gets superhuman strength–”

We laughed so hard at that point, that we couldn’t come up with anything else.  The icing on the cake came the next day.  I visited my dad in the hospital as he healed from his colostomy takedown surgery.  I told the story above to my dad and stepmom and they thought it was pretty funny.  That afternoon, we watched cooking shows on PBS.  I pointed out how pro-knife everyone on the cooking shows were.  Julia Child scored a pearl onion and I said something about how mean she was to that innocent onion.  My dad said, “I’m gonna cut you deep, long, and continuous.”  Jacques and Julia finished beating the hell out of some dough as my dad, stepmom, and I laughed so hard that we cried.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I am my father’s daughter.


Random Saturdays – Men and Their Crappy Health

My dad started complaining about this thing poking out of his belly button over seven years ago.  “It hurts and it pops out, so I have to push it back in,” is how he described it.  You’d see his face in pain and he’d rub his beer belly like a pregnant woman rubs her tummy.  I don’t remember exactly how, but he found out it was a hernia, and then did nothing about it.  At one point, the neighbor across the alley told my dad that he had the same problem and it’s a simple outpatient surgery.  I volunteered to take time off to drive my dad to and from appointments, take care of him while he recuperated, whatever he needed.  He just had to make the phone calls.  He claimed to have made them, but always had excuses for why the doctors were jerks who didn’t have time for him.

Cut to last summer when my step-mom finally made an appointment for my dad to see a doctor because the hernia caused my dad so much pain.  Before my dad made it to the appointment, I got a call from the ER.  My step-mom called an ambulance because my dad was in excruciating pain.  The doctor there gave my dad some pain pills and sent him home since my dad was due for surgery a few days later.  It was supposed to be outpatient surgery, but the surgeon saw, in medical terms, “a hot mess”.  The hernia had morphed into diverticulitis and perforations in the colon, which required a colostomy.

Even after all this, my friend, Cathy’s, boyfriend has a hernia and put off seeing a doctor for months.  Seriously???  Men – why do you hate being healthy?!  Why do you people do this?  Why do you wait and wait and wait to see the doctor?  Is it because you enjoy hearing the doctor say things like, “From a medical standpoint, you’re officially dead.”  Does it have something to do with zombie fantasies?

A slightly more whimsical metaphor for a man's festering gut

A slightly more whimsical metaphor for a man’s festering gut

I like my doctor, but I don’t like seeing her.  I see her because I have to for my health.  Taking care of your health is like doing yard work.  The longer you wait to take care of it, the worse it’s going to be.  If you wait too long, you’ll be forced to let others take care of it, at which point, they might have to chop down the big shade tree in your front yard because it’s diseased because you didn’t keep the pests away from it, so now you’ll be without shade and you have a gaping hole in your hard.  Good going men!  Hope you enjoy your crappy health and your ugly yard!