Holiday Adventures.

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The holidays are over!

12/21/2014
I went to visit my mom toting a giant bag of tinsel, ornaments and lights, intent on tarting up her room in accordance with the season.

I also brought her beer and cookies, because the holidays are for getting drunk and fat.

We chatted for a bit, she sipped at her beer and then had a nurse bring her some pain meds for her arthritis. This resulted in her nodding off before I could get to the decorating – not a problem, as I felt pretty confident in my ability to string some lights without oversight.

As she slept, I deployed a payload of holiday cheer an order of magnitude more than most people might consider necessary. Or reasonable. It was aggressively, devistatingly festive.

I set up a tiny christmas tree with a full skirt and emptied a pack of candy canes on it’s branches. It looked like a toddler tree playing dress-up with its mom’s clothes. Then I made a tree on the wall with tinsel and lights. I was going to call it a day after hanging some stockings, then I realized I hadn’t used half of what I brought. I just kept finding another string of lights in the bag, and then another empty outlet in the room, and that is some pretty simple math.

Most of the things in her room are wrapped in lights and fringed mylar now.

While I was making some final adjustments, my mom’s eyes opened slightly, then immediately snapped wide open. She looked mildly confused – not totally surprising as she fell asleep to the dim glow of the tv, and woke up to a Christmas disco.

12/22/2014
Day off – lounging, baking, chili-making.

Delivered fudge to mom. Mom demands more fudge.

Video gaming – John introduced me to Saint’s Row IV. Multiplayer is hilarious fun. We are the president. We have very important decisions to make.

12/23/2014
Packing. Sweeping the house to make sure no gifts are left behind. Nervous dog prances in front of door to make sure he is not left behind. Mail baked goods. Fail to realize how packed the post office will be two days before Christmas. Wait in post office. Leave late. Curse the holidays, post office, self and others.

Load car, start driving. Fail to realize how packed highways are going to be at 5PM two days before Christmas. Curse holidays, driving, self and others.

At least John updated all the driving music.

12/24/2014
Christmas Eve – Italian family festivities. Everyone gathers at my Aunt’s house to eat shrimp and cookies, gossip and exchange gift cards.

Then we head back to my smom and dad’s house to continue eating and gossiping. We wait for my niece and nephew (4 and 6 years old, respectively) to go to bed, then start dragging out massive piles of gifts to put under the tree. By the time it is done, the entrance is completely blocked with gifts. The back door, is similarly barricaded with boxes, gift wrap and cookies.

I mention to my family that, in the event of a fire, we will all die, as we have left no avenue of escape. Everyone is tired and drinking wine, so this information does not seem to have much impact.

A few minutes later, my niece wanders sleepily into the living room to make an announcement:

allaenaxmassick

While my smom and sister make with the cleanup, my niece climbs onto the couch, curls into the smallest possible ball, and passes out. Some time later, the rest of us manage to pass out as well.

12/25/2015
Mostly a blur starting with toddlers kicking my door in at 7 AM to inform me that Santa had performed his stealthy duties while we slept. Highlights include:

  • a great deal of tearing and crumpling paper
  • my nephew having a meltdown because he was out of gifts to open
  • my niece attempting to chew the face off of penguin
  • my niece attempting to chew the face off of several dolls
  • my niece having a meltdown because she couldn’t play with her brother’s toys
  • my dog having a meltdown due to the stress of being in a strange, noisy environment with two small children, one of whom is going through a “chew the faces off of things” phase
  • a dog bite puncturing two of my fingers (related to the item immediately above this one)
  • friends chilling at my apartment, playing A Murder of Crows
  • friends from out of town visiting

12/26/2015
I wake up early because my intestines are telling me that my niece shared whatever horrid illness she had with me. Twelve hours of liquishits ensue. (Thanks, Allaena)

nnnhhrrr, hrrmble muurrmble frrmble YOO ESS AYYYYayay!

Hung out at the nursing home this evening with my mom to watch fireworks. On tv. Because fuck everything about downtown Columbus this evening.

It may be that something of the atmosphere was lost by not being downtown1, but the fireworks were unimpressive. I wanted to say it was just explosions set to music, but that implies more attention to detail than was given in this case. It was just explosions while at the same time music was happening, with no apparent relationship between the two events.

After a ten minute patriotism megamix2, the music stopped, and a generically enthusiastic voice booms out “Now it’s time for the grand finale, brought to you by Marathon Oil!”. At which point the pyrotechnicians presumably just started blasting skyward whatever rockets and snap bangs they could lay hands on as quickly as possible. The end result of this was a cloud of smoke illuminated here and there by the now hidden display.

 

Artistry? Fuck no. This is ‘murrca. Excess.

 

Before the fireworks there was Master Chef eliminations3, Big Brother4 and we watched Egypt collectively fire their president. People getting voted off the Island left and right tonight.

 

 

 

1And drunk.
2God Bless The USA might be the perfect patriotic song – especially for rallying a sort of generic patriotic fervor that has no specific direction. Lines like “Cause the flag still stands for freedom/And they can’t take that away” call out to your identity and suggest that someone means to take it from you. It provokes a defensive mindset with the threat of the ever-present “they”. The others. You know the ones. The ones that are not like you. The ones that hate you just because they are jealous of how awesome you are, and freedom and shit.
3Macaroons are apparently the litmus test of the baking world.
4The fact that my schizophrenic mom likes the show Big Brother makes me smile my small “I shouldn’t be smiling at this” smile.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_USA_(song)

Heuristic.

Little kids sort of freak me out. That is not to imply that I have child related phobia, it’s simply that I’m never quite at ease when one is around due to the fact that they are 1.) small and 2.) ignorant of the notion of their own mortality. As I understand it, children don’t have a real sense of self until around age 21. Or I guess more appropriately, they have no sense of self as a distinct object careening around in a 3-dimensional space where objects are often hard and unyielding. Or sharp. Or fire. Not sure if I have the age right, and I’m certain it varies. If any parents or shrinks have some actual data they’d like to share, feel free to correct my heresies.

In any event, the defining attributes of children seem to be inquisitiveness and utter disregard for safety. As a result, their investigative methods are somewhat lacking in the necessary sophistication to ensure relatively safe experimentation. It essentially boils down to “Ah, look! An as yet unidentified object! I ought to put it in my mouth to determine its nature and origin.”

The point being here, that you have to pay attention to them. At all times. I’m bad at focusing on anything that is not aggressively demanding my attention2, so that is more than a little intimidating to me. It is also possible that an infant might make both better reasoned and less impulsive decisions than I do.

This attitude and its exploratory trial and error manifestation in and of itself is rather delightful to observe. When not distracted by an immediate need such as hunger or the need to be cleansed of its own feces, small children are almost exclusively preoccupied with figuring shit out. That’s pretty cool.

My sister had a kid this past October, and whenever I’m around him, I find myself fascinated by his fascination with that which I have long since considered mundane3. If not for the expense, mess, time consideration, pregnancy, labor and general responsibility, I would have a child of my own.

Of course I fully recognize that, absent those factors, I’m essentially left with a learning algorithm. Which is why I intend to craft my children of metal and light instead of settling for the product of our baser exertions45.

Right. So anyway, I’m looking for edutainment toys for my nephew – or at least something sort of science-themed. As opposed to plush, squeaky-themed toys, because those are for dogs. I ordered him a baby version of a Hoberman Sphere and was very pleased with myself. I went back to check on my order and found my money had been refunded, as they were out of stock. I griped about this in front actual parents, who were horrified because playing with one of these things is obviously a death sentence for a child. Again – it was in the infant section. They’re in stock again – I’m still going to order one because, well, there’s a picture of an infant playing with it on the site, and that seems to pretty solidly support my case.

I’ll hear other suggestions for toys if anyone has any. Obviously he’s a bit young for a chemistry set. Which is to say that I asked my sister, and she said no. Rendered terrified of an accusation of child endangerment, I’m basically just compiling a list of ideas now, which I will present to her for approval. And before anyone mentions it, it is also apparently “too soon” for a rock tumbler.

Oh, and since I’m discussing my sister’s kid, I will mention that she and baby-daddy tied the knot last weekend. Here’s the best picture taken that day:


Bitches don't even know.

Amber, from now on, it is inappropriate to refer to your friends as anything other than your crew.

Peace.

1Incidentally, I’ve also read that children do not develop a sense of other until around 5 or 7. For some reason that seems rather late to me, but it would explain why kids are kind of assholes.
2I have taken some pretty intense stimulants designed to forcibly wrangle my thoughts into some sort of manageable direction. I am, on occasion, uncomfortably energetic.
3Although to be fair, I was also pretty fascinated by watching my dog figure out how to eat a tortilla off of the kitchen floor.
4No offense intended to current parents. I’m certain your progeny are all the very essence of cherubic perfection, yet as individual and special as a snowflake crafted by the hand of a loving god.
5Have I been using superscripts correctly? I feel like they are supposed to go before the punctuation when used on the last word in a sentence, but it doesn’t look right for some reason.

Back me up Mr. Malthus

I already know I’m going to get shit for this from all five people that read what I post, but I don’t think this is necessarily a bad idea: UK official proposes “temporarily” sterilizing teen girls. For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s completely safe – will not hinder development, will not cause ovaries to erupt into tumors, etc. Seems at least like a not terrible idea . . .

Of course I’m also a fan of requiring a breeding license before you start inflicting your offspring on the general population – to at least make sure you can afford to cast your lot into the gene pool rather than filling out your welfare forms during the first trimester. And before anyone cries inappropriate government interference, consider that you already need a license to get married, drive a car, carry a gun or catch a fish. It’s not such an infringement on your rights to make sure you can afford a kid before you have one. You don’t actually have a right to breed and expect the state to compel the rest of the population to support your young.

And where do you suppose most of the welfare mums come from? Just taking a wild guess, I’d say a fair amount were high school girls either too stupid, uninformed or self-destructive to take steps to prevent a pregnancy. I knew a lot of girls in high school that ended up pregnant. One girl admitted to me that she thought as long as the guy pulled out, you were ok. That’s bad enough for a face-palm, but I also knew a girl whose plan was to get pregnant and collect welfare. That was it – she had figured out how many kids she needed to have to get by without even working. Is . . . is it going too far to think some people need their uterus revoked?

I don’t think this is going to make teenagers more promiscuous. Most kids feel as though they are exempt from consequences anyway – it just seems to go with the youthful territory. This would just protect them – and the rest of society – from their own poor judgement.

As part of a greater plan, you give the girls one of the five year implants, say from 13-18 or 12-17. Health classes starting in or around the seventh grade should start educating kids about sex. Yes this should happen in schools. No, this is not the domain of parents – at least not anymore than any other school subject is. Homeschool if you want, but know that if your kid doesn’t understand the basics, you fucked up. Sexual reproduction is a biological function, and as such is the province of science, not ethics. Much like our other biological functions, a series of social mores and restrictions have grown up around it – that is a more personal subject, and probably the right time to tell the public educators to butt out.

“Fixing” your kids for a few years might be an extreme step for a parent to take, but if it were safe I think I’d do it. I’ve said before – I’d advocate a broad spectrum vaccination for all STDs at birth if such a thing were available. I wouldn’t fear my child becoming a sex addict at fourteen because of it. Ideology can still be taught. If the ideology takes hold, then that young person will have made their choices based on the “right” reasons, rather than out of fear of mundane repercussions. If the ideology does not take hold . . .well, then at least society will not have to bear the burden of the person’s choices.

Long post is long.

Behold, the site of my formative years:


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This is my mom’s house, which, due to her mental condition, I have been looking after for a number of years as part of my role as her guardian. In this case, looking after basically means getting someone to mow the lawn every now and then, ensuring taxes are paid on time and making sure her neighbors keep their redneck detritus from trickling over onto her property. You have not lived until you have argued with a drunk stroke victim about moving a boat hitch off your lawn. The man spoke with a particular dialect that I probably would not have understood even if he’d had the benefit of teeth and full facial muscular control. I know I didn’t get the full meaning of what he was saying, but it involved squatter’s rights and how there hadn’t been anyone living in that house for a while. He also offered to put new siding on the house for a nominal fee.

I’ve wanted to rent the house out for a while now, but it wasn’t entirely livable – and my mom did not have the funds to hire people to make all the necessary repairs. The house being in another state also complicated the matter. So my smom and sister discussed the issue last time I was home, and we decided that Amber and her boyfriend would handle all the repairs with my mom footing the bill for the raw materials. In return, they would get to live there for a while rent free while fixing the place up.

I wanted to put the before and after pictures up at the same time, but my sister has turned a deaf ear to my pleas for pictures. Pictures which are apparently sitting on her computer, and need only the hand of a sentient user to post them somewhere.

Anyway.

Here are some of the before pictures:
Continue reading

God bless her, she tries.

So I’m staying at my dad’s for a little while because I’m going through some . . . stuff.  My little sister Amber determined that I needed something to cheer me up.  This something took the form of a head placed on my nightstand.




She’s quirky.

Amber walked into the room and simply placed the head on the edge of my nightstand and smiled.  She informed me that my new companion’s name is ‘Alexis’. However, if you click on the above photo, you can clearly see that the name tag on her little neck stump reads ‘Miss Kim’, so that is a point of contention for us.

A number of questions run through a person’s mind when they are gifted a human head:  Where did my bestower obtain this item?  Are there more parts forthcoming?  And most importantly, to whom can I mail this in an unmarked box?

You can’t tell from the picture, but Alexis is sitting directly next to the head of the bed, where she can watch over me like an eerie little angel.  And whisper secrets while I sleep.

This gift was sufficiently awesome to justify an entirely new category. 

Nana Evil

This week has been kind of a rough one – amongst other things I attended my grandfather’s funeral. The grief I felt at his passing was somewhat overshadowed by my seething hatred of my step-grandmother, whom I affectionately refer to as Nana Evil.

Some months after my grandmother passed away, Nana Evil clawed her way up from the depths of Florida and married my grandfather. She apparently had been the love of his life in his youth, but during their engagement decided to marry someone else. She sent him a letter alerting him to this fact. Fate provided him a second chance at marriage with her after he lost his wife and she devoured the souls of her previous 3 husbands.

In the ten years that she was married to my grandfather, Nana Evil managed to make it clear that everyone in his family was unwelcome in their (his) home and take him to Florida to buy a house and car for her daughter.

During his last days when he was in the hospital with a broken hip and heart condition, she refused to give anyone in his family information regarding his condition, or even what hospital he was in. When my grandfather’s sister pressed her for information about the hospital, Nana Evil gave her the wrong hospital information. As a result, every card that was sent to him was returned to sender because he wasn’t there. Also, she couldn’t be bothered to actually visit him in the hospital. So he passed on without a single person he knew at his side and, as far as he knew, no attempt at contact from anyone in his family.

The day his family found out about his death, she was demanding a copy of the will. Neither she, nor anyone from her family made an appearance or a call of condolence regarding his death. To her credit, she did agree to pay 1/3 the cost of a flower arrangement for the funeral. She instructed his children to deduct the cost of the flowers from the money she’ll get from his estate.

Kudos to you Nana Evil, for proving that you’re never too old to be a gold-digging whore.