Sunday, May 8, 2011

Getting hung up on the oil.

I would not say that I come from a particularly religious family, but my dad has a habit of perusing the Jesus channels on the odd occasion. He's a big fan of Joyce Meyer and TD Jakes, but tonight he'd happened upon Joel Osteen. I would not say that I am a particularly religious person, but I do enjoy an infusion of Joel Osteen on the odd occasion.

I paused long enough in my regular Sunday night chores to listen for a few minutes. On this particular night, Joel was talking about how to stay positive and joyful, even when one might not feel very positive or joyful. He referenced Hebrews 1:9, which says something to the effect of "those who love righteousness will be anointed in the oil of joy." I immediately felt more positive about it being Sunday night, and having to go to work the next morning.

The message was lost on my father, unfortunately. He sat on the couch grimacing. "Anointed. I hate that word. And I don't like oil. I don't want to be anointed with the oil of joy."

"Dad, it's not literal."

We continued watching in silence. For about three seconds.

"Anointed. We don't use that word everyday. It's meaningless. It's a stupid word."

"No...WE don't use it everyday. But it's coming in handy for Joel Osteen right now," I pointed out.

"Oh." We continued watching for another three seconds, and then..

"Oil collects dirt."

"OKAY DAD! I get it!"

"Sorry...I got hung up on the oil."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Points Deduction (not mine for once)

I'm giving my mom a Style Points Deduction for buying the dogs chew hooves that smell like cow manure when chewed. Of COURSE Quito loves he's been gathering them up and burying them under the clothes on the floor in my room. This morning I gathered them up and tossed them all into the yard. It's OK if the yard smells like a pasture. It is NOT OK for my room to smell like one.

She also bought them peanut butter apple stuffed femurs. It blew my dad's mind. He's a simple guy. He doesn't believe in peanut butter stuffed femurs. My mom informed him that she could have purchased banana yogurt or bacon filled femurs. He thought that was funny, and asked her who did the prep work for the chef.

Dad is giving the scientist from last night's PBS special on wolverines a Style Points Deduction for inter-species adoption. Dad does not believe in inter-species adoptions because they are "unnatural." I pointed out that we "adopt" dogs. He told me our dogs didn't count, because Mom buys them peanut butter apple femurs, which "blurs the line a little."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Communists and Kurt Warner

My parents are devout Dancing With the Stars fans. The are also big Cardinals fans, so they were doubly excited when Kurt Warner was announced as a contestant on this season of DWTS. My father in particular thinks Kurt Warner is a model citizen, and deserves the Mirror Ball Trophy for his character and quarterbacking skills alone.

Len Goodman disagreed. In the first week, he panned Kurt, giving him a 5 (the other two gave him 7s and noted his "potential") and saying that he didn't like him this week, and didn't expect to like him next week either. Here's an approximation of my dad's reaction:

"Bullshit! Bullshit! That is KURT WARNER! You do not disrespect KURT WARNER! He's an American great! I refuse to watch this show! Horse shit! You are a COMMUNIST if you don't like Kurt Warner. I can't watch this crap! This is disgusting!"

For remainder of the week, Dad kept calling Len a communist and saying how he couldn't stomach the show. We watched it again the next week. Thankfully, Len had more positive things to say about Kurt, sparing me another round of McCarthyism. For a week.

The peace was short-lived, however. After one particularly contentious round of judging, Kurt received 6s for having "big hands" "bent" rather than "flexed" knees, despite a rather clean performance. Bristol Palin received straight 7s and glowing praise for forgetting almost all of her steps, but remembering to smile. And unfair assessment to be sure, but Dad couldn't handle the politics.

"This is a set-up! A conspiracy! I mean, she's graceful, but that is KURT WARNER! She was not better than KURT WARNER! (itn's true...she wasn't) Len's a communist! This show has no credibilty! I refuse to watch it! Anyone who doesn't like KURT WARNER is a COMMUNIST!"

We watched it again the following week. And so it went until Kurt was finally eliminated. To this day, my dad still randomly mutters about communists and Kurt Warner.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


My blog has been silent since June. While the lack of activity seems to suggest a static style points count, that is not the case. I lose at least a point for each day I continue living in this house. I lose ten each time I reveal my living arrangements to someone. I may lose up to 100 depending on their reaction, which can range from mild disdain (a raised eyebrow) to moderate disdain (two raised eyebrows + mouth contortions) to flat out disgust (two raised eyebrows+mouth contortions+commentary/ridicule and/or air of superiority).

Living with one's parents is a mark of shame in our culture. It is much more respectable to live independently. Paying inflated rent prices on a studio apartment while concealing all evidence of fur children to avoid a pet deposit, being generally broke, eating solely from the frozen food group, and falling asleep on the couch alone at 7pm is indicative of only one thing - SUCCESS. And success garners respect.

I miss my townhouse.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Vacation; Week Three

Today I went swimming. I skimmed 16 bees, one cockroach, and one wasp from the pool, along with several hundred pyracantha buds. This was the highlight of my day so far.

I need a summer job.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Amityville continued...

After a dramatic start to my day I tried to settle into my regular vacation schedule, which typically involves a couple of hours spent drinking copious amounts of coffee and partially reading then getting disgusted with and abandoning every article in the Republic.

This is where I should mention that I'm incredibly field dependent, which is a nice way of saying easily distracted by weird noises and mystifying facial expressions. And hammering falls into the category of weird noises, especially when there are four or five hammers hammering different cadences on different parts of the roof. And each hammer creates it's own unique pitch. And all this was amplified by exquisite attic acoustics, which filtered into every part of the house through AC ducts and the new man-sized hole in the roof. This lasted for ten hours. Ten. Hours. Annoying, for sure, but if I can teach a kid with Tourette's Syndrome, I can handle a little hammering.

But it wasn't just the hammering. (I should also mention that I've inherited the family traits of neuroticism and anxiety, which I can usually counterbalance with my two most obvious personality flaws: detachment and aloofness. This makes me seem pretty calm most of the time, but if the balance of power tips in favor of neuroticism or anxiety by, let's say, the presence of a highly anxious or neurotic person who moves their limbs rapidly and unexpectedly, I will have a meltdown of Chernobyl-like proportions and I'm pretty sure that there is enough reactive energy pent up in my body that if I ever did have children they'd have two heads or tails or something...but that's neither here nor there.) So anyway, my anxiety was already high from the hammering, but I was being detached by staring glassy eyed at the TV and I was doing OK until my dad started hopping out of his seat every ten minutes to check on the workers. And every time he opened the door, the dogs would bark. All five of them. And each time this happened all humans present would start shouting at the dogs to shut up. Hammering. Barking. Shouting. My hair-trigger fight or flight response was starting to kick in. I decided to lie down.

In my room, it was much more peaceful. I even started to like the sound of the hammering. It muffled the sound of the dogs, who were once again rage-barking at the door. Just as my blood pressure started to drop, I heard a baby crying. Wailing, really. That gut-wrenching "hurt and scared" cry.

I bolted out of my room just in time to see my sister in law scoop up my niece and carry her to the couch. My niece was sobbing and clutching her little leg, which had a nasty bruise, some scratches, and what looked like a puncture wound or two. My dog, who is also prone to neuroticism and an inexplicable fear of small children, had bitten her as she tried to navigate the pack of overstimulated dogs clogging the front hall. My heart broke into a million pieces. It's bad enough someone you love is hurt and upset. It's doubly bad when the cause of the hurt is your loyal, loving, yet hideously ugly rescue dog that everyone else already hates.

In the midst of the pandemonium, my aunt had arrived. She thinks she's Cesar Milan, even though she has never owned a dog. Immediately, I got an earful about what a bad pack leader I am and how Quito needs to be trained better and she's punctuating all of this with a weird sound - "Aeh! Aeh!"- that's supposed to be the auditory version of pepper spray for dogs.

So now there's hammering, barking, crying, shouting, and "Aeh aeh!." I pretty much checked out right there and started breathing through my mouth. Not good.

My mom offered me a cocktail.

I opted for the heavy artillery. Nerve tonic, ice cream for dinner, playoff hockey and a night cap of Tylenol PM.

At least the Blackhawks beat Philly.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Amityville Horror? No, just my regular residence.

Out of the twenty-two Mondays of 2010, this was hands down the shittiest. It started shitty, revved up to shittier, and if I don't quit reading my novel du jour, we might reach superlative levels of shittiness. Consider the following.

I awoke from a less than restful slumber at 7:30 a.m. to what sounded like a herd of buffalo running sprints on the rooftop. Roofers...already. I could have buried my slightly throbbing head under the pillow and eked out a few more hours of sleep...but then I heard my mother shrieking something unintelligible. I knew it was bad, because then all she could get out was "Oh my God,"and she had that tone she gets when she's trying not to cry, but the cry is winning.

At this point I was wide awake. My first thought was that Quito had eaten one of her cats. I did some quick mental calculations of the contents of my bank accounts to see if I had enough for deposit and first months rent, and therefore enough incentive to save his life. But just as I was about to leap out of bed and defend him from certain death, I smelled his unmistakeable stench and felt his fuzzy mullet tickling my foot. Sweet relief.

My second thought was that the roofers had destroyed her koi pond. That would suck.

Suddenly, I heard her shouting from the backyard. "Get your $@&%* off the roof! GET OFF THE ROOF RIGHT NOW!"

I groggily rolled off my bed and peeked out of my bedroom door. My mother was storming down the hallway.

"Come look at what your father did!" She was raging! Gingerly, I followed her to her bedroom. She led me to the doorway of the master bathroom...which seemed uncharacterstically sunny and warm...splintery and fiber glassy. There was a giant hole in the ceiling above the shower.

"Your father decided to put a skylight in the bathroom!"

The wee hours are not my finest cognitive moments, but I could tell from my mom's caustic tone and the unorthodox shape of the hole that this was not a planned renovation. He had fallen through the roof.

I quickly assessed the damage. No Dad on the floor. No blood on Mom's hands. He must still be alive. I walked out to the living room and found him sitting on the couch, looking very humble. His legs were scratched and his pants were torn, but I think his pride had taken the brunt of the fall.

"I told you to stay off the roof," I chastised.

He nodded. "I broke a coffee cup this morning. Maybe that was a bad omen. Maybe someone's trying to tell me something."

If only the string of misfortune had ended with a broken cup and a hole in the roof.

To be continued...