Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Rage’

Dear Dad,

The last time I wrote to you here, I had satire on my mind. This time it is to complain. Thanks to you, I feel the need to bleach my entire body. This weekend cleaning out your garage was rough.

Even before you passed, I had marshaled the troops (i.e., your son in law and grandchildren who had no choice) to get your garage hoard somewhat under control. Just one bay of the three took us almost an entire weekend, including two trips in two trucks to both the dump and Goodwill.

Since your September demise, I’ve spent many weekend days inside your house going through mounds of paperwork (Why would you save owner’s manuals for appliances you gave away in the ’90s?), office supplies (so many office supplies) and CDs (Four copies of the same Flatt and Scruggs recording? What the heck?!) in just one room alone. At least I was in air conditioning and relative comfort.

This garage cleaning, though … sheesh. Here’s what I personally handled in just three hours:

1. Empty and near-empty bottles of all manner of small engine fluids
2. Stacks of 78 rpm records
3. Hundreds of jars of dried-up model airplane paint
4. All kinds of outdated technology (a slide projector!)
5. At least 45 different species of spiders and bugs, most of them alive and ready to rumble

Some people (you) might say, “Hold on — that’s valuable stuff!” Well, Dad, not when it has been in a detached garage without climate control and regular roach bombings.

Three more trips to Goodwill and another trip to the dump, and I’m not done yet. I see at least three more days of purging ahead of me. And maybe some therapy to address my new daddy issues.

I know it’s bad form for me to be upset with you when you aren’t physically present to defend yourself. It’s frustrating, though, because I remember the week I spent — using vacation days from work, no less — cleaning this very same garage after Mom died in 2009. And you were not happy about it (even though you asked me to do it).

When I tried to get rid of your model-airplane parts, you yelled at me that you were going to get back into building planes. When I questioned the need for 400 cassettes, you said you still listened to all of them — even though there was not a tape player in sight (the reel-to-reel player doesn’t count). When I started to throw away some dry-rotted Christmas decorations, you claimed you used them “just last year” — a statement we both knew was false when Frosty melted in my hands.

I begged you to be more aggressive in your tossing. I remember saying, “Dad, please don’t leave this all for me to clean up when you die.”

Now it’s almost 10 years later and everything is exactly as I left it. Except you’ve added more. For example, what’s this collection in the corner, Dad?

I really don’t want to put my hands in that pile.

I was not prepared mentally or physically for this garage showdown. For one thing, I forgot to bring gloves, a mask, boxes and industrial-strength garbage bags. When Katherine brought out some trash bags from the house, I felt encouraged that they were laden with “rodent repellent.”*

mint-scented rodent repellent bags

That is, until I got a whiff.

Remember my last post in which I said I have a “titanium stomach and a broken sniffer.” Yeah, well, mint-scented rodent repellent apparently is my kryptonite. I could smell that very well. And my stomach did not approve.

I really needed a hazmat suit, a cheering squad for motivation, and an OSHA-approved eye- and body-wash station. I even considered another trip to the Jeju Sauna. That’s how bad it was.

None of my friends should wonder why I like the show, “Hoarders.” It provides cognizance, comfort and coping skills all in one!

I realized, though, while I was doing an extended-surface and deep-body-cavity cleansing afterward that you are still teaching me even though you have moved on to the great beyond.

The lesson?

Never do this to your kids.

Mine will be lucky to get a footlocker from me, as I plan to chuck almost everything long before I kick it.

You know I love you, but I did not love this.

Sigh.

Say hi to Mom and Gram for me.

Your organized and aggravated daughter,
Beth

* Note that it says it is effective against raccoons. Two things:
1. Hando did not come with me on this adventure, so I guess it works on dead raccoon parts.
2. It does not work on live ones, or at least live rabid ones. Katherine tangled with one on the front porch just moments before we got there. (Ironic, no?) The rabid brethren of Hando then tangled with a car and lost.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dear Film Buffs:

It is summer blockbuster season, y’all.

I want to talk about movies.
I want to talk about movies I love and movies I hate.
I want to talk about movies that are my personal litmus test.

If you don’t like these movies, I’m not sure we can be friends:

1. Pulp Fiction
This is Tarantino’s best. Don’t @ me with that “Reservoir Dogs” crap. Quotable moments, a John Travolta comeback and inventive storyline? Shit … That’s all you had to say. If you don’t like it, I don’t know what to say.

2. The Princess Bride
I like it so much that I have a line from it permanently etched on my person. (If you like the movie, and I like you, I might show you.) You were on the fence about it until this post, and now you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept.

Tommy Boy Poster

3. Tommy Boy
Chris Farley and David Spade at peak performance. If you don’t laugh at the airplane bathroom scene, there is something wrong with you. You’re just a big, dumb animal.

Horrible Bosses Poster

4. Horrible Bosses
I’ll watch Jason Bateman in anything, but he’s at his finest as straight man here. And Colin Farrell has the perfect role. Don’t get me started on Jamie Foxx, murder consultant.

Bridesmaids Poster

5. Bridesmaids
Melissa McCarthy slays. Every. Single. Scene. My love for her comes out of me like lava. (She’s also great in “Spy.”)

Napoleon Dynamite Poster

I was going to stop at five, but here’s an extra (possibly controversial) movie for good measure:

6. Napoleon Dynamite
With this one, I understand you have to be in the right mood. Otherwise you don’t get it. I was worried about showing this to my kids because, if they didn’t like it, I would have to kick them out of the house. ‘Cause I do whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!

Honorable mentions: Guardians of the Galaxy, The Incredibles, The Avengers.

Yes, there’s a theme. Want to guess what’s on my most-hated list? Lots of dramas.

The English Patient Poster

1. The English Patient
Like Elaine said, just die already. I don’t give a rat’s ass about all the Oscars.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Poster

2. Batman vs. Superman
Don’t try to argue that this isn’t a drama. It totes is. Typical no-humor DC mierda. It was so boring that I fell asleep and DIDN’T MISS ANYTHING.

Steel Magnolias Poster

3. Steel Magnolias
It’s the only movie that ever made me nearly walk out of the theater. The accents were not even the worst part. The Southern clichés, predictability, scenery-chewing … I could go on. I won’t.

Black Swan Poster

4. Black Swan
Another Oscar darling. Just no. A better Darren Aronofsky film is “The Wrestler.”

The Hateful Eight Poster

5. The Hateful Eight
If I have Tarantino’s best, then the worst needs to be on a list too. I wanted to like it. I didn’t. The pauses/silence worked in my No. 1; they did not work here. So boring …

And, another possibly controversial choice for No. 6:

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Poster

6. The Lord of the Rings anything
Before you hire a hitman, let me say that I like fantasy (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Pan’s Labyrinth), etc. I just don’t like this fantasy. Why? Because of stupid stuff like the tree that is supposed to be all-knowing doesn’t know shit is going down in his forest. I know, I know: “Read the books.”

There you have it. Disagree? Come at me, bro. Maybe you’ll get lucky and get me in a transitional period. It’s not inconceivable.

Bottoms up,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Content Providers*:

To avoid annoying people who care about the English language (i.e., me), please learn how to use apostrophes, when to use “I” and when to use “me,” and what spelling of the word you need for your sentence.

Auntie Beth is here to help. Again.

 

1. Apostrophes

As I have explained before, apostrophes have two uses: to show possession (of things or people, but not by demons) and to show that a letter is missing (sometimes forming contractions).

What the older-looking Faddel (above) should have written is:

“19 years old, financially stable, in shape, family’s healthy.”

That would mean his family is healthy. Instead, he has pluralized “family” and rendered the sentence nonsensical.

To pluralize, you DO NOT use an apostrophe. Ever. (Please stop making me have to explain this.) Perhaps Tybee Island lifeguards are spending all their time training for beach emergencies and not worrying about punctuation, but I believe in clarity.

2. I vs. me

Here it is, one more time with feeling: Use “I” when you are referring to the subject of the sentence, “me” when you are referring to the object. The linguistics scholar above should have known better. She shouldn’t feel too awful though; even Lady Gaga gets it wrong:

3. Homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

Trump is not the only one who has trouble with this if my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds are any indication. Please consider carefully which version of the word you need. I don’t want to have to keep going over this.

Thank you so much.

You’re (not “your”) a peach!
Beth

*By this I mean anyone who maintains a social media account, prepares signs, writes to someone else, etc.

Should be “teachers.”

Read Full Post »

Dear Trump, GOP and NRA assholes representatives,

I am a teacher, and I DO NOT want to carry a gun to class. I’m there to instruct, not take down a “bad guy.” (Armed teachers = unusually bad idea, even for you)

I have one goal in class: Teach. I work with college students, so they are paying my salary. My goal is to give them their money’s worth and more. I want to be the life-changing (life-saving in a different way) professor like Dr. Brightman was for me.

Part of my job is figuring out what each student needs (and I guarantee that it is not an AR-15 in their hands or mine).

Students usually come in a handful of personas. Here’s a field guide:

The Tracy Flick
Hand up first. Already has an A, but wants extra credit. “Overachiever” doesn’t even begin to encompass this student. Also can dissolve quickly if mastery doesn’t come easy.

The Ferris Bueller
Seems like he doesn’t care and isn’t paying attention, but he is smarter than the average bear. Often turns in the best work in the class without even trying.

The Jeff Spicoli
Sigh. What do you do about a student who is paying money to go to college, but is just a complete slacker? Love them anyway.

The Summer “Tinkerbell” Hathaway
This student is suspicious of you from the get-go, but you will slowly win her over if you do, in fact, know what you are talking about. And then she will try to push you to see how far she can go.

The Will Hunting
This student may appear to hate your guts during the class, but he will surprise you later on when he tells you that he learned so much from you. It is an unexpected, but joyful moment.

The John Bender
Hard candy shell with a liquid center. Seems confrontational, but is masking a deep-seated vulnerability. I love to see these kinds in five years when they are all well-adjusted and shit.

The Regina George
This student often is the most challenging because she has created a particular persona, and may resist your efforts to get her to think about anything/anyone other than herself. The trick is to help her figure out how to make assignments interesting enough to her so that she will enjoy doing them (thus learning in the process).

The Steve Stifler
Every female faculty member has this student’s number (meaning we know exactly who he is). No, we cannot have a meeting with my office door closed. No, we are not going together to the fraternity party Friday night. It’s great to see this student mature and even <gasp> get married.

The Sam Baker
This student is smart but can be quiet and thus overlooked. Pay attention to this one. Still waters run deep, as they say. This student often ends up being as close to you as students in the next category.

The Todd Anderson
With this student, you know early on that he/she will be in your life forever — and that is a good thing. You “get” them, they “get” you, and it is a lovely, symbiotic relationship. You start out as professor/student and morph into colleagues and friends later on. Some people in the aforementioned categories will end up in this one, and that is a lovely thing too.

I live to make a difference. And I live for notes like these:

That’s from a student who graduated five years ago. No surprise that she was a Todd.

I want to learn how to better reach every student. I do not want to learn how to better reach my gun.

I want to be accurate with grading. I do not want to be accurate with aim.

I want to get paid to carry full classes. I do not want to get paid to carry a gun.

Please, please, please find a different way to achieve the one goal we all want: peace in schools (and everywhere, for that matter). The answer is not arming teachers.

Thanks,
Beth

Read Full Post »

EPISODE 2: Respect My Authoritah

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

STRANGE WOMAN lounges by the pool, barely paying attention to her two daughters, who appear to be around six and eight years old. The earbuds she is wearing indicate she is listening to music.

DOMINIC and GIDEON and THEIR STILL-UNHAPPY-IN-HER-BATHING-SUIT MOTHER WHO IS BEGINNING TO WONDER IF SHE HAS A HORRIBLE DISEASE THAT IS CAUSING HER TO HAVE CONSISTENTLY SWOLLEN ANKLES AND A WEIRD ARM RASH enter the pool.

DOMINIC
Let’s play Friday the 13th! I’ll be Jason.

GIDEON
OK.

DOMINIC (to girls in the pool)
Do you want to play?

GIRL NO. 1
OK.

GIRL NO. 2 (apparently named Jo Jo) ignores DOMINIC.

GIRL NO. 1
Jo Jo!

STRANGE WOMAN
Jo Jo!

JO JO
OK.

SPLASHING commences.

MOTHER tries to read a magazine in the lounge chair across the pool from STRANGE WOMAN. MOTHER is unable to read said magazine because STRANGE WOMAN is dancing in her chair and singing along with her music. STRANGE WOMAN is not a gifted vocalist.

A MAN IN A TOO-TIGHT BUTTON-DOWN SHIRT enters the pool area, pulling a wagon filled with THREE SMALL BOYS. His LARGE-BOSOMED WIFE follows. They position themselves directly across the shallow area from MOTHER.

DOMINIC (to BOY NO. 1, the oldest)
Do you want to play?

BOY NO. 1
No. I can’t.

The WAGON BOYS play together in the shallow end in front of MOTHER. There’s plenty of whining with no response from their parents.

A MAN and a WOMAN carrying the largest pool floats sold on the open market enter the pool area. They set up camp at the far end of the pool to MOTHER’s left.

STUFFED SHIRT stands up and begins walking around the pool area while playing on his phone. MOTHER sips her thermos full of cider and watches SHIRT track a pacing circuit in front of her. Her blood boils as he repeatedly walks within one foot of the end of her lounge chair. ANGRY MOTHER marvels at the fact that there is an entire pool area, but SHIRT feels the need to be all up in her grill. BOSOM strikes up a conversation with WANNABE MARIAH CAREY while SHIRT continues to pace.

MOTHER runs out of both patience and cider.

MOTHER (to DOMINIC and GIDEON)
Let’s go.

They exit.

(END OF SCENE)

Read Full Post »

How healthy are you? How willing are you to do the things you need to do to be healthy? Let’s find out!

You are diabetic. It’s time for lunch. What do you eat?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables.
b. Ice cream, baby!

But wait, you have a sore on your toe that won’t heal. The diabetes is obviously affecting your circulation. Now what do you eat for lunch?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables, and then go for a brisk walk around the block.
b. Still ice cream. And also onion rings. (Get off your back!)

You go to the doctor for a routine visit, and he tells you that you are now permanently blind in your left eye. You are:
a. Dismayed. You just thought it was a side effect of one of your many medications.
b. Surprised. You had no idea you couldn’t see out of your left eye.

You have to go to the bathroom. You just had a mini stroke, so you need a little help. What do you do?
a. Wait until someone brings the pee jug to you.
b. Open up your gown and let it go like you are Manneken-Pis.

You are (clearly) having issues with your bladder. The doctor installs a catheter. When do you ask for it to be removed?
a. As soon as possible because CATHETER!
b. Never. It just makes peeing easier.

Your leg is wet. Your catheter tube has come unattached. Do you notice?
a. Yes. Um … pee!
b. No.

Despite physical therapy at the nursing home after your mini stroke, you can’t walk without assistance. To be honest, you have trouble doing anything without help. When do you ask to be released from the nursing home?
a. Not until you can walk and manage tasks on your own.
b. Immediately. Watching TV all day is better from the lift chair. Who cares about the risk of falling?

Once home, your physical therapist tells you not to use the lift chair to help sit and stand. You need to build strength in your legs. What do you do?
a. Listen to her. She knows what she is doing.
b. Tell everyone that she changed her mind. The lift chair is totally fine.

Scoring:
Mostly or all As: Congratulations! You are doing what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. Your family must be so happy!
Mostly Bs: You need to take better care of yourself. Think about how your health issues are affecting your family.
All Bs: Dad?

 

 

Read Full Post »

Dear Family:

Many have asked how my father is doing after his recent “mini” stroke that necessitated a trip to the hospital and then a care facility. Many of you also have asked how I’m doing, as it’s no secret my relationship with my incredibly stubborn father has been strained over the past couple of years. Usually, I’m good with words. When it comes to him, though, words fail me.

Hence, I will describe what has happened/is happening using photos of bad taxidermy.

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted-living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

 

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted living places, Dad calls to tell me, "Nevermind." He has decided to stay in his house with my stepmother.

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted-living places, Dad calls to tell me, “Nevermind.” He has decided to stay in his house with Kat (his wife).

 

Dad called. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

A few days later, Dad calls. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

 

We visit. He's fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

We visit. He’s fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

 

He tells us he is fine. He says we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

He tells us he is doing great but that we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

 

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

 

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to visit him in the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad's garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad’s garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

 

According to Dad's legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

According to Dad’s legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

 

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry, depressed. Only once in a while is he the dad I remember.

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry and depressed. Only once in a while is he the person I remember.

 

I do not know what will happen next.

I do not know what will happen next.

If you are praying people, pray for him. Pray for me. Like the taxidermy pictured above, it’s not good.

Stay tuned,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »