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In the News…
I read this today, and had to laugh. No, it’s not funny that some poor, very pregnant woman, got mugged. I’m just pleased that she kicked the crap out of her attacker. I have this wonderful mental image of this tiny woman, large with child, just wailing on this stupid guy curled up in a heap on the ground. Good for her. I’m all for women learning to defend themselves. Heck, I wish legitimate self defense was mandatory in our schools.
It seems that guinea pigs are taking over California. Now, it’s not my fault. I’ve never owned a guinea pig, so conversely I never released one or two into the wild, where they would mate and create hoards of wild guineas. I did, however, once lose several hamsters in a stupid apartment; we think they crawled into the walls through a small hole under the sink. I moved out not too long after that, and have wondered from time to time if they did what hamsters do, and fill those walls with enough hamster fur to create nice insulation.
Human males of the world rejoice – you’re not the only ones ticking off the females of your species with your horny ways. Even manatees need a break from their men. Y’all are just too studly for our own good…
August 2, 2002
The Color Of Hell
The entire country collectively held its breath yesterday, hoping against hope that two teenage girls who had been kidnapped would be found alive. The resulting national sigh was nearly audible; after all, this country needs good news. They were alive. Safe. Getting these two girls back, so soon after the rescue of nine trapped miners in PA, was one of those things that both makes your heart swell and lumps form in the throat. Two good things followed potential tragedy.
But I kept hearing the same thing on TV: “Now they need time to get over it. They’ll get over it. Over it.”
That’s wishful thinking.
After the bloom of relief falls off this rose, these girls will be left with an unbelievable amount of anger, fear, sadness, and guilt. Therapy will probably help them get on with life, and let them live it to its fullest, but you never get over being so thoroughly, selfishly violated. It’s always there, stuck behind a cobweb in the recesses of the brain, whispering dark thoughts, a numb finger drawing dark shadows that color every future relationship.
More than just a couple of decades ago there was this fifteen year old girl; she had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, most of them her own age, but some of them older. She was particularly fond of one of the older friends; he was a senior, had a car, money, was funny and charming and considerate. He was nineteen years old – if he’d been just two years younger she would have asked him to come over and meet her parents; if he were younger he would have been just the type they would have approved her dating.
He was tool old by their standards, so she intentionally neglected to mention his existence. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.
Not too long before she turned sixteen, she joined friends at a riverside party; the parents assumed this was a gathering of her younger friends – she never told them any different, and allowed them their assumption – and provided her a ride to a friend’s house. The friend’s parents would be driving them to the party. Or so she told them.
The river was a short walk from the friend’s house, and they made their way through thick overgrowth of bushes and trees to join the throng of high school juniors and seniors on the small, secluded beach by the river. There was a small fire for roasting hot dogs and toasting marshmallows, Frisbees and a radio blaring, and a cooler full of soft drinks. And a pony keg filled with beer.
It was a loud, typical teen party; kids paired off, wandered away to make out, splashed in the water, told stupid stories, and there was a lot of laughter. Laughter that rose above the music, enough noise that had this party been held at someone’s house, the neighbor’s would have called the police.
It was loud enough to drown out the screams of a fifteen year old girl who saw, in violent flashes of bared teeth and clenched fists, the other side of that charming nineteen year old senior. The drunk senior who wouldn’t take no for an answer, the kid who used sweatsocks to bind her wrists together, the man who tore into her so many times she lost count, so many times she wanted to slip inside herself and just die.
She didn’t dare tell anyone, especially not her parents, whom she was sure would blame her for everything. It would be her fault, just rewards for lying about where she would be, who she would be with. A deserving consequence for being out with That Boy. The sad thing is that she was right. Her parents would have blamed her.
The secret stayed buried for years; she got on with the business of living life, carefully at first, so that on one would know her secret. Later she was able to find some slice of happiness – she fell in love with a decent man, married him, had a kid, and had a Good Life.
But it never went away. It’s always there, looming, holding her back from ever being able to fully give of herself, no matter how much she wants to. It touches every remote aspect of intimacy, of trust. It colors everything, even the moments of joy. A simple kiss is Expectation. A hug is a Demand. Praise is nothing more than a Way He Gets What He wants.
Those two girls who spent a lifetime of terror in just those few short hours may have help, but they will never get over it. It will be there, always, hovering in the back of their minds, whispering, touching, reminding. The insidious deviant who did this to him, who died at the hands of the police, he got off easy.
He delivered them hell, and got off easy.
August 4, 2002
Wanted: Cleaning Fairy
The packers showed up yesterday right about the time they were supposed to, just a few minutes late. They would have been on time, but someone gave them an address 100 number to the left of correct, and since that house number does not exist… well, they got a bit confused trying to find us.
The packing company sent two guys to pack us. Two. The last move we made, from Grand Forks to here, it took four people two days to pack all our crap. These guys got here and worked really well – until they ran out of packing materials at 3:00 p.m. They could have sent for more stuff, but the one guy was sick, so they left. There’s still 70% of the house to pack and only Monday to do it; if they send only two people again it’s going to be one long day for them. The truck comes to pick everything up on Tuesday; if it goes like it did last time everything should be loaded by mid-afternoon… or we could get screwed like the people across the street, and wind up with the Crew From Hell, and they’ll still be here at 10 p.m. loading stuff.
Either way… once all the stuff is gone, we have to clean. I hate cleaning. I really hate cleaning. Well, if I’m getting paid for it I do a great job, but I hate cleaning my own house.
There’s the problem – when you live in military housing, you have to leave it pretty darned clean. Usually before they let you sign out they do a white glove inspection; they want is so clean that smart people hire contract cleaners to assure they pass that final inspection. Last time we lived here we paid $300 for someone to clean out house to military standard. In Grand Forks we paid $200.
We were all set to fork out the cash again, but they’ve changed the rules a little bit here. Travis has a contract cleaner they send in to clean houses after occupants leave, so it has to be good, but not perfect when you move. We have it even better – our house is slated to be torn down to make way for new housing. Ours has to be so-so… only the appliances have to be as clean as we can get them. But, the housing guy also said that if we break a sweat cleaning, we’re working too hard.
But I still don’t wanna do it. I want a Cleaning Fairy. Someone to swoop in and do it for me.
I’m lazy that way.
August 5, 2002
The years in the Air Force have been good to us; we move just about every three years, and we’ve always had fairly smooth moves. Not much has been broken along the way, just a knob off the dryer that I never used anyway (well, I used the dryer, just not that knob), and once they caved in the side of the washer, but we filed a claim and got that fixed quickly. There was a gouge once in our cheapo entertainment center – that thing was so cheap we didn’t bother filing a claim. Heck, the gouge gave it character.
Every time we’ve moved our belongings have been packed and loaded onto the truck in a reasonable amount of time. The packers usually show up at 9 a.m. and work until 5 or 6 p.m., show up the next day and finish around 3 p.m. The truck shows up the third day and it’s loaded and ready to go by late afternoon. Always very smooth.
This time, it’s payback for all the smooth moves we’ve ever had.
The packers showed up on Friday at a reasonable time, just 15 minutes later than we expected. Both of them. Two people to pack up a 3 bedroom house with a stuffed storage unit in the carport and another storage shed in the back yard. One of them was sick, and they ran out of materials around 3 p.m. So they left.
This morning one single packer showed up, an hour later than we thought they would be. One person. Sigh. Later a second person showed up to help, and then a third; they might get done if they stick around late enough. The Spouse Thingy, who is stuck sitting there keeping an eye on them, doesn’t care, as long as everything gets on the truck tomorrow.
Yep, he’s sitting there and I’m in temporary quarters with the cat. I should be with the dog, too, but we got an apartment (hey, this beats other temp quarters which are usually a single room) on the second floor, and Hank does not do stairs. We don’t know why; it’s not as if we ever threw him down a flight of stairs. He just hates them, he always has, and he won’t go up. He’s too heavy to carry up and down the stairs 4 or 5 times a day, so for now he’s at the house with the Spouse Thingy, and we’re supposedly getting a downstairs place tomorrow. Supposedly. We were supposed to get one today, but whomever is there didn’t leave, and they won’t toss ‘em out so we can have it. Tsk.
Max The PsychoKitty is terrified out of his little head; he doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, just that he’s not at home, and not all his People are here with him. He cried all night long, stopping at 5 a.m. when he found a quiet spot under the bed to hide. From the moment I got out of bed at 8 this morning, he’s turned himself into VelcroKitty, sticking to me like maple syrup on a toddler.
He knows I’m a sucker; he knows he can make me feel guilty and that I’ll drop what I’m doing to pay attention to him. He helped me make a TV dinner, and helped me eat it – Swanson’s chicken evidently much better than Fancy Feast Chicken Glop.
The truck comes tomorrow to take all our stuff away, and we should get a downstairs apartment, so we’ll all be together and that’ll make Max happy – until Friday, when we shove him into his carrier and stick him in the truck for the drive across the country.
On the bright side, I got two advanced copies of my book today, which means it’ll be on Amazon and bn.com soon… I’ll update my website tonight or tomorrow with the URL for direct ordering from the publisher. I know y’all can’t wait. Heh.
August 16, 2002
It's midnight, and my ass is numb.
We made it to Ohio in one piece, have a place to live, got phone lines today and we get cable TV tomorrow. But we have no furniture - that comes on the 15th - so I'm sitting on a very thing pseudo-futon on the cold tile floor.
In a day or two I'll elaborate on the drive out here... oh joy oh bliss.
The Big Meow
Okay, so we were living quite happily in California; family in both Sacramento and Modesto, the Boy had a good job and was going to school and doing well; I was busy doing different things, like taking a couple of classes and writing a couple of books. We had a nice house on the Air Force base and had lots of Things To Do in the area. Theaters we liked. A terrific place to poorly play pool. Fun stuff.
So the Air Force decided we were much too content, and sent us on our merry way – sans the Boy – to Ohio.
We didn’t mind too much; Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton is supposed to be a very good assignment; lots to do and see, just no family nearby. Everything we own was packed up, loaded onto a truck, and off we went… with an aging Golden Retriever and a Truly Pissed Off Cat.
Max the PsychoVelcroKitty howled for the first 5 hours in the car. He cried all the way to Sacramento, he threw a temper tantrum – complete with body slamming himself against the walls of his carrier – through the drive up the mountains, through Reno, and halfway to Salt Lake City. At some point, when he finally quieted down for more than 5 minutes, we decided to let him out for a bit so that he could stretch (dang cat is too tall and could not stand in his cage, only turn around). He stretched himself all the way across my lap, and promptly fell asleep.
We had blissful quiet the rest of the way that day as he slept either on my lap, or on the floor of the passenger side of the truck (and yes, I know this was stupidity on our part; he should have stayed in the carrier, but it felt like sticking him in a coffin for hours on end and he was literally having panic attacks). After 14 hours on the road we were all ready to collapse; we stopped in a small town in Wyoming and discovered quickly that finding a motel room wouldn’t be so easy. Who would have thought that the Senior Olympics would be held in Wyoming?
I didn’t realize anyone even lived in Wyoming. You just can’t tell by the nothingness of the landscape along the Interstate.
We settled on a second floor smoking room, the Spouse Thingy carried Hank up the stairs (Hank does not do stairs, we’re not entirely sure why) and we suffered through a night of smoke-tinged air and Max running at full tilt from one corner of the room to the other, hollering his little head off every fifteen minutes.
Max only cried for three hours the next day. We’re fairly sure he was nearly bored to death by the scenery along I-80 in Wyoming; he fell asleep before lunch and only vented his frustrations every hour or so, as he woke to turn over.
He cried off and on the third day. It was tolerable; we felt sorry for him, after all, being stuck in a box and not knowing why or what was going on.
And on the fourth day, Max was lucky he was allowed to live. He started his chit fit at 5:30 a.m. and did not stop until we had checked into a motel room in Dayton Ohio at 3 p.m. He cried from the moment he was put in the car, he screamed and threw a hissy fit every ten minutes, he hollered at the top of his little lungs when we made it to Dayton and searched for the base housing office. Max was tired of the trip, and was letting us know in vivid feline language. He stuck his paw through the bars of the kitty carrier, trying – with loud frustration – to open the latch that kept him locked inside that plastic tomb of doom.
Tuesday morning, August 13, Max found heaven.
We got base housing the first day we got here; a 2 story, 3 bedroom 2½ bath duplex with tile floors. The empty house, combined with the tile flooring, makes for one large echo chamber – something Max discovered within an hour of arrival. And he lets us know, all day long, especially at 2 a.m., that for a little cat he has a big voice, and a persistent one at that.
He talks to himself all night long.
Max is insane.
The house will be virtually empty until the 20th, when all our stuff gets here; I suspect he’ll still be in kitty heaven. The house might not echo, but there will be boxes. Lots of boxes. Boxes to jump on, jump in, and explore. A veritable Max Jungle Gym, complete with krinkly packing paper to attack and carry from room to room.
He was mad as hell all the way here, but I think Max will like Ohio. Max’s people probably will, too, but they’ll like it even more when he quits bitching about everything. When they can get a full night’s sleep without his nonstop chatter.
August 18, 2002
Don't Sneeze On Me
It’s only August, but it’s coming. It comes every year without fail, spreading across the country on the hands and sleeves of school aged children, sneezes aimed in every direction, coughs uncovered and kisses unchecked.
Cold and Flu season.
Germs are flying everywhere, and inevitably, one or two will land on me. I don’t appreciate it one bit. Now I understand, people need to work, to shop, to go to school and to work out, but if you’re sick stay home! There’s nothing admirable about being in public when you’re contagious.
Years ago I had a TKD instructor who believed training through the flu was a good thing; the sweat leeched toxins from his body, and he recovered quicker. He was a terrific teacher, but terribly misguided. So he rid himself of the flu in 6 days instead of 7. Goody for him. While he was in the dojang sweating it off, he exposed every student who came to his classes, and most of us would catch whatever creeping crud he had.
I didn’t appreciate that, either.
Think about how you’d feel if someone intentionally exposed you, your spouse, or your kids to some bacteria-laden crap. You catch it. Your kids get it. Your spouse gets it. You might be out of work for a time, and not getting paid. Your kids aren’t allowed in school, and your spouse gets really bitchy while trying to take care of a bunch of sick kids whilst in personal agony. All because someone could be bothered to stay home while sick instead of going to work, to school, or to the gym.
There’s nothing admirable about showing up anyplace when you’re sick. It’s selfish and inconsiderate.
If you’re sick, stay home. That I’ll admire.
From The Old Works Files:
My Stomach Heaves Over The Dojang
To the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
Why doesn't my sidekick look beautiful?
My round kick and front kick won't pass
Tornado kicks make me look stupid
As I try and fall flat on my ...
And one million jumping jacks
Don't you see?
They tell me it's call T-K-D
My forms look like some old grandmother
Came straight from a 3 valve Bypass
She rejected the notion of white belt
And jumped into the next Black Belt Class
And two million jumping jacks
Don't you see?
I don't know what has come over me
The kata are hyungs so they tell me
Or poomse for the really uptight
But Poom is an underage Black Belt
And sparring ain't Kumite, right?
And three million jumping jacks,
Don't you see?
I owe everything to Master Rhee....
©1993 K.A. Thompson, all rights reserved
August 21, 2002
I'll give ya $5 to come over and unpack all this crap. $10 if you can figure out how to make 75% less kitchen space work. $20 if you get done before Saurday.
I hate this part of moving...
August 27, 2002
Another Year, Another... ?
Damn, that sounds old.
40 wasn't bad, it was still close enough to my thirties to feel fairly young, but that little "1" makes a big difference. I am really, truly, headed into middle age. And as I look around, I realize I’m surrounded by mostly grown-up things now – bookcases that aren’t made out of pressed particle-board. A table that isn’t “oh how cute!” Carpet that wasn’t purchased because “it won’t matter if the kid spills on it, the dog sheds on it, or the cat barfs on it.”
My stuff has grown up, too.
I’ve also outgrown the need for a big to-do about birthdays. Having it acknowledged was nice, but I didn’t really want anything. No special birthday present. Yesterday the Spouse Thingy and I went to the Dayton Art Institute to look at the artwork, found a Schlotzsky’s for lunch (first time in 4-5 years!) and then drove around the base looking for Fun Things To Do. We went into the pro shop at the golf course to find out about fees and rules (nice course but pricey), then found one of the gyms and checked it out – and ran into a guy who teaches TKD there twice a week. It’s in the WTF system, but he doesn’t require sparring, which suits me just fine, so we’re going to show up for the next class and see how that goes. For dinner we went to Chili’s.
Nothing major, nothing overblown. Just a nice way to spend a day.
I did have to buy myself a birthday present, though. A nice, cushy toilet seat. Middle age should have its creature comforts, after all.
August 31, 2002
Wandom Wabbit Musings
Know what? You can find tons of cool things to do in a new place, but if you lack transportation, all that cool stuff might as well be in another state. I’m excited; I’ve got Things To Do here, and once we get a second car, I can do them. And I don’t think it’ll be much longer until we can get that car, maybe a month. Maybe two. I can wait that long.
Until then I can just get my sorry ass back to work, both writing and learning how to start up a business. Yes, boys and girls, I want to start up my own business, a small publishing company. I know the basics, I just need to learn the specifics, and then buy the software and stuff that I’ll need.
For Pete’s sake, if you’re stoned out of your gourd, don’t make telephone calls. You won’t make any sense at all, the person to whom you are speaking will become very irritated, and avoid calls from you for a very long time. There’s nothing funny about protracted silences, changing subjects in the middle of a sentence, and pontification upon subjects about which you honestly know nothing. If you have to call someone while flying higher than the proverbial kite, make sure it’s someone equally as stoned.
Pet peeve: Stay out of the freaking handicapped stall unless you have a legitimate need to be in one. Having a toddler with you, and using the space so that it’s easier is not a legitimate need. Millions of mothers and fathers before you managed just fine in regular stalls with their tiny offspring. Needing to change your pantyhose is not a legitimate need. Become more flexible so that you can do that in a regular stall, or just shed some inhibitions and do it outside a stall.
Why does this bug me so much? I spent several months in a wheelchair. I now understand how important it is to have that lone, roomy stall available to someone who really, truly needs it. Your only excuse for using the handicapped stall is if there are only 2 stalls to begin with, and you have no idea how long the person in the regular stall will be there; if there are 7 stalls and one handicapped, stay out. Wait your turn. I don’t care how badly you have to go, unless you’re 3 years old, you can wait. What would you do if every stall were occupied? You’d wait. Pretend the big stall is occupied.
Face it, you can fit into any stall. The person in a wheelchair cannot. The person needing a walker for mobility cannot. They have only one choice, and oftentimes do not have the bladder and bowel control you do.
Whiners irritate the beejeezus out of me. I don’t mean a regular, everyday complaint. Those happen, and usually for a reason. I mean people who couch everything in chronic whining. Work sucks, school sucks, life sucks, my hair sucks, my siblings suck, my ex sucks, everything is someone else’s fault and never my own.
Get over it. Grow up. Stop whining.
I’ll stop now. I’m starting to whine…
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