Clarified Astigmatism

Clarified Astigmatism, 3/21/2017, Deon Mumple

I thought I saw you clearly,
Though we both tried to hide,
We talked and we were friendly,
Shared dreams we held inside,

What we saw was a patchwork
Of what each chose to show
I hid that I was a jerk
You hid the fears you know

Pretending I was better
Than I know me to be
The lies behind the letters
I hoped you wouldn’t see

Pretending we weren’t sore
Faked fearless, hid cage bars,
But joking showed a bit more
We both revealed our scars

I loved you and I love you
As you have shared your pains
While fearing what you would do
If I showed my soul’s stains

You tell me that you love me
We still hurt, life still stings
I see just what you show me
The safer side of things

I tell you that I love you,
My arms, the safest place,
Wishing I’d never hurt you,
Wiping tears from your face,

Is it inevitable
That I will let you down?
The looks of disapproval,
The not-so-subtle frown?

I want to be your safety,
To let you be at rest
But can I do so safely
Since this lacking’s my best?

I’ve just become your nightmare
Wanting to be your dream,
You’ve been my biggest scare,
I’m caged, long to be free

You deserve everything good
But I want to be yours
Despite ways I could or should
Strive to serve you more

You still wear let-downs with style,
I’m trapped, crestfallen, lean,
I’ve dimmed down your loving smile,
I don’t know how to dream.

A Date with the Doctor

Yeah, so I had a date with my primary care provider, as the insurance company refers to him.  I last saw him probably 3 years ago.  My wife sent me in that time, for a visual exam to check a spot for skin cancer and another place to look at something else she thought was something irregular.  I told her I was fine, and then the doctor agreed with me that I was fine, after a cut and a biopsy and a visual exam of the other thing, which was nothing.  I hate the doctor.  And I hate the insurance overlords, who have drastically increased their *cut* of my income, and not increased my benefits.

Obama was horrid to me.  Obamacare is costing me additional THOUSANDS every year.  So far, Trump is just a case of “meet the new boss; same as the old boss.”  Unfortunately, politicians who win have their finger on the pulse of whatever fears or dreams motivate people to vote for them, and they know what to say and how to say it, but once they get into office, many of them are exposed to be fucking idiots.  I hate politicians.  The ones in office are all too detached and too ignorant of real-life issues to actually serve the common good.  When you forget how much a loaf of ordinary bread, or a pound of ordinary meat, or a  gallon of ordinary milk, costs because you eat what your fucking chef cooks for you, and your only interest in the price of a gallon of gas is because you’re invested in futures, you no longer serve the common good.  And if you’ve lived in Washington, D.C., living off the taxpayer dollars, “high off the hog,” as the expression goes, for more than 8 years, you’re out of touch with your constituency and need to be replaced by someone who knows what the fuck is going on in your old community, and you need to go back to getting a regular day job so you remember how hard THAT is for the ordinary commoner.

A politician should not become a millionaire while in office, because if they do, either we taxpayers are paying them too much, or they are taking advantage of someone or some situation that we commoners don’t know about.

I digress.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled rant, already in progress:

I hate the doctor but I had a date because the Boy Scouts require a physical if you want to go camping.  They don’t want you dying while you’re hiking or sleeping in their campsite, so they want some assurance that you’ve got a reasonable chance of survival.  I told him I was fine, and again, he agreed with me that I’m physically fine.  We didn’t address the mental-ly aspects of things.  But then, to add ass-ault to (alleged) inure-y, the doctor suggested a prostate exam *after* I told him everything was fine.

He gave me the finger, and afterward, agreed with me that everything felt good. Well, thank you very much.  I hate the doctor. I used to just hate him as a concept, just hating doctors and nurses in general due to previous events from which I still suffer what I perceive as mild ptsd- too many doctors invading my privacy, cutting, nurses being rude and verbally abusive, all of them poking, palpating, “practicing” medicine, then more cutting.  I literally had a panic attack as a little kid because a lady in a different uniform LOOKED a little like a nurse.  If I go to the doctor, I have a stress attack, so how is that beneficial to my health?  But today I hate this specific doctor and I swear I still feel what might be a small scratch in there. I should have offered him a manicure and demanded dinner, wine, flowers and compliments, and reminded him to “be gentle with me, it’s been a long time.”

But, for any of both of my two concerned readers, my BP is down, my weight is down, my pulse was slightly elevated (only 15 bpm above normal resting rate, but hey, wonder why that happened?), my prostate is fine, and hooray, if I want to go and if I can afford it and if can figure out the time off and the repairs to my tent, I can go camping with my son and the rest of the boy scouts this year.  Woo hoo.  No, I’m not a doctor, but I seem to have my own finger on the pulse of my own health, because I’ve been right for the entirety of my adult life, about my weight, my stress levels, my vitamin and mineral needs, my mental condition, and lately, about the mole and the other skin thing Mrs M wanted to know about, about my cholesterol and vitamin D and other blood chemistry levels Mrs M wanted to know about, my general health as it pertains to surviving a Boy Scout campout that the Boy Scouts wanted to know about, AND my prostate, that the doctor wanted to know about.  And the other obvious things.  I’m allergic to some pollens and sensitive to other things, including our new dog.  It’s not his fault.  If I were less informed and self-aware, I might not feel this contempt.  But I know how I am, and I’m fine, thank you very much.

If I were a doctor, I’d want to be a mental health provider so I could prescribe therapeutic regularly scheduled, and occasional PRN romantic encounters with Mrs M.  Because those are so much better for me than going to a doctor.  PRN is short for pro re nata, Latin for “as the situation demands.”  Or, “as needed.”  I’m afraid I hold more information in my head than I know what to do with.  For example, I recall the old grammatical rule that “a preposition shouldn’t ever end a sentence.” (See the prior sentence, as the rule has fallen into the abyss of ignorance, because it’s a rule no one cares about.  I’m only sensitive to grammar rules in my own writing, but I break those all the time, too.  I wonder if I’m not aware of some rule about profanity…)  But alas, my knowledge is just knowledge I have, not knowledge I’ve let the requisite people know I know in order to “earn” some kind of recognizational documents.  I also know a lot about cooking, but I’m not recognized as a chef.

Also, if I were a doctor I’d need a much cooler name.  Doctor Mumple?  Doesn’t hold a candle to Doctor Von Doom, or Doctor Strange, or Doctor Octopus, or any of the other arch-villain OR superhero doctor names.  Any suggestions, if I ever go back to school for the doctorate, what I might have my name changed to? (Doctor Grammarian is right out, I just did the preposition thing again.)

I’m fine.  Thank God, I survived another trip to the doctor.  But they refused to tell me how much I’d be charged, so I’m waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop.  Today, there’s a little less unnecessary bullshit to handle before I go to work, thank God again.  Because there’s housework, there’s work, there’s maintenance and repairs, and then there’s more housework, because after one washes the dishes, the wife and kids return home and make more dirty dishes and additional filth.  I’m OK for now.  But I need to prepare breakfast for the dog and make sure he gets his morning workout.  Fuck!  I’m the dog’s personal trainer and chef.  Is my dog smarter than me, or is he just a brilliant politician, getting his constituency to do whatever he wants?!

Mixed Messages Sunday

It’s not just Sunday.  It happens a lot, because, as some of you know, I’m a big fat idiot.  Sometimes.  Oh, I can pull the wool over several readers’ eyes and appear to be halfway intelligent, but the truth is the truth.  There are messages coming in, and I get the intent mixed up.

Is the message meant to encourage me?  Am I ok?  Am I supposed to be allowed to rest, or am I supposed to be motivated to work?  Does she love me?  Really, or is it all a show to get me to keep doing so much housework and keep going to work at my day job?  Does my family care?  Or should I be alarmed by the message, or is it a “sign” I should pay attention to, take a warning from, or react in some way.

At this point let me confess that I started writing this blog a while ago.  I had asked a lady on the internet if I could send my readers to her website by a link.  Most of the time I don’t feel obligated but she had a note on her site that made me decide it was a better idea to ask permission than to beg forgiveness.  I sent her an email and I understand not everyone checks, because I don’t always check, but I’ve been waiting to see if she would grant the permission and she hasn’t, so I can’t refer you to her website but you can find it eventually if you research omens.  I thought the content was interesting, but being an intelligent woman of discriminating taste, perhaps she looked at my content and decided to wisely and silently decline.  It’s fine.  If you feel like searching for information about omens, eventually you’ll find her site.  Maybe it’ll be an interesting search and curious people will learn curiously interesting things.  I just published it without including the web address, and now I get a bunch of psychic/tarot/responses, and I can’t tell if they’re actually blogspam, or if they are legitimate lovely people sharing the love.  They’re sitting in the WordPress spam folder right now, I’ll decide sometime what to do with them.  We now return to ancient content.

I left the church building after hearing a message that was sort of a mixed bag of information, and we sang that song where I have to stop singing part of it.  The song is a modern choruses and it talks about God in glowing, fantastic terms that are all completely true.


It’s really a great song until 1:02 when it starts describing my own heart, and I can’t sing that because right now, and for a long time, it’s not true.  It doesn’t accurately describe my heart.

Speaking of hearts, my daughter just made me describe the tricuspid valve, I swear it’s the absolute truth.

That all (except the one paragraph) was a few weekends ago.  Since that time there have been events I haven’t bothered to write about.  All certain things do is bring out people’s fighting side, and I don’t want to be about that.  I’ll only say, as if you didn’t know what I was talking about already, that I went on record with my hatred of both candidates the American people were stupid enough to choose as their front runners, and so now we have one of them as our new President, and we have his pick as Vice President, and may God turn both of their hearts to wisdom and righteousness.  Don’t tell me “a president isn’t the same as a king.”  I know, but the Bible, figuratively as some people want to interpret it when they don’t like what it literally says, and, literally as some people want to interpret it some of the time when it suits their annoying argument against the rest of its’ context, can have literal and figurative meanings at the same time.  Figuratively, our new president is like a king, in that he is the leader of the country.  So, all you so-called Christ followers and/or Biblical scholars who just want to pick a fight and be right, maybe you and I can pray in agreement for a change, and just pray for our new President and his idiotic crony administration just like I did for our previous President and his idiotic crony administration, for God to literally guide their decisions and words so we don’t get our whole country, figuratively or literally, blown to shit.

Protesters, your children are watching.  I watched a little shit on the news bragging about setting a fire, and speaking about our newly elected President in an entirely disrespectful way, and I wanted to slap his ass to Iran or Afghanistan so he could learn how much better it is to live in those countries.  And his little shit family with him.  He may have the legal right to burn my flag, but that, friends, doesn’t prevent me from suggesting he find an alternate country to live in, one he can love.

I’m a patriot (though not a fan of The Patriots).  If you don’t love your country, and you can at all afford it, either step in and do something to help, or step the fuck out.  I have no time for people who promised to leave if [insert politician name] is elected to [insert political office here].  I have even less time for them if they don’t leave when it happens.  Buh bye, best of luck in whatever other country you choose.  And I have no time for rich fucks who sit on their asses and their assets and don’t help anyone.  Fucking useless.  (See also, one of my favorite verses, Proverbs 3:27, and another, Isaiah 1:17, and another )  I read these verses and I don’t understand why when someone is in need, someone doesn’t step up and help.  But all I can do is pray, for myself, and for others I know who are in more dire need than I (am).Whatever.  The rambly rant says, in short, I’m unsure of myself, I don’t like bullshitters from religious encounters or from secular encounters, and if you can do something good for someone else, as one of my relatives is fond of saying, “just fucking do it.”Insert a certain corporate logo here, you know the one, it’s in your head.And now, this:An old blog from someone who writes completely better than I (do) who is decidedly, completely better than I (am)  : if you followed all of that stream of consciousness, you’ll either love or hate this:

and this:


3/14, 3.14, π

So after work tonight I am planning a clandestine trip to the store to buy a pie.  I don’r know what kind of pie it will be, but it will either come with ice cream, or whipped cream.

I had a rant going on and it’s still there, but I was a student of math back in the day, so I feel an obligation to celebrate pi day.



Maybe even pi-tiful.


, not everything I do is going to e-pi-tomize cool-(whip)-ness.

I read an alarming statistic that 3.14% of all sailors are Pi rates.I told my wife we have to share the pi, and here’s her reason- Sine (π/2) =  1  The sine of pi over two is one.  Any way to make us two into one is a good way, and I think pi makes it all the more wonderful.  Or messy, but we will probably have pi before, not during.  I mean, nothing wrong with hot and sticky, but I want to EAT the pie, not make a mess of it and only have a quick taste.

And, see also 1:04:


I could never live in Minnesota.  Why would you name a city anything that sounds so close to Mania-pie-less?  It’s des-pi-cable, and it sounds depressing.

What’s your favorite kind of pie?  I think I like them all, but cherry, apple, bourbon pecan chocolate, and butterscotch are all right near the top for me.  Maybe I’ll make a home-made butterscotch pie…  I wonder if scotch and butterscotch would taste good together…

Maybe I’ll be lazy and just buy something.  I only thought of a few jokes, but maybe it’s the beginning of mania.

I’ll let you know.  About everything.

But first, have some pi.

Sounds Funny but Not Funny

Image result for Peanuts aaugh

Oh, it’s not all THAT bad.  But I felt it earlier in the week.  There were two very stressful episodes at work, one where the systems didn’t work badly enough to upset me, and one episode just yesterday with the dog.

When I take the dog for a walk, I anticipate he’s going to take care of whatever business he needs to take care of.  So, I took him for a walk, and he did what he was going to do, and we came back inside.  There was some pulling at the leash, which I regard as non-compliance and I stop moving.  When he went in the direction I wanted to go, we were fine, I thought.  And then he ran up our stairs, so I tried putting him in his kennel.  I didn’t check both door locks, so he of course got out, and ran up our stairway to find out if the kids were in their rooms, and they had gone to school for the day.  Since he didn’t shit outside, I anticipated he might try to go in the house.  I set him up in the bathroom (easy to clean the floor) with paper down just in case, and set the kennel in front of the door so he could have that much more room.

All it did was give him a running start.  He jumped over the kennel, and ran upstairs to impress me with his Houdini-worthy skill.  I was on the phone with a client, and he stood there wanting me to take him outside to shit, and I couldn’t put the customer and the tech support people both on hold, so I sat and helplessly watched as he shit on my carpet.  Just.  FUCK!  Oh. Sorry, seems that SHIT would be a more appropriate expletive.  Laugh, laugh, ha, ha, readers.  But I am sick to fucking death of LIFE adding MORE WORK for me to take care of because I exist, and adding unnecessary shit to my life that I have to deal with later because the dog couldn’t be arsed to do it while he was outside, and couldn’t be arsed to do it while in the safe confines of the bathroom, and I have no time or margin to deal with the shit when it happens, so I have to save up time and money and energy to handle it later.

Time, money, and energy are the frayed margins of my life, for which I desperately need significant repair.  But every time I pray for margin, more gets cut off the frayed edge, so I don’t ask any more.  And while it’s not true that my time is money, it is true that more money would buy me more time.  If I had more money, I could just call the guy when the plumbing needs work, instead of trying to do it myself, fucking it up, and then calling the guy.  Which doesn’t happen as often any more, since I’ve done that enough to learn a few things.  If I had more money, I could just pay the bills and not worry about bill collectors, overdraft notices, car repairs, the insurance bump whenever dear daughter starts driving… don’t remind me.

If I had more time, I might invest some of that in resting.  But so far, whenever I “have more time,” the dog needs something, the daughter needs something, the son needs something, or the wife expected me to have already spent that time doing something else.  If I choose to not invest that time in the expected shit shoveling for whichever demanding person demands it, a) the wife just shakes her head, does one of those life-draining sighs of exasperation and starts doing whatever she thought I should have done already, or fixing whatever part of it wasn’t complete, in the expectation that I will muster the energy to take over and handle it.  Sometimes, I can pull it together.  Not always. b) the daughter screams about how I don’t care, nobody cares,  nobody likes her, and she can’t do it because she has homework/social engagement/exhaustion/insert-other-manufactured-excuse; c) the son almost finishes and then disappears into the darkness of his room and his electronic device(s); d)the dog just stares and expects another treat for not doing shit.  Or for doing shit wherever he damn well decides to.

He has a spot he likes to go, to do his business.  When I have time, not a problem.  When I don’t, I want him to learn to go where I want him to go.  I didn’t think I had time to get there and back, so  didn’t take him, so he shit on my carpet because the bare, easy to clean bathroom floor didn’t have the same grass-like appeal as my grey carpet.  He can’t see anything but black and white, maybe the carpet looks or feels comfortable like grass, but for fucks sake, it’s not shag.  It’s not even plush.  It’s another one of the things I should replace because it’s gross.  The last time I tried to rent a shampooer, it did a shit job, and I can’t blame it all on the shampooer, because the carpet is so old.  The carpet is almost as old as some of the stains on it, or possibly the reverse.  Who can be sure?.  We bought the carpet with the house, back when we had money, time, and hope.  Well now there’s another one, but I’m working on getting that out before it becomes set and older than the dog.  I’m not replacing the carpet until the dog is trained properly, which probably means I’ll replace the carpet and then the dog will forget his training and shit on the new one.  Which begs the question- does carpet come in exactly matched shades of shit brown?  Oh, wait, there’s also food stains and drink stains…  Maybe I’ll have to go with an out-of-fashion camouflage and random colors-print carpet, something like one of the busier, less orderly  Kandinsky-patterns.  Some people like Wassily, and …then there’s me.  Because to me, the paintings reflect the stress of trying to produce a sufficient number of quality pieces of art in the time available, trying to sell them quick enough to earn a decent living, and fail.  But then, maybe I’m projecting myself onto Kandinsky.  Or maybe I’m right, maybe he hates that, and that’s why I don’t really like his work.

Yesterday I ventured forth to the store to return something my wife thought I should easily be able to install.  My faux extroversion knows no limits.  First, when the installation went south, I swore (naturally).  And then I set it aside to wait and see if Mrs M would fare any better guiding dowel A into insertion point B.  It’s just a hanging thing, and one essential piece at the end wouldn’t go into where it was supposed to go, and “click.”  Did I ever mention that I hate house projects, and “easy-to-install” bullshit.  (…You’d think I’d be an expert at putting round peg a into slot b.  Alas, no, I clearly need more practice.  Someone tell Mrs. M, please!)  Thank GOD, she couldn’t get dowel A to click into insertion point B either.  (which can only mean that she needs more practice too.)  The second thing I did is to call the company who was dumb enough to print their toll-free number on the instructions.

I called, and the first lady I got said I couldn’t have a new round peg. I’d have to box the entire thing up and return it to the store, or call her corporate office.  I forgot her name.  She was nice, and even sounded like she was familiar with the very defect I was talking about, but still…  So I called toll-free number 2, who sent a request to the local store manager.  The store manager called me and said he’d take care of everything, and he did, at least, if dowel A’ successfully attaches to insertion point B’.  But I did have to box up most of the defective thing so they could return it to their manufacturer.   Anyway, returned it, exchanged for hope, and went back home barely in time for work.  Today I got that out of the box and the same damned peg in the new box wouldn’t screw and lock correctly into the insertion point of the piece of shit, made in China, from the new box.  Ugh.  The easiest sounding things are too much work.  The easiest sounding things are never easy; they just seem to add more pressure to what’s already too much.  The simplest things are too complicated and too hard to figure out, and too stress-filled.

I’m a simple thing.  (Or maybe, simple minded.)  I literally worried on the way home that I might get hit by someone and be late for work.  Heaven forbid. This is how much I hate drastic change and don’t want to be an inconvenience or a burden to anyone else.  I want to be helpful, in a world where so many people seem hell-bent on fucking it up for me and everyone else.  I very briefly thought to myself, it might have been a mercy.  Like driving off into the retention pond.  But no, see above, I resist such foolishnesses as they don’t fit- I don’t have the margin of time to deal with dying.  Or worse, not dying, and not having an excuse for why it took so long for me to not die.  I don’t really want to die.  I don’t have a preference for death over life, and I don’t have a workable plan.  I mean, life can turn around.  I’m waiting to see how it plays out, but I’m hoping it’s a decisive victory I can start enjoying at half-time, and not a game changing buzzer beater shot at the last second.  I’d much rather enjoy the journey than watch it suck as hard as possible and have to fight until the bitter fucking end.

More pressure -at lunch yesterday I remembered I was supposed to make chicken noodle soup because my daughter went to the dentist the day before (guess who got to take her, guess who was 3 whole fucking minutes late and whose daughter gave him unending grief about it all, including how fast I was trying to drive, and how I was stuck behind another, fairly slow-moving car or two the whole way and  how slow I was driving, and how we were going to be late, and how it was my fucking fault there was a string of cars between me and the door of the school and I didn’t feel comfortable just shoving around them, because I don’t drive a monster truck.  Oh, and how “[I] don’t care about [her,]” either.)  So I didn’t care but I made the chicken noodle soup and got back to my desk with exactly 48 seconds left of the hour.

But you made it back, you’re saying.  And you succeeded, you’re saying.  Well, I’ll admit, I didn’t die.  But that doesn’t mean that going into the store with an item to return after searching for the receipt and failing because it’s either in her purse at her workplace, or already out in the trash, wasn’t stressful.  I had so much time before work that I took the dog for a walk and had the presence of mind to lock him in his crate so he couldn’t escape and crap on my damned carpet again.  Which reminds me, there’s still the stain I have to try to get out of my carpet.  My life sounds funny, like one of those sit-coms you expect to resolve in 22 minutes.  But it’s not funny to live through.  Maybe in another year, after the cash windfall comes, I’ll look back and laugh.  Or maybe, I’ll remember what it felt like and be on a mission to help people who are struggling like I was back before the big lottery payouts started rolling in (what the hell, I can still hope just like the next guy) .

My dad is home from the hospital.  Nice of him to give mum a day of rest while she was sicker than he was, eh?  Both of them have this really tenacious, killer bronchitis that’s not quite pneumonia, just like my daughter has had for a month and a half.  I went to the hospital and spent time with him, and then when his dinner arrived I went to mums.  She was sleeping, so I started washing her dishes.  She heard me and got up.  I made her sit back down when she started coughing uncontrollably.  And I poured her some whiskey.  I wanted some for myself, but she lives across town and I needed to be able to get home before having to sleep anything off.  While she sipped and rested, I finished the dishes and mopped the cat hair, cat food, and other, off the kitchen floor.  I so wanted to do more, because her house is almost as bad as mine.  Or worse, since I know what to do with my own shit, it’s hers and dad’s and I don’t really know what to do with it all.

Mum, she just sat and sipped and stopped coughing for a bit.  I checked in today  and they are both doing better but they have the severe bronchitis same as my daughter.  If you want to avoid a fight with someone, start cooking or cleaning for them and listen while they shut up.  Recalling this, I invaded the sanctity of the maelstrom in my daughter’s room yesterday and made her bed for her.  She was so happy, she took a nap after school, which made her feel even better.  But if I start doing any of those things and they keep bitching, I leave it for them to finish.

I may or may not have a bad habit of rage quitting.  It’s a gamer’s expression, but so fitting to my life.  Because fuck you if you’re not working to help me or staying out of the way, fuck you if you’re stressing me out as if it’s my fault, fuck you if you don’t appreciate it when I try to do nice things for you.  And fuck you if I’m not fast enough to satisfy your impatient bullshit.  With family, the best way I know how to do this still isn’t a good way.  Rage quit means I shut the fuck up, stop talking, finish what absolutely has to be finished, and leave the offenders in my dust.  Or their own fucking dust, if they made the mess I was trying to clean up.  I wish the solution was the same for work.  But no, I have to be a team player to claim I’m a team player and I work well on my own.  I can operate in both modes, but the team part is me faking well.  What I wish I could do is different.

At work, if someone fucks something up, I want to make them fix the damn thing and leave me the hell out of it.  And I want to wait patiently until they fix the shit, so I can do my job.  At work, if a tool I need isn’t working, I want to report the issue and wait until the tool is repaired and when it is repaired, step in and do my job.  But what I have to do instead, is sincerely apologize to our clients, and work that much harder to do what I can until it’s working, and then apologize again to the clients, and work that much harder to do what I couldn’t do until the company lets me play catch up.  If all of corporate America is on thin threads like this, maybe there’s a company out there hiring hack writers who retain their sense of humor, however grim and twisted it may become, in the face of adversity, stupidity, hypersensitivity, insecurity, and reinforced inferiority from all the people who demand I treat them with abject deference to their perceived self-superiority.  Ass holes!

I shredded paperwork dated anywhere from 2011 to 2015 yesterday, and I had two and a half trash bags full of shreds.  I ran across some interesting documents.  They showed us struggling financially, climaxing in 2013 and hovering near bankruptcy, leaving us stuck through about 2015, and we’ve been making slow progress getting out of the shit since then.  Thankfully, “for richer, for poorer” included “for poorer.”  The documents even showed us asking for help, and then there was the letter from one of the places we asked for help.  The letter reminded us that we had asked them for help a year and a half before, and how they counseled me then to “just” figure out how to make more money.  Great advice from great people.  I remember both visits.  I was humbled and discouraged going to them the first time. I left feeling completely humiliated and more depressed both times.  It was worse the second time, and then they added their letter of encouragement.  Thanks so much for the help.  I hope I never have to go back, and I hope no one else gets the same counseling advice from those rich fuckers.  I didn’t shred the letter.  I want a time in the future when I’m in a place to help one of these people and they’re placed in a position of need, and I share with them a) my experiences from 2012 to 2015 and how hard it still is now in 2017, AND their damned letter, b) Proverbs 3:27, and c) my blessings.  They have enough money that one of them could have fucking hired me to work for them for more than I earn now, and I would have worked my ass off to earn their pay.  Or, they could have hired me to work on staff for the organization-this was one of the places I already worked as a volunteer, and it would have been a dream job if the position matched my training, successful previous experience, and credentials.  But back then, I would have worked as a janitor, for fucks sake, and done a better job than the idiot who does a shit job cleaning for them still to this day.  Instead they gave us a one-time gift, which was helpful, once, and the second time we needed help they prayed for us and then told us to piss off and figure it out for ourselves.

This blog started, at least influenced, if not pushed to profanity, by those experiences and others, and my journey into discovery of why I am how I am was twistedly encouraged by them, so, do I owe them a debt of gratitude?  I think the answer from a human perspective is a a tiny yes for the gesture of the gift, and an emphatic “FUCK, NO,” for the way I felt during and after both experiences of humiliation, and for the consolation letter we received instead of help the second time, but I think if I ever have the money I’ll give them back their gifts with interest, and tell them to piss off and figure it out for themselves as to why I don’t really care if they make it or not.

So today, not that I want to do any of this, I remembered I have to get a Boy Scout physical, so I called the doctor and set that up.  I gave the person at the other end unnecessary grief, because of the last episode,that cost me $700, for the experiment I damned well knew the results of before the blood was wrestled from the perceived safety of my veins.  However, I asked how much it was going to cost me and the person was not forthcoming.  She mentioned a normal fee and then said that they don’t do copays for that, they submit it straight to my fucking cheap-ass insurance company, and then the insurance figures out how much they want to squeeze, how far they can elevate my blood pressure without actually killing me directly, now that I’ve lost a little weight and it’s gone down a little.

They charge me an extra hundred from each paycheck than they did before Obamacare, and they have yet to repeal it, so I’m more broke and even less able to afford any experimentation or equipment breakdown.  Yeah, and my income went up zero dollars to help me afford that insurance rate bump.  And I still have to pay copays for doctors and dentists, which is bullshit if I pay this much for healthcare coverage.  I’d go bankrupt if I ever had to go to the hospital like my dad did.  Because those rich fuckers always get their money, and they don’t really seem to give a shit how they’re getting it or what they’re putting people through to get it.  So if by some ill twist of fate I come up sick, I’ll just wait until I’m dead and check in to one of those really small rooms in the basement, that only have minimal amenities- no heat to pay extra for, no extra nursing care, and only one door that opens from the outside.  They don’t charge cadavers in the morgue.  Just the survivors.  If that fucking $700 bill for one tiny tube of blood is proof, evidently the insurance company thinks I earn a great income already!

And I do.  For someone who worked between 1910 and 1940.


My wife, the lovely and talented Mrs M, is not just lovely and talented.  She is more often irritating to me than she is irritable at me.  I let a few people close who flip that, just not quite as close.  I figure if she’s patient enough to not have killed me in my sleep yet, she’s probably ok to have around.  The drawback is she can be annoying sometimes, most often when she’s reminding me of something she asked me to do earlier that I didn’t do yet.  She also dabbles in being opinionated and critical, most frequently when I either tried to do something and failed to meet her expectation, or when I didn’t even bother to try.  A guy I used to hang out with used to say, “Stay away from ‘puppy love.’  It’s the beginning of a dog’s life.”  As I recall, he was the preacher who officiated our wedding…  Thanks for the warning, pastor.  I kind of like this one, though.  Not sure if anyone else would put up with me as well)  She is also a savvy shopper, as smart as she is beautiful.

She can find random shit that comes in handy later, if we can find it when the need arises.  I have no idea how.  But I know why:  to give me more work.  The most recent example is a paper shredder.  What with identity theft becoming so prevalent along with hijacked computers and ransomware, it seems the fuckers who have nothing better to do with their time and genius decide to  harassing people out of their comfort zones and their cash through even less upstanding ways than say, politics, medical and dental insurance, contractor labor, car sales, car repair, human resource management, team management, or being a pastor.  In no particular order, these are probably the people who irritate me the most in life.  Anyway, that’s the reason I celebrate that she found, and purchased, a paper shredder.  Not only did she find an industrial quality shredder, but she found it at a garage sale, for $8.  It’s not a little crappy shredder.  We had the crappy model a while ago, and it fell apart screaming in agony and died.  The little teeth just couldn’t handle anything more than one sheet at a time. I’m not testing this one’s endurance, but I JUST priced this thing at between $70 and $80 online, and she bought it some time ago.

I’m working from home now, and I’ve been sort of cleaning here and there when I feel ambitious, and I ran across the stash of old things that needed shredding. She hasn’t run it, but there it’s sat, waiting for purpose.  I honestly don’t know why it wasn’t run, except she was waiting for me to do it. An enormous pile of paper was sitting over in the corner like something you’d see on an episode of hoarders.  Don’t get me started, or there’ll be another rant.  Anyway, I started, a little at a time, when I had time and my attention focused on that and not one of the other pressing things that MUST BE DONE IMMEDIATELY OR THE WORLD AND LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WILL END!  Like, taking the dog for a walk, lest he crap or mark his territory ON MY CARPET, which offends me almost as much as it offends Mrs M, but then, who cleans the fucking carpet? (I’ll give you five guesses and the first four don’t count, since there are now five living things in the house, and no, the dog hasn’t mastered scrubbing, he’s only got the spraying down.)    Or, taking out the trash lest Mrs M’s fragile sniffer should be offended.  (No, clearly, hers doesn’t stink, people, work with me here! I can say it, and I actually LOVE her.)

So, tonight, any stray and unpleasant aromas shall be covered in a layer of air thick with chocolate molecules.  Leave the deodorizing spray in the cabinet tonight.  Oh.  Don’t click play if you don’t like it, but HEY LYNYRD SKYNYRD! Wanna make a little extra dough? (Please say no, please say no, PLEASE SAY NO!!!)  This song would go well with a certain air- and fabric- and other- refreshing product.  (Please say no!)

That cleaning/freshening spray product, which shall be nameless but rhymes with something in the song title, works pretty well on carpets and the couch cushions.  I know because I don’t smell dog “markings” or  other dog issuances which have occurred.  Anyone else do that instant word dissection thing and notice that “cur” is part of “occurred?”  Just me?  I just don’t want them to play the song with fucked up lyrics to shill the product.  I’ve had enough of that.  Good songs get my hatred, and bad songs receive my loathing, when they’re sold to product-selling companies and overplayed until I’m saturated, which doesn’t take very long, especially whenever I hate the song to begin with.  That Lynyrd Skynyrd, though… my favorite of their songs today is  “Gimme Three Steps.”  A great story, woven skillfully into a poem, with a musical setting?  That’s my kind of thing.  I could write like that, for $10,000 a month, if someone wanted to hire me.  No, seriously, who wants to hire me?  (I may have to trademark that question, if someone doesn’t hire me soon.  Maybe a certain kind of cryptozoologically named company will pay me to use MY slogan.)

Mr. M probably still stinks, but we’re used to that.  And the dog needs a bath.  Maybe tomorrow.  Mrs M and the kids won’t do it, so that’s another thing the dog and I get to do together.  I hope the shampoo doesn’t irritate him.  But tomorrow morning I have to deliver more girl scout cookies, so task on task on task, before work, hooray again.  I wonder if he’d feel better, or bite the crap out of me, if we sat in the tub together while I washed him.  I grew up with cats, and I like that they bathed themselves.  I hope the trust we’ve built holds out.  Where’s my  swimming trunks?  And chain mail armor.  That suit will almost completely protect against shark bites. But who protects the sharks?

Holy shit.  Look at that cool Neptunic/shark logo emblazoned on her arm, and bonus, also on the top left side of the top.  They sell this suit, if you want to look this good before and after diving in the shark-infested water and not-quite serving yourself to the sharks like an hors d’oeuvre. Here’s the link you need, to read the entertaining article and if you want to buy one, email the sales team from this link.

Yeah, I don’t want a shark suit.  I’ll never, ever, willingly jump into shark infested water and play “feed-the-fishies.”  NE.  VER.  But I knew the suits existed, and I figured maybe including the photo would add a hint of something to my blog.  What’s the word for whatever that hint is a hint of?  Quality?  Never noticed that HERE before.  Beauty?  Um, I looked in the mirror today, and I know how dazzling I am to all of you, but when I look at myself it’s half and half, and when Mrs M looks at me…hmm.  I’ll have to ask her.  Anyway, I’m sure there’s a better word for it.  Let me know in the comments below.  Just keep in mind, the photo isn’t mine, the model is probably smarter than any stupid comment, AND, she knows people who can take you to where the sharks swim, that is, if she doesn’t have her own boat, so don’t.  You know what I mean.  Just.  Don’t.

I’ll let you know how the dog’s bath goes.  We’ll both be cleaner, because I’m climbing in there with him.  With some kind of clothes on…where’s my denim shirt?  It’s probably the closest thing to chain mail I own.  Well, he’ll be clean.  I may be eaten alive.  Maybe he’ll go for the jugular vein.  Best case, he’ll just freak out and freeze like he did last time we bathed him, and endure until the bitter end.  In between, a number of dog-bite scenarios come to mind. You haven’t heard this tiny 25lb  dog screaming crazed bloody murderous hatred at the neighbors, their kids, or their dogs.  He’s scared, but he tells the other, bigger dogs, and people, to fuck off or die.  Anyone else dissect courage and see “rage?” Just me? Maybe it’d be better if I had a dog the size of a shark, so one bite would end it.  But no.  My dog has teeth that bear closer resemblance to a piranha.  Honestly, I don’t think I’m afraid, but it’s possible.  I’m a bit nervous, truthfully, but I think he’ll behave.  He trusted me through a trip to the veterinarian, so maybe he’ll trust me through the bath. Maybe it’ll be a bonding experience, as if we weren’t already totally perfectly psychologically paired.

At least it’s not an anal probe.  Holy ass-fucking HELL.  The stupid veterinarian KNEW our poor dog was having digestive difficulties, irritated from front to back, knew he was already suffering after we described his discomfort, symptoms and, um, discharge, and could have just done the blood chemistry to figure that out, but no, she had to get a temperature, from the core, where he was already sore.  I haven’t had the pleasure of hemorrhoids, but I think the dog had one, and she wanted to poke at it, for fucks sake.  And that was just in the entry hall of the Hound’s House of Hellish Horrors.  He cried and I wanted to.  That wasn’t enough, so she took him into her back-room torture chamber to get the blood sample and then she tried to get a stool sample, that buggering bitch.  He cried some more; I could hear it through the damned doorway to doggy distress, and I almost did too.

My blood sample for the doctor’s little experiment is (in installment payments because I don’t just have that lying around) costing us $700 because my insurance is bullshit.  I knew the fucking results before the test was collected. I called everything before they called me, Mrs. M heard it, not that she showed me any sense of being impressed when I was spot on about everything.  And the dog’s session in the canine chamber of crises and cataclysm was around $300, and what did they tell us?  He’s got an irritated lower digestive tract and an upset stomach.  Um…  No shit, mutt mundunugu!  Neither of those will ever happen again.  I can’t afford to let them experiment on me, and I won’t allow them to torture the dog ever again.

I’ll check in after the potential shredding. I may just go with the ragged, rugged look. Mrs M hates it when I try to go out with any kind of holes or shreds I didn’t pay for, but our daughter has a pair of jeans that looks like it’s been through the shredder and that’s considered “fashionable.” I mean, what the fuck?!  My ego, not to mention my very mortal soul, goes through the shredder on a regular basis.



Hot, isn’t it?  I look exactly like that.  Except for the likelihood of bloodshed and mayhem.  Maybe you just can’t see the scratches because they’re eclipsed by how fine I am.  Just ask Mrs. M.  Because she needs a good laugh.

Discomfort Zone

Does life always have to push people?  Is it just some people?  And if it’s some people, how the fuck do I get off the list before dying?

The church, after advertising the benefits of eternity “after you suffer for a short time,” wants to push its’ good hearted people out to do ministry work, because there’s so much shit out there in the world that needs shoveling.  Pastors can’t do everything or be everywhere so they train us regular church people and hope we get it.  And then get off our asses and do something, anything, to help people who need help.  The problem is one of numbers.  If all the members could figure out how to support the ministry by giving something, it’d go a lot further than a few giving their 10 or 15 % and most giving a dollar or nothing.  If all the members could figure out some ministry to get involved with, physically being, to use a current cliche I’m sick of hearing applied to military things, boots on the ground.  Because ministry isn’t just prayer (and fasting, for you masochists.  Not saying I don’t, but I don’t very often.  It has to be about something or someone VERY important to me).  Ministry is often physical, laborious, and direct.  Manna doesn’t fall from heaven to feed the hungry, just as blankets and winter clothes don’t fall from the sky to clothe and warm up the homeless (or the people whose heat went out and their landlord is a cheap shithead who doesn’t know who to hire who can correctly diagnose and fix it, the reader knows who she is).  I honestly like ministry work.  But who wants to hire a sweary, irritable, irritated, introverted, “complex”-brained, annoying, opinionated, hard-working, needy old crank?  No, seriously, who wants to hire me?

I’ll work in the ministry if God calls and someone pays my bills.  Because money doesn’t normally fall from the sky unless someone let go of a few $20s on a windy day and they blew away, or a drug dealer accidently pushes the wrong button on the airplane, and they’ll come back with guns for that.  I’ve seen probably more than my share of God’s twisted old sense of humor taking care of things, in His twisted way, in His twisted time, but by and large it’s not “normal,” which is why some events are called “miracles.”  A house, and $75K a year is enough.  $100K if you want to help with some things I’ve let wait until God sent the provision.  I’ve got an M.Div. from seminary, finished back in ’95.  I went into a liberal-headed-toward-conservative school, pretty conservative in my beliefs, and I came out of a conservative school with the same basic beliefs, but knowledge of a few other really interesting beliefs to compare.

I still have a certain package of thoughts about the Bible, and honestly I think the unpackaging makes people uncomfortable when they think about employing me in ministry.  But is that a bad thing?

Me in the ministry …would DEFINITELY put me well into my discomfort zone, in several ways. And it would probably put others into a discomfort zone as well.  But in other arenas and for various reasons, I think I’d do well.  I’m not afraid to work.  I like to encourage people.  A friend of mine gave me some counsel about the Bible:  “It’s a sword.  It’s not a club to bash people over the head with JUST truth.  And it’s not a warm fuzzy blanket that covers people in JUST love and tells them they’re OK no matter what they do.  It’s gotta be a careful mixture of truth AND love, or you’re not handling it right.”

Ew.  Truth be told, I find it difficult to love anyone.  I’m not that loveable myself.  But I get we’re supposed to care because someone needs to give a damn or the whole world will just go down the crapper that much faster.  So, when the food pantry asks for food, maybe give some if you have extra.  Or volunteer to work there if you have a couple of hours.  Or, when the neighbor’s heat goes out, invite them over if it’s cold outside, or if it’s not too bad, lend them a space heater or three.  Uncomfortable yet?  Church is supposed to be a little uncomfortable, easier if more people do their fair share of helping.  However, in churches I’ve attended and worked in, the percentage of active members versus the total number of members is something like 13 to 20 out of 100.  I think the number of people who contribute an actual regular offering as a calculated and deliberate amount related to income is probably about the same.

That being said, I can’t judge here, because I’m exactly the same.  For several years, during this economic drought, I’ve given when I could and paid the bills when I couldn’t, not exactly the widow’s mite of the modern era.  Not exactly a pillar of faith, am I?  So it’s been, that lately what we’ve been giving is a smaller percentage than I’d prefer to give, because the bills keep rolling in and life keeps handing me shit that falls apart on the regular, a bit too frequently and quickly to keep up with and have what I’d like to be able to give, which would be more than an actual 10th.  In this income bracket, I find myself on the begging side more than on the giving side, and still I stubbornly give a little here and there when I can, or when I stubbornly decide I’m going to do it, and the creditors can bite me.

Volunteering?  I thought I’d get back on the music team, because it’s something I love, so I asked.  I thought there would be a corner spot for me, since I was there every week for about 3 years, until the other volunteer work took me away,  but the new music guy doesn’t have any use for an old guy who plays something other than a guitar or drums or piano/organ.  Maybe I look too old to ask back to the singing team.  Not that I even could do it, now, since they meet on a weeknight to rehearse.  With my schedule shift, I’m not volunteering at church or boy scouts or anywhere, because the volunteer events occur when other people, who have a life, can do them, which means weekends or evenings, and I have weekends and want to be with my family more than just good morning, have a good day, goodbye, and then from the end of the workday until they go to sleep, helping with a little homework or whatever.  I’d volunteer, but the times don’t mesh with my schedule and they don’t want me anyway.  Statement of feeling, not reality, I’m well aware.  Or strongly hope.  Playing music, or singing, was comfortable.  So again, I’m out of my comfort zone.

In my prior job, after woefully underpaying me for years, pretended everyone cared about me when I quit.  And in my new job the people act exactly the same way.  So, like the church wants to push people, so does work.  I thought I was uncomfortable there, but then changes when Mrs M wants to move closer to her family, hooray.  More discomfort.  The jobless, money-less adventure, that sucked more than the current epic season.  Not only am I supposed to be grateful for the every-other-week pittance, which still leaves me at below the poverty line after 10 years at this one, I’m also supposed to cheerfully accept when they shift my schedule and put me on the ass end of the day, removing all possibility of me having any life outside of work, nor being able to do any job searching in the evening while relaxing. The boss said she’d like me to finish a few more tasks every day and increase my average statistics.  Which is great, right?  OK, well, I’d like to be paid a few dollars more than new people fresh off the street.  I’m pushed outside my comfort zone already with the deficient income, and then the push some more demanding more work for the same negligible pay.  Anybody ever read Exodus 5?  Well work becomes more and more like that, but I hate change and I haven’t been able to line up a bunch of interviews while encountering depression that makes me want to shell over and not even want to talk to family when I’m not at work, increasingly more demanding supervision and micromanagement, and now, people who have been fucking with my schedule.

As resistant as I was to working from home, it could have some advantages if I could figure them out.  But instead of finding a comfort zone of not having to drive in to work, I now pick up the slack if the kids miss the bus, forget their homework or lunch or music or instrument.  I also get to transport to morning doctor appointments, do more of the shopping, etc.  Etc.  Etc.  And, being at home in the morning, of course I have time when the kids and Mrs M go away for school and work, to finish the dishes early instead of late, and clean and walk the dog.  And handle trash.  All these things I’ve been trying to encourage everyone else in the family to do, and now it feels like they do even less than they were when I wasn’t working from home.

On the plus side, I’ve been fortunate enough to harness a few manic episodes.  Here and there, I’ve swept and vacuumed floors, done laundry, and done something way outside my comfort zone.  We have hard water.  It’s limestone.  We have a water softener, but the deposits build so fast I could refute the damned old-earth scientists and their theory that cave limestone deposits formed over millions and millions of years.  Bullshit.  If my plumbing caked over with lime this thick WITH a water softener in a few years, those caves could easily have formed in a few hundred years.  Anyway, I took a shot at the plumbing despite my phobia.  After some help getting rid of the limestone deposits, ALL of my sinks are freely flowing and not spraying because of the limestone clogs.  And I also cleaned the shower head in one bath, and removed and replaced the other, because the dog needs a bath that’s cheaper and less out of the bunker than going to the pet food and accessories places.

Oh.  The dog.  He’s another change to throw me out of my comfort zone, but he brings some comfort with him (let the tender, sensitive readers all collectively say, “awwww!”  Got that out of your systems?  Good, we’ll move on.)  Yeah, he’s more work.  The kids cried, “we want a dog!” and I went along for the ride.  I get along with dogs, and figured whichever one they picked would be fine.  But there’s more hair to sweep up because he sheds.  The kids complain he needs a bath because he smells.  So we took him for a bath and he freaked out about the other dogs in the store, and then he crapped in aisle 6 despite being taken for a walk right before going to the place, and then he cringed because he knows what happens in back rooms.  And then we washed him.  And we did our best to dry and brush his fur to a state of clean fluffiness, and then he walked to the front of the store, and rolled on his back on the stores carpet-y mats to restore some of the funk.

So the dog:  He’s losing his hair, he hates other dogs, he doesn’t like to go to new places, his family complains that he stinks, he experiences episodes of panic, he wants to run away but he can’t, he wants to mark his territory, and he wants to be left alone.   He likes treats offered for no particular reason except because we love him.  But to get a treat, he’ll do tricks, sometimes.  In other words, he’s just like me.  So despite my lack of input in the decision except that I agreed the kids could have a dog as long as they promised to take care of it, they picked a dog to rescue who is just like me.  How… the… ever.. loving… fuck…?  And then, of course, they eye roll and say different kinds of things sometimes, make excuses, whatever, when I ask them to take care of the dog, but they wanted a dog.  So I can make them do what I want for the dog, sometimes.  I walk the dog about twice a day usually, sometimes once if I can corral one of the kids to do it, and I feed him once a day out of the two.  And I do give him lots of treats for no particular reason.  Because why shouldn’t the dog find his comfort zone with me?

We found the dog in an animal shelter, and I have no idea what kind of torment he faced except we know he came from Louisiana, and was briefly in Kentucky.  He holds his tail high in the air, and he’s beautiful, but he sheds, so sweeping is a daily adventure in hair.  I thought I was freaking out with just the human hair sticking to my damned floors…  Ladies and gentlemen, another discomfort zone for me to love.  I don’t want it floating in the air and getting in my food any more than my son, who always seems to be the one to find the ONE hair in any given dish.  It happens maybe once in two months, and it’s on his plate, bless his heart.  If it happens to me, I pull it out, set it aside for later disposal, and move on, because, it’s just a hair, for fucks sake, and I just don’t care.  It won’t kill me.

That tail.  I suspect little brat bastards were pulling his tail, hitting him on the back, yanking his long hair, because as soon as he was able to get over the trauma of his past life and the silent panic of us being so new, he started complaining about the hairbrush, and about us petting him sometimes, like when he’s napping by one of us and we move, he growls to let us know he’s afraid or doesn’t want us to do whatever we’re doing.  He’s nipped at our friends, and two of our extended family members, because he was afraid.  Hey, when you put your hand in my face and startle me, I might bite you too.  Teeth are the dogs last ditch effort to tell you to fuck off. And barking.  Don’t be another dog within earshot or view.  Don’t be a stranger at our door.  Don’t drive a UPS truck.  We’re working on training him not to be so anxious, but maybe he needs some doggie valium or something.

We took him to the veterinarian, and they tortured him.  I held him gently, and he could have easily bitten me, and didn’t.  I’d trust that dog.  He’s got a forever home with me.

I need some human valium or something, but fuck it.  I’ll have a cup of hot tea, because I can’t drink alcohol and be at my job.  That has to wait until 8PM on this new stupid schedule.   So, lovely hot tea, I’ll try to chill, and hopefully the world, the work, the other people, the family, and all the dirt, will leave me alone for a few moments of bliss.

Oh, fuck.  The kids just got home from school.

May all your prayers be answered in ways that make sense and show God’s humor mixed with mercy.  May all your interpretations and application of the Bible be a proper mix of truth and love.  May your stuff, and your budget, not completely fall apart at the seams.  And may the events in your life leave you with a semblance of peace, because someone should have some peace. And if you rescue a dog, may it care for you, and protect and comfort you, and mirror your personality inasmuch as you love it.