Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I might mention I have never in my life put anything together more complicated than Lego blocks. My ex did all that sort of thing and I wasn't allowed to touch anything cause I "might ruin it"...being a girl and all. Whatever. How hard can it be anyways?
It took me 20 min to get the darn thing out of the box. Those boxes are like...indestructible. Seriously!!! I was hacking away at it with my kitchen knife no less and contemplating borrowing the neighbors chainsaw to get it done. (no idea if my neighbor has a chainsaw but he looks very Jasonish...so I'm assuming odds are in favor he has one tucked away in his closet somewhere).
Finally ripped a corner open with a banshee scream of success, which brought all my kids running...in which one of them pointed out the easier way to get it open. Which he did, in about 2 min. Creep.
There were about a million and five pieces to this desk. I sat looking at the pile of soon to be desk delight...and at the picture on the box and couldn't fathom how all these pieces were going to culminate in such a work of art. Looked like left over pieces after building a very big house.
Then I remembered these things come with DIRECTIONS!! Yay me. I hunted for the elusive piece of paper...actually a small sized telephone book of instructions it turns out...and eagerly flipped through the pages thinking...no big deal. Nice pictures, plenty of arrows...no big deal.
On the first page it makes this claim (that I discovered later was TOTALLY bogus...I should sue someone for false advertising) that it would only take about one hour to assemble this lovely desk. One hour. I had 5 hours before I had to be at work so plenty of time to get this thing together AND to test drive it with some Biology homework I had waiting. No big deal. One hour.
One of the very first things I learned about furniture assembling is that you need a lot of space to spread things out adequately. I was in my bedroom and had to put the desk together there cause it wouldn't fit through the door later if I did it in the living room...where there is lots of room. So the most I could spread out was in about a 4 by 5 foot square area....with areas extending down by my bed and into the closet. It was a tight squeeze, but hey...one hour. I could tolerate the cramped space for an hour.
I separated pieces of wood into like piles and went hunting for some tools. Screwdriver, check. Hammer, check. Apparently that was all I would need so I was good to go. I sat down in the middle of my pile and looked at the directions for the first step. A nicely drawn picture of two pieces of wood joined together with little pictures of the appropriate nails to hold them together with. Some kind of locking nail as it had a hole in it which another nail was meant to sit in at some point and lock together when you twisted it into place. Easy peasy.
I looked at all the pieces trying to discern which ones were the ones in the drawing. I held up this one and that one and compared them to the picture...no..not that one...too narrow. Not that one, too square. Ah..here they are. Two rectangles that matched perfectly.
I spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to hold two pieces of wood together while at the same time screwing a nail into them. Apparently I was jumping the gun as I was meant to screw the lock into one piece and the locking nail into the other and then fit them together. Ok, gotcha. I'm starting to catch on to rules of the game. Things should go smoother now.
Once done with those two I looked at the next set of directions. I had to add another piece onto the two I just fit together. Once again I hunted for the right piece of wood...not easy when they looked pretty damn similar to each other. (I would be nearly half done with this damn thing before I actually noticed that on the edges of each piece of wood was a letter associated with the pic it was needed in. So much easier that way *sigh*)
For the next hour I hunted for the proper pieces...struggled with nailing and screwing things as they are not my forte, and cursed the heat, the lack of space, the mocking children who ventured in every now and then to point and laugh and the various scratches and bruises I was self inflicting at an alarming rate. Still...it was coming along...sort of. By the end of the promised hour...my desk still did not resemble a desk and there were far more pieces left to assemble than had been assembled. I grumbled and went to take a break before I chucked it all out the window.
I came back with new resolve and tackled the next set of directions. Attach the little shelf dividers with pegs that went into each edge and into the main part of the desk. No problem. Easy enough. After completing this no brainer I sat back and looked at my progress. It was then I realized I had put the shelf dividers on backwards. Instead of the nice smooth pretty surface facing outwards (where we can see it) the grainy woody part was looking at me. Damn!! I grabbed the hammer and tried to pry them back out. I could barely get the edge of the hammer underneath the edge. It was too tight a fit. I struggled with it for a few minutes before deciding, Who cares? My room...my desk. One little misstep would not take away from the purpose of the desk. (I'm pretty easy going like that...plus it gives the desk character. *ahem*)
I finally got the point where the shelving pieces fit onto the top of the desk. At this point I am meant to sit under the desk, twist and contort my body into a position in which I can screw nails upwards and at an angle...putting pressure on top as well to allow the nails to enter. While Pilates class has taught me some interesting moves of late, this was nearly impossible. It was probably the most frustrating part of the whole damn process. I took another look at the directions and noted at the beginning where it said One Hour (liars) it also said only ONE person was needed for assembly. Really? One very nimble flexible 4 handed person apparently is what they had in mind. That wasn't me by a long shot.
I took another break.
I came back and with more sweat and cussing than nohow, I managed to get the damn shelves on. They even looked mostly straight. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Next part was to put the backs on the shelves. Little flimsy pieces of panelling that closed off the back. How hard could that be?
Hammering teeny tiny little nail wannabees is a lesson in perseverance and marksmanship. Perseverance I have...marksmanship....not so much. 10 throbbing fingers later I had the panels on. Now it was looking like a desk. Hot damn!!
My daughter came in, took one look and asked..."are those panel things supposed to be showing the grainy side this way?"
I grabbed my hammer and attempted to pry the panels off so I could turn them around and put the smooth side facing the right way. The panels were too thin though and immediately began to shred when I attempted to pry them up. Hell...OK then...no big deal. My room, my desk.
I looked at the clock and noted that over 3 hours had passed by now. One hour my ass. Who wrote that false claim on those directions anyhow, Inspector Gadget?
I was hot and a mess. I had numerous self inflicted injuries...and my "be calm be patient" mantra was starting to wear thin. I had to be at work soon so needed to get this done. I did NOT want to come home the next morning and face this mess on the bedroom floor.
I tackled it with renewed vigour...and promptly stubbed my little toe on a protruding edge. More cursing and some fairly energetic hopping around and I'm sure I heard some giggling coming from somewhere else in the house. Just remember, kids...moms don't forget.
I started slamming the remaining pieces into place and banged away with the hammer much harder than I needed too...but ironically my aim improved considerably. Who knew?
Within an hour (20 min till I needed to be at work) I was putting the last piece into place. (or so I thought). I called all the kids and they came to admire (poke fun at) my handy work. Not bad if I say so myself. It looked like a desk. The goal I was going for..so it's all good. See what nearly 5 hours of hard labor will get you...a desk with several backward pieces and some nicks and cuts here and there...but homework here I come.
My son pointed out that there were several pieces of wood still on the floor. I turned to look and yes indeed, there were 4 triangular pieces of wood just sitting there mocking me. What!! I grabbed up the directions and flipped pages frantically trying to figure out what step I missed that would include 4 triangular pieces. I looked at the picture of the finished product and could see nothing that looked even remotely triangular in nature. WTH!!!
I will be honest and say that I chucked those pieces of wood in the dumpster. Until now I have no idea what they were for...but the desk seems to be holding up nicely so whatever they were for...they weren't being missed.
At any rate, desk is assembled...homework has been done on it with nary a problem arising from the backward pieces...and I'm proud of myself for getting it together without resorting to the gasoline and matches that had crossed my mind more than once, taking hold.
I won't be putting anything else together anytime soon. There are somethings I can do easily...and maybe better than some other people...but assembling furniture is not one of them because I know...if I choose to do this again..there will be sweat...there will be tears...and yes...there will be blood. (not necessarily mine but you know...blood).
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
My personal memories of 4th of Juy's of years gone by are pretty much the same. I would get a skin searing sunburn that would leave me moving like a robot, unable to sleep, and vowing to never leave myself open to another one...yet doing it again the following year. Lessons are not always learned the hard way...or any way.
Another memory is of my mother sitting on the ground among a pile of fireworks and basically lighting and throwing them in various directions. Considering she was the first certified female blaster for the coal company she worked for back then...I wonder what they would have thought about her complete disregard for safety precautions...not to mention the precedent she was setting for her children regarding fireworks and safety?
One year my older sis got a very large chunk of her calf removed by daring to light a firecracker and dropping it into a coke bottle with every intention to be far enough away to escape the resulting explosion...unfortunately she did not consider that short fuses generally do not wait for you to place the bottle carefully down before turning and running for your life. The blood was impressive...so were her screams.
I remember the time I was cleaning my bedroom and suddenly smelled a burning odor. I looked around and saw an object on the floor and was reaching down to pick it up (thinking it was trash as I was in my cleaning mode) when it suddenly exploded a mere inch or so from my outstretched fingers. While my heart was debating whether or not it was going to continue beating and sustaining my young life...I heard my father and little sis out in the hallway laughing themselves to death. Apparently father had thrown the firecracker at me to scare me with the resulting boom...I wonder whose fault it would have been if I had actually managed to pick the darn thing up before it exploded?
One 4th my mother's company held a picnic for employees and families. My father declined to come, better for us, and I spent the day watching the effects when alcohol, fireworks, and insanity are mixed. I remember this particular picnic the most because our next door neighbor then, who also worked with my mother, got annoyed by something I did (he was drinking and I was playing horseshoes..I cannot remember what it was I did that irritated him...but being 13 who knows)..at any rate the end result was him giving me a full open handed slap across my face. (my jaw would hurt for 2 weeks after that) I ran to my mother sobbing and she did what she always did...covered up my abuse...only this time she hid it from my father..not for him. She assumed he would go after our neighbor...and she was probably right. While he felt he had every right in the world to abuse us....so help the man who thought the same.
Back to my epic sunburns as one in particular stands out. The last one I suffered through (before the one I got when Bahrain experienced a full scale blackout one summer...another story I may have told at some point on this blog) I was 14 and decided for some ungodly reason to wear a tank top for the very first time to the city picnic....sans sunscreen of any kind. (up to this point in time I was a t-shirt girl...never exposing anything more than my lower arms to the sun) My very white innocent skin on my shoulders, arms, chest, and back...were simply burnt to a crisp. For the next week I could barely move, sleep, eat,....move. I had huge blisters that looked disgusting and during one moment of sweet bliss lost in an exhausted cat nap...sitting up with pillows all around me...my mother took a needle and popped all the blisters. I woke up in a mess of blister fluid and more pain. Sweet.
Yesterday's 4th saw me pottering around my house...I didn't buy a single firework. I didn't go to the show (though I could see it out the window for the most part) and I didn't get a sunburn. Win! Just couldn't get into the whole Independence Day hype this time around...feeling rather jaded I'm thinking when I read how America is going down the toilet due to politicians intent on over zealously flushing the proverbial toilet again and again. I guess I didn't see the point of celebrating and forgetting for a moment that we are slowly (or not so slowly) losing our King of the Mountain (Superpower) status and the right to celebrate our so called freedoms, democracy, and 'don't you wish you were us" mentality.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Working in a convenience store allows me to watch people behaving at their best, and sometimes at their worst, as they go about their day trying to get from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible. The mere fact that it is a convenience store means that customers are intent on getting in and out again with as little delay as possible; anything that delays a customer with this goal in mind can result in flared tempers and curt words. Most of the time this is accomplished without anything major upsetting the dynamics of a convenience store clerk/customer relationship, but now and then something happens which appears to reduce a once civilized thinking people into little more than the cave dwelling Neanderthals we sprung from. I realized yesterday that no matter how far we have come in progress, how high our skyscrapers, how far our space shuttles travel, or how complex our brain surgery gets, when the electricity goes out so does our critical thinking skills apparently.
When the electricity goes off completely we are faced with the sudden and shocking reality of just how dependent we are on it. It is then we realize that nearly everything we do is accomplished by the flick of a switch, the swipe of a card; the automatic responses that should be automatic without us even having to think of them. Electric doors opening or traffic signals operating properly and keeping traffic running smoothly happen “magically” and require no thought or action on our part. We expect these things to do what they were designed to do in order to make our lives easier, smoother, and convenient; and for the most part they do and we go about our day with nary a hiccup; it is when those SNAFU’s happen and the electricity goes out that we are pulled up sharp and thrust back into a century when the word “electricity” hadn’t even been thought up yet much less put into action.
On Saturday at least 1200 homes and businesses were affected when electricity was suddenly no longer under our control. A large scale blackout that not only affected every single thing that uses electricity to operate but also appeared to have adverse effects on people’s ability to think and workout complex problems for themselves; like how to open a door that has a CLOSED sign on it. I was forced to close the store because it simply cannot operate without electricity to run the gas pumps, registers, and security cameras. I placed two very large CLOSED signs on the doors and then spent over 2 hours watching people try and figure out why the doors would not open no matter how hard they pulled on them. Some would go from one door to the other, try that one, when that failed to open on command precede back to the first door and give that another try.
I watched as they placed hands up onto the glass and peered into the dark interior of the store trying to understand why the doors would not open and upon spotting me would play a game of charades indicating I should open the doors for them. No amount of explanation on my part that, due to the electricity being off, I could not accommodate them just now would convince them. I got pleas to just let them pay for gas, get some cigarettes, buy a pint etc. and despite me explaining again and again that there was NO electricity so the pumps would not work, the registers were little more than paperweights, and I could not let them in anyhow, seemed to not make the slightest impression on their once thinking brains. I was talking, explaining coherently and with simple words and yet the looks of confusion on each and every face clearly led me to believe I must be speaking in a tongue not previously known to man.
This confusion and inability to comprehend that, for the moment anyhow, their desires were not going to be met, led some to wander aimlessly back to their cars, obviously still trying to work things out while others decided anger was the best approach and belligerent demands and threats were what was needed at this point. Thankfully the door muffled much of what I’m positive I would not have wanted to hear clearly anyhow, but enough got through that made me glad the doors were locked and, unless body language indicated otherwise, I was safe inside the store as one after the other customers went into melt down mode.
I can only surmise, after yesterday’s adventure into the Twilight Zone, that our education system is failing our children in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. After all, why would fully grown cognizant adults still expect doors to open that have CLOSED signs on them or electrical gas pumps to work when there is no electricity? Have they not been taught that electrical things require actual electricity to operate efficiently? These same teachers must be teaching gullible children that, despite all known laws of physics and nature, convenience store clerks have the power to make electrical things work even when there is no electricity and our refusal to do so is merely due to our selfish natures and desire to see your day interrupted and if we can get that vein pulsing on your forehead to eventually burst then all the better. In other words, you the customer, should take it very personal when we, the store clerk, are unable to give you gas on command or open a locked and CLOSED store merely because you ask us too.
Yes, it is a well-known fact that store clerks do have the power to do magic, but our menial salaries and the belief that we can be treated like mere beasts of burden by the local population; cause us to withhold said powers from the underserving population. Plus, purposely ticking off otherwise civil mannerly customers is just one perk that comes with the job. It is what keeps us clocking in day after day despite the long hours, sore feet, and thankless attitude of many of our customers. We know you wish you were us and dream of having this job but it is only open to the few with the patience and fortitude to withstand the unrelenting stream of impatient demanding customers who, for whatever reason, seem to believe they are the ONLY customer in the store or that their needs take priority over anything else anywhere at any time. We have seemingly raised our children with a Me First Me Only mindset that, while it might raise its ugly head from time to time among the best of us, seems to come clawing to the surface in most of us at the mere flip of a switch, or lack thereof.
Just try and remember one thing the next time the electricity goes off on such a wide scale, if you are inconvenienced by the fact that electrical things are no longer doing what you want them to do, then chances are everyone else is having that same problem. After all, if merely shaking your fist, raising your voice, and showing your inner beast was enough to get things working properly, parents everywhere that have ever tried to put a toy together the night before Christmas would have figured out its power decade ago.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This has got to be one of the most compelling documentaries I have yet seen concerning 9/11. I advise anyone and everyone to watch it that has even the smallest interest in what happened leading up to that day and what part our govt. played in it. Seriously....watch it.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Of course it had to be at night to get full on darkness in the house and the opportunities to play didn't come often as we weren't left alone at night too much....but whenever we found out that both parents would be gone that night my sisters and I would start glancing at each other with gleeful little smiles on our faces knowing fun was about to be had by all.
No sooner had both parents left and judged to be truly gone and not coming back that we would start switching off lights and laying down the ground rules. ALL lights would be off...we wanted it to be as dark as possible to get the full scary affect. The dim light that would come from outside through the cracks in the curtains etc just added creepy affects that perfectly set the mood. We considered the kitchen home base simply because it was at the head of the trailer...the rest of the trailer was a free for all.
At some point one of us would look outside and see if any of the neighbor kids were out after dark...being a small town small trailer park, playing outside at night was a common enough sight. Since kids weren't often invited in our house they seemed to find the opportunity to get inside somewhat of an adventure and would brag later about having seen the inside of our house. I always found this rather amusing considering I tried as much as possible to get out of my house. Once all players were assembled (either just us or those who joined us) the game would commence.
Now the rules were simple...go hide somewhere and when the chance to run for home came up...go for it. Simple right? However, being in near complete darkness gave it an added twist...an element of scariness that just heightened the intensity and squeals of fright were often heard coming from some corner of the trailer...along with giggles that sounded almost hysterical. We loved scaring the hell out of ourselves...ironic considering we spent nearly all our lives being scared for some reason or another thanks to father.
Since we lived in a trailer, finding places to hide wasn't very easy...it being almost completely dark meant that at times you could be right out in the open and still not be seen if you played it right. Often times my sister or friend would creep right in front of me and have no idea I was there...often times I would have no idea they were there and would suddenly be faced with the image of a shape a mere few inches in front of me. It was all I could do not to scream...or sometimes I did and the gig was up and hysterical laughter and fast beating hearts was our reward for being caught.
Of course crashing into something in the dark was always a danger...and given that if we broke anything the punishment would be swift and severe was always in the back of our minds. Also, we couldn't very well blame the breakage on a friend that wasn't supposed to be in the house anyhow...so we knew we would have to fess up to anything that got broke. For some reason it only added to the drama, fun and sense of danger.
Then there was the very real danger of my parents coming home...I doubt my mother would have been too upset about it but my father would have gone ballistic and the fallout would have been painful and potentially dangerous...yet still we played. I couldn't begin to tell you today why we took these chances knowing full well the potential for further abuse if caught. I sometimes think that because our lives were full of pain and fear anyhow...we took what fun we could when we could and to hell with the consequences.
At any rate, most of the time the game was full of screams and laughter and we would play an hour or two then flip the lights back on and send everyone home...then hurriedly clean up the mess and set the house back to near perfection again. We always seemed to instinctively know when to call it a night and get everyone out before car lights flashed in the driveway but there were a few very close calls that had us sweating and sitting "innocently" on the couch barely catching out breath after quickly putting the last few items into place while a key was being inserted in the front door. Yeah...it was pretty damn close a few times.
During these games in the dark we had some moments of drama, fights would break out when someone stepped on someone they didn't see or someone hiding near someone else coughed or breathed too hard and gave the seeker a heads up...crashing into someone who was running in the dark was a give in and there were a few bloody noses or banged heads with some tears and broken friendships that were repaired before the night was over. Kids will be kids. However, there were also a few events that happened that, to this day, remain clear in my mind and yet go unexplained. Call it creative imagination...scene setting allowing for the mind to wander where it will...or call it real..but these things did happen and not only did they scare the hell out of us even more (those of us that were witness to said events) but never even stopped us in our tracks to continue on with the game...or maybe just added to it in some crazy "we love being scared" way.
Our trailer was designed much like many trailers. We had our kitchen at the head of the trailer then the living room...then a long hallway leading off the living room which had our bedroom at the beginning of the hall and further down the main bathroom and our parent's room at the very end of the trailer. At the beginning of the hall (just before our bedroom) was a closet that had the water heater in it and that was all. In all the years we lived in that trailer I can't remember that door being opened very often. It was just there and I never really gave it much thought.
One night during one of our games I was It and everyone else had scattered in the dark to hide. our kitchen had two small stairs leading up to it and I was sitting on those as I counted out loud and stared off into the darkness. I could here giggles and bumps and things being knocked over as everyone scrambled for a hiding spot...I knew my trailer so well I could almost always picture where they were and where they had chosen to hide...but let them sit and simmer with anticipation as I creeped back and forth pretending not to know they were there before snaking out a hand and grabbing them for maximum scare. Fun times.
Anyhow, I was sitting there counting and suddenly there was a strange glow coming from the hall way. I at first thought someone had switched on a light or maybe a flashlight but realized the light was contained...as in it was bright only right there where it was...the light didn't extend beyond a sort of circle. I always think of Tinker Bell when I remember it because she always had that glow about her that didn't seem to light up anything but the space right around her.
I stopped counting and just sat there watching the light...trying to figure out what the heck it was and why it looked sort of yellowy and old. I suddenly realized someone was standing in the light, a girl who appeared to be around 8 or 9 years of age. I might have thought it was one of our friends except that she was wearing a dress and I knew none of us were wearing a dress that night and certainly not one like she was wearing. If I had to describe it today I would use "quaint" and "modest"...words I didn't know then. (I was around 9 myself then) It had long sleeves and bows here and there. She wore stockings and black shoes that also had bows on them. Her hair was long and curly and reminded me of pics of Alice in Wonderland that I had seen before. I wouldn't have been able to tell you then but I can now that she looked like a girl from Little House on the Prairie...that style of dress and hair etc when they were dressed for church or something special.
I remember not being scared exactly but really confused because I couldn't figure out where she came from...how she got in the house...who invited her....and why in the heck she had that awful yellow glow of light around her. I also realized it had gotten really REALLY quiet. I couldn't hear the others out in the dark with their constant giggles and shouts as someone tried to hide where there was already a hider. It was completely silent except for my own breathing.
The little girl was looking at nothing in particular but then turned her head and looked at me and smiled this pretty little smile that I can clearly see to this day. It was the smile of someone that had never known sadness, abuse, adversity...at least to my young mind that is the thought that went through my head...though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to explain why I got that impression from her smile alone. She spoke to me, at least I seen her lips moving but no sound came from her mouth, and then took two steps and appeared to walk into the water heater closet. After a moment I crossed the living room and stood at the closet door looking at it. In order for her to have entered the closet she would have had to open the door obviously...and in the dark I might not have noticed the door open...except that even if she did that there was nowhere in the closet for her to be. The water heater took up the entire space...it was a mere couple of inches from the door and the walls around it. No space at all for a girl to stand in...especially with the door closed.
I stood there a moment trying to make sense of this confusing set up....before reaching across and opening the door...still expecting her to somehow be in there and ready to be scared as she jumped out and said BOO or something in keeping with the game. My mind had not accepted any possibility other than she was just a kid I didn't recognize that had somehow been invited to play with us. Of course when I opened the door there was just the water heater and nothing else.
As I have mentioned before in previous posts (for those that care) I was a very smart kid back then (alas age has robbed me of natural smartness...lol) and devoured books way over my age category....passed classes with little to no effort...had skipped a grade and been given the chance to skip another but mom refused and was doing complicated Algebra 3 grades higher than my current grade. I was smart...yet couldn't make 2 + 2 = 4 for the first time in my life. This wasn't making sense and I was standing there demanding that my brain make sense of something it didn't have a clue about. Apparently I stood there long enough looking into that empty water closet for others to get tired of waiting to be found and one by one they all came out to complain...only to see me standing there staring into the closet and joking that nobody could fit in there so what the heck was I doing looking in there?
I didn't feel like playing anymore and just sat on the couch in the dark while others shrieked and ran about until my older sis called it quits and turned on the lights and sent them home. I never told her what I had seen because I had already come to the conclusion that I must have been imagining the whole thing....yet funny enough a few years later my older sis and I were talking about when we use to play that game as kids...and I mentioned seeing that little girl (rather sheepishly assuming she would tease me as always) but was completely floored when older sis told me she had seen her too...but at a different time. She hadn't told anyone either but we both described her just the same.
We sat looking at each other trying to make our brains come to the conclusion that we must have seen a ghost...what other explanation would suffice? It was the only time in the years we lived in that trailer that I saw that little girl...and my sister said she only saw her once as well....so I find that equally strange. If she lived in our trailer (was she killed in there, died in her childhood???....I hear that ghost haunt where they die...but our trailer obviously wasn't old enough to have a ghost from another century according to her clothing...but we did live in Superior at the time...maybe the ground our trailer was on was haunted???) how come we only saw her just two times (as far as I know nobody else ever saw her)?
Has anyone else ever felt they seen a ghost? Do you believe in them to see them in the first place? Did you ever see something that didn't make sense and just assumed there must be an explanation...even if you couldn't come up with one?
Years later when I had my own children I told them about our hide and seek in the dark game and of course they wanted to play it too....we lived in a big house in Hamad Town back then... 2 floors and lots of hiding places. However, my kids could never have it completely dark...they needed at least a bathroom light on with the door pulled almost shut...hmmm. Lots of fun for them...and they still play to this day (just played it the other night) though an apartment has very little to offer as far as hiding spots. It was more fun for them I think because of the ridiculousness of trying to hide in places that were too small or too obvious. (my daughter at one point sat on the floor and held a floor length mirror in front of her....and the seeker just kept walking back and forth totally not seeing her...lol).
Of course a few really funny (sort of) thoughts come to mind as well. We owned a coon dog at one point whose name was Rosy. Rosy had a horrible little gas problem that made it impossible to enjoy her company for any length of time on a good day. During one night of hide and seek she was in the house with us (another no no) and decided to hide in the bedroom closet along with me and little sis. Older sis was It at the time and happened to be searching for us in the room at about the time Rosy decided to grace us with a full on assualt of her smelly offerings. We basically exploded from the closet unable to take one more second of the noxious gas that was suffocating us...and in the process nearly scared older sis into a heartattack with our sudden screaming emergence. Rosy had the audacity to emerge looking completely innocent of any crime.
Another incident involved one of our friends deciding it was a good time to go to the bathroom...in the dark...while the game was in progress. Needless to say...good thing it was fairly dark when someone crashed into her...spilling her off the toilet seat...and of course pants were down etc. We only got the faintest outline of her hastily pulling up her pants but her flushed faced fairly glowed in the dark...lol.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Root of All Evil? – The God Delusion PT 2/2
This is well worth viewing...I suggest others watch it closely. One has to wonder why god would allow the 3 main religions of the world to create such a divide in the world...to habor such hate for each other. Didnt god see this coming? If he did...why did he allow it? To claim that people have free choice is bullshit...where is the free choice when each one believes he is folling the One True Faith....the one True God? There is no free choice when there is no thinking going on and just mindless and blind following on faith alone.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I find this offensive in so many ways..but the most offensive aspect of it are when I see the children surrounding him nodding in agreement. Our children are what we teach them to be....how is teaching them to hate a good thing? a god thing?
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
My second post on this blog...way back when I still called myself Muslim and still believed there was hope to be found in Islam. Funny what a little time, a lot of reading, and soul searching will do to a person. I don't hate that I use to believe and how deeply I believed it (at the time it felt rights and true) but I do hate that I was so easily impressed and completely blinded to the deep seated issues Islam has.
btw I have no issues with others who still profess being Muslim...we all choose our own paths...but I do take issue with falsehoods that are spread concerning Islam. Just because I am no longer one of the ummah...doesn't mean I don't know what I'm talking about and that I don't have a valid point. One thing Muslims seem to believe to be true...if your not Muslim, or no longer call yourself one, than any knowledge you might have...is irrelevant to any discussion concerning it. Whatever.
pride goeth before a fall...and all that shit.
Summer has finally reached us here in Wyoming (though we still consider blizzards out of nowhere still possible) and so my kids are off for some swimming fun. While talking to them and reminding them about safety (they know how to swim of course) I was reminded of some of my own swimming memories as a kid. Some good...and some not so good.
I was born in California and spent a lot of time at the ocean side with family. I remember that my grandad had a houseboat. One of those flat bottom things that had a square structure on it that resembled a house of sorts. He took us on it a few times and one particular time really stands out in my memories.
Though I had learned to swim at a very early age I had done all that swimming within the safe confines of a swimming pool. Up to that point swimming in the ocean had never crossed my mind as an option...it was simply to big...too vast. No sides to grab onto when I tired or a diving board to kamikaze off of. I loved being on his boat because I was with him, for one, and we could watch fish etc swimming or jumping out of the water. The sun shines forever in CA and a day on the boat with grandad was a day not inside the house with the Monster.
Once while out on the boat, hindsight tells me grandad and my uncle may have been slightly drunk...not a rare thing there...I wondered out loud what it would be like to swim in the ocean as I gazed over the rails into the deep dark murky waters. No sooner had I uttered the words when suddenly I felt hands grab me, raise me up high...and sling me over the side. Where one moment I was safely on the boat looking in...now I was suddenly underwater looking up at the blurry structure of the boat and several equally blurry human shapes looking down at me.
My breath was gone, all my swimming skills deserted me...all I could think of at that moment was the vast bottomless ocean under my feet...along with whatever lurked down there. I was in a panic and felt powerless as I began to sink more.
More than likely only seconds passed but it felt like a lifetime when suddenly there was a form next to me in the water and I was grabbed and hauled back up to the surface where that first lungful of air never tasted so good. I rose out of the water to the sounds of hysterical laughter from all on board. Everyone apparently thought my little journey into the ocean was all sorts of entertaining...everyone but me. I grabbed a towel and went to sulk for hours...all the joy drained out of the day for me.
Of course I never told my mother for fear she wouldn't let me go out with grandad again (it wasn't the first time he endangered one of our lives through good natured fun) but I also never went with him on the houseboat again. To this day I'm not sure who actually threw me in the water but I wasn't taking any more chances.
Another incident in junior high comes to mind as well. During swimming class in the 8th grade we use to play this game called Alligator. While most of the students lay down on their bellies along the sides of the pool...4 or 5 students would get in the water at the shallow end and make their way down to the edge of the deep end. The point of the game was to not make any sounds what so ever...no splashes...nothing. As soon as someone made a sound...all the "alligators" came in the water to tag the swimmers...once tagged you were out. If you made it to the end without being tagged (even after alligators came in) you won.
Now of course there would be good swimmers...bad swimmers...and those that hated the whole thing and didn't really care if they made noise thus ending the game as soon as possible. During one of my turns with a couple other students...I had made it to the midpoint of the pool where the bottom drops off into the deep end. I could no longer touch the bottom with my feet...so did what everyone did at this point...I went under to swim the remaining distance underwater and thus make no noise at all. Of course this only works if nobody behind you makes noise as well prompting the alligators to enter the water.
Of course someone did make noise and in came the alligators...since I was already underwater I wasn't immediately aware that the gig was up and thus try to get to the end as quickly as possible. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by alligators that were not happy just to tag me...but seemed to find it necessary to push me further down in the water. As each knew hand tagged/pushed me...my time spent underwater was getting longer and longer. I felt a sense of panic settle in as I realized I couldn't hold my breath much longer...and simply rising to the surface to get some air appeared impossible with all the hands keeping me down.
Just as I felt my ears would burst along with my lungs...I dimly heard a whistle blow and suddenly all the hands were gone. I was free to get to the surface and suck in some much needed air. I was still in the middle of the deep end tho and really had to struggle with what strength I had left to make it to the side. I was utterly exhausted and took many minutes before I could drag my sorry butt out of the water. At this point our teacher finally noticed me and became concerned. As I gasped out what had happened...he helped me out and made sure I was OK...but we never played that game again that I recall. Good.
And of course there is the incident in Bahrain in which two of my children and myself nearly drowned as I attempted to rescue them from a trench dug into the beach a few feet into the water....that one is hands down my scariest water moment...probably because my children were involved as well.
Of course there are a few more humorous moments, though at the time I might not have thought so. During one trip to the pool when my kids were young in which we visited the recreational center....the pool area had three pools. One for older more experienced swimmers...a smaller more shallow pool for waders etc ...and then a hot pool of sorts...just to sit in and relax. The hot pool had steps leading down into it and I happened to be standing next to those steps at the time. I wasn't swimming ...just watching my kids have fun. Next to me was my son Zack, who was around 4 at the time.
At one point I looked down at Zack to check on him and he was nowhere to be seen. I quickly scanned the area but didn't see him. Just when I was about to really panic I happened to glance down at the stairs leading into the hot pool...and there was Zack...at the bottom of the steps, underwater, with his hands spread out straight...just standing there underwater. I quickly stepped in and grabbed him and hauled him up. As I checked him over and made sure he was OK...asking him what he was doing down there..he was laughing (the stinker was laughing while my heart was pounding)...he wasn't in there long enough to realize the danger...and so was enjoying just standing underwater watching people's legs etc. Ahhh kids. They do make us old.
My oldest daughter, Sara, use to love going to the beach when very young. Her grandad would take her and her brother, Adam, down to his boat every weekend and they would spend hours there...baking in the sun...turning nut brown...while he tinkered on his boat. When I took them to the beach she never hesitated to just run into the water and have fun...until...during one trip to the beach the tide quickly went out leaving the beach itself exposed while they were still out quite a distance. (sometimes you would have to go out quite aways to find water deep enough to actually do more than wade in) This meant they had to walk back through extremely sticky foot sucking mud.
Now this wasn't the problem because we all know that most kids have no problem with a little mud...the problem was that now the crabs...that are inside their holes when the tide is in...are now free to come out. Sara loved eating crabs...up until that point...crabs are a main staple of Bahraini food...but to have her "lunch" suddenly surrounding her...looking ominous and threatening...was too much for her. She was absolutely petrified...frozen solid unable to move. I was shouting at her to just ignore them and come on in...I couldn't go to her because I had my youngest with me laying on a blanket. Her siblings tried to encourage her as well but she wasn't having it. She screamed every time one of them so much as glanced her way. Of course the longer she stood in one place...the deeper she sank in the mud...requiring her to keep shuffling to keep herself from sinking too deep. (no real fear here as there is firmer ground under the mud after a certain point...but she wasn't aware of that)
Eventually, as the sun went down...as her siblings grew tired of trying to help her...as my threats to leave her there lost all meaning to her...she eventually dug deep for courage and made her way back to the beach...one screaming step at a time. I tried not to laugh (it's hard to be a parent sometimes...seriously) as she made her way back. Of course I would have been in there like a shot if I thought she was in any real danger...but I have always tried to allow my kids to over come fears...rather than rescue them every time from them...if possible. So I let her work it out herself...and she did...eventually.
To this day she has never eaten another crab...no longer finds as much joy at the beach as she once did. She will still go but scans the whole area before taking tentative steps towards the water...and hauls ass out as soon as the tide turns and makes its way out again. Poor baby.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
What I have not forgotten is how he made me feel.
The day my mother called me in Bahrain and told me he had died still echoes in my mind. The words speeding across the phoneline, across the planet and into my ear, words I had waited so fucking long to hear, words I whispered to myself as I laid awake at night tembling in my bed while listening closely for stealthy footsteps to come calling....words that were yearned for but never heard...words that I thought would make me rejoice in their anticipated glory.
I did not rejoice when I heard those words...I cried.
My Boogeyman was dead. Dead. DEAD!!! How could he be dead? Things like him did not die...they skulked away into the darkness to terrorize another day. Why do we have Friday the 13th part 52 if not for the fact that Jason can't be killed...cannot die. No matter the abuse to his body, the stabs and gun shots, the drowning and emmolation by fire...he merely stands up and brushes off the futile attempts at ending his henious life...and stalks away to find more prey.
For sure when I was young I prayed and begged for his death, or at least his absence from my life...but deep in my heart I did not truly believe he COULD die. Monsters dont die. My father could not be dead. If my father could die...well that only meant one thing....that I (me) could die as well. With my father's death I was faced with my own mortality and the tears sprang quickly to my eyes and fell with this new found revelation. If monsters could die....what chance did the rest of us have?
My mother had the audacity to believe I was shedding tears because, after all, he WAS my father. At the end of the day, paternal love won out and my tears fell for him...not despite him. Meanwhile years later she told me she did not shed one tear while she watched him die. (yes she was there at the time...another story). I despised the fact that she assumed she was stronger than me and that even in death his life meant nothing to her...but was supposed to have meant something to me?
No Mother, the tears fell because Death came calling. The Great Equalizer. I cried because in his death I saw mine. There was no room to rejoice at the passing of the Monster...and to this day I have not so much as smiled at the thought that he no longer walks this earth...because he stall walks the corridors of my mind. He still lives and breaths and terrorizes in the one place he cannot die...or that I am unable to kill him once and for all. The flesh and blood of my Boogeyman is dead but his words, actions, and terror live on for as long as my brain is a thinking living object of self abuse.
Did you hear that Bin Laden is dead? Yes. It's True. The Boogeyman to end all boogeymans has died an ignomous death after wreaking such havoc, such terror...after playing with the hearts and minds...and bodies of so many and leaving them shattered and broken...and afraid. I watched as the news unfolded and spread like wildfire through the Internet...like a snake twisting and slithering through the 140 character limit that is Twitter as people spread the news via their fingertips rather than shocked lips and wide eyes.
The Boogeyman is dead? Is it true? How can it be? The Boogeyman can't die. It must be a rumor, a lie...Bin Laden is legend, legends don't die....but wait...hold on...yes YES!! it is true. The President is speaking...people are smiling...clapping...rejoicing!!!
I watched and read as people rejoiced over the death of this man, this Boogeyman...and it saddened me and angered me so much I was surprised I took it so personally. Who was Bin Laden to me? I was not in New York when the towers came down....no person in my family was personally affected by that trajedy...but I was standing in the living room of a Bahraini family's home at the time as it unfolded on the large screen TV. The room grew quiet as we took in the sheer scale of the horror that was playing out like the latest Hollywood action film before our eyes. As tears started to fall and splash on my cheeks I heard a sound that seemed to not belong in that room...a sound that offended and assaulted my ears...and then my eyes as I turned to make sense of it. That family was cheering and clapping and whistling and grinning from ear to ear. Rejoicing at death!!! As those buildings burned and bodies plummeted I heard whoops and shouts of joy.
I could not make sense of it. Death is here. Death is walking among us. Death has come calling and you REJOICE!!! Death...the great equalizer. There is no rejoicing in death...even when it is your "enemy", your Boogeyman. Those Bahraini's rejoiced in the death of their fellow human beings...just as so many across the world rejoiced at the death of Bin Laden.
I didn't understand it then and I don't understand it now. Why the cause for celebration? If he can die, if the Great Boogeyman of our time can die after being little more than a rumor, a superb player of the Cat and Mouse game, a vex on the lives of global travelers who want nothing more than to get from point A to point B without having to disrobe or be felt up in the process....the "focus" of pointless wars and even more pointless deaths...so now he is dead. Great. What do we do now...once the cries of celebration are ended?
There is always room in this world for another such as he to spread terror..mayhem...destruction. Should we not stop the rejoicing and instead focus on what really matters. Why a man such as he was created in the first place...because even with this death...if we do not change the ways in which we run this planet...how we treat each other...how we force our ideals on each other rather than find room for tolerance...how we quickly rush to shed blood in the name of some Higher Good...rather than stop and listen to an opinion that is not like our own....and allow that person to have it and express it without feeling anger that he dares think and believe differently than me.
To rejoice in death but to remain intolerant in life is the very foundation of what men like Bin Laden sprang from. If he believed in his cause...if he believed in his mission...if he believed he was fighting a Jihad just as he claimed...then there is nobody who is rejoicing at the death of Bin Laden more than... Bin Laden himself....so to speak. He got what he wanted...what he worked for...what he killed for. Our intolerance will ensure that other men like him are created...and Boogeyfied...and "martyred " in exactly the same fashion....but the question is...how many more people will have to die before that point is reached? How many more Bin Ladens must we suffer through before we realize WE are the creators of our own Boogeymen?
As children we have no choice, no power, no where to turn when our Boogeymen place a hand on our bedroom door knobs and enter our lives...we must stand mute and powerless as our childhoods are stolen...ripped away while we yearn for a peaceful nights sleep. As children we do not create our own Boogeymen for they are quite happy to create themselves and terrorize without invitation. As adults the power to create men such as Bin Laden is the burden we share...each side of this global clash of cultures are people molding and shaping and giving life to the Boogeymen such as Bin Laden...and now that he is gone...the next one in line. We have that power...and oh how we love to use it.
Bin Laden is dead...so what...there are more like him...thanks to the human desire to focus on what makes us different than what makes us similar..so far...for many..death is our only commonality. What a shame.