Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ladies and Gentleman, Meet Vern

We had gathered enough junk over the years, it was time to spring clean.  

My brother in law had made arrangements to take a bunch of our crap to store in his brothers shop.  He explained that we needed to stop and grab some help unloading the heavier things. We drove for what seemed like an eternity to nowhere.  It was there, I met Vern and his small menagerie of pets.  I was warned ahead of time that Vern was "a bit much."

We pulled up and there it was.  A trailer in the middle of nowhere.  On the porch was, dare I say, "decorated" with some haphazardly placed western décor—a rusted wagon wheel, an old butter churn and on the rail sat a beat up saddle with an empty beer bottle teetering in the wind.  Oddly, there was a huge cast metal star hung on the trailer that had “Texas” branded into it, the only logical explanation was this guy was illiterate, since we resided in Kansas. Every visible mini blind was either bent or broken off. To the left of the front door was a generic coffee can overflowing with cigarette butts. I was overcome with fear, thinking that I may have to enter that trailer. 

There was one tree in the front yard; tied to that tree was a huge Rottweiler obsessively barking and running in circles looking for some kind of shelter from the heat. And unexpectedly from around the corner came the most decrepit, pathetic dog I had ever seen. I think at one point in its life it had been a dachshund, but now it had morphed into some other creature. It was about the size of a two liter coke bottle with a rib cage the size of a large turkey breast and the torso of a small snake. it’s little body curved in the middle like a somewhere in the center giving it the appearance of “U” shape. It hopped along on three legs with its forth back leg jettisoned straight out behind it.  It forced out a single bark that sounded like a aging seal with emphysema.  I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. 

The door swung open, hitting the trailer as Vern burst out the door. Without introducing himself, he yelled “DAMNIT” snapping his fingers.
“Oh, sorry.  I was yellin’ at ma dog.  That there’s Damnit.  It’s funny when I yell Damnit and folks find out its ma dog. That lil’ piece of shit dog is Horseshoe.”

He lit a cigarette.  “You know.  That Dog Whisperer ain’t what he’s cracked up to be.”
Startled by the absurdity of this statement, I asked “I beg your pardon?” 
He seemed irritated that I didn’t understand what he meant, he repeated herself with a condescending voice.  “I SAID that Dog Whisperer ain’t what he’s cracked up to be, damnit.”
The Rottweiler cocked his head.
“Not you, Damnit.  I meant…..well…fuckin’ dog. He does that all the time.”
“Does what?”
“You say Damnit and he jumps.”
“Maybe it’s because you named…” My brother in law nudged me in the rib.
He went on to tell me that Damnit was constantly trying to hump Horseshoe for no apparent reason.  The image horrified me.  How could that little decrepit dog even stand a breeze, let alone a massive unruly dog?

“He says on that show that Daminit
is humpin’ Horseshoe cuz he was bein’ all dominate.”  he  took a big drag off his cigarette and blew. “It’s cuz the god damn dogs a fag, that’s why.”

I was in love.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Welcome Again

It’s been five years since this lonely blog has had a post.

A lot has changed since I wrote about the heartache I experienced with my new Blackberry, seeing a woman crap her pants at a convenience store and witnessing the chronic deer in the headlight look when you ask a simple question.

Since that time we have changed addresses numerous times and we are back on the sunny side of the state.  As I look back on my own posts, I often wonder how I could have romanticized life here so much.  Time teaches us lessons and to be honest, this place is only a slight improvement. It’s just not as desolate and one can easily get to the big city in an hour or so. It’s Kansas, arguably the first notch in the Bible Belt—so much so that if you listen closely the wind gently whistles the Sermon on the Mount over the wheat fields. And now, of course, we have a fearless leader who makes national headlines on a regular basis.  My anus snaps shut when I hear his name; and I most certainly just felt a quiver as I wrote about it.

Retrospectively, I can say that in spite of my own “City Girl” arrogance, I did gain a few valuable lessons aside from the fact that I would never set foot in that God forsaken land again.  Although habitually short on social skills and more often than not, unapologetically opinionated, the Mudflap Bubba never leaves you with a question as to where they stand on any subject. I was often appalled by the overall lack of political correctness and the rather benign social anarchy that was often demonstrated; yet, there was a kind of brave, offensive honesty that you rarely find in suburban areas.  I also can say with great conviction that in these rural areas people are generally helpful, talkative and friendly; providing a sense of safety if you ever end up in a moment of need—assuming your cell phone works. You don’t find that in many places. 

Lets get back to the shenanigans, shall we?  And remember folks, this will continue to be a cautionary tale, reminding you to stay in a large metropolitan area. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This is the last post from the isolated Remedial Sanctuary on the cusp of a time warp. The most miserable year of my life finally comes to close. I will return in a week once I cross over into the real world again. There are Bubba’s everywhere and I will find them.

No more will I have to hear the most commonly spoken phrase…a colloquialism ‘round these parts…one I have heard, sometimes numerous times in one day. Sure, you are thinking “Squeal like a pig”, “My sister is my mom” or even “Dick Cheney is a living God”. 
“We are out. You’ll have to wait ‘till the truck comes in”.  Heard that a thousand times.

Poor planning on your part does not constitute me going without. I am baffled now and will be well into my next ten incarnations as to how Sherwin Williams can be out of paint.

I also bid farewell to the shitty hard water. Jim Jones could have skipped the Flavor-Aide and just given his followers this stuff. The water source is cow urine with sulfuric acid, trash and a touch of formaldehyde added as flavor enhancers. It  comes in chunky or extra chunky, depending on the day. I assure you, nothing will start a day off better than a shower of shrapnel hitting your skin like tiny calcium razorblades. I will be able to say goodbye to chronic eye irritation. 

This is a status from some local that was on my husband’s friend list on Facebook. My husband deleted him after this post, but I copied it and saved it before he did (after I was done laughing). It says everything I tried to say in over a hundred posts in one tight little sentence.

Nate Smith is feel pretty shit guna cuddle with my wife and try to speep it away”

Our new home has a Dillards within walking distance, is three blocks from a Starbucks which is next to a Barnes and Noble that has a Starbucks inside, four miles from a huge casino and during the month of June, there are free outdoor jazz concerts every weekend. I am weeping tears of joy as I write.

Nasty Trash Can is clean now….my work here is done. This City Girl is heading back to the City…where I belong.

And to you….Bubbaville, Kansas…so long. I will never set foot in this town again.  There is a hell on earth.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Price is Right

I went to the hardware store to get some bubble wrap.

As I walked in, the employee welcomed me with a forced “Hi. Welcome! Can I help you find anything?”

“I am looking for bubble wrap”.

Employee: Long pause accompanied by a blank look indicating I have just given her five seconds to provide me with the mathematical equation for the Theory of Relativity.

“What’s that?”

Me: Long pause accompanied by "who just farted" look. Did she just clearly state that she has no clue what bubble wrap is?” 

“You know, plastic wrap with little air bubbles in it. You use it to wrap fragile items when packing them. People use it when they move.” Now, we were playing some sort of remedial word game.

Employee: Long pause as she was scanning the database of fifty words to see if there was a hit.

“I still don’t know what you mean.”

I must give her props for being honest?

She then got on her Janet Jackson headset and asked “Do we have bubble wraps?”

I refrained from correcting her. It had to be mentally exhausting pushing a button on an outdated wireless headset contraption and talking at the same time. I am all about compassion.

They had bubble wrap…only $6.99 for three feet. Screw that.

The price of stuff out here kills me. I just assume they have to pay extra to get people to deliver out here and we, the consumer must absorb the cost.

I once called on a condominium for sale here. They were just your average, run of the mill condo; nothing spectacular.

“That one is $214,000.00” the realtor told me.

I said “Why?”

She explained it was on the “West” side of town. As if I didn’t know my directions and was supposed to be impressed by it’s incredible location with the breathtaking $214,000.00 view of….nothing.

After saying “But, it’s still in Western Kansas", she hung up on me. I think I was supposed to be offended or somehow put in my place.

Oh yes. My experience here has been priceless…I can say that much.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Killer Shoes

"But this was not an ordinary pair of black and white pumps; both were left feet, one had a right angle turn with separate compartments that pointed the toes in impossible directions. The other shoe was six inches long and was curved inward like a rocking chair with a vise and razor blades to hold the foot in place." –Steve Martin, “The Cruel Shoes”

I once saw a woman in these killer stiletto boots hobbling slowly through the airport. I could feel the blisters on her toes bursting as she gimped along. It was a labor of love; that kind of footwear cannot be hidden away in a closet, despite the health risks. They must be displayed for all mankind to see. The boots were so awesome that I wondered how much I could offer her for them, fully recognizing that she hated them at that particular point and would have gladly given them up for a reasonable price, or free for that matter.

This is why no one thinks a thing about seeing a woman dressed in a business suit and hose, wearing a pair of sneakers. We all understand that she can’t walk around in Cruel Shoes all day. Somewhere in her bag is a pair of high heels that allow her to prance around in her office, but not walk around the block in. We are not so forgiving with men. A man in a business suit with a pair of Nikes is a doucher.

As far as men go, they like those high heeled stilettos because it makes them think there is a chance you might be slutty and just the mere thought of that is all they need. The higher the heel, the bigger the slut. The porn industry has single handedly destroyed the notion of sensible shoes being sexy. Damn them. Try putting on a sexy bra and boyfriend panties with a pair of crocs; see how that works out. Men are all about stilettos and if they tell you they are not…they are lying. Dresses and stilettos, a nasty house robe and stilettos, naked and stilettos…they don’t care. Just put them on.

Women on the other hand, have an entirely different shoe agenda. Women wear killer shoes to impress other women. It’s like a peacock showing its feathers; a competitive thing. It says “Ha ha, I found these award winning shoes and you don’t have them.” Women dig it when other women say “Oh my God, I love your shoes, where did you get them?” Then you lie, because you surely don’t want them to get the same pair and rain on your parade. The goal is to get other women to go and seek out a pair of shoes that is comparable to what you have…that’s serious accomplishment right there.

This past weekend as we darted out the door for our son’s graduation, I grabbed a pair of really high heeled sandals. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. My husband ignored my good hair day, my perfect make up and the great dress….he looked at my shoes and said “You look sexy, baby”.

As I sprinted around the gymnasium taking pictures…blisters bubbling on my toes, my feet tingling and gasping for oxygen, I was ready to chuck them in a dumpster or run the risk of felony arson charges by setting fire to them right there. I squatted down and got a great shot; standing upright, the extra incline was too much for my out of shape atrophied thigh muscle. There was a few second lapse in which I was standing up and my muscle was still lying on the floor struggling disparately to catch up. It was painful. But, two women made comments about how cool my shoes were….so it was all worth it? Ask what used to be my feet and are now bleeding stumps.  They put a whole new meaning to "killer shoes".

As I hobbled slowly down the stairs last night, clinging to the banister for dear life, my husband made fun of me…”Oh, that’s sexy.”

Guys….make up your freaking minds.

Friday, April 16, 2010

And Now...For Your Moment of Zen

There are those rare moments in life when you have a real, authentic moment of Zen.

Yesterday, I went to see my husband who has been gone for two weeks while working about two hours from home. In the Midwest, we don’t use mileage as a gauge, we use time; for anyone else not indigenous to this region, that would be about 160 miles.

The wheat fields are starting to grow, so finally there is some accent color splashed about the countryside. This is a welcome site, since everything is in sepia tones from October to March. The once monochromatic drive gets upgraded a bit, as if you painted your white walls to beige. It only adds color, not extreme visual interest. There is still a black hole of nothingness to cast one’s eyes upon. God, I hate this place.

I saw my husband, had lunch and headed home. Just seeing him improved my mood dramatically.

On the way back, since I never go anywhere without my Nikon, I decided to take the opportunity to shoot some pictures of the wheat fields. I found a sweet spot and pulled over on to a gravel road. The sky was a beautiful deep blue, creating a great contrast to the green fields; this was where I needed to be.

Here is where the Zen started. The highway was unusually quiet, it was the perfect temperature, the wind had tamed from the usual 45 mph down to 25…yes, this is a good day. I put in Elton John’s Greatest Hits, cranked it up and left my car doors open. As Philadelphia Freedom blared, I sang and danced as I laid out my lenses in the back seat. It was the first time in a year that I felt a true sense of nirvana. I was breathing in the moment.

Before photographing anything, it is vital to take the time to study the area/subject to assess what the best composition will be. This is often the best part of photography…eyeballing the ideal shot before you take it. Even a camera can’t capture beauty that you experience visually. That’s the splendor of photography; you often see things you normally wouldn’t pay attention to.

Noticing that the wind was blowing the wheat in one direction and the clouds were going the opposite way, I had my shot. Using the wide angle lens first, I decided I would shoot using all of my lenses for some variety. It was exquisite. In the distance I heard a truck coming down the gravel road.

I got this…

As I stood by the edge of the road, the truck approached. The driver waved as he passed by and stopped to get on the highway. It was a mere six feet from me. It was a cattle truck, frosted with a thick layer of cow gravy. There are no words in the English language to describe what a cattle truck smells like up close. None.

Without warning and sickened by the smell, I threw up.  It was over.

I stomped back to my car, cursing to the heavens “I can’t fucking win! I just can’t fucking win.”

Determined not to let it ruin my day, I laughed all the way home. I thought about the lyrics to Philadelphia Freedom: “some people choose the city…..”

Be back  in a week. We are out of here to go search for our new house….far, far away from here. I look forward to finally ending my year long battle with enviornmental bulimia.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Which would you rather do?

Go to Denver spending time with Todd, your totally hip, totally awesome gay hairdresser for shopping and cocktails? Having lunch at a trendy restaurant, running through a mall with jazz hands…eventually emerging from the hallowed halls of American capitalism, only to be greeted by a view of the mountains?


Come to Bum Fuck to visit your jaded, bitter and very cynical BFF from college to see nothing?

My friend Babs, chose Bum Fuck. We are all entitled to a momentary lapse of reason at some point in our lives.

Babs is one of those cheerful people that can find good in everything. This is why I love her so much. As an accomplished artist, she views the world as a wonderful place, full of interesting angles, curves and aesthetic beauty. Her mere presence can inspire creativity in anyone who has never thought of picking up a paint brush. It truly is astounding.

“It’s not so bad here”, she explained upon her arrival…in the shroud of darkness, where you can’t really see anything. “You have electricity and paved roads”.

I knew it was only a matter of time before she would eventually buckle under the enormous lack of stimulation, idiocy and collective weird, uncomfortable energy that is inexplicable.

When I went to visit her in Denver, we ate breakfast at a wonderful outdoor café, listening to Sinatra, next to an organic farmers market. Here, for lunch, I took her to Long John Silver’s where there was enough residual crumbs embedded in the benches to bread a year’s worth of fish. Food borne salmonellosis with a side of facultative anaerobes is always a good choice to offer an out-of-towner.

After lunch, we moved on to visit Nasty Trash Can. There, much to my dismay, we found Nasty Trash Can had finally been given a bath. About  time. I will continue to grieve the loss of my Wednesday afternoon trips to check on it for a while. My work here is done.

After warning Babs of the energy that slithers around like a demonic serpent, she finally succumbed. No one believes me until they experience it. She suddenly and unexpectedly developed nausea and a migraine. I assumed it was the food. “No. You are right. There is a palatable energy that bigotry and homophobia creates. I validate you.”

As she jumped into her car, a scene I am far too familiar with…she shouted “Where is the highway?”

I realized that I have nerves of steel.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Cow Balls!

He walked through the door last night, sunburned and muddy with blood spatters across his face.

I laughed.

City Girl’s give birth to little City Slickers who can confidently merge on to an eight lane highway at 80 mph, but have no clue what goes on at a cattle ranch.

My oldest son got a two day work gig at a cattle ranch. He quickly discovered that being nestled in the concrete jungle is far more desirable than spending the day with a thousand cows owned by the male cowboy version of Ann Coulter.

He explained his day in a few short sentences. “Cows are assholes. Then, all I heard was how Obama was going to take away all of our guns and the left wing media has taken over the world. Geeze. Then, I got T-bagged”.

He had me at T-bag. It even made me bypass a political commentary on rednecks.

First and foremost, this is the season of cute little baby calves being born. My son explained his role was to help those cute little male baby cows unwillingly partake in a Home On the Range X-Treme Briss.

“They just grab their balls, pull them and hack them off. Then they just threw the balls over their shoulder and the black lab puppy sat there and ate the balls as fast as they piled up. It was gross. I almost got hit in the face by a dismembered ball sack.”

“You mean they don’t anesthetize them? Or stitch them up?” My son laughed at me like I was an idiot.

My mental picture of a cow lying on its back with cucumbers on its eyes, getting a deep condition, massage and pedicure prior to surgery was shattered.

That’s beside the point.

Ever listened to a Blame Obama for Everything-I Hate Lefties-Charlton-Heston-Second Amendment diatribe, in a shower of cow nuts? I think not.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Part II

From a town not too far from where I live. This is a testament to life out here, in print.

All I really want to know is how the horse fit into this situation.

Doesn't this happen in cartoons?

TMI and who cares?  Is the Reporting Party on the trap list?  I am confused.

Is it against the law to be a crybaby whiner?

This rates as a 9-1-1 call?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rode Hard and Not Funny

 Living in a redneck town can be a constant source of entertainment that you can’t find anywhere else. 

Whenever I leave the house to venture out into the world, I leave with great confidence that the simple task I am preparing to embark upon will either 1). Turn into a cluster  2). Give me a post or 3). Both.  Rarely does something occur without a major hitch. This time was no different.

I went to the pharmacy to pick up my insulin. In theory this should take a few minutes.

I got behind Bubba and his ever so lovely wife, who, it was wildly apparent, was the inspiration for the term “rode hard and put away wet”.

Rode Hard was a rather demure woman, standing about 5’2’’; weighing in close to 70 pounds, when she had dried off after being rode hard. She was the epitome of every fashion disaster since the Rubiks Cube, head to toe. The 4 toddler Wranglers she donned, weren’t even the worst part of this train wreck. Her denim jacket had a painfully tragic semi-likeness to a mutant Mickey Mouse had he been conceived in Chirnobyl. My only guess was that she must have painted it while on a three day meth tweek. Her overly permed hair had been Loreal’ed with a different color so many times, it looked like a Photoshop gradient.

“Weze here to get his pre-cripshon...that’ll be Bruce Smith”, she announced with her just hit the crack pipe-three pack a day Camel non filter gravelly voice.

Pharmacy Guy couldn’t find the name on the computer.

Rode Hard started to trip some serious jonesin’ balls...”Whadaya mean it ain’t here? I uz at the doctor when he called it in. YOU. Check. That. Again.” She shook her knobby finger at him.

Second attempt…no go.

In pissed off desperation she shouted “WE need that med-ee-sin. Theyz muscle relaxants. I c’aint believe this. This is bullshit. YOU had better fix this….NOW!”

Pharmacy Guy tried one more time. “Sir, whats your date of birth?”

Bubba said “Four-twenty……….”

Rode Hard finished… “Fifty eight”.

Bubba was not allowed to speak. His balls were so deep in her purse that a prostate exam required wading through her drug paraphernalia before for the doctor could say “cough” after she gave her permission, of course.

The now exasperated Pharmacy Guy said “Well, we have a prescription for a Ruth Smith for a muscle relaxer. What’s your social, Bruce?”


Rode Hard finished that too…quite loudly. Not that anyone would want to steal their identity.

“Well, sometimes the Doctors speak so fast that we don’t get the name right. I think this must be yours, but we heard Ruth instead of Bruce. Everything else matches up”.

This is when things went strangely awry.

Rode Hard started laughing, performing a theatrical white trash posturing, in which  something is so funny she can no longer stand upright, bending over with her hands on her knees. In the mean time, she was spewing out microbes of tooth decay like a lawn sprinkler. “Hey Ruth!! Let’s git some lunch…Hey Ruth, guess Ima lesbian now!…Hey Ruth, I always thought you were Bruce!” It went on the entire time Pharmacy Guy was calling the Doctor to verify the Rx.  Bubba was wiping the sea of tears streaming down his little co-dependent cheeks from this outburst of hilarity.

Pharmacy Guy was ready to bitch slap both of them.

I was standing there wanting to scream “Are you kidding me? Stop it with the Ruth thing NOW,  you lame asses. You really need to get out of your trailer more often if you think this is funny”. The only humor I saw was the fact that addict skid mark and her enabler husband just made total fools out of themselves. This was fifteen minutes of my life that I can never get back.

They finally got her fix and happily gallivanted through the store with every possible “Ruth” combination their little pea sized dimwit brains could muster. I imagine that Rode Hard will tell everyone getting on the Tilt-A-Whirl this season about this little comical event…assuming she isn’t in court ordered rehab.