Archive for December, 2011

Blog #44 – About Nana’s coat…

Posted in Family, family battles, grandmothers, relationships, siblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

So, I have another Christmas story to share before everyone gets completely ho-hum bugged bored with holiday lore.  Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that my Grandmother, who is in her mid 90s, is rather cantankerous and/or particular to the point of ridiculous*, to say the least.

When Nana uttered those life-revising/terror inducing words in January 2010 that she wanted to come and live with me, my husband and teenaged son, Max, I warned her ad nauseum about the polar-bear friendly temps in Ohio. I explained that the thermometer holds fast to a balmy range between 5 and 20 degrees, etc., from December through March.

“You think my blue coat will be okay?” Nana asked.

Her blue coat is basically a raincoat with a heavy lining, and it’s only a 3/4 length.

“You’ll just have to learn to layer your clothes with t-shirts for extra warmth until we find a heavier coat for you in Ohio,” I said, trying to reassure her. However, at the time, I had NO IDEA what a nightmare obtaining a coat would be.

We went to the closest Mall in Dublin, Ohio, for the first time in late February last year. First, she whined ALL the way to the mall about how long the drive was, and EVERY time we go to the mall she mumbles and moans about the 14-mile trek in my comfy Escalade with the heat on full tilt (set on 82° on her side while my eyeballs bleed sweat…:) because:

“Everything down home [i.e. in Georgia] is right there, five minutes away. You couldn’t pay me to live this far from everything.”

And here we go with the conversation we have EVERY SINGLE time we go anywhere outside our suburb…wherein I have to explain that we have all her favorite restaurants like O’Charlies and Steak n Shake, etc., five minutes from the house and several local eateries that are awesome. And though we don’t have a mall, there’s a Walmart, Kmart, Dress Barn, Kohl’s and more than a dozen other stores all within5-10 minutes that she LIKES.

“And living close to a mall was not on our list of criteria when we were looking to move.”


“A better school district than Columbus schools where we lived before, and a low crime area were our highest priority. We have very little crime, and our school district has gotten excellent marks from the Department of Education, pretty much since we moved here ten years ago.”

Anywho, all the bitching about the distance to the mall aside, every shopping trip seeking a coat was a complete waste of time. The only coats she liked contained wool. She and I are both allergic to wool, but she doesn’t seem to understand that if you wear a scarf and gloves, the dreaded wool never touches your skin.

We scoured Kmart, Sears, Land’s End, Chadwicks, Von Maur and Dillards online catalogs, and we went to Kohl’s, and thrift stores aplenty in search of the mythical, full-length coat that was not cursed with the malevolent threads of wool…and couldn’t find bupkiss.

Also, keep in mind, Nana HATES dark colors. She ONLY wears pastels. However, she didn’t want a WHITE coat either because they “…get dirty too easily.” Sigh, and, of course, finding a pastel, non-wool, full-length coat that she LIKED was as likely as finding a unicorn putting on her makeup in the loo at Kohl’s…

Then, I happened to find a goose down coat in early October (this year) at our favorite thrift store, which, ahem is SIX minutes from my house. It was beige, and as with most down coats, it had a quilted, nylon exterior, so it was much easier to clean. It looked brand new, and I thought we FINALLY had a winner…

“No,” she said touching the sleeve, “that slick material. It’s sloppy-looking.”

SHIT! FIRE! And a HOLE in the ground as my mother used to say. “Really?” I scoffed. “I had one just like it in high school, only it was purple. In fact, I wore it on my first trip to New York**, and it kept me rather toasty,” I said, rather annoyed.

“Well, you were a kid.” And she turned away. AT that point, I was pretty much ready to let the old bird just freeze to death all winter long…again…but I didn’t because…

I was hanging up my tawny brown, 3/4 length faux shearling (bought on clearance at Chadwicks for $57) on one of our coldest days in November after taking Nana to the beauty shop for the weekly “wash n set”, and I said, “If it’s this cold next week, maybe, you should borrow this coat. I can wear my wool one.”

“Yeah, I’d love to have a coat like yours.”

AND THE RACE WAS ON to find a shearling that wasn’t black/dark brown/dark green/red, etc. The first one I found was in an L.L. Bean catalog that arrived a few days later among the avalanche of holiday periodicals. It was almost $200. I pondered whether to spend that much since I’d already bought Nana several other gifts when a lightening bolt jump-started my fatigued brain with three words: Burlington Coat Factory!

Finally, the miracle coat appeared on my computer screen, a full-length prettier version of my shearling (the suede is a little lighter/a rusty brown -see the photo below) – save for the large round buttons since my coat has a zipper…and it was under $100. SOLD!

I wrapped it in lovely, light blue PASTEL paper covered in white snowflakes the day after it arrived and gave it to Nana as an early Christmas gift a couple of Fridays ago because the high temp was supposed to be 31 that day.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” she gushed when she opened it, but immediately, I could tell – something was amiss. There was a hesitation in her voice when praising the ONLY coat that met her rigid list of priorities.

“Is the color too dark?” I asked.

“No, I love that lighter brown. It’s very pretty.”

She tried it on, smiling, and it fit as though it was custom made for her. Two hours later, she put the coat on again as we were leaving to get her hair done, and she mumbled, “I wish the front were a little different though.”

“Why? What’s wrong with it?” I asked, bruising my lip with my teeth to keep from sputtering, “You have to KEEP THIS COAT! I’ll never find anything else CLOSER to meeting your damned CHECKLIST!”

“I don’t know,” she said fingering the buttons and stroking the fur around the top button to the neckline.

I shook my head and helped her into my SUV.  When I retrieved her from the shop an hour later, her hairdresser, Tammy (who is a GODSEND) said, “I love her new coat.”

“Thank you. So do I,” I said smiling.

“But she thinks it’s too fancy,” Tammy said, grinning.

OMG! Seriously? Queen MAUDE of the retail GODDESSES (Nana worked in retail for 30 years) thinks it’s too FANCY! This from the woman who constantly criticizes people/goose down coats for looking SLOPPY!? WTF?

Nana was standing right beside me, and an embarrassed grin wiggled across her thin lips.

“I see.  But is it warm?”

“Yes, very warm.”

“And it fits okay?”


“Then, you’re keeping it, yes?” I said with that same well-practiced and hardened gaze akin to the looks I’ve given my children when they were acting up in church or committing some other infraction. A look that spawned immediate obedience for fear of getting swatted with my purse (not really) or losing all the TV/computer/play time until the age of 21.

And guess what? That look ALSO works on contrary, stubborn nearly 100-year old women as well because Nana hasn’t uttered one single syllable about possibly returning that GORGEOUS shearling since… 🙂

Nana – ZERO

Tenacious B’s UNIVERSE – 1,000,000…

Nana in her too FANCY shearling!

Nana's coat - up close

Over and out from INSANITY CENTRAL/Santa’s WEARY workshop…


See Blog #18 – The Oatmeal Incident… 🙂

See Blogs #36 and #37 – New York or Bust I and II…


Blog #43 – The kindest man who ever lived…

Posted in Family, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

On December 19, 2009, the kindest man who ever lived, my father, became yet another victim of cancer and departed this world. Therefore, in honor of his passing, I’m going to share a story about an incredible event in Dad’s childhood that he relayed to me when I was five years old.

Dad grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. When he was ten, his mother, Grandma Gracie, and dad, Grandpa James, his sister, Jenna, and brother, Thomas, and he were living in a very small apartment in a low-rent suburb near downtown.

Unfortunately, Grandpa James, whom the kids called Pop, was an alcoholic who frequently spent every dime he made on bourbon and beer. Naturally, Dad’s family lived on less than a shoestring budget, and they often didn’t have enough to eat. Some days, oatmeal for breakfast was their only meal.

Like most women in the 40s, Grandma Gracie didn’t work outside the house. There weren’t exactly a slew of jobs for women back then, anyway, except working for the phone company, or, perhaps, as a beautician. But Gracie did occasionally her sell fancy birthday cakes and pies to the people at St. Patrick’s Church. .

Anyway…when Dad was nine and a half, he had a paper route. He’d get up at 5:30 a.m., and deliver newspapers on his bike for two hours every day.. And sometimes in the winter, when it was 10 or 12 degrees outside, his hands would shake and turn a pale blue from the cold, despite wearing two pairs of gloves. Once in awhile, a neighbor would take pity on him and invite him in just to sit and defrost for a few minutes by their cast iron stove or something.

For all his toil, he received $5 every two weeks! Can you imagine a ten-year-old these days waking before dawn, working that hard, often in blizzard conditions, for such a pittance? I think not…

And what did Dad, whose name was Jonathan, by the way, do with his hard-earned cash? Unlike most kids, Dad was very frugal. He bought a new pair of shoes and a new pair of jeans when his got too many holes in them for Gracie to repair. Aside from that, he saved almost dollar of his first year’s salary to buy Christmas presents and to buy himself a new bike. His Schwinn was a hand-me-down from Thomas, and it was rather old and rusty.

Since Grandpa James was known to go tear up the house searching for Dad and Grandma Gracie’s hard-earned money to fund his booze habit, my Dad hid his money in a sock, which he stuffed inside a slit he’d cut on the underside of his mattress. Not much chance Grandpa James would find it there.

He’d found his future bike in the window of Higbees downtown, a window his family passed every Sunday going to and from church. He’d poured over the Sears catalog, browsed the local dime store, and Higbee’s as well, trying to find the PERFECT items for his family.

He decided on perfume for his mother, a pretty scarf for his sister, a model airplane for Thomas and a shiny silver cigarette lighter for his father. Yes, even something for his Pop who would’ve guzzled away all Dad’s wealth if the old drunk had found it.

Dad was so excited about his Christmas treasures and his new ten-speed that he couldn’t sleep the night before his last payday before Christmas. Whereupon he’d have enough cash to buy everything on his list.

However, that morning after collecting that magical paycheck, he was hurriedly wolfing down his oatmeal when an unexpected visitor came knocking.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Smith, but I can’t wait any longer. I hate to do this so close to Christmas, but I need $160, or I’ll, I’ll have to evict you.” said Mr. Petrovksy, the tall, gaunt landlord with the bushy, gray mustache. “Is Mr. Smith at home?”

“No, he’s at work.”

“I see. Well…” Mr. Petrovsky began but hesitated when my Dad, little Jonathan, appeared at Grandma Gracie’s side.

“And he doesn’t get paid until next week,” Gracie said, panic rising in her voice. “Can’t you wait a few more days? I’ve only got a couple of dollars, but you’re-”

“I’m afraid not, Ma’am,” Mr. Petrovsky said sadly. “You’re already two months behind-”

“But you can’t throw us out in the street? My three children, Mr. Petrovsky,” Gracie said, glancing down at my Dad. “Where are we supposed to go?”

“Mr. Petrovsky, would you accept $150, or maybe $148? Would that be enough until next week?” My dad asked.

With a look of wide-eyed shock, Mr. Petrovsky smiled. It was obvious, he didn’t know how to respond. “Um, yes, it would. But this is none of your concern, Jonathan.”

“Hold on,” Dad replied, “Please,” and Dad ZIPPED into the hallway toward his and Thomas’s room as fast as his long, skinny legs could propel him.

“What’s he doing, Mrs. Smith?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can you telephone your husband at work, Mrs. Smith?”

“No, I-” Grandma began when my Dad appeared beside his mother again with a wide, euphoric smile on his face. “Here, Mr. Petrovsky,” Dad said, handing the landlord a ratty-looking sock.

Mr. Petrovsky face darkened, a glimmer of sadness in his dark eyes, “I’m sorry, son, but your dirty sock isn’t much in the way of currency. I-”

“No, no, look inside, please, that’s where I hide my money from Pop, so he won’t use it to buy liquor,” Dad said.

An embarrassed glow appeared on Grandma Gracie’s pale face. “Jonathan!” Gracie snapped. “Your father doesn’t, doesn’t do that,” She stammered as she watched Mr. Petrovsky dump a large bundle of cash out of the sock and into his hand.

Grandma Gracie gasped, “Where’d you get all that money, Jonathan?”

“From my paper route. I was going to buy a new bike and…but, please, Mr. Petrovsky, is that enough? I don’t want to be victed. That means we’ll have to move, right?”

Mr. Petrovsky eyes were drawn wide in surprise, and he merely stared at the boy. “Yes, it’s one hundred forty eight and…” his voice trailed off as he counted the change.

“Sorry that some of it is in quarters and dimes, but I spent a little here and there on candy,” Dad said grinning.

Mr. Petrovsky guffawed loudly as he ruffled Dad’s dark hair for a moment. “Well, you deserve all the candy you can afford, little man.”

Grandma Gracie stood staring open-mouthed at her son for a moment.  “But, Jonathan, I can’t. We can’t-that’s your money.”

“No, mother, it’s his money now,” my ten-year-old father replied gesturing to the landlord. “Excuse me, sir, I have to get my books and get to school now.”

Mr. Petrovsky winked at Dad, and dad disappeared into the house.

“Mr. Petrovsky, I -” Gracie asked, teary-eyed, and seemingly unable to finish her thoughts.

Ptrovsky nodded, shoving the wad of bills into his pocket, then handed her back the sock and said, “That’s some boy you’ve got there. You should be very proud.”

“I am, very proud. Thank you, Mr. Petrovsky,” Grandma Gracie said as a plume of tears washed down from her lashes. “I’ll talk to my husband and make sure you have the rest by the end of the week. You’ll stop by on Friday, then?”

Mr. Petrovsky nodded, but Gracie knew by the look in his eye, they wouldn’t see the landlord until next month, that Mr. Petrovsky understood the miracle that had just occurred when a 10-year-old boy saved his family from the streets. And Mr. Petrovsky didn’t feel the need to be greedy by demanding the remaining $10 – ever.

“Have a good day, now, and Merry Christmas!” Mr. Petrovsky called out as he started down the icy sidewalk toward his house across the street.

“Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Petrovsky,” Grandma Gracie said.

Dad was completely unaware that he’d done the most important thing on earth, something he did until the day he died. He took care of his family, and there wasn’t a bike or scarf or model airplane anywhere in the world worth more than that…

And Merry Christmas to you all and with that GOOD NIGHT…

All the best,


Blog #42 – The Fifth Avenue Guy…

Posted in beer, college, Family, friends, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

After divorcing Mitch, I wasn’t in any hurry to get serious about anyone. But I fell in love again anyway, of course. And this time, what I experienced was awe-inspiring, provocative and ultimately life-changing as well as,  nonetheless, dreary, very cold and overwhelming, even repulsive at times. However, let’s be clear, my love at the time – went by the name of New York City.

I became blindly enthralled with every single facet of the city during my first roller coaster jaunt to Manhattan with Morgan** in my sophomore year of college, circa 1985.

The 20-40-storied sky skrapers were otherworldly to me, and knowing there was SO much LIFE and art and opportunity bustling about the city was the most intoxicating feeling I’d ever known.

For most of you, dear readers, my characterization of NYC’s splendor is commonplace, wallpaper you stroll past every day…with a yawn. But can you really look at the photo below and say there is NO GOD? 🙂


That said, I grew up in a cozy, suburban house where the temperature fluttered around a balmy 85 degrees in winter, 70s in summer. Tolbert, however, one of my classmates, lived in a drafty, unfinished hovel.

The exterior walls of Tolbert’s house were comprised of black tar paper on drywall and plastic sheeting across their windows in lieu of glass. In other words, the equivalent of notebook paper and ratty garbage bags separated him and his family from the elements.

While my life was Oz in comparison to Tolbert’s, is it any wonder I was so TAKEN with New York?

ANYWHO, five months after graduation, I packed up and took off for Brooklyn in my Datsun B-210 hatchback, with my beautiful blue-eyed three-year-old nestled into his car seat.

A week later, my FIRST job interview at a literary agency occurred on a beautiful day in 1989 on a dazzling spring day in Brooklyn under a cloudless, primary blue expanse. I was the happiest I’d been in more than a year…until…I climbed aboard the Marcy Avenue train and…

I surfaced in lower Manhattan (near West 27th) into a rippling wall of rather cold RAIN. And I, without an umbrella. Where IS Rihanna when you need her? Oh, wait…she wasn’t born yet (LOL)…

I interviewed for an admin position at Pratt & Pratt, Inc., a relatively prestigious agency. But the look of shock and pity on the elegant interviewer’s face was nearly unbearable. Kelly, a senior agent btw, was very kind, however. She immediately rushed into their little kitchenette in her lovely suit from Saks and brought me a dish towel and a HOT cup of coffee. I tried to dam the torpedo of rainwater spiraling down my face and arms from my unkempt clumps of knotty brown hair, to no avail.

I had on a brand new navy blue suit of the Donna Karan persuasion, and I had decided to attend  the interview despite my scruffy appearance, for fear of being black-balled. I didn’t know the INS and OUTS of the literary world, and I had this ludicrous notion that if I cancelled at the last minute, Kelly and her league of publishing comrades would think I was a flake. Yeah, I know…like they had the TIME nor interest in bad-mouthing an interviewee they’d never met…

Stop laughing and remember…I was only 23 and from WV, and I’d never had one of those REAL jobs that didn’t involve salting French fries or serving beer.

I had dreamed of READING BOOKS for a living since the moment I finished my first Little House on the Prairie tome in the third grade. However, as I sat there listening to the DRIP, DRIP, DRIP of rain splattering from my sleeves onto their pristine tile floor while awkwardly trying to extol my limited dossier, I knew the dream was DEAD.

Just kidding. Of course, one interview didn’t KILL my goal. It was embarrassing, but I knew the odds of getting the FIRST job I interviewed for in the first place was as likely as waking up as a LIZARD 🙂 …and I actually walked out of the interview smiling – even though I knew Kelly and company were guffawing loudly over the hilljack in a suit that had its own SPRINKLER system.

On the other hand, though I didn’t have enough experience for Pratt & Pratt, Kelly actually gave me the name of two well-known firms, who might be looking, and she said I could MENTION her name. So, either she wanted to dump my Elle Mae ass upon someone as a cruel joke, or she was being sincere. I wasn’t sure…until –

“And it’s rare meeting someone who was in the Latin Club, and-” Kelly said, smiling.

“Excuse me?” I asked, stifling a bull-horn-sized laugh.

“Very few people can PASS one semester of Latin, much less, make it through FOUR years with a B average.”

Okay, now we’ve parlayed from Mars/OZ to the Twilight ZONE.

“I see, thanks,” I murmured still not sure whether she was making fun of me or not. “I always thought it was dorky,” I said laughing. “But I thought dorky experience was better than only one other extra-curricular activity on my resume,” I explained, referring to my brief stint as a majorette in ninth grade.

“And I really like your grit, your determination,” she said, smiling again.

By the look on my face, she KNEW, I was baffled.

“Most people would NEVER come to an interview, well, with a hair out of place, much less soaking wet!”

Totally stumped, I said, “Well, thanks, I guess.”

“What I mean is, you’ve got spunk, which might come in handy when you’re trying to push your editor to sign the likes of J.K. Rowling after 20 agencies had already passed, and that’s more important than looking like you’re prepped for a spread in Vogue. You know what I mean?”

I nodded, and she continued, “People in publishing are ALWAYS looking for people who REALLY care about literature. I’ve interviewed a lot of recent grads who just want to have Pratt & Pratt on their resume. They have no interest in books at all.”

I nodded. Now, that made sense.

Therefore, though I’d braved the interview, albeit feeling like an idiot, I felt all the better knowing that I had just met a kindred spirit who could maybe be a friend later on. Maybe, some day I might run into her at a literary function, and we’ll both laugh til we’re all teary-eyed about the little country mouse watering the floors of Pratt & Pratt on her first BIG GIRL interview.

Then, if all that weren’t weird enough, about THREE BLOCKS away from Pratt& Pratt, an odd-looking guy in an ill-fitting suit approached me as I waited to cross the street and said, “Are you looking for a job?”

“Excuse me?” I asked, thinking I’d misunderstood him.

“Your conservative suit,” He explained, “You look like you’re on your way to a job interview, that and your folder with your resume in it, right?” he asked smiling and nodding to my leather binder.

“Yes, but,” I immediately assumed this guy was looking for a date, and not the kind you take to dinner first. “I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for THAT kind of work,” I replied, stepping into the stream of afternoon commuters heading for the subway on 31st.

“No, no, I’m a Fifth Avenue man,” the guy said, strolling along beside me.

I immediately burst into laughter. “I’m sorry?”

He looked really confused and somewhat hurt by my reply and said, “No, really I am.” He handed me a business card, which said:

Tom Blazell
5th Avenue Personnel
886 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10023

“Um, okay.  Nice meeting you,” I said disappearing into the stairwell to the subway. I looked back at him at the top of the stairs where he stood grinning as if I were the biggest MORON ever while shaking his overly large head. Maybe, being a “Fifth Avenue Man” meant something to your average New Yorker, but I wasn’t privy to their list of corporate royalty, and at that moment, I really didn’t care.

Little did I know the FIFTH AVENUE man did, in fact, help me to secure an awesome job, a job on Wall Street, believe it or not…


Ciao… ALL …and have a great weekend!

Over and out from FUCKED UP CENTRAL… 🙂


*See Blogs 38-40, beginning with THE GREAT ESCAPE…

**See Blogs  36-37 – NYC OR BUST I and II…all about the LOVE Triangle between me, Morgan, and Delilah, his new and not-so-beautiful, squeeze…

Blog #41 Run, Jack, Run!

Posted in beer, Family, family battles, grandmothers, memoir, relationships, siblings, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

Jack called me last night with interesting news about Danny. For those of you who are new to my Stop and Smell the Crazy life, Danny is my younger brother. He’s a drug addict, who STOLE our 95-year-old Grandmother’s life savings and dumped her in a low-rent nursing home the Christmas of 2010, but she lives with me and my husband now.  That whole nightmare begins at:

It seems that Danny and Nate (a high school friend he was staying with) got into a major SCRAP a couple of months ago, and Danny left and moved in with some guy he used to work with, whose name is Frank.

Apparently, Frank isn’t the best of roommates. He’s unemployed and not even looking for a job, and he hits the hooch around nine. Then, it’s on to crack for brunch, followed by crack for lunch, all of which he washes down with beer or Tequila or both. And – he frequently goes on marathons when his drinking/drugging don’t stop until he passes out sometime in the wee hours… sounds like fire rooming with a pyromaniac, hmmm?

Shortly after Danny moved in with Frank, Jack was talking to him on the phone, and he was all excited about some retail management job he’d interviewed for when Jack heard this loud CRASH like glass breaking in the background.

“What was that, Danny?”

“Oh, that’s Frank. Him and his girlfriend, Deanna, are fighting. They’re both totally shit-faced, and every night about this time they start fightin’ and breaking shit.”

“That sucks.”

Jack winced, hearing an even louder shattering of glass. Danny laughed, “Well, there goes the front window.”

A second later, Jack heard a man, presumably Frank, shouting, “Look what you did now, fucking fat-assed cow!”

“Man, I thought me and Belinda got into some bad fights, but she never threw shit at me,” Danny said. Belinda is Danny’s ex-wife.

“Yeah, so are you gonna stay there?” Jack asked.

“I don’t really have a choice until I find something full-time. I’m just working like three, sometimes four days a week right now.”

“So, Frank’s letting you stay there for free?”

“Kinda. I get this food card worth $250 in groceries from this nonprofit place called Operation Help, and I give him that as rent. He sells it for like $150 and uses that cash to buy his crack.”

“So, what’re you doing for food then?”

“I still have my EBT card that I got in Georgia. I just transferred it down here, but it don’t buy much. I only qualify for like $150/month, and they eat half of my shit.”

So, there you have it, karma slapping you in the ass, Mr. Danny. Someone is taking advantage of you…hmmm…. I’m thinking it tastes pretty bad, especially when your EBT cash runs out.

Jack called me because Frank is threatening to kick Danny out saying he wants $200 a month in rent on top of the food card, which Danny doesn’t have, of course.

“So, now Danny’s bugging me to move down to South Carolina with him,” Jack lamented to me.

“Don’t do it, Jack. You don’t need to be around someone who’s still using all the time even if Danny has cut his coke consumption or whatever – not when you’re trying to stay sober.”

“I know, but I feel bad for him.”

“Why? He put himself in this position.”

“I know that. And he doesn’t seem to understand that I can’t just take off like that.”

“Duh, you’ve got child support to pay. How’re you gonna send Laura a check if you don’t have a job waiting for you down there? It’s a tourist area, so there’s not a whole lot but working in the service industry anyway, and in the winter is the worst time to look.”

“Yeah, I know. Plus, my car needs some repairs. I’m waiting on my tail light that they had to order from Germany or some bullshit. And I’m not driving all the way down there with a busted light. God knows what that ticket would cost if I got pulled over, especially…if I were speeding too,” Jack chuckled.

“Yeah, I know how you drive. I-95 is not the Autobahn,” I said, smiling.  “And Danny wouldn’t think of that as an obstacle, of course, since he drove Dad’s beamer around for almost a year without registering it or getting insurance or anything.”

“Yeah, the beamer you stole**,” Jack replied in a jovial tone.

To-wit I laughed. “Yeah, shame on me.”

“And he acts like it’s a given that I’m moving down there. And I could get a loan to go down there, but-”

“Don’t go into debt, Jack, because of Danny. You know, he’s just looking for another gravy train. You’ll end up paying all the bills and-”

“Yeah, I know. But in his defense, when he has money he’s very generous.”

“Yeah, he is, but when he doesn’t he also expects a free ride.”

“Yeah, I think he really wants me to move down there because I have a car, and he has to ride his bike to work and to interviews and everything.”

“Which sucks, I’m sure, but he could still be driving Dad’s BMW if he hadn’t plundered all of Nana’s money, so I don’t feel the least bit sorry for him, ya know?

“Yeah, I know. It’s just hard when you’ve been friends with someone since you were like 9 years old.”

“Yeah, but that friendship shouldn’t come with strings. And you have to do what’s best for you, Jack. Just tell him no. If you wanna get out of WV, do it. Start sending out resumes everywhere. That’s what I did. I applied for jobs in Louisville and Columbus, even some in Boston and New York and-”

“Oh, shit, he’s starting to panic.”

“Is he texting you?”

“Yep. He just wrote, call me when you’re leaving town.”

“You didn’t tell him you were definitely moving down there, did you?” I asked.

“No, I told him I was weighing my options.”

“But I guess the crack told him otherwise,” I said. “What does it say about him that he can’t call his sister or his brother for help or anyone else in South Carolina after living there for TEN years?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Run, Jack, Run,” I replied smiling.

Jack laughed. “Yeah, okay.  I get it.”

When we hung up, I wondered how many bzillion texts Jack was going to get before Danny got the HINT…

Over and out from fucked up Central…


**When my father died, Danny was driving Dad’s BMW, which I sold  (legally) to pay all my Grandmother’s bills after Danny raided her bank accounts, but he tells everyone I “stole” it. And that whole nightmare starts with  Post #9 – all about the life and times of Dad’s BMW, which includes a quasi-car chase, a showdown with Danny and more real drama than the Real World and/or any semi-scripted reality show!!

Blog #40 – Mrs. Simon and her DOG aplenty…

Posted in college, relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

I suddenly recognized the incredibly foul scent of CAT POO* from many pounds of kitty CA CA steeping in sandboxes throughout the house. My eyes started to water from the fumes. I brushed away a blob of tears with the back of my hand when I noticed…

The eyes…three dozen or more sets of curious/suspicious CAT eyes  checking me out: Sizing me up, looking for any HINT of violence or disdain.

The gunfire had temporarily muted my hearing, so I couldn’t hear the cacophony of crying felines for a minute or two. The meowing fur balls were obviously disturbed by the recent throng of bullets.

The cats were perched on EVERY surface about the room. Two dozen at least twittering on the couch. Calicos. Black cats with mesmerizing green eyes. A black and gray cat on an end table. A blue-eyed Himalayan on the piano squirming next to two tabbies and a beautiful beige cat.  A small white cat scratching furiously at the love seat in the corner. A brown cat with a white nose circling my legs, a solid black cat YOWLING on a stool. Short cats. Fat cats. SCRAWNY cats. Mewing bundles of agitated fur consumed her living room.

“Wow, you have A LOT of cats,” I said with awe.

“Twenty-seven to be exact,” she said smiling. “People think I’m crazy, but I just can’t…bear the thought, you know, of them being put down if they don’t find homes for them.”

I nodded.

“So, um, should we call the police?” she asked, scooping up a disoriented black and gray cat on a rocking chair. “Oh, you poor thing, Ms. Nici,” Mrs. Simon said, easing into the rocker. “It’s okay. The bad man’s gone.” Mrs. Simon cooed.

“Yeah. Where’s your phone? I’ll call,” I said.

“In the drawer, as always,” she said, nonchalantly. “I’ll make some coffee,” she chirped disappearing into the kitchen carrying Nici, followed by several of her feline roommates.

The drawer? As “always”? I’ve never been in her house before. Can you say WTF? I gave her a ride to the bus stop once when it was snowing, and except polite hellos now and then, I barely know the crazy old bird, but obviously sans meds (I assume), or totally senile, I’m now her best chum/niece/bff’s sister’s cousin’s wife, or something

Sigh…and before I could ask Mrs. Simon which drawer, a BEAST appeared from the hallway by the front door. A ferocious-looking dog, whose parents could easily have been a Pit Bull and a Polar Bear. His short white fur stiffened at the sight of me. I love dogs. But this?

This pooch ate buckshot and bulldozers for breakfast! His simmering growl was menacing, and black eyes glistened upon his new target as if I were a ten-pound platter of bacon and bones.

All of the cats HISSED, but didn’t move one ligament. Fearfully, they waited for the intruder to pounce.  His growl gave way to a very HARSH round of vicious BARKING, accompanied by a steady stream of slobber dribbling from his huge jowls.

With frantic SQUEALS and hisses, all the cats tumbled off their roosts. They became a mad BLUR of speeding FUR disappearing underneath the tattered love seat while the Bull/Bearish dog, planted his 100-pound chassis at my feet.

“Mrs. Simon!” I screeched. “Mrs. Simon! Get your dog!”

No response from the kitchen for a moment…then, I heard “There, there, Nici, Grace. It’s okay. The bad man’s gone,” Mrs. Simon cooed from the next room in a lulling lisp to the cats who were no doubt catapulting onto the counters/kitchen table in fright.

“Mrs. Simon!” I wailed. Then, trying to sound calm, I said, “Be nice, now, Bruno,” I begged the brute as he CRUNCHED his teeth into my Nike, feverishly grinding into my toes. “Mrs. Simon! HELP ME!” I yanked with all my might against the deathly canine grip to no avail.

“Let go, you fucking MONGREL!” I shouted while ripping my shoe to and fro between the canine’s canines.

Mrs. Simon finally toddled back into the room.  “Georgie, NO!” she lambasted her DEVIL DOG, swatting at him with her hand. “I’ll get the broom. Hold on, honey, hold on!”

As she scuttled into the kitchen again, someone began THRASHING on the front door.

Georgie turned me loose, THANK GOD, re-directing his throaty YAPPING at the front door.

I slumped into the armchair, a slow fountain of blood billowing onto the rug from my shoe.

MORE THUMPING on the door.

“Oh, dear, who could that be at this hour?” Mrs. Simon said, shuffling toward the front door with her broom.

“No!” I managed to croak, “It might be the guy with the gun!”

“What? Who had a gun?” she asked with grave concern.

“Open up! Police!”

Five minutes later, two rookie cops took my statement about the gun-wielding whacko while a very handsome EMT bandaged my ravaged toes and lacerated arm.  I hadn’t noticed my forearm had gotten chafed up quite a bit from the pine trees.

Three hours and 14 stitches later (at the ER), I finally collapsed into bed (with no sign of Mark – MEGA THANK YOU, God/Yahweh/Captain Kangaroo…) darkening my door…

The police never found Mark. Apparently, he had been honorably discharged from the Army some time ago (I know, right?), so the military was no help. And he was never seen in town again, to my knowledge.

The grungy studio apartment he rented downtown near Marshall (University where I was attending school at the time) was relatively barren save for a few boxes of junk, i.e. – old Metallica and Van Halen cassettes, a few tattered car magazines, a few ugly ties, a collection of rusty nails and the like.

Mark had gone to high school with my friend, Anna. After she stopped graveling and apologizing for setting me up w/the ROCK STAR of bad dates, she said the fodder among the rumor mill was that Mark’s discharge was a tad mysterious. He’d come home for Easter a couple of months prior, acting as though he were a very contented member of Uncle Sam’s best but returned in June a brooding mess saying he’d decided not to re-enlist and wouldn’t say why…

And that, as they say, is how the cookie CRUNCHES/barks and bleeds…and who’d have thought a DOG would’ve done more damage to my person than dodging a bucket of bullets…okay, maybe, he only fired 3 or 4 times, but STILL…

As a side note, in 2007, Anna emailed me a link to a story in a Vegas newspaper about Mark’s death in a casino parking lot.  Death by baseball bat at 45. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, n’est-ce pas? I heard he was a compulsive gambler…or an ugly drag queen, one of the two (LOL)…

Over and out from fucked up central…


* In Mrs. Simon’s house where I took refuge after, Mark, a crazy ex- Green Beret, took after me with his mini-canon – see Blog #39 – The Psychotic Soldier…and then some…