Feed on

>This is Joel’s line whenever he does something deliberately to annoy me. That masculine impulse to pester and tease apparently never goes away. From age 10, when they wipe a handful of rubber cement across your arm and pretend it’s snot, to when you’re 36 and they sneak up on you while you’re cooking and stick a wet finger in your ear. I guess I have to find it charming-ish, ’cause if I didn’t, I’d be cheesed off all the time.

As you’d expect, I don’t go in for the bigtime hearts-n-flowers hullabaloo. Firstly, I find cut flowers terribly depressing. Secondly, my rather dry sensibilities just don’t absorb mushiness very well. We “celebrated” Valentine’s Day by grouching gently at one another whilst moving all of my sewing-room shit out of my sewing room and down to the basement so we can convert the sewing room to a spare bedroom for Joel’s mother, who’ll be staying with us in the interim between selling her condo and finishing the renovation on the Little House. Later, once she’s comfortably ensconced in the Little House, the spare bedroom will become Joseph’s room. It’s already painted in a lively green-and-orange theme, which should make up quite nicely as a kid’s bedroom. Possibly less desirable to a 79-year-old woman’s tastes, but I’m sure she’ll cope!


I did a little bit of old-fashioned valentining this year, though, and made up a few clumsily-fashioned, glue-laden greeting cards for a few special people in my life. I love making stuff, and it’s a great deal of fun to just kind of let my brainmeats boing around while I try to collage up something amusing. So, this was the result of my foray into “graphic design” for the holiday:

jacqui resized

christi connie resized

G E resized

I am going to pretend that spaghetti and astroturf are traditional symbols of affection and all that.

4 Responses to “It is a sign of affection from where I am from”

  1. Mark says:

    A Valentine theme post, lovely. I guess this is a good place to tell the potato salad-handgun story….it involves birth control…. birth control is kind of Valentine-ish, so it’s in keeping with the theme.

    It was summer vacation between 5th and 6th grade, so 1975. I was invited to my friend Bobby’s house for a his parents’ big summer backyard cookout party.

    Mr friend Bobby was born on a US Air Force base in what was then West Germany. His parents married young, and his father got drafted. Bobby’s mother followed his father over. By the time I met Bobby, his parents were divorced, I never did meet his biological father. In the interim, Bobby’s mother got remarried to a French Canadian dude. The step-dad was a violent mental case, but man, he could cook like a five star chef. Bob’s mother couldn’t cook worth a shit, she tended to frozen chicken pot pies and potatoes au gratin out of a box. When I was invited to stay over for dinner at Bob’s house, I would inquire as to who cooked before I agreed. If the answer was his mom, I found an excuse to leave. If his step-dad was behind the stove, I stayed, even if I was expected to be home for dinner…..hell, I could eat two dinners.

    Bobby’s parents owned a Cape Cod style house. The kind of house that sprung up of all over previously rural, post WWII New Jersey like mushrooms on a pile of shit after a warm summer rainstorm. Funny thing, both Bob’s mom and step-dad were mental in their own way(I won’t get into the details), but they kept a beautiful house. The cars were perfect. I think Bob’s step-dad measured each blade of grass with a ruler.

    Bob’s parents added a dormer to the back of the house and built a “master suite” on the second floor…..master bedroom, master bath(with a glass enclosed shower separate from the tub), walk-in closet with a dressing table and vanity mirror. It was really quite nicely done. When I was at Bob’s house, there some rules. For example: Bob and I could go anywhere on the first floor, basement, garage, and yard, but we were not allowed upstairs unless an adult was present.

    So, summer of 1975 I got invited to the yard party at Bob’s house. When I was told Bob’s step-father would be cooking, I immediately accepted the invitation. There were about 25 people at the party. No other kids our age. A couple of high school teens were in attendance, but when I was in 6th grade, high school kids were like an alien species to me. It was really just me and Bob.

    I was sitting off to the side, the adults were inside one of those party tents you get from a party rental place. I was eating potato salad. Holy shit was this good potato salad…..little bacon bits and everything. To this day I have never tasted potato salad as good as Bob’s whack-job step-dad made. So I’m sitting there…nom, nom, nom,…filling my face with potato salad. Bobby was walking around the yard with his head on a swivel. Bob walked up to me and said, “Put that down.” I replied, “Get lost, Bobby. I’m not done. Come back when I’m finished.” Bob said, “No. Put that down. I want to show you something.” I was like, “This better be good.”

    Bobby directed me from the backyard to the front of the house. We went in the front door so no one would see us go in. Once inside Bobby motioned for me to go up the stairs. I said, “Bobby, we’re not suppose to be in your parents’ room.” Bob replied, “I know, come on, before someone sees us.”

    Up the stairs we went, and into his parents’ bedroom. His parents had “his ‘n hers” nightstands on either side of the bed. Bobby walked over to the one of the night stands, pulled open a drawer, and removed this plastic thing that looked like a woman’s makeup compact…. one of those contraptions with the puff thingy inside that women used to apply make up with.

    Bobby flipped open this plastic thing and stuck it under my nose. I was looking at a round rubber type disc of some sort. Bob asked, “You know what that is?” “Not me.”, said I…and I didn’t. Bobby got a very smug look of satisfaction on his face. One of those, “I know something you don’t know” looks that kids get. Bobby continued, “It’s my mother’s diaphragm.” I had no idea what a diaphragm was, or how it could be useful. Bob went on, “You don’t know what that is, do you?”. “Nope.”, I said. Bobby said, “That’s my mother’s birth control.” I had no idea that birth could be controlled, or why you’d want to do such a thing.

    It’s a good thing I didn’t know anything about diaphragms. Being the practical joker I was, I would have replaced the spermicide with Cheese Whiz, and poked holes into the disc with a pin. “Yeah, Bob, tell your mom and dad they can name your new baby brother after me. Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck”

    At this point Bobby had a real look of satisfaction on his face. Bobby continued to torment me, “My parents said that you wouldn’t know what this is.” “Oh?”, I replied, “How would your parents know what I know?” Bobby went on, “My parents told me that your parents never talk to you about sex.” Well, that last statement was very true. My parents were very old school Catlicks. Sex was not a subject of conversation in our house…ever. Bobby’s parents were also putative Catholics, but they seemed to be a bit more laid back about getting laid. BTW, Bobby and I were both alter boys at Sacred Heart Church in Rochelle Park, NJ. No, we never did get molested, even though one of the priests was later outed.

    So, about now I’m feeling kind of pissed, and I said to Bobby, “This is why I’m missing potato salad?” Bobby said, “I’ve got something else to show you.” Bob proceeded to place the diaphragm thingy back in the drawer, and then he came up with a 38 caliber snub nose revolver. I was like, “Whoa! That’s not real.” “Yes, it is.”, replied Bob. Bob then proceeded to open the cylinder and dump out the cartridges…..it was a LOADED 38 caliber snub nose revolver.

    Now I was taught to shoot when I was in grade school. When I was in 5th grade, I didn’t know how to fuck any of the girls in my class, but I did know the procedure for shooting them. Kind of a sad commentary on life in these here United States of Murica.

    Now I looked at Bobby and said, “Let’s go shoot it.” Bob’s expression immediately changed from smug satisfaction to one of, “I don’t think this was such a good idea.” Bob said, “NO! We can’t. They’ll hear.” I said, “We’ll go into the woods by the train tracks. They won’t hear anything from there.” “No.”, Bob protested, “We don’t have any ammo.” “Ammo is right there.”, I countered. Trying to reason with me Bob said, “But my step-dad will know someone used up these bullets.” I thought about it a second and said, “Your step-dad has a box of ammo somewhere around here. Where is it?” Bob was starting to panic, “I don’t know, I swear that I don’t know.” I kept up the pressure, “Bobby, I missed potato salad because of you, you owe me. Where is that ammo box?” Now Bobby looked like he was gonna cry. “I dunno! I swear I dunno!”, was his pathetic lament. “OK, OK, put it back in the damn drawer, you jerk.”, I let him off the hook.

    We sneaked back down stairs and went back to party. The potato salad was all gone, but there was some braised brisket and macaroni salad left, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

    I relate this story to you because you are now raising a male of the species. When cute little baby boys get to be 9,10,11 years old, things change. The average eleven year old boy will not hesitate to play with(but not limited to): Gasoline cans, cyanide, drain opener, gas mains, electric mains, backhoes, acetylene tanks, lawn mowers, chain saws (any kind of power tool really) and, of course, firearms. As your little man goes out into the world to play with his little man friends, you may want to inquire with the parents of said friends about unsecured firearms…….or birth control devices. Speaking from experience, it’s the prudent thing to do.

    So, where are they now? In the 8th grade Bob was placed into a school for emotionally disturbed kids….if you had been raised by Bob’s mom and step-dad, you would have been emotionally disturbed as well. Bob’s mom and step-dad had a child of their own, a daughter born in 1977. A few years after Bob’s half-sister was born, Bob’s mom and step-dad divorced. I have no idea what happened to his mother, step-father or half sister. Last I heard Bob was living with his wife and kids in Florida. The gay parish priest was killed in the 9-11 attacks. You can read the sad story here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mychal_Judge

  2. Meetzorp says:

    When I was about that age – 11 or so – my best friend Kerri and I decided we’d see if we could blow some stuff up. We smuggled Dixie cups of stuff from the cleaning cabinet out to my little “blast lab” I’d set up down by the river. I’d set myself up a little fire pit fashioned of chunks of sandstone arranged around a shallow hole I’d dug. I liked to go down there and burn stuff occasionally. Alcohol soaked cottonballs. Smoke bombs I’d hoarded from the 4th of July. Candle nubs, chicken feathers, the goo out of ball point pens. Whatever. Anyway, we went down to my super-seekrit-sooty-hideaway-of-burning-things and started mixing up Mr. Clean and Ajax and paint thinner and God knows what else. Basically, we were very lucky that A. we were outside and B. we didn’t have any bleach (we did have ammonia). I suppose we were also lucky that C., we didn’t own a copy of the Anarchist’s Cookbook.

    So, what I’m saying is that little boys don’t hold a monopoly on doing stupid dangerous shit when they can get around back of their folks.

    NE 2012

    We’re pretty big on the whole firearms safety thing around here. Joel and I both enjoy a little target practice from time to time. Joseph is going to be brought up knowing that guns aren’t toys, they’re tools, and tools that need to be handled with respect. Hopefully we’ll be able to get it through to him well enough that even if he and one of his wild-haired friends does get hold of a firearm and think it’d be mighty exciting to go and shoot something, he’ll at least know enough not to accidentally blow his own or his buddy’s head off.

  3. Mark says:

    Ooh! Ooh! I love playing, “My guns are bigger than your guns.”

    I used to belong to a gun club in Pennsylvanian that had a twice annual MG shoot. This is a picture of Brett, son of my friend Tom. You may remember Tom from the stolen tool box story. Tom and I taught Brett how to run that MG-34 when he was 9 years old. He was the only kid in his 4th grade class who knew how to operate a belt-fed. http://www.dropbox.com/s/hzkddrq6sfr0aye/MGB1.jpg

    Funny thing, today Brett is 17 years old, and he could care less about guns, all he wants to do is play Guitar Hero. “Hey, Brett, wanna go to the range with us?” “Nah.” Go figure.

    Yup, here in the US of Murica we don’t have any jobs, or health care or text books about evolution, but we have plenty of guns. FREEDUMB! USA! USA! USA! FUCK YEAH!

  4. Meetzorp says:

    Heh. Well, a .22 is plenty enough for me. I just like to see how close together I can keep the holes in the sheet of paper. I’m a simple and easily-amused woman.

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