Like many people these pandemic-days, we find ourselves in quarantine. For an introvert, at first, being home all the time was paradise. It was all smiles, daytime booze, and no pants! But, it didn't take long for me to start feeling like maybe I was being a little complacent; and dare I say it: lazy. Like, I could be exercising. Or, I could be cleaning. Or, I could be painting the hallway. Or, I could be providing upcycled-t-shirt-facemasks and sack lunches to the homeless.
A friend suggested I work on my "hobbies."
Yeah, thanks, "friend". Way to make me feel like a total loser.
Turns out I don't have many “hobbies” in the conventional sense – due to the fact that they require an abundance of time, nerd-ery, energy and dedication….all qualities in which I am highly lacking.
Over the years, I tried to pick up some hobbies. I learned to sew. Kinda. I learned to quilt. Kinda. I started collecting mounted jackalope heads (still only have the one). I learned to make jewelry. I took up photography. I learned to knit. Kinda. I learned to crochet. Kinda. I made my own laundry detergent (that counts, right?). I made toilet paper roll art. I painted. I drew.
And there was this one time when I decided to collect beer bottle caps! Oh, yeah. It was a brilliant endeavor that cost me nearly nothing because I employed (without pay, of course) others to collect them for me. I currently have 1,568,265 (or so) in my possession. Someday, I’m actually going to use them to refinish table tops and make millions of dollars! (Just like I planned to do 5 years ago.)
I think I've digressed, as usual. Let's get back on track...
I started ghost hunting. I practiced yoga. I learned how to read palms…and tarot cards. I became one with nature, and crystals, and herbs, and moon phases.
The list goes on, people.
After a little contemplation, and just as my brain started to shut down... it hit me.
Maybe my hobby is finding hobbies. Or, maybe my hobby is starting seemingly creative shit and never finishing it. It’s a process, people.
I’d like to be able to say that my hobbies include hiking mountains, scuba diving, robbing banks and other exhilarating activities. But, alas… I am one boring-ass mofo. Suffice it to say, I don’t really have any "hobbies". However, there are some things I love to do and can probably manage to spend my quarantine time more wisely on:
- Reading. I learned to love reading from an early age. Growing up, my mom took us to the public library every week. And while my brothers were busy catching up on MAD Magazine and my sister would opt for the picture books and puzzles, I would find a quiet corner and get lost in another world. When I was about 10 years old, I picked up my mom’s copy of Gone with the Wind and I never stopped reading novels since.
- Traveling. It seems like forever since we really, truly traveled. Back when we had the RV, we tooled all over there place; albeit sometimes the accommodations were a little crowded and the shared toilet resulted in the feeling of too much togetherness. For the most part, traveling for pleasure is wonderful! I love being a tourist… visiting new places and learning local cultures.
- Loafing. As in lounging – not making bread. (Although, I do love a nice, fresh loaf of french bread, too.) I like to veg-out in front of the TV… or in bed with a good book… or on the beach with a piña colada. Or on my backyard patio with a refreshing iced coconut-rum-and-water. You get the gist.
- Floating. I love feeling weightless. So, when I’m in the pool, I will float and float and float. And, I’ll ask Hubber to carry me like a newlywed because I’m so light and dainty!
- Eating. That’s why I’m soft around the edges. I will try anything once. Except for insects, dung, dolphins, dogs, cats, rodents, skunks and buzzards. (I reserve the right to add to this list in the future; even big girls have standards.) If quarantine has taught me anything, it's that you can make goulash out of pretty much any kind of leftover. And, don't let your Hubber try to tell you that what you made is not goulash. He doesn't know shit about goulash.
- Gardening. This might be a true and actual hobby, y'all! I started a veggie/fruit garden a few years ago and have since added a butterfly garden, a few rose bushes, hibiscus, and other wonderful stuff! I guess I'm proud to say that I'm making real inroads in this area. :)
I was going to add mixology to this list so that I could sound like a sophisticated barista/barwench. But, I thought twice because it might make me seem more like a lush. Which I am not. Usually.
Feast your eyes on some gorgeous shit from my quarantine-era-garden below. Enjoy.
The other day, after proclaiming that I'm one bad mother fucker who isn't afraid of shit, Hubber began ticking off on fingers and toes all the things I'm "afraid" of. His list was quite extensive, and mostly wrong and ridiculous, so I won't bore you with it here. But, after threatening to kick him in the penis if he didn't stop, I got to thinking.
I may look like a tough heifer... and I may act like a tough heifer, but deep down, I’m crazy scared! I live inside my head A LOT. What if this... what if that... until I work myself up into a frenzy and new fears rattle around in there taunting me. Now, are they all LEGITIMATE fears? I don’t know. I guess it depends on your definition of LEGITIMATE.
So, to help me understand, I looked up the word LEGITIMATE and according to Merriam-Webster, the nerd of all words, it means:
- allowed according to rules or laws;
- real, accepted, or official;
- fair or reasonable.
And, because I thought all those definitions seemed pretty dull and boring, I decided to see what Urban Dictionary had to say. Here’s what the word on the street is:
- Lawfully correct, legal;
- Justified, not un-called for;
- Something very, very true;
- used to describe something in the utmost of truthiness or maybe something SO FRIKKIN DAMN AWESOME, see also: sick, sweet, telk, or godly.
“…the utmost of truthiness”? Ok… I can do this.
My fear of a home invasion
After a very disturbing experience as a young, single mother, I became increasingly afraid for the safety of my child. In the early years, I locked, double-locked and triple-locked all doors and windows. And when I couldn’t afford a security alarm, I set up booby-traps near possible entrances so that if I were sleeping and an intruder tried to creep in, he’d knock over a mountain of Legos and it’d wake me up. I didn’t have a gun, so I kept a metal bat next to my bed so that I could go to town on that mofo when he got in! I checked on the bat before bed every night. I did other things, too, but I’ll stop there before I get labeled with OCD.
After I got married, Hubber became my security system. It wasn't something he was prepared for. But, y'all know Hubber... he's a real trooper! Of course he questioned my logic at first, but when I explained all the violent scenarios that run through my head in bloody detail, he backed off and let me go through my nightly motions of safe guarding the house before bed each night. It wasn't long before he started to help. He'd even stay up in order to be the last one asleep (he still does that, all these years later).
When you're a little nuts, you run the risk of rubbing off on people. And, so it was Hubber's fate that he "inherited" some of my crazy. Now, while we no longer set booby traps, we still have our nightly lock-up rituals…and instead of a metal bat next to MY side of the bed, Hubber keeps a freshly sharpened ninja sword next to his. True story.
Back door isn't quite secure enough, so I put a heavy chair in front of it. If someone breaks in, it will wake us up. Bats and swords will come flying...so beware, home invaders!
My fear of wide-open and enclosed spaces/crowds (and sometimes just people in general):
I have high anxiety, y’all. I’m not medicated for it anymore, but it rears its ugly head in dark, narrow stairwells, big, sweaty crowds, and also when I'm in a wide-open space with no crowd - but I start thinking, "what if a crowd forms around me? what if people start walking close to me and start breathing the air that was meant for me...and then I won't have any air to breathe... and what if I start to suffocate? What if a homicidal maniac is in this room? What if someone bars those closed doors from the outside like in the movie Carrie and I get trampled when people rush the doors to get out? What if I blink and suddenly people are huddled around me asking me for directions, or money, or to complete a 60-second survey related to my current cell phone carrier?!" What if!!
It's not fun inside my head, y'all. But, these are the things that create literal tunnel-vision and make my head dizzy, my knees weak, and my breath short. There is no rational explanation for said anxiety...and there is no method to the madness. It just happens randomly. That little brain trigger that sparks the crazy just decides to flip at the most inopportune times. One minute I'm perfectly fine in the long line for "It's a Small World" at Disney World. And then, BOOM. I gotta get the fuck outta there stat lest I explode into a million tiny pieces. Or worse, stab someone in the eye with the Mickey spork I squirreled away in my pocket for just an occasion (or for extra frozen soft-serve ice cream; either way, sporks always come in handy).
My fear of judgement and failure:
These two concepts, although seemingly unrelated, go hand-in-hand for me. Sure, most people worry about what people think of them... so they pile on the makeup, curl their hair, buy handbags they can't afford and high-heeled shoes that wreck their feet... but, those aren't the things I do to avoid judgement. I work harder to prove myself worthy. I go above and beyond to learn things that improve my standing with people. I learn to work efficiently, effectively with little direction because I want to be seen as competent; someone who can be trusted to "take the lead".
This is starting to sound like a resume pitch!
Seriously, though, I work hard because I work in a man's world where women are seen as inferior until they prove themselves capable (at least 348,000 times). And, even then, EVEN THEN, they aren't quite good enough. It's a tough world to live in when you're headstrong and stubborn like I am. I don't walk around oblivious and complacent. I want more. I strive for more. When I fear I'm being judged, instead of kicking it up a notch, I have a tendency to become lax, risking failure.
I also fear that I'm getting a little too old for this game. I fear I might become irrelevant.
P.S. My resume is ready to go.
Being a tightrope-walker takes a lot of skill, balance, patience, and fearlessness.You climb the ladder. With each step, the crowd cheers you on. You can do it! When you reach the top, you scan the crowd below. All those tiny, insignificant faces staring up at you in awe. It feels good to be at the top. All the hushed voices below, waiting for you to take a step onto the rope. Two arms out, to keep your balance, you step onto the platform. The next step you take is onto the rope. You tighten your core, close your eyes, and keep going. You pretend no one is watching you, but you can feel their eyes boring holes into the depths of your soul. With each step, you squeeze your feet tightly around the rope. Halfway across, you open your eyes. You lose your balance. Your right foot slips out from under you and before you fall, you try to grasp the rope with your hands. But, it’s no use. You can’t hang on. You hear the crowd below gasping. They’re waiting to see if you’ll have the strength to pull yourself up. You do not. You decide that letting go beats ripping your hands to shreds. So, you freefall. The net below envelopes you like the sweet, secure arms of a new mother. You didn’t make it across the rope that time, but you’ll get up and do it all again as the crowd cheers you on.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a habitual dieter.Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They don’t want you to succeed because it’s more fun to watch you fall. Will the net below be able to hold your weight? No worries, tightrope dieter! Slip off the narrow course before you, and you crash land into a safety net full of warm bread, pasta, and ice cream. All the gawkers pat themselves on the back because they knew your mission was impossible. They were right all along. You don’t have what it takes. So, you muddle around through the net, lapping up all the deliciousness while you try to make sense of your life choices. Soon, you forget how hard it was to walk that rope, so you work your way back to the ladder that leads you up to the diet platform; where you repeat the process through infinity.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a pregnant woman.Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They watch your stomach expand, wondering if you’re eating responsibly. Are you drinking alcohol? Was that a tuna sushi roll you’re shoving into your mouth thinking no one noticed? Who cares. You keep going, step by step across the rope. Your plan for a natural childbirth is intricately laid out before you. You’re almost there. But, that’s when the pains of labor begin. Your insides are on fire; your baby has razor claws for arms and a bowling ball head… tearing you up while pressing hard against your will to live. The pain is so excruciating that you begin to slip off the rope. All eyes on you. You close your eyes and decide falling is a better fate than the agony coursing through you to the core. You take the shot. You fall off the tightrope and into the blissful, ecstasy of the safety net that is an epidural - numbness from the waist down. With baby in tow, you stumble out of the safety net. In time, you forget the pain and are ready to do it all over again.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a woman in business.Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they're just waiting for you to fail.You climb the ladder... higher and higher until you reach the top. Now, the only thing to do to get your dream job, is to walk the interview tightrope. Hooray! Look at her go! They all exclaim. With arms outstretched, you soak in all mentoring thrown your way. You take step after step, doing all the things the crowd below is telling you to do. Headstrong and full of excitement, you let your integrity lead the way. You've worked all your life to get to this point. Unlike other tightropes you've encountered, on this tightrope you don't slip. But, this tightrope is rigged. A strong hand pushes you off and you fall, further and further until you land in a deep pool of the blood of many women before you. You are not alone. A few of them lift you up and carry you to shore where you crawl on wounded knees and aching heart... back to the ladder. You put your tired hands on the bottom rung and start climbing again.
Me: So we can bulldoze the bathroom?
Hubber: No. But, you can start throwing your hair in the trashcan instead of washing it down the drain. It amazes me that there is still actual hair on your head. Does it grow 12 inches every night to replenish the 3 pounds that fall out every day?
Me: That's just mean. And, quit changing the subject. Pennywise. Bathroom demo. I'm sure Homer Simpson predicted this shit. That's what I'm here about right now.
I'm not sure if that's around the time he walked away or fell asleep on me.
But, it doesn't matter because I know that shit was working its way around in his brain for the next few days. That's how the transfer of paranoia works, y'all. It has to simmer and ferment in the brain juices for awhile. He has to imagine a hairy bloodbath in his mind every time he goes into the bathroom until it becomes a problem. And, believe me, he visits that room often.
It's not easy for Hubber to admit that my paranoia has taken root in his mind. He is torn between understanding that the paranoia is completely irrational while contemplating the possibility that in some weird other-worldly-dimension (possibly in the "upside-down") shit like this can actually happen.
Also, in the book, Pennywise was a spider. Y'all know I tossed that little nugget in his pipe for smoking. And, we all know how much Hubber fears spiders.
Next thing I know, the black hole looks like this:
And, while it's not exactly the sledgehammering and complete re-do I was looking for, it's probably something I can live with.
My oldest spawn left for college. My dog died. I bought a pickup truck. My youngest is a ukulele prodigy. I blew out my favorite flip flops. I shook my groove thang on the Flora-Bama line. We chopped down a dead sycamore tree. My job doesn’t pay enough. It took two years to settle my mother-in-law’s estate and she didn’t own shit except the property we now live on which was falling apart. That being sad…
Hubber is renovating our house. I lost 20 pounds. I can now shoot a 9mm and an AR15. We’ve misplaced the keys to the gun safe twice because we put them in a spot where no one could find them but us. Turned out we’re better hiders than we thought we were. We now have two cats. I gained 20 pounds.
My mom learned tarot and “the good kind” of voodoo. She can also do your numerology… in case you need a life plan. My peach tree died. The high school in my neighborhood looks like a prison, complete with barred windows, barbed wire fencing, and armed guards. My new neighbors blast Spanish reggae music in their backyard every Saturday night. I lost 20 pounds again.
We survived a few mental breakdowns. Stray cats shit in my garden… Hubber is trying to use them for bb-gun target practice now. My sofa is gone so we sit on camp chairs in the living room. I learned how to smoke meat on my new pellet grill. (Smoke meat. That's what she said. Heh.) I still have no swimming pool and summer is almost over. I bought too many plants to fill empty pots, so now I have to buy more pots, but I’ll probably get too many, so I’ll need to buy more plants. It’s a delicate science I haven’t quite mastered.
I twisted my ankle three different times while sitting. I have started plucking white eyebrow hairs. White. I won a calla lily plant as a door prize at my first neighborhood civic club meeting… I was so happy I forgot I was there to complain about my neighbors. I have a self-diagnosed gluten allergy. My sister got married in Vegas and I wasn’t there. My house was haunted, but we cleaned that bitch out.
Hubber falls asleep when I’m talking to him and sometimes while driving – especially if he’s loaded up on carbs. He’s like that guy from that movie who fell asleep in that car that was going over a bridge and he just floated around and didn’t break any bones because he was all relaxed and asleep. WTF was the name of that movie? My boyfriend Robert Downey, Jr. is in it.
Turns out the spaghetti squash I planted is a honey dew melon. The tax man calleth. Twice.
My oldest is a grown-ass woman… but she’s not… but she is… or, maybe not… we’re all still very confused. My parents are falling apart. I tinkle a bit if I laugh too hard… or sneeze… or cough. I tried to quit blessing people when they sneeze, but I kept forgetting to stop, so I just gave in to the madness and resigned myself to my inevitable sainthood. My alcohol threshold is not what it used to be. Alien bugs that won’t die (no matter how hard you smash, zap, or stomp on them) sneak into my house to plot the destruction of mankind.
Put some music to that shit, Blake Shelton!
And, I better get royalties.
Growing up as a mixed-race individual is not easy. In case you didn’t know, I am the product of a Hispanic/White relationship. But, since my mother divorced by bio-dad when I was still a baby and he disappeared from our lives, I was raised in a very heavily Mexican-American household.
I’m sure the half-black-half-white combo comes with its own challenges. And, although I can’t directly relate, I can relate to the identity struggle in general.
Being a very white-looking girl in a Mexican family where everyone else is creamy-coffee-colored was not fun. At a young age, I was nicknamed Güera (roughly translated: pale-pasty-ass-white-girl) which made my whiteness stand out even more among the brown contingency. And, although I wasn't alone because my brother is as friggen white-looking as I am, he was generally accepted by everyone as Hispanic and wasn’t nicknamed anything racist that pointed him out as an outcast with pale skin.
In my younger years, I found myself always trying to be accepted as a Latina. Sometimes I was accepted, but not always. Sometimes, I just “wasn’t Hispanic enough.” And, on the flip side, I was also never “white enough” when trying to identify with white folks. Basically, I lived in a sort of cultural identity purgatory.
However, as I matured, it became less important as I built my own self-worth without trying to pigeon hole myself into any individual racial identity.
Wow. That sounded fancier than it actually is. Sometimes I amaze myself at how enlightened I think I am.
Anyway, my point here is that just when I thought I was comfortable in my own skin and that my races don’t define who I am, I met someone who thought I was the Mexican-est person she had ever met.
My mother-in-law. (God rest her soul.)
Except, she wasn't nice about it. Nor, was she ever politically correct. And, she thought Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Hondurans, Guatemalans (etc) were all MEXICANS, too.
Me: Uhm, Mom. You KNOW those are different countries, right? Mexico is a COUNTRY... and so is Honduras. Also, Puerto Ricans are essentially AMERICAN.
MIL: Who cares! You know what I mean!
Me: No. No, I do not.
She had two favorite things she liked to do to torture me. First she liked to collect Spanish "literature" so that she had something "nice" to give me every time she saw me. And, by literature, I mean junk mail, coupons she picked up on a rack at the grocery store, and religious pamphlets left by solicitors. I'd show up for a visit and she'd excuse herself to go grab the "mexican shit" she had collected for me since my last visit.
Me: I don't want any of this shit.
MIL: But, it's in Spanish.
MIL: So.. don't you buy all these things? My neighbor says all the Mexicans use this seasoning, and the coupon is for $0.50 off! Don't your people like discounts? And, here..what about this...?
Me: I have never even heard of any of this crap. And, I'm especially NOT going to read this evangelical bullshit!
MIL: Well, not all Mexicans are Catholic!
Me: WHAT? What does that even mean!?
And so the conversations would generally go haywire because in her mind all that shit was jumbled up. And, it was probably hard to squeeze all the dumb, racist shit out in an orderly fashion. I get that, I guess. Because, I'm a poster child for going off on tangents.
I think that mostly, I was a fun novelty - like a freak show circus act. She probably loved telling all her old crotchety friends that her son is such a maverick for marrying a Mexican! She probably even had them all collecting those stupid Spanish newspapers for me, too!
But, what did I do when she gave me all that shit to read? I bitched about it, then I gathered it all up and acted like I was going to take it home and read it. Why? Because I was raised to graciously accept stupid ass shit people give me so as not to be rude.
I'd carry that shit all the way home in my car. I'd even walk it into the house before throwing it in the garbage.
Because I'm a decent person that way.
And, although I considered it, I never set in on fire in the sink while chanting voodoo curses. Not even once. I swear.
Me: Hubber, the shit your mom says could get her shot one day.
Hubber: Yeah, you're probably right. But, what do you do?
Me: Uhm. YOU could tell her that she's racist and rude! And, that if it were anyone but me, she'da prolly been slapped by now!
Hubber: She's old. She thinks it's ok to say whatever the hell she wants without repercussions.
Me: I think you're an enabler.
Hubber: Word to the wise: Your voodoo shit ain't got nothing on her.
Anyway. I said there were two things she liked to do to torture me and test my patience. The other thing is this: She liked to make me talk to "mexican-looking people" in Spanish for her. EVEN IF THEY SPOKE ENGLISH.
Once, she called me while I was at work.
Me: Hi. What's up?
MIL: You need to talk to this guy.
Me: What guy?
MIL: The Mexican who does my yard. Tell him I'm not paying him shit unless he puts the yard clippings IN the trash can instead of just leaving them there at the curb.
Me: Geez. Ok.
Hello. Yes, I heard her.
Me: You speak English?
Yard Guy: Yes. I put bag in trash can. No problem.
Ok, thank you so much. I'm sorry about that.
Yard Guy: Is ok, ma'am.
Did you tell him?
Me: Uhm, seriously? HE. SPEAKS. ENGLISH. I didn't have to tell him anything. He heard and understood every word you said.
MIL: I just heard him speaking to you in Mexican!
Me: WHAT? You mean SPANISH. But, NO. That was English! He just has an accent.
MIL: Bullshit. I didn't understand a word.
Me: I gotta go. I'm at work.
Another time she did that was when the City was widening her road. In her professional opinion, the job was taking entirely too long and the Mexicans were to blame. So, she called me up, walked her ass out there in her moo-moo with a cigarette dangling from her mouth... me on the phone in one hand and hell-raising fury in the other!
We were going to tell those Mexicans to hurry up and get her fucking street done or there would be hell to pay because BY GOSH, her daughter-in-law knows the mayor AND she speaks Spanish, mother fuckers!!
All I said when the guy got on the phone was, "Sorry! She's kinda crazy. But the quicker you get the job done, the sooner you get her off your back. That should be incentive enough."
I'm not saying my threat was successful, but they DID wrap that shit up the following week and she gave me all the credit for it. Pretty sure she thought I called the mayor.
So, yeah. She definitely kept things interesting in her own fucked-up way. I'm not gonna lie, I was mad at her most days. But now, I kinda miss her.
I guess the moral of the story is: be careful what you wish for. Turns out, being Mexican is highly overrated.
Because to date, when I see that it’s one of my spawn ringing in, I have to get my mind right before answering the call. First, I blink 5 times, slowly. I breathe in… I breathe out. I stretch my neck to the left. I stretch my neck to the right.
I consider all the possible reasons the spawn would choose to CALL rather than TEXT (which is the norm). A phone call gives me no time to devise my reply to whatever ridiculous non-urgent problem she is currently having that can’t be resolved via text.
Then, I close my eyes and tilt my head up to the sky…hoping that powers greater than me will take mercy on my ragged soul and make the fucking phone stop ringing. By this time, it usually does stop. And I pray that they’ll just leave me a message. And, I start to believe that God really does give a shit about me.
Then, the follow-up-call ringing commences. No message. Just more goddamned ringing.
Maybe my child has been kidnapped by a murderous bandito and is calling from the trunk of a 1985 Ford Ltd with no way to kick the taillights out and wave her hand through the hole to flag down help from concerned passersby! And the 9 and 1 buttons on her phone don't work!
OR… My child was just in a car accident and is trapped inside the car which is only seconds from exploding into smithereens!
OR… There’s an active shooter at the school!
OR… My child has been car jacked and left stranded in the middle of nowhere with wolves (NOT of the Huge Jackman variety) salivating near her while her phone is about to die and this is the last call she will ever make before she’s torn to shreds!
Fire, blood, and gory death flash before my eyes and I start to hyperventilate.
So, frantically, I answer the phone, cursing myself for being such a fucking selfish, crappy excuse for a mother. My child is obviously in mortal danger! What the fuck is wrong with me!?
Me: Hello? Are you ok?
Tallest Spawn: cry/screaming and blowing out my eardrum: Moooom! Why aren’t you answering your phone? I’m like freaking out over here!
Me: Uhm! I just answered! What in the world is wrong?!
Tallest Spawn: sobbing uncontrollably: My car won’t start! I’m freaking out! Oh my god! What do I do?!
Me: Really? You’re crying uncontrollably about your car not starting?
Tallest Spawn: YES! Mom! You don’t understand! I’m like freaking out over here!
Me: Obviously. Where are you? Are you safe?
Tallest Spawn: Well, I had to like go to Walgreen’s. So, like I went in to buy stuff, and when I got back in my car, it was fine! So, I drove to the gas station to put gas in it for the week. I put the gas in, but then I like tried to start it, but it like won’t even start or anything! I’ve been trying like for 10 minutes or maybe longer!
Me: So, you’re safe. Did you call your Dad?
Tallest Spawn: hic-crying now: I don’t know if I’m safe, Mom! There’s a sketchy guy here that keeps staring at me! I’m so scared, Mom! Like, what do I do?! Dad won’t answer his phone, either! Why don’t ya’ll ever answer your phones?!
Me: First of all, calm your tits. If there’s a sketchy guy there, then go into the store.
Tallest Spawn: And just leave my car here??
Me: Yeah! It’s at the damn pump, right?! It ain’t going anywhere if it won’t start! I’ll send your dad over there to help.
This is the point at which I normally lose my shit. First of all, none of the disturbing near-death scenarios are playing out like my brain told me they would. Second of all, CAR DRAMA. Thirdly, WTF?!
I think Hubber could sense that I was about to grab a knife and stab a mofo if he didn’t quickly get his ass (and every other living being in my vicinity) the fuck out.
While he was gone, I had an adult beverage to calm my nerves. When he got back, I hesitantly listened to how shit went down at the gas station.
Hubber pulled up behind our helpless little spawn’s car at the gas station. She sprinted out from the store to meet him.
Hubber: Where’s the sketchy guy?
Tallest Spawn: pointing: Over there, Daddy! See him?
Hubber: The guy changing the bags out of the trash cans?!
Tallest Spawn: Is that what he’s doing?
Hubber: YES! He fucking works here!
Tallest Spawn: Oh. My bad. But, Daddy! He kept like staring at me!
Hubber: He’s probably wondering why you’re bawling your eyes out over here like a crazy person!
Tallest Spawn: I’m sorry!!! But, I didn’t know what to do!!
Hubber: Did you check that you used the right key? Did you check the battery like I showed you? If so, remember that Insurance app I told you to download onto your phone? It has roadside assistance! Why is your first reaction to always freak out and drive your mom to drink?!
Hubber: Give me your keys.
Hubber got in the car, put the key in the ignition. And would you know it…the fucking car started right up!
Tallest Spawn: Daddy! I swear it wouldn’t start!! Why don’t you believe me!? You never believe me! Why do you hate me?! I hate my life! Why does this stuff always happen to ME?!
My point here is that usually, when the phone RINGS and the call is coming from one of my children, it is usually NOT a fucking emergency. It’s usually some bullshit crap story that makes my right eye twitch, my fists clench, and my brain scream. 9 times out of 10, this is how shit goes down:
That being said, though… I do appreciate her decision to give me a heads-up text rather than repeated, frantic, and aneurysm-inducing phone calls where I have no clue what the fuck is happening. I hate going in blind, ya’ll! Momma needs prep time.
Another plus is that she "also just texted dad"! That pretty much means I'm off the hook entirely.
We take hauntings very seriously, y'all. We don't fuck with ouija boards or any sort of witchery. We keep sage growing in the garden. And, we don't do it to spice up our poultry dishes...we do it in case we need to dry it, roll that shit up, and burn it to ward off evil spirits. Also, we have a death shrine (or "alter in memory of the loved ones we have lost" as Hubber likes to correct me because he thinks "death shrine" is morbid....UHM.... HELLO?! It's an alter for dead people! It don't get much more morbid than that!). The shrine exists so that my grandma's soul doesn't get all pissy when she looks down from Heaven and sees me doing nasty things in my bedroom or hear me using God's name in vain, which we know happens all the god-damned time. Because, hello, again?! I have children! And a husband! So, yeah. Lots of reasons to curse up in here.
|Heifer's Death Shrine.|
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, LOCKED attic doors. Here's what ours looks like:
|Obviously NOT to be fucked with.|
Whoever locked that shit up and didn't remove the lock when the tenants moved in was trying to tell people not to go up there lest they shalt die a painful, conjuring-style death of astronomical proportions. Message received, loud and clear yo.
So, imagine my bone chilling and hair raising fear when we started hearing noises in the fucking attic.
Me: Hubber. Did you fucking hear that?
Hubber: Huh? Uhm, no. I didn't hear shit. Just turn the volume up on the TV.
Me: That was definitely coming from the attic. It sounds like footsteps... and scratching... and other hounds-of-hell craziness!!! We have to move.
Hubber: You're nuts. It's probably just a family of possums...or squirrels...or birds, even. We like birds.
Me: Are you serious right now?! We do not like birds. In fact, we fucking hate birds. We have seen the movie! Alfred Hitchcock movies ain't no joke, man! Those evil, flying hell birds will peck your eyeballs out and suck at your brains until you shit your pants and die! You better board up the god-damned fireplace this very minute!
Since that mofo was obviously in denial, I grabbed my holy candle (someone remind me to get that thing blessed one day), lit that bitch up, and walked around the house with it...willing all the bad juju out of the house. The noises stopped so it seemed to do the trick. But the silence was short-lived. A few days later, the A/C vent in the master bathroom started blowing out hot air.
HOT AIR, ya'll. Like air from HELL... or AFRICA. The kind of hot air that feels like a firey demon is breathing on you. My point is, it wasn't a natural kind of air to feel in your Houston, TX bathroom at night when your A/C is set at 68 degrees and every other vent in the god-damned house is blowing out cold air.
Hubber: Hmmm. Well, maybe some critter is up there and detached the A/C ductwork that goes to this vent and we're just feeling "attic air" and the cold air we should feel is actually just blowing around haphazardly in the attic.
Me: Who in the hell are you trying to convince here?! Because, that is the dumbest shit I've heard all day. And I went to work today, so you know I endured a LOT of dumb fucking shit.
Hubber: It's a logical explanation.
Me: No. The logical explanation is that the devil and his noisy, scratchy-ass spawn are camping out above our crapper.
Hubber had nothing else to say. He scrambled around for something long enough to close the vent...then he tapped it closed and said, "there." As if that was the end of that.
Then, a few days later, the noises commenced again. Scratching. Tapping. Walking. You can't hide from the devil, ya'll.
Me: I guess you're going to have to go up there and see if there are any "critters". I need the noises to stop. And, I need my cool air flow back in the bathroom. I can't breathe in there! Do you want me to suffocate and die?
Hubber: What? No. I ain't going up there to see a bunch of beady, little possum eyes staring back at me! They might have rabies!
Me: Then call the landlord!
Hubber: But, they'll want me to check up there first.
Me: Well, sounds like quite the conundrum!
Hubber: Also, it's latched closed. I thought you didn't want to open the latch?
Me: I don't. That's why you're going to do it. May the force be with you.
Hubber: If this motherfucking attic is haunted, I blame your sister! If anyone brought a ghost into this house, it's her and her witchy-ass ways! We should make HER check the fucking attic!
Me: Well, call her, then. I don't care who checks the attic...but this shit needs to get fixed! Especially if anyone wants sexy time ever again! And EVER is a long fucking time, man!
Hubber: I hate you.
He was definitely hatin'....but he finally resigned himself to checking things out up there. And guess what he found? Absolutely NOTHING, ya'll. The entire fucking attic is EMPTY. No critters...no sign of critters. No holes in the walls. No weird ductwork damage. Nothing.
Well, almost nothing. This was the only thing sitting up there in the attic all by its lonesome self:
And, all I have to say is: what-the-fucking-fuck?
Is it some sort of spirit catcher? Pandora's box? Pinhead's portal to hell? What?!
And, what do we do with it? Burn in? Sprinkle holy water on it and see if it starts smoking? Dip it in Roger Rabbit Acme Acid? What?!
It's been a few days now and Torture Monkey has been sitting on a shelf in the living room so I can keep an eye on him. So far, he's behaved himself. I think. And, yes, he is a HE. I'm not blind. I see the coconut bra, skirt, and lipstick. The mofo is in drag, y'all. It's his disguise. But, I'm not buying it.
If one day we all mysteriously disappear, you'll know he did it. I herby bequeath Torture Monkey to the Ed & Lorrain Warren occult museum.
Also, the A/C is still not working in the bathroom.