"Your words have no power to alter the truth. Your perception does not affect any reality but your own... it is your words and deeds that cast your reflection. "

~Luna Jade, musician

Monday, August 20, 2007

More memories of Carrollwood Village Drive

I remember one here was particularly bad. Im thinking it was during the third year at the school. I was still doing alot of typing because of new classes but some of the work wasnt so bad because I still had some stuff from the first year that we could use. This was the year we were driving the Pontiac Grand Am and the year we had to run from a hurricane. We'd gotten used to hurricane season...alotta wind and alotta rain most times. Some flooding at best but that was par for the course because New Orleans is below sealevel so any good soaking rain will flood the roads. Most that had hit up to this point had been Cat 2 or lower...mostly lower. You got used to going to the store and just stocking up on the off chance you lost power (and most times you did for about a day). No big whoop. This one, however, spent a bit more time in the Gulf and built itself up bigtime. Southern momma said she was packing and leaving town. She'd already talked to a friend (who'd worked at the school the first couple years I was there so I knew her too) and Jim and I were welcome to come as well. This was good because I didnt want to sit through anything stronger than what we'd already been through. Besides if we were with others, he was less likely to be obnoxious and find a way to blame me for something (you can bet he would have...somehow). We packed up a bag and nailed down what we could in the apartment. I stripped the bed (which was still in the livingroom at this point) because it wouldnt be needed, unplugged the word processor and put it up on the counter, put the cat food and water pans on a board on top of the bed so the cats could get up incase there was flooding in the apartment (we were on first floor). All books and such put up on tables and the electronics unplugged. Unfortunately, we werent going to be able to bring the cats but there was space on top of the cupboards for them to get up and out of the way if it did flood. It would need to be ALOT of water to do that though. It was going to be bad, but wasnt supposed to be anything like Katrina was recently.

We left and headed to southern momma's as we were all going to leave together. It was the day before it was scheduled to make landfall. I remember everyone in town having the same idea as the traffic was horrendous. It took our little caravan of 3 cars 3 hours to make it what would have normally taken only 30 minutes to drive. So southern momma got us to pull over. We all got out and discussed it. While we were trying to decide what would be best, we watched the traffic crawl by slower than a snail. The traffic was so slow that the back of a van opened up on the road and a kid got out, grabbed his bike from the back of said van and pedalled off....he was going faster than the vehicles and was out of sight in seconds flat. This pretty much made our decision for us. We loaded our cars and turned around headed back for southern momma's place. We werent going to get out of there that night and at least her place was shelter. If we'd stayed out, it was possible we'd be caught in the mess. We got back to her place and settled in for the night. Her daughter in law and the dil's son were in the downstairs bedroom, Jim and I in the livingroom and southern mom n daddy upstairs.

Southern momma couldnt sleep all night and spent most of the time napping and praying. She awoke with a start around 2am or so with the distinct impression we had to leave NOW. I heard her come down the stairs and turned over....I heard her at the dil's bedroom saying "Im taking the baby and leaving in 10 minutes...if you want to go get up right now." I rolled over and asked as she went back upstairs what was up. She said it got worse and that she'd seen that now was the time to go.... our path would be clear sailing. I shook Jim and told him we had to get up and go now. He looked at me like I was nuts....so I told him that either he gets up or I was taking the bag and going with them period. We were all ready to go by the time "momma" came down the stairs...in exactly 10 minutes. I'd like to say it was clear sailing...well it was but we had some problems. The Grand Am was leaking oil like a sieve and we kept having to stop. "Momma" finally said...talk to the people in that shope...see if we can leave it and lets go". So we abandoned the car in a small store's lot and went. Made great time after that.

We arrived at the mutual friend's in time for breakfast. The friend's husband was a pastor in his own church and they were living in the large apartment over the church. The livingroom was huge and plenty of room for the 7 of us refugees to spread out bedding to sleep. We ended up there for 2 nights. It was rather strange watching the storm on the news. I'd never seen such flooding and was really glad we werent there. The lot of us were going to stay another night but when "momma" called our boss (who was hunkered down with his family in Houston) he said no, school would be open the next day as the roads were clear in the area of the school. *grumble* So we all packed and left. We stopped off at that one little store to pick up our car which was leaking worse than before. Every mile and a half we had to stop and add oil. It got to be a pain in the ass. "Momma" ended up sending her DIL on home so she could get her kid to bed and "momma" n "poppa" followed us home. We got back to her townhouse and got settled in. I started up the washing machine and got several loads done that evening before bed (I didnt get to sleep until 2am). While I was doing that Coach G called and asked how we all were and if anything was damaged when the tree across the street came down. HUH?? "Momma" went out and noticed that yes indeed the tree on the corner across the street had been cut down. According to Coach G, it fell right in "momma's" driveway and if it had been another 2-3 foot taller it would have landed right in her bedroom windows (right where the head of the bed was located...). As it was it landed in her driveway where all three cars had been parked. "Momma" said if she'd been smart we would have left our lemon because her insurance would have paid for a new one if it had gotten smashed as she was insured to the hilt. Damn.

We ended up staying several weeks with her until we could get the car fixed as it was truly undrivable the way it was. She'd bring us home Friday nights after school with enough groceries to get us through the weekend so we could care for the cats and clean up the place some. Everytime we went back to the apartment, it was a wreck. Misti (the oldest female) had gotten so ticked off at us that she climbed up on the counters and did her business on my word processor so pretty much it was shot. I didnt even bother cleaning it up, just pitched it in the garbage. We'd have to vacuum, and wipe up. One of the cats was severely sick during this time but we couldnt figure out who. We'd come home to blood splatter everywhere...on the walls, the bed, the rug....but when we stayed there Friday and Saturday nights....no one showed any signs of being ill. We originally thought that there had been a fight but none of the cats showed signs of wounds. We had no money to take them all to a vet and no way to get them all there.... *sigh*

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Memories from Cross Creek to Carrollwood Villiage Drive #395

Do you have any idea how hard it was to find a place that would take us and accept all the cats? No place, really. Most would accept 2 at best. To be honest the place we ended up looking at and renting only allowed 3. Thankfully, although we had 5 cats, there were only 4 that liked the sun coming through the sliding glass door and 2 of them looked enough alike that it all could be fudged. Oh I hated having to do that but we were desparate to get out of the townhouse. The apartment was too small for us and all his junk nevermind 5 furbabies. We ended up staying, as this was the best we could afford on what we made, from 10/97-04/01. During our stay here we ended up back at southern momma's a couple different times for upwards to a month (more in one case) due to transportation trouble as we never could afford a new car and ended up always buying someone else's problems.

Not to say the apartment was small, but with all his junk the bedroom area became relegated to storage and "HIS" room. The actual sleeping area was in the livingroom. So basically we were in an efficiency with a small storage shed hooked. I dont remember when we managed to begin using the bedroom as it was meant to be used there. I know it was after one hurricane because we'd gotten our first computer shortly before the bed was relocated. Im thinking maybe 1999 or 2000. Probably the former because the first computer we owned ended up as someone's "5 finger discount" and I ended up on a Rent A Center model after the break in.

I remember always being overly stressed in this place. We had a big sliding glass door that led out to our patio. Unfortunately, we were on the first floor and other tenanent and visitors were continually crossing our patio putting them less than a foot from the glass. Of course, while crossing the patio they had to talk at their loudest and look in the window. I dont know what it is about humans that have to look in every window they pass. I dont know if it's reflex or what. Top things off...we do remember Jim was claustrophobic right? Needless to say there were constant tiffs about whether the blinds should be open or not. He liked them wide open so lots of light came in. Personally, I hate people that close to my windows and dammit we were still sleeping in the livingroom. The whole world DIDNT need to see that! I felt like I was in a fkn zoo (and 5 cats did NOT help this feeling any). I personally always liked the blinds mostly closed. Open enough for a bit of light but closed so not everyone could see our business. Besides open blinds make it impossible to walk around in comfort. Being a bit on the heavy side, clothes can be somewhat uncomfy for me so I pretty much run around in night clothes when I can and not much else. Plus, with the proper drapery, if you keep the drapes closed the house stays cooler because the sunlight is being reflected out and as such the energy bill isnt so bad because the A/C aint on all the damn time. Even with the matter of it being cost efficient, do you think he'd leave those damn drapes alone? Hellll no...had to have them whipped open nice and wide.

You'd think with such a small place it'd be easier to keep clean. Notta chance. Everytime I got things looking just so within 2-3 days there would be a minimum of 15 books in various piles everywhere in the livingroom and then he'd wonder why he was tripping over everything. *DUH* He couldnt just read one book at a time, he always was reading at least 5 at any given time. Did I mention he'd "watch" tv at the same time or tape things so I couldnt watch what I wanted while he was reading? Oh..I did?

*Quick flashback to the first year* I remember a day that southern momma noticed how frazzled I seemed and asked after me. I told her that I was really tired because I'd been up all night typing something for Jim and that day was hectic downstairs in the offices. She replied that some of that was my fault because I ALLOWED Jim to use me as a slave and that I needed to put my foot down. Then I wouldnt be so frazzled. Thing is everytime I tried to do so things got ugly so I basically had stopped standing up for myself.

*Return to the time we were on* That first summer in the apartment was weird. The days would start out so horribly muggy, by 11am the temps would spike and by 1pm at the latest it would rain, then it would be muggier than it was in the morning. You could just about set your watches by the weather. When working, you'd come in around 7 or 8 am and leave by noon to be home before the rain started. Jim actually took a summer job at the school this year. Was I surprised to say the least. After 3 days of going to work and with me being home, he started insisting that I come with him. Work at the school entailled patching up the sheetrock walls and slapping fresh paint on them after. This particular year they'd decided to do new carpeting upstairs. This meant hauling all the books downstairs to be cataloged and reviewed to see if we needed any new ones, moving ALL the desks and chairs down stairs as well. After that all the carpeting had to be stripped out, rolled up and hauled down to the dumpster. The headmaster obviously had no clue as to how the carpeting had to be dealt with to be honest as he'd told Jim to rip up the carpet and leave the padding down because "he could save money" that way. Im all for saving money but honey you cant reuse the padding when you rip up carpet, you have to get fresh padding. Not that I'd call what they had down padding...it was just some mesh shit. Anyhow, Jim's first day had been removing all the books, desks and chairs. What he didnt finish the first day he completed on the second day then he was told to strip up all the carpeting. He stripped out about a 1/3 of a room on his own. The third day he finished the first room and started the second. He was doing it alone, they sent him no help the whole day (he had help to get the books n stuff out the first two days). A whole day in the summer is about 4-6 hours because the school wont run the A/C upstairs in the summer. Why? Because there arent any students and there isnt any sense in cooling the entire upstairs for just the one or two people to work up there. So day 4 shows up and my ass is hauled in because he wanted me there, not because they asked him to bring me in. We managed to strip that whole room and get a good start on the next room when the headmaster came through with the dude that was going to install the carpeting. He brought this guy to the room we were stripping out and they were discussing what was going to go in when the dude asked why the padding was being left down. So of course I answer that we were TOLD that it was going to be reused and I said I thought that stuff like that had to be replaced each time new carpet was put down. The guy said I was right....Oh if looks could kill the headmaster would have keeled over with the look I gave him. This meant we had to go through the other rooms again and rip the padding up as well. I should have given him the look I gave that Rottie...maybe I would have been successful. The rest of that room we were working on went quickly once we didnt have to be careful. It wasnt bad enough that my work was volunteer and that it was 100+ upstairs, but stupidity that really fkn irks me. I was mad enough that we ripped up that last room and managed to get the other 3 rooms that were being done completed before I'd go downstairs again... 2 hours later.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Memories of Crosscreek Dr

It was a bit of a tight squeeze in that 2 bedroom townhouse. Im not even going to try and sort this stop out as there were so many comings and goings with this family. There always seemed to be some drama going on. I ~think~ this first time in her house (yeah later we were there a couple other times again for a different reasons) it was just the 5 of us, her & her hubby, me & my hemorrhoid and her pregnant daughter. I dont remember why the daughter's husband wasnt there. I do know he was a loser and a half. It could be that they were in a rough patch and he was off living with his mother. It was a good idea he wasnt under that roof as I wasnt overly fond of him. Kind of hard to be fond of someone when he's done dirt to you personally. What did he do you ask? Well, while we were packing and cleaning up at the Randolph location the daughter, her hubby (the one that gave my then spouse run for the Idiot of the Year award) and a friend of her hubby's were hired to clean up the back yard. There was mowing, weeding and several other things that needed doing that we didnt have equipment to do and they were hired to take care of that. What a mistake that was. Yeah granted I didnt have nothing nice to say about the landlord at the time, but that doesnt give you the right for you and your buddy to come in and trash the house that Im desparately trying to clean. We'd gotten a call while packing and needed to leave the house for a bit. With the gal being pregnant and trusting her, we'd left the house unlocked incase she needed the bathroom or they needed something to drink. I gather that she'd had to leave for a bit, leaving the guys to work and while unattended the friend (possibly the husband too) came into the house and took catshit and wiped it all down the wall coming down the staircase. When my then hubby and I came home, everyone was gone. The house was completely unattended at all. Granted the yard was done, but still. They knew where we were headed so there was no real excuse...unless her water broke and that wasnt the case. I get in the house and damn it stunk! The house didnt smell this bad when we left. That's when I noticed the shitmarks on the wall. Jim called southern mamma at the school (she worked summers there too in the offices) and talked to her while I was crying. I had worked so hard and it was just awful. Top things off, they wrecked the door to the shed out back. I was hysterical. Well our friend sent the son-in-law and his bud over to make things right and you can be sure I ripped in real good when they arrived. The shed was explained that the wood was old and it came apart as they cleaned up (BS...it only gets that way when you put a foot through the door). The catshit was explained as "maybe the cat did it". That one I ripped into....and told them that was fkn BS because it would have meant the cat started at the top of the stair case, jumped up 3' in the air, put her ass on the wall and magically slid down the wall at a 45 degree angle somehow managing to keep ass-wall contact the whole way down. Needless to say a physical impossibility. They had been instructed by southern momma to call when they got there and she could hear me ripping into them over the phone. She told them that I was right and they needed to clean it up and not to expect payment after that (although I did at least pay the daughter half for her work). Anyhow...it's a good thing he wasnt under that roof at that point as it wouldnt have been pleasant AT ALL.

I remember little of this stay at southern mamma's house as we were under her roof a couple other times as well due to vehicle or weather problems and all the stays are pretty much running together in my mind. I do remember the fights werent as frequent here and when they did happen they were done quietly after all were in bed. The daughter gave birth during this visit too. The child was a little boy and had the misfortune of looking alot like his dad.... right down to the wrinkle on his forehead.

I remember having to put my babies into a cage in the backyard because southern mamma ended up allergic to Fizzi and not only were the allergies bad, but it turned into asthma as well. I remember trying to fix things by cutting Fizzi's fur down some but she wouldnt sit still and that's why we ended up opting for the cages. It was so damn hot out there too. I felt so bad but there wasnt much else we could do at the time short of making sure there was alot of water and put tarps up to shade them. I remember hearing the dogs (she had 2 chihuahuas out there in their own cage) acting up and someone yelling something about a Rotty heading for the backyard. I was on my feet and out the sliding door to the backyard but fast. As the Rotty took the corner and came into the backyard I had gotten between it and my cats armed with a heavy shovel. It slid to a halt when it realized there was a very angry human back there. Not only did I look enraged but I was actually growling...showing my teeth and all. There was no way in hell I was allowing that thing near my babies. The dog's owner followed in close pursuit and I could hear my southern mamma saying something about "we'd better go rescue your dog". When he made the corner he saw what she meant and got his dog on a leash FAST. Imagine chasing your dog around the corner and coming face to face with a woman who looked (and sounded) meaner than your dog...yeah you get the picture. It took my southern mamma to get that shovel out of my hands.

I remember spending alot of time typing at her house. Same as I had been in the house on Randolph. I had different classes to type up this time so little of what I typed the year before could be reused for the second year there. While we stayed I typed not only Jim's stuff but the occassional thing for southern mamma. I did it so she had some free time and since she was cooking for us I figured it was an even trade. After a few weeks we got tired of being cramped in there and damn I was tired of my poor babies suffering in the heat so we decided to move. It was bad enough seeing my southern mamma suffer from the allergies and the cats suffering the heat, but the daughter relished in reminding us that that's precisely why mom was sick. Yeah the daughter was a real bitch at times. I dont know what it was, but I hear she treated most gals who got close to her mother the same way. I think it stems from her being the only girl in the family for a long time and maybe a fear that she was going to lose her mom's love. That wasnt the case, but who knows.