Thursday, April 28, 2016

OCD Santa Claus and Buzz Lightyear in curtain 2

     I knew it was Monday, because when I got into work I looked down at an unmade bed and thought "is this blood or shit?" I hoped it was blood.  I wonder if other people say these sort of things at work?

    Yes, one of the more delightful aspects of my job is cleaning up after tenants when they vacate units.  Despite not really liking my job, I'm actually rather good at it.  So there is an upside to living with cleanliness OCD.   I've been doing this job for so long that I can look in your freezer and tell how clean you are, just based on the amount of ice cubes you have.

I don't even know what the fuck this is 

    I've actually become accustom to seeing other people's gross and odd living habits, and none of it really phases me anymore.  You know those X-ray techs that are responsible for looking at pictures of the things people have shoved in their ass? I feel like my job is kind of like that.  At first you're like "oh a lightbulb and a vibrator!" But by the end of the month you're just like "we've got another Buzz Lightyear in curtain 2."

      Today, I picked up what I thought was a wad of paper towels that someone had left on the dresser.  When I looked a little more closely, I realized that it was a used, child's diaper.  There weren't any children in this unit.

     People don't realize it, but what they leave behind reveals more about them than they would probably like to admit. I clean for people from all walks of life; families that are neat freaks, crazy-lazy pet owners, athletic shopaholics and perverted corporate slobs.  I clean for all of them and they all leave me colorful mementos to remember them by. I usually don't meet these people while they are living in these units, but what I find while cleaning, always tells a story.

I assume this is what John Hinckley Jr's place looked like while he was obsessing over  Jodie Foster 

     I work by myself most of the day, which probably doesn't help my weirdness and isolation, but it allows me to ponder many questions.  Questions about life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness but mainly questions about what the fuck these people were doing while they were living here.  I feel like sometimes I know what they are doing, but maybe nobody else knows.  Like you might be the CEO but I know you haven't changed your sheets in 6 months.  Or maybe you claimed that you didn't have any pets, but the cat toys all over the carpet and the rawhide slime all over the couch just gave it away.

     It's like being OCD Santa Claus, because when I'm cleaning up after you I know what you do in your sleep and what you are doing when you're awake.  I know you scrunch your pillows when you sleep.  And you broke the piece that makes the microwave spin, at some point while you were awake.  Unless you were on Ambien and sleepwalking, so you really were asleep and it's totally cool that you don't remember.  However, it would explain why you left superglue and bananas on the desk in your bedroom.

This guy shared a unit with a coworker.  He also kept an 11 pound bag of rice in his closet.  I named him "rice-a-roomie."
     So the next time you think about trying out your pirouettes during an IBS flare up, remember that someone will always be on the other side of that equation.  The moral of the story is to think about how you want people to remember you. And if you chose to leave with more than just a trace, hope that those people aren't blogging the stories that your departure might tell.

Friday, April 22, 2016

If you have mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!

     Today I will leave my comfort zone and broach a topic that I don't usually bring up, my OCD.  Yes, today's secret word is a mental illness!  So if you have a mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!  Let me start by saying: "why yes, mental illness does run in my family."  It also, walks, saunters, skips and sometimes hums a tune, while pulling a wagon, fully decorated with a myriad of other disorders besides OCD.
     If you've followed me on Twitter or god forbid, known me in real life, you know that I have sock issues.  As a kid my sock issues were such that anytime my mother bought me socks, if they weren't perfectly form fitting, and the elastic wasn't just tight enough I would have a melt down.  If you were a parent of a daughter my age, I guarantee my mother probably tried to unload a stockpile of unused socks on you.
     One of my earliest memories is actually of my sock/foot OCD.  When I was at an age where glassy eyed toddlers happily sported footie pajamas, I was already struggling.  These polyester torture devices absolutely freaked me out.  My feet don't like to be confined, nor do they like to be in something loose and ill fitted.  These toddler onsies were either too big or too small.  My feet also got too hot and couldn't breathe properly in this attire.  So present this laundry list of issues to my over imaginative mother.  This was a woman who was already paranoid by the thought that spiders would be living in these footie pajamas.  She imagined that I would be attacked by arachnids and unable to free myself from the clutches of poorly designed sleepwear.  The way we remedied this was to cut the feet off of all of my pajamas until I was old enough to wear jammies that were less footie.  Like I said before, mental illness doesn't just run -it also walks, saunters, and skips with a wagon.
     So I was the 1 year old that looked like an asshole because my pajamas had no feet.  It was no worse than the time I wanted to be Princess Leia for Halloween and my mother made me a white dress and wrote "PRINCESS LEIA," on it with a black sharpie.  Looking like an asshole has never been a problem for me.  I've come to see it as a strength.
     When I was 9, I was diagnosed as having ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Disobedient Defiant Disorder and mild Tourettes that they cutely referred to ask "ticks." But I guess ticks sounds nicer than saying "that squealing noise your kid is making, while she's blinking, trying to hop over the cracks in the sidewalk and blowing on her hands is totally TOURETTE SYNDROME!"  Don't mind me, just over here looking like an asshole.
     I had actually been tested for ADD a full year before, but my test results were inconclusive.  I was given this evaluation after I had been demoted to the "other" 3rd grade classroom, when it was decided that I had to switch because my teacher didn't like me.  (for more on this see the blog entitled Leave The Neighbors Alone) I changed schools at the end of that year and was placed in a school with smaller classrooms.  My 4th grade teacher informed my family that she had a son that was also given the ADD diagnosis and prescribed medication, which got the ball rolling for my second opinion.  After the next round testing concluded that I indeed had ADD, the old school system and the new school system questioned why the findings were first labeled "inconclusive."  It came out that the previous school didn't want to be found at fault for a failure to overlook my condition.  As I had been with them since kindergarten, this sort of finding would have meant that I had been entitled to special services which I had not been given.  After a lot of bad noise the old school system didn't want this to get out and be seen as a blemish on their record.  I was provided with an after school tutor for the next four grades to teach me organizational skills and keep me up to par with the rest of my class.  In conjunction  with learning how to focus and stay organized, I was prescribed daily does of Desapramine and Clonidine.
     I was a 10 year old.  I was medicated. I was diagnosed with disorders that I couldn't even begin to pronounce, let alone comprehend. All of these things totally made me look like an asshole. But as long as my fucking socks fit, I didn't have a care in the world.



Friday, April 15, 2016

Politics, butter, hemorrhoids and Pinocchio

     Sometimes I get the feeling that nobody really knows me.  Earlier today my mother sent me a text and asked if I wanted to go see Donald Trump with her.  First off, let me say that politics aren't my thing and a room full of pissed off rednecks isn't exactly how I like to spend my Sunday.  Usually, I'm open to having people believe what they want to believe, but this election is like butter in the coffee to me.  In that, some people are really into it just like some people are really into putting butter in their coffee, but personally I think it's totally gross and super unhealthy.

     I don't usually talk about politics or religion.  I also don't talk about hemorrhoids.  Even though there's a biblical passage in the book of Samuel about the Golden Hemorrhoids and the mice who ate the Golden Hemorrhoids.  And why is nobody talking about this? I know it probably got washed over because the rest of the chapter is the whole Covenant of the Ark thing, but I think I'm raising a valid point here.  Like how did these hemorrhoids come about?  Who did they belong to?  Were they spun out of gold like Rumplestiltskin, or was it like how you bronze baby shoes? And where did the mice come from?  Are they like special Cinderella mice, biblical mice, or like the mouse that was in my kitchen, that I caught with a toaster? I just have so many questions.  Tell me you really would not like to hear more about this story!  If we're going to go into a religious discussion shouldn't this be first on the list?

     All of this political talk, biblical talk and questions on hemorrhoids, makes me think I should have had more fun at my colonoscopy.  I mean I did amuse myself by trying to decide whether to wear the shirt that said "Crap," or the one that said "Touchole." However, in the end it didn't matter because I the stuff I had to drink made me cold, so I just wore my Don Kotts hoodie.  Plus when I got there they made me change anyway, because nobody is any fun.
     I don't do hospital drugs well.  After my breast reduction surgery I heckled someone while my eyes were still closed, before I had fully woken up from the anesthesia.  This time was no different.  After the colonoscopy, while in recovery the doctor came in to give me an update on the procedure.  Before he even sat down I asked him if he had located "an old boot, a rubber tire, a Michigan license plate, or a small wooded puppet that goes by the name of Pinocchio?" The doctor was not amused.  My spouse, who was sitting next to me, was not amused.  Once again, nobody is any fun.  The doctor told me that everything was normal, but he did notice some internal hemorrhoids.  Upon hearing this, I began shouting "I HAVE ROID RAGE! I'm so OCD and anal retentive that I have internal hemorrhoids!" Once again - Crickets.  At least I amuse myself.

     The End

P.S. While writing this blog I had to Google words I didn't know how to spell.  So I apologize to anyone at the NSA that just saw the words Hemorrhoids, Rumplestiltkin and Pinocchio on my internet history.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Only You"

    At least twice a week I relay a story to someone and they respond by saying either: "only you see these things," or "that would only happen to you."  I'm not sure if I should be offended my these remarks or not.  On one hand it could be seen a privilege, but maybe people are saying it to me as an insult.  Maybe I should explain myself.

     Earlier this week I was speaking with a musician a friend of mine, and I had mentioned that it had been a year since I saw him play a gig.  I reminded him that it was at this same show that I had witnessed a man repeatedly biting his girlfriend. The girlfriend biter was wearing a shirt that said Jesus Is A Cunt, so it was hard to miss him in pointing him out to your friends.  Incidentally, a few months after this show I was at another show and spotted him again.  However, this time he was not the spectacle.  What caught my eye this time was a man with no shoes on, no shirt, eating a hamburger and walking into a porta potty.  It may have legitimately been the filthiest thing I've ever bared witness to in my entire life.  I half expected John Waters to emerge from the porta potty next to his and present him with the Lifetime Achievement award for filthiest human being.  I imagined the award would resemble an oscar, but upon closer inspection it would just be a golden figure of Divine eating a dog turd.

Going in for a bite
     After seeing the filthiest person alive, I went back to my lawn seat.  I was having some quality people watching time and just sort of noticed a hippie looking hipster in a tie dyed shirt and a guy in a trucker hat sit down on the ground diagonal from us.  All of a sudden out of nowhere, a third, more douchey looking hipster appears and sits on on the head of the tie dyed shirt wearing hipster.  He was practically tea bagging this kid.  It wasn't just that it happened randomly, or even suddenly.  It was just the fact that it happened and I was the only one that saw it.  After that a large man stepped directly in front of me and blocked my view of the stage completely.

Just stand wherever 
     The other day at work a squirrel dropped a chicken leg on an angry, swearing man.  The man kept referring to the dumpster diving squirrels as "fucking tree rats.  His hatred for these creatures was overwhelming.  The angry man explained that last week "the same fucking tree rat," had dropped a "fucking donut" on his head.  I can understand his hostility.  I bet I would be unhappy if small rodents were always dropping food on me too.  I've never had a squirrel drop food on my head at work.  The worst thing that I can remember happening was the day I was walking out to the dumpster, and I stepped in a pile of meat on the way to throw out a bag of teeth.  Maybe it was a cup of teeth.  I'll be honest, I don't remember the exact details.

In looking for this photo I realized that there was a bag of teeth and a cup of teeth that I had found on two separate occasions

  I once had to explain to my fiancĂ© how I broke the Otterbox case on my iPhone because I saw a man on a rascal, get up and take his shirt off.  I mean it was at the state fair, so it meant either dropping my beer, the $150 steam mop that I had just purchased, or dropping the phone.  The good news is that I was able to get a picture of the shirtless, rascal man.  Plus I was able to incorporate it into my holiday card.

I found Santa
    Awhile back I was talking to someone of Facebook, because they saw something odd and wanted to bring it to my attention. That day I had just happened to witness a man pushing a shopping cart, get into a fight with a toilet seat that he had hanging on the front of his cart.  I was only able to get a partial photo, as the light turned green and my spouse started driving away.  But my friend brought up a valid point in our Facebook conversation.  She said that maybe not everyone sees these things, not because they aren't happening, but because they don't want to.  That it's sort of like how only certain people see ghosts, because their minds are open to seeing the ghosts.  Maybe I see these strange things because my mind is open to seeing these strange things.

      Yesterday, I was sneezed on by a chicken.  When I posted about it on social media the first response I got was: "that would only happen to you!"  It made me think back to earlier in the week, when I reminded my friend about the guy biting his girlfriend, which led to the porta potty story and then to the squirrel and chicken ordeal.  To which he responded "only you see these things."

     I do see these things.  These things do happen to me.  I don't know why, but they do.  I'm not religious or really spiritual, but I'd kind of like to think that with all of the infinite wisdom in the world there is an equal and infinite amount of weirdness.  Maybe once in awhile when you stop to look at something so odd, so completely outlandish, the universe also stops and looks back.  In one precious moment of strange, awe inspired glory.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Leave The Neighbors Alone

     I've started telling people that I'm 5 years old with 30 years of experience. Because I think that sounds funny.  Wait, am I 35 or 34?…born in '81…birthday's in June…fuck I'm 34.  I clearly don't even know how old I am.  But whatever.  I'm bad at math.  I blame the Springfield Public School System and my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. LeMay; who didn't like me.  But to be fair, I didn't like her either.
     Mrs. LeMay was the 3rd grade teacher that everyone wanted.  She bribed kids with candy to get good grades and she was known for doing art projects.  I can't imagine food bribery would go over well in this day and age with childhood obesity, diabetes and everyone with their food allergies.  But it was the 80's and back then we thought slogans like "Just Say No," would halt a drug epidemic in its tracks.
     I remember being excited on the last day of 2nd grade, because we found out who our teachers would be.  My best friend and I were overjoyed when we found out we would both be in the same class again and have the teacher we really wanted.  My grandmother used to volunteer in Mrs. LeMay's classroom whenever they were doing art projects.  So I would always get to hear about all of the seasonal projects the class was working on.  Every spring the 3rd graders would put on a puppet show for the entire school.  If you were one of the lucky kids who had Mrs. LeMay, you would get to construct ugly puppets out of old knee high stocking and toilet paper tubes.  And who the hell would want to do actual work when there were filthy old sock puppets to build?
     I apparently, had undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.  I may have also been bored in school, hopped up on sugar and not getting enough exercise.  However, for all intents and purposes we'll blame the ADD for this one.
    I recall trying to listen to Mrs. LeMay conduct her lessons and for whatever reason began to feel that she was talking down to us.  I tried to focus, if only so I could get a Snickers bar for passing a Spelling test.  The bribery angle worked for a little while but her demeanor was just so hard to take.  It may have just been my perception of things, but even at 8 years old I could not respect someone that clearly had no respect for me.  I began having trouble in Math.  The more I tried to sit through her lesson, the more I would start to let my mind wander.  I would constantly zone out because I felt she was talking down to us, and therefore anything she had to say was a waste of my time.
     For instance when giving a demonstration of how to do a subtraction problem she would say things like: "if you need to borrow a 1, you go next door to the neighbors house.  That's the tens house, and knock on the door."  She would then knock on the blackboard and say "hello there neighbor, I need to borrow a cup of sugar and a 1!"
     Now I may have been 8 years old, but I genuinely thought that this was an insult to my intelligence.  It was clearly also a slight to the rest of the class.  Once again, I can't respect someone who has no respect for me.
     About this time the parent-teacher conferences began.  My mother brought up the fact that I was having trouble and class.  It was hard to verbalize exactly what it was that made me so defiant when it came to learning from this woman.  I wanted the candy, I wanted to do art projects an listen to the student teacher read us the Scary Stories books.  I just couldn't deal with Mrs. LeMay's attitude and teaching style.  My mother pointed out that the conference with my teacher had not gone well.  That she felt as if the teacher not only looked unfavorably upon me, but downright did NOT like me.  Well the feeling was mutual!
     I continued to let my grades slip in this class, that I didn't care about.  We started to get regular homework assignments.  When the class began having problems understanding and completing the assignments, she took time out to address us.  This time she said: "If you are having trouble you can always ask for help outside of the classroom.  Ask a parent, ask a teacher, ask a friend, ask a neighbor!"
     For the life of me I couldn't understand why this crazy old bat was always bothering the goddamn neighbors? If I was her neighbor, I'd be pissed!  "Oh the fucking lady next door is outside again.    Christ, what does she need today?  Hopefully it's not another 1?  Maybe it's sugar or a homework instructions! Quick, close the blinds and turn off the lights, we'll pretend we're not home." Unbelievable!
     After Christmas Vacation, I was transferred to the "other" 3rd grade class.  This time the teacher told me she'd like to teach me Math but "didn't have the time." That's fine, I didn't care about Math anyways.  All I cared about was that I didn't have to hear Mrs. LeMay bothering the goddamn neighbors ever again.

My Grandmother made this puppet for me in Mrs. LeMay's class