Wannabe Vigilante

As I sit here typing this on our front stoop my husband is reading “The Killing Joke”. As you all know, I’m more of a Wonder Woman/Supergirl kind of fan, however, there are times when my inner Batman comes out.  Admittedly I was obsessed with the character as a kid.  

In our neighborhood here of late we’ve been having issues with some neighbors breaking and entering into apartments, stealing things, and ransacking private spaces.  

One particular neighbor was evicted from his residence for his recent behavior, usually fueled by alcohol, and what I am assuming to be bitterness. Since he has been kicked out, he has been staying in a tiny gazeebo (the one feature of our entire complex), sometimes with a suitcase.  Then the day came where he was so drunk he passed out behind the laundry facility,…ten feet from the gazeebo.

His staying in the gazeebo and passing out didn’t warrant a call to law enforcement.  His day came when he ransacked a neighbor’s apartment, calling him a racial slur, then trying to lure said neighbor’s kids into the gazeebo.  

The cops ushered him out once before, then again after the incident with the kids. Believe it or not, this former tennant is only one small problem in a neighborhood full of criminal ongoings.  

It has become so bad the decent neighbors approached my husband and I about forming an official neighborhood watch where we go on patrols to keep the thieves at bay.  

Is it time to move you say?  Yes.  Can we afford to move?  No. Not until our lease is up in December.

My husband has been patrolling a few nights a week, sometimes by himself which makes me nervous and unable to sleep. This doesn’t help on nights when I have to be up at 4:30 am.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and trying to figure out a way to make this neighborhood better.

Last night was the first night we went patrolling together.  He showed me where he and the neighborhood watch have figured out where one culprit lives who has been breaking into cars. He’s been using his bike as a quick get-away vehicle and has done so without being exposed, until last week.  

As we walked “the beat” we rounded into the parking lot of the apartments where this kid lives.  My husband then showed me which residence.  This kid didn’t do a very good job in covering up his window.  There was a sheet haphazardly hung in front of the window exposing parts of his home.  There was a scent of blackberry vapor in the air.  I approached the window as my husband said, “That’s illegal, ya’ know?”

Then the dark side of the Quirk came out.  I said, “If this guy is willing to go into our neighbor’s apartments, into their cars and steal things that don’t belong to him, then we should have every right.”  (Every right to see into his life.)

He kind of just looked at me with a cautioned grin, wondering what had just happened and where I had gone.  Don’t get me wrong, usually I’m not an ‘eye for an eye’ kind of person, but living in a horrible neighborhood has opened my eyes to having to stick together for the good of the community and unfortunately wanting to bend the rules. Especially when the safety of children is involved.

As we were having this conversation, a car started and the headlights came on.  We tried to hang out at the corner of the building, even though I wasn’t successful in my venture of jumping up at a distance to see above the poorly hung, makeshift curtain. We looked guilty of something way more sinister.

The person drove past us, probably thinking we were just as shady as the person we were trying to keep at bay.

We moved on the foot path trying to see any other markers of behavior.  Luckily this night we didn’t have to stay out too long.  The prostitutes, pimp and drug dealers were all behind closed doors conducting their business or hopefully just sleeping.

Last night we slept well.  Then my husband woke me up.

The cursing, child lurerer was back in the gazeebo this morning with a soda.  I was still in bed, my brain tired of all the nonsense in this neighborhood and all the crap the kind and good people here have been forced to see and endure.

“He isn’t supposed to be here”, I said.
“I don’t think he’s with it enough to understand that.” Sobering words from my husband.  The evicted guy has been known to be inebriated 24 hours a day.

This time my inner Batman stayed at bay. Out came Catwoman, possibly Harley Quinn.  I had entered new territory.

“This is a time I wish I had a BB gun. I could lay down on the porch, where the weirdo can’t see me, and I could aim the gun between the rails. ‘POP! POP!’ right on his butt.”

My husband kind of grinned again, “Those things hurt worse than you actually think.”

“I know.”

My theory is it wouldn’t tear the skin.

“OR, I could use a paint ball gun.  When it hit him we could then call the police and tell them to follow the guy with the paint splotches!”

He kind of giggled at the idea.

“Or we could sit with a soda in the gazeebo across from him, and if he spoke to us, we could say, ‘Did you hear that?’ We ignore him, making him think he’s a ghost.”

My husbands face lost any trace of a playful smile.  “That’s sick and twisted.”

“You married me!”

Then he remarked, “If we did that though, it would give him the idea or license to do whatever he wants to see what he can get away with.”

“Dang it!  Why do you have to be right?”

I’m out of ideas readers.  What would you do in this situation?  

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An Open Letter to Ronda Rousey


Dear Ronda,

First and foremost, I want to say I’m a huge fan.  You have singlehandedly put women on the sports map for MMA.  However, from recent articles it seems you are in need of a pep talk from a female friend.  Let me be that friend.

There was an article published online where you told your mother your new mantra was “FTA”.  (For frequent readers of this blog who might be under 18, we will just say that stands for “Forget Them All”).  I agree with your mom.  You don’t need to use this mantra. 

Look, I know you are dealing with a lot on your shoulders with your upcoming fight against, “what’s-her-face”.  You are angry from your loss in November of 2015.  You are angry because people tried to put you down or tried to steal your shine.  Let me put things in perspective for you for what it’s worth.

Nobody will really know the name of the person you fought 15 years from now.  Heck, I don’t even remember her name now and would have to google it.  Look at what happened after that loss; you fulfilled one of my long time dreams of being on Saturday Night Live.  Note who they asked…YOU.  Not the other gal.  You.

You performed a skit in which you stood against bullies.  You know what it is like to be bullied, and I don’t see anyone else performing that skit better than you.  That skit was so funny, I showed it to the kids I help teach.  

After your loss you admitted to depression and facing a lot of dark areas.  You opened up a lot of minds with that statement.  You could have kept it secret, but instead you let it out there into a world where there is still a stigma attached to it.  You helped others to see it is okay to be dealing with stuff in a dark way, which is completely normal even though society tells us it isn’t.

You say your new mantra is for your nieces, family and fans who haven’t given up on you.  Ronda, I haven’t given up on you.  I will say this though; if you hadn’t had the backlash from “haters”, would you have had the anger to fuel you for this next bout?  By saying, “FTA” to te opposition, you are only proving them right.  You are proving hate is a way of life.  You are feeding into what the other teams want; which is you getting angry enough that you sabotage yourself.  They are betting on the false hope that your anger will open up any weaknesses they can exploit.  Don’t let them do this.

In a strange way, anger can get you through some tough times (trust me, I’ve had some).  Be thankful for the anger, but don’t let that anger dull anything that makes you happy.  Don’t let the anger get in the way of your passion for the sport.  Ultimately this is why you are still in.  Not just any woman would voluntarily train as hard as you do to get a few licks to the face.  You obviously are putting yourself at risk because there is something you love about the sport.  

Prove the others wrong.  You aren’t fueled just by anger.  You are also fueled by love.  Love for the sport, love for your family, love for your friends and your loyal fans.  Never give up, never give in.

Merry Christmas and Sincerely yours,

Quirky Girl

Worst Fear: Things my cat ate

Everyone has their worst fears.  I have several. If you went through our pantry you might find a lack of carb related foods.  This is because my cat ate them all. Before we talk about how she likes to carb load before a healthy run around the house after a successful bowel movement (who wouldn’t?) let’s talk about some enviable attributes.

First off, she has guts.  This isn’t referencing her literal tater tot filled innards.  She takes and asks forgiveness later.  Often times I’m too careful and have a tendency to wait and see if things pan out.  My cat’s approach is something like this, “Life is short, learn how to open Tupperware” or “Spare their meat and steal the bun.”

As a kitten I swore she was part raccoon, she was always attracted to shiny things and I would wake up to find my jewelry I was too lazy to put up the night before, hidden.  She was a literal cat burglar. Since then, she has grown up some, and has progressed from shiny things to Bobby pins.  She would rush to find them (even if they were out of sight) and point at them like an Irish Setter who has found a hunter’s duck.

The weirdest thing though, is her love of carbs.  Almost everyone has seen the viral video of cat’s afraid of cucumbers.  She has no fear of cucumbers.  She will however, chase a potato.  After realizing one had fallen out of the bag in the pantry we heard a noise and suddenly we see her wrestling the spud, kicking it with her hind legs and biting it.  We experimented and rolled one down the hallway, she barreled after it, attacked it and sat on it as if she were in a match for the ages.  

She is a master manipulator.  Several times, she has crawled into mine or my husband’s lap only to feign affection to peep her head between our hands and take bites of our cereal…or take the bread from our sandwiches.  She waits until we aren’t looking before she hops up on the counter to eat our left over tater tots.  She’s usually very quiet, and often times she takes more than she can fit and takes off running licking her chops.   

Here is why I’m jealous.  She already knows she will be forgiven, so she takes the momentary “shooing” for a moment of palatable starchy goodness.  She is spontaneous.  I like to make plans weeks in advance.  She sees opportunities and takes them.  She sees an opportunity for a piggy back ride and she takes it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re naked and fresh out of the shower, sitting on the toilet or at the computer.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed opportunities and I wish I had the eyes to see them.  She does not lack in this area.  If it isn’t apparent from the drawing, she lives a full life, literally and metaphorically.

What is your worst fear involving your pet?  Do you envy them?

Snapchat Hypocrite

A few months ago you may recall a piece I wrote titled, “Obligatory Selfie” where I poked fun at people taking selfies as a part of an everyday mundane practice that has currently become socially acceptable.

I recant this piece.  Although I compare the obligatory selfie to yoga pants being accepted as full fledged pants, I have seen the worthiness of an appropriately timed selfie.

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Steven Tyler eat your heart out!

Sure, at first I was smug.  Why would a 36-ish something like myself want to have a phone full of pictures of myself?  Who would want them?

Then came an evening spent with my in-laws and niece.  When my sister-in-law and husband stepped outside for a moment, my niece came back into the room with a blanket, we snuggled up together on a bench and she showed me this “new” thing called “Snapchat”.  She snapped a picture and showed me how you can transform yourself into a dog.  Once finding out she and my other nieces were using this app, I immediately signed up to stay in touch with them.

On the way home I was researching how to work snapchat, how to use filters and how in general to “Snapchat”.  Do I take 5 seconds in public by myself to pucker my lips and pose for the camera?  No.  However I do wait till’ I’m on lunch break at work or at home and snap a few selfies to catch up with my nieces, cousins, sister-in-laws and friends.  Only once has anyone been in the break room with me when this was going on, but he was completely aware of what was happening.  I didn’t leave my behaviors an unknown mystery to him like our customers have done in the past.

There is no joy greater than being able to send the ugliest selfie possible to those you love to receive one equally as horrible back.  In fact, there was a fun competition my niece and I had one night.  If you are ever down or feeling blue, this is the best thing ever.  Try to make the goofiest face possible and just hit send.  It is the greatest feeling not caring what you look like because the worse, the better.

Here is an example of one I sent, it’s like Steve Martin meets Frankenstein’s monster.

 

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Or the selfie aptly titled, “I woke up like this…”

 

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However, you want your family and friends to remember you in a good light.  Not to get too dark but one of my worst fears is something bad will happen and they will have to submit a photo to the news for a story. Ensuring it won’t be driver’s license photo, or worse an outdated glamour shot you occasionally have to send them one of you as a butterfly queen. This way the recipients remember you are a real person and won’t be shocked (or disappointed) you don’t have 3 mouths in your face the next time they see you.

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What is your favorite “Snapchat” lens or filter?  Why do you gravitate toward that one?

I toad you so…

The other day my husband and I were off from work when my dad came into the room and asked, “Okay, so who can get rid of a snake and a toad?”

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My husband and I looked at eachother and we leapt into action. While we were putting our shoes on I asked dad what his deal was with the toad. Ever since I was a kid he made it very clear he didn’t like snakes. The toad phobia however, was new to me.  I questioned him about it.

“Oh, it’s that old wives tale that toads give you warts.”

“You know that isn’t true dad, right?”

“Yeah, I know but I still can’t help it.”

The snake was in the garage, the toad was on the front door thus trapping my father inside keeping him from doing gardening.

My husband and I went into the garage to extricate the snake. Secretly while all of this was going on I was fulfilling a life long dream of becoming Ace Ventura. Armed  with a bucket, a stick to gently scoot it out of the way, gloves and tenacity we were able to coax it out. Then it would get scared and go back in the garage.

While our circus was going on my mom came out to get back to gardening.  We kept telling her to stay back (we knew we had irritated the snake) when she calmly said, “I know,” unfazed by the snake trying to figure out what she needed.

My dad was staying his distance behind us.

My husband’s patience wore out with the snake so he finally picked it up, it promptly bit him on the glove and he released it into the driveway. He created some new dance moves while trying to keep the snake from going back.

Mission completed. Next we had to get the toad. Since he handled the snake, I figured I could get the toad.

The toad had wedged itself in the crevice between the door and the frame. It looked bored.  So I spiced up it’s life by talking to it and gently trying to scoop it into my hands. It used to be so easy when I was 7, but in my older years, animals tend to be less receptive to me. Then again maybe that’s my perception giving way to the magic of childhood. The toad was stubborn. Like the snake, it too, had enough.

The toad performed a body slam to my nose, landing in the middle of my face with its crotch dangling  by my mouth. A guttural shout came from the bowels of the defiant part of myself that thinks it’s the animal whisperer.

I flung my face down and to the left where the toad splattered itself by the nearest flower pot. Though it was unharmed it still made a satisfying sound for a creature that had the audacity to attack me with it’s nether region.

Meanwhile my parents were working on the garden, laughing, while my husband gave a sympathetic look and said, “Go wash your face.”

Now I know the real reason dad didn’t want to catch the toad.

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     Has anything like this happened to you? What did you do?

 

Marriage and friendships

One day, my husband and I before we were married, were on a date in the park.  We were sitting on the jungle gym when suddenly he noticed I was paying attention to our direct right.  There was a group of young teenage boys talking about Batman and arguing over why he was the best or worst and what super powers other heroes had that could beat him.

My husband curiously asked, “What are you thinking about?”

I replied, “I’m just wondering if the friendships we form earlier in life, are the relationships that prepare us for marriage later in life.”

“That is a lot deeper than what I was expecting…”

On that note, it is something I’ve continued to ponder the almost 4 years we’ve been together and married.  Often times I think back to my best friends who I met in high school and how they helped form and shape my ideas.  What is cool, what isn’t cool, and why it is okay to not agree with them.  Whether we realize it or not, often times it is those we associate with early in life that help form our personality.  Often times I was the weirdo in our group of friends and everyone was okay with that.  They knew better than to expect normalcy and complacency out of me.  They helped me realize how a person should be respected.  Which is why it puzzled them when I would date someone who didn’t, even later in life.

These friends are the ones you introduce to your college comrades.  If they click, you know you’ve got a keeper for a new friend.  They ultimately share the same values.

When my husband and I got married, we were originally introduced by a mutual best friend.  We knew if we were in line with this person and her values the other must be pretty cool too.  Needless to say the first date was a success and three months later we were married.

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None of my friends from high school had met him yet, (except for one who invited us to her church), none of my extended family had met him, just our best friend from St. Louis and a few of my old co-workers he knew from checking out at our store.  We had been married for quite some time when one of my college friends announced she was getting married.  This meant another best friend and her husband coming to town for the wedding since she was going to be a bridesmaid.

She and her husband were the second set of friends to meet him. We had gone to the wedding, exhausted, she, her husband and I decided to go get coffee.  My husband was going to be off work in a few minutes so I texted him where to meet us.  She then pointed out, they had never met him.  when you’re married for a while and a lothappens, you tend to lose track of who has met whom, especially when keeping up through facebook or text. That is when I realized none of my close friends outside of my St. Louis friend had known who he was either.  When he arrived, he surprised me sneaking up behind me.  They laughed, we all talked and had a great time.  After he left, she said, “I really like him.”  I knew she and her husband would, after all, they helped shape my idea of what an ideal partner should be like.

     Do you think friendships help shape our ideals of marriage?  Why or why not?

 

 

Coffee flashbacks

I woke up late the other morning. It was one of the first days off this summer from all three jobs in a long time. 

   My husband had long since gone to work and left the morning’s coffee grounds in the basket residing in the coffee-maker.  A normal person would replace the grounds, but my stomach and nerves no longer tolerate strong java. I filled the coffee-maker’s reservoir with fresh water and moved the steam spigot over the grounds hoping the coffee would be a bit more diluted.

     As I was moving the spigot, a case of deja vú washed over me. This simple act felt happily familiar.

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     Images of my childhood, waking up on Christmas morning to a new Monkees record with their picture pressed in clear vinyl made a smile appear on my face.  It made me think of the first 45 that was officially mine aptly titled “The Curly Shuffle”, written in honor of The Three Stooges. It reminded me of getting excited on birthdays because new music was usually waiting for me between the grooves of the compressed lines concealed in a 12 inch by 12 inch cardboard sleeve.  It reminded me of when the best songs were gifts.

     It reminded me of when things were meant to be experienced.  It reminded me of when music was like an art exhibit, you had to stay in the same room to be immersed in it. It reminded me of being able to take it easy, lie on the floor and get lost in the rythm and crescendos of the music. Now that music has become immensely portable, we seem to take it for granted.

     Once the flashbacks stopped, I began to get ready for the day, thankful for that little “movement” making me remember a different time when I didn’t need to be powered by caffeine.

When have you done a movement or motion that reminded you of something completely different than what you were doing?

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