Post #143 -Alive and well despite my suffocation…

No, I was not nor have I ever been in danger of suffocating. T’was a joke, you know. However, the corporate prison I’ve been living in for the last five weeks does make me feel somewhat claustrophobic.

For those who weren’t aware, after a couple part-time gigs doing customer service, I took a job as a fraud specialist for a mega-huge retailer, my first full-time job in nine long years. Unfortunately, due to the monumental credit card debt we accumulated while Nana was living with us has necessitated this drastic change in employment status.

Oh, how I miss the days when I was freelancing full-time, and I could get up at 8 a.m., eat breakfast, exercise, then park before the alter of my laptop and spend the next 5 or 6 hours writing…insert big, BIG sigh.

For the purposes of this blog, I shall refer to said new employer as Jeans, Inc. While I like the job itself, I’ve begun to loathe banks all the more due to the nightmare of trying to disentangle one’s self from various phone trees and speak to a PERSON while trying to confirm someone’s credit card info in order to prove or disprove whether an order is fraudulent.

And, ironically, the most difficult cyber wall/phone maze to crack are often the small banks, the credit unions and the like. You practically have to break your index finger punching nonsensical numbers before the damned things will finally allow you to segue into the wonderful world of being on hold.

I got so frustrated yesterday, I suddenly had the urge to stand up and throw my chair across the room. However, I’d rather not join the ranks of the unemployed because some really stupid people at Wells Fargo kept transferring me to the wrong department.

Meanwhile, the poor customer who lives in Argentina that I was trying to assist was racking up gigantic long-distance charges thanks to the morons who kept kicking my call into yet another mechanized black hole that led to the system where one could verify whether a customer had a checking account or not–so helpful when one is trying to verify a someone’s MASTERCARD, which was an actual MasterCard, not a debit card.

However, funny thing, one of the largest banks I’ve dealt with frequently is Chase Bank, and you’d think given the fact that they’re like the 3rd largest bank in the world that their phone network would be a guarded by some sort of cyber bear who wouldn’t let you speak to a person unless you had an oozy AND did the hokey pokey via Skype… :).

Instead, their electronic telephone menagerie is the most user friendly, believer it or not. If you press # and 0 two or three times, hiss – bang – boom, you’re on hold for a voice that actually has a pulse!

And that’s all I have to say about that..cuz – I must dash. I’m due at work in less than an hour. As a parting gift, I’d like to share the hilarious card that I gave my beloved Charlie (my husband) last week for his birthday…

PHOTO OF CATS - LITTER BOX BDAY CARD TO TONY

And inside it just says:

Hope you’re not too pooped to enjoy your birthday

with a few mushy words from me to the old man…

HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL, and don’t let the phone trees and dumb asses in the cyber cubicles (or actual cubicles) …get you down!  :)

TenaciousB

And her band of truth-spouting hippies

Post #142 – Jim was just hanging out of what?

The night I met Jim (Thompson – see my previous post -http://tenaciousbitch.com/2014/08/04/about-james-thompson-author-of-snow-angels-my-ex-husband-who-died-last-weekend/,

I was waiting tables at the Monarch Cafe in Huntington, West Virginia, when I was going to Marshall University in 1985. I was carrying a tray full of cocktails and a pitcher of beer when a man behind me called out, “Yo, babe with the legs, would you bring me a beer?”

I turned around to see Jim sitting along a row of benches in the pool room with a couple of his friends (who exactly, I don’t remember). He had this big, goofy grin widening across his face, and he was waving at me as if he knew me. Not the quote I would’ve volunteered to my grandchildren about my first encounter with my future husband…:), but I was only 19 years old! He kinda had me at YO BABE (ugh my feminist alter ego YELLS).

I went over and took their order. Later, I caught sight of a couple 8 x 10 black and white photographs on the table. As I walked over to see if he and his friends wanted another round of beer, I noticed one of the photos was of a quarry from a rather high altitude. I recognized it, but I wasn’t sure why.

“You like the photo?” Jim asked, those bedroom blue eyes twinkling.

“Yeah, and it looks really familiar,” I replied. “Where is that?”

“It’s in Ashland by the refinery,” he answered. “Ever been there?”

“Many times,” I said, smiling. “My Dad works at Ashland Oil.”

“Really? So do I. What’s your Dad’s name?”

I told him, and then I asked, “Do you work in the plant?”

“No, I’m a photographer. My Dad was a photographer there too, and he got me the job.”

“Oh, cool. So, how’d you get that picture? Did you go up in one of the towers?” I asked, meaning one of the cooling towers in Ashland’s refinery (where they make gasoline and other petroleum products).

“No, I didn’t like the angle from the cooling towers, so I went up in the company helicopter.”

“That sounds like fun. And it must’ve been challenging to get the photo since the only window surrounds the pilot.”

“The propellers obstructed my view from the co-pilot’s seat, so I laid down on the floor and had Troy hold my ankles as I hung out of the helicopter for a minute or two while I snapped away.”

“Oh, my God!” I shrieked laughing. “Who’s Troy?”

“An intern in the PR department. Should’ve seen his face when I was done, white as a damned sheet,” Jim said laughing.

“No safety harness of any kind?” I asked.

“Now, that would’ve been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask for one,” Jim said, laughing. “And they probably didn’t have one anyway. I doubt the executives at Ashland Oil would wanna hang out of the helicopter.”

“Probably not. Well, I need to get back to work. You guys need anything else?”

“Just your phone number,” Jim said smiling.

“I’m dating someone,” I said.

“I don’t care,” Jim replied boldly with his most auspicious fuck the world attitude.

I laughed and later I gave him my phone number, and we started going out. Frankie, my boyfriend at the time, was out of town at a music festival with a couple of his friends, and things weren’t going well between us before he left anyway.

On our third date, Jim told me loved me, and we were inseparable for the next 3 years…except for the night Frankie returned.

With tears in my eyes, I broke up with Frankie, who said. “I don’t blame you.” Which made me feel all the worse. He moved out that night.

But as the saying goes – things turned out the way they were supposed to because, well, one of the biggest issues between me and Frankie was that we’d never had sex. We’d been dating for five months.  Five months and no sex, tis not normal for your average college kids.

Frankie told me he’d gotten herpes from some girl who had slept with half his fraternity. I suggested using a condom a few times, but he didn’t seem interested. It all seemed rather odd.

So, not surprisingly, Frankie came out of the closet a couple of years later, which was, coincidentally, about the time he crashed mine and Jim’s wedding. But I didn’t care – especially since he wasn’t there to see me. I realized later he had a THING for one of my male relatives, who shall remain nameless for the privacy of all concerned. I guess Frankie was hoping he’d turn the heretofore nameless relative who is rather heterosexual, but that didn’t happen.

That said, for those who knew James David Thompson, Jr, I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that I fell for a guy who seemed absolutely fearless, and the hanging out of the helicopter incident kinda put him in the realm of Indiana Jones or Tony Stark on a small town scale…

But we were very young, and things didn’t work out. We divorced in 1988, and I’ve been happily remarried to Charlie since 2000. While Charlie hasn’t hung out of any helicopters, he’s been known to impersonate a Tesla Coil on occasion (hence his nickname – SPARKY), and he’s an Olympic cutter, who could cut himself in a room full of cotton! :)  And he’s always there when I need him…:)

Over and out from my casa de crazy…

~Tenacious Bitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

TB/ks/lsl

Tenacious Bitch © 2014

Post #141 – About James Thompson, author of Snow Angels, my ex-husband, who died last weekend

JIM HIS DAD OUR WEDDING

From our wedding album – James Thompson and his father James Thompson, Sr., on March 23, 1986.

Yesterday I received the sad news that my ex-husband, Jim Thompson, died in some sort of accident a couple of days ago. I don’t know all the details. I haven’t spoken to anyone in his family yet. He was the author of Snow Angels and five other novels.

Jim moved to Helsinki, Finland, in 1997 or ’98, and we’ve had no contact since a heated argument via email in 2003. However, he and our son, who is in college, have kept in touch, and Jim visited him here in the states last summer.

It was difficult to break the news to our son. And, naturally, he was rather shocked. I assume they will have some kind of memorial in Kentucky where Jim grew up, where many of his relatives still live.

Despite our differences, he was a very talented writer, and there will be a literary void without his future books.  But what many people don’t know is that he was also a very talented musician. He moved to Boston after our divorce and became the lead guitarist in a rock band, whose name I don’t recall.

Eight years later, he and his third wife, Many (pronounced money), moved back to Kentucky for a short time. They lived on some farmland Jim’s family owns, which was about an hour from my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, where I was still living at the time.

I’ll never forget one particular incident when I went down to Kentucky to pick up our son when he was around 10. It was in the middle of the summer, and they didn’t have air conditioning. Though there were numerous fans whirring, it still seemed swampy inside their small but orderly house.  After I walked in, Jim stood by the front door smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke rings into the screen door behind him.

I glanced about the room at the modest but artsy furnishings and noticed a dead squirrel on the Formica-topped kitchen table. And it was all bloody! Jim burst into a fit of laughter seeing my look of revulsion at their recently murdered entree, so to speak.

He grew up hunting and fishing and the like, and my childhood was marked by ballet and gymnastics classes, playing tennis and lounging by the pool at a middle class country club. My parents weren’t wealthy, but we lived comfortably, and the country club cost less than a family membership to the YMCA these days.

“You’re welcome to help me skin that squirrel if you’d like,” he said, grinning. “I know how you love that sort of thing.”

Our son giggled, and I smiled.

His tiny wife rolled her eyes and gave him a smiling smirk. In her thick, Finnish accent, she said, “Pay no attention to him. He does not seem to understand that not everyone is accustomed to eating the critters from the yard.”

“He knows he’d have to be a lot harsher than that to offend me,” I replied amiably.  However, I thought her attempt to alleviate the awkwardness was very kind, but I honestly didn’t care that Jim was making fun of me. He and I always attempted to get along – especially when our son was around.

Aside from killing creatures of the forest and playing guitar, Jim was also an excellent photographer. He was working in the photography department at Ashland Oil when we met, but that was never his first love. I always thought music was his true mistress, but he found a new passion when he moved to Helsinki. And I’m glad for him that he found success writing novels.

He and Many divorced when our son was in high school, and Jim got married again 3-4 years later to a lovely lady named Annika, whom I’ve never met. But my son has shown me photos.

It’s my understanding that Jim developed some serious health problems, probably a decade ago. He had headaches so severe that he often couldn’t work or do much of anything. The doctors in Finland had run dozens of tests but never determined the exact cause from what I was told. At least now, though his life was truncated way too soon, his family and friends can take solace in the fact that he’s no longer in pain.

Many prayers to my son, Jim’s widow, and all of Jim’s family and friends.

Rest in peace, JT. Rest in peace and may there be lots of biscuits and sausage gravy, pie and pastry, White Castle hamburgers, Kim Chee, and dark beer wherever you’ve landed in the next life.  And I hope you and your friends, family and your fans will enjoy the photos below from your days of yore…:)

~TB

JIM AND I - WEDDING PHOTO

JIM AND BABY CHRIS - 1ST DAY IN ATHENS OUTSIDE OUR APT

Jim and our son, Chris, in front of our apartment the day we brought him home from the hospital in Athens, Ohio, where we both attended Ohio University for a year.

CHRIS AND JIM - WHEN CHRIS WAS LEARNING TO WALK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JIM AND TOM - WEDDING PHOTO

Jim and the best man at our wedding, Tom Hodges, whom Jim has been friends with since junior high, I believe.

JIM AFTER WORK - HARD HAT

After the birth of our son, Jim worked construction, a job he hated (not that I blamed him). But it paid the bills until he was able to go to Berklee School of Music where he was a student for a short time.

Post #140 – No, I don’t drink wine – I drink Merlot, and what’s that in your hand, Nana?

While visiting Nana Maude down South last week, I took her to Olive Garden, one of her favorite restaurants. I’m not a huge fan of the Garden, but their spaghetti and meatballs are okay.

However, every single time we go there, Nana scowls at the server whenever he or she asks if we’d like a glass of wine because Nana grew up Pentecostal. If you’re unfamiliar with this fundamentalist religion, Pentecostal folks do not partake of spirits.  Additionally, many members of the Pentecostal church equate alcohol with crack, heroin or crystal meth.

And just for the record, I grew up Catholic, and I have nothing against the Pentecostal religion. I just happened to believe in – live and let live. I never preached to Nana about going to confession or praying on a rosary, but, unfortunately, she’s bitched and whined about various tenets of the Catholic church my entire life while I sat silently gritting my teeth and waiting for her to take a breath, so I could change the subject or excuse myself from the room. My Catholicism has been in remission, LOL, for a couple decades now, but I still have to endure her temperance lectures. So, I couldn’t help but pull a bait a switch of sorts to shake Nana up when things went a little sideways at Olive Garden.

“Hi, I’m Jenny,” the waitress said with a warm smile. “I’ll be your server today. Would you ladies like to start off with a glass of wine?”

“I’ll have you know that I do not drink, nor have I ever, and my Granddaughter doesn’t drink wine either!” Nana grumbled emphatically in a rather rankled tone, nodding toward me.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to squelch my laughter, which did nothing to ease the suffering of the poor server, a lovely, 22-ish blonde, who reacted with the horrified expression of one who had just been beamed with a  2′ x 4′.

“What’s so funny?” Nana asked, her sharp blue eyes targeting me.

I shook my head at the freaked out waitress with a button-lipped smile hoping to convey the idea that my Grandmother was a cranky old coot, but Jenny was still wide-eyed and petrified.

“It’s okay. You’ll have to excuse my Grandmother,” I said smiling, and finally, Jenny the waitress began to breathe again.

“Excuse me from what?” Nana snapped.

I grinned again, relishing what was about to transpire. “Nana, do you remember those pictures I showed you the other day?”

“What pictures?”

I began digging in my purse for an envelope full of pictures that I’d brought to show Nana as the harried waitress started to get really antsy. I started stacking the photos of my husband’s new truck, one of my cats, whom she loves, and such on the table until I came to a photo of the flowers my husband had given me for Valentine’s Day because Nana loves that sort of thing.

“See? Remember this picture?”

valentine's photo

“I remember the flowers, but what’s that got to do with the price of tea in China?” Nana asked.

“Take a closer look. See that bottle next to the flowers?”

Nana eyes cut from the photo to giving me the stink eye instantly recognizing the bottle of wine, but I just smiled.

“That’s a bottle of Merlot. That was my other gift from Charlie.”

Nana sighed and said, “I didn’t notice anything but the flowers,” she said in an annoyed tone. “And I remember you asking Charlie to buy you some Merlot when I lived with you, but I just thought it was some kind of juice or something,” she mumbled.

I winked at the waitress who finally smiled nervously and said, “So, today we have a seafood linguine with…”

But Nana dismissed the spiel regarding the specials that day by interjecting with…”I’d like a glass of ice water, please, with lemon,” … in Nana’s foolproof method of trying to act as though nothing unpleasant had occurred by creating a diversion…:) in this case, a request for water.

I ordered a Diet Coke, and the waitress replied, “Coming up,” as she disappeared while most likely heaving a big sigh of relief that Nana’s little tantrum was over.

The rest of our lunch was pleasant and unremarkable. Nana ate most of her chicken and gnocchi soup only complaining a couple of times about the “green stuff” otherwise known as spinach in the soup.

I don’t know if she was incensed by the glass of wine question on this particular day because she’s frequented Olive Garden for more than 20 years and just got fed up, or she was in a bad mood because they lost another pair of her pajamas at the nursing home, or what…but if I wanted to be a real BITCH, I’d send her a copy of this photo below…which has graced the pages of my blog previously…

MIMI JUDY CIRCA 63 - JUDY SMOKING

The lady on the left is my Aunt Shirley (my Mom’s youngest sister), and the redhead is none other than Nana Maude holding a cocktail! And I would imagine the martini glass close to Aunt Shirley’s hand was her drink as well.  I love the fact that Aunt Shirley is smoking because Nana loves to say that when she saw Shirley walking out of community college smoking a cigarette, that she threatened to “Yank her out of college right now if I ever caught her smoking again.”

Funny thing, Aunt Shirley obviously didn’t quit, and she obtained an associates degree in legal studies in 1970. However, I don’t remember ever seeing Aunt Shirley light up a cigarette. So, she must’ve quit before I was born, or shortly thereafter unlike my mother who, sadly, was sucking on cigarettes until she died of lung cancer in 2007.

So, there you have it. Yet another day of conflicting realities in the life of Nana Maude…:), and I must go for now because my Merlot is singing MY NAME…:)

And for my wonderful fans who keep emailing me about my memoir, I’m getting close to finite! :)

~Over and out from Tenacious B’s Bar and Grill

TenaciousBitch/ks

© Tenacious Bitch 2014

 

 

 

Post #139 – An Addendum to the day I performed sink surgery…

While I was rather livid when my son, Max, took off and didn’t clean his bathroom as requested, which is the subject of Post #138 -

http://tenaciousbitch.com/2014/07/08/post-138-wish-i-could-boil-my-fingers-an-adventure-in-sink-surgery/

- I have to say he made up for it later on that weekend when we put a new roof on the house. My husband, Charlie, didn’t want to shell out $15-$20K to replace our 25-year-old roof (understandably), so he and his friend, Alex, my mother-in-law Susan, and Max were up on the roof in 90-95-degree heat tearing off the old roof and installing the new shingles, etc. for 3 days straight. And they finished right before a torrential downpour commenced.

Alex was a roofer for more than 20 years, and, thank God for his expertise because they spent the entire first day correcting all the mistakes of the jack ass (or asses as the case may be) who built the addition on our house 10 years or so before we bought it in late 2001. There was no tar paper underneath the old roof as required by law (or local construction standards, whichever), and there was one section where there’s no siding where the roof of the new addition meets the original house that was built in 1962. And these are only a few of their screw-ups.

That said, my son, Max, was a lot of help that day.  He carried almost all of the 70-pound bundles of roofing materials up to the roof as depicted in the photo below -

BAXTER CARRYING BUNDLE JUNE 2014 3

He looks really pissed off in this photo, but he’s not. He hates having his picture taken anyway, and I snapped this one late on the 2nd day when it was 94 degrees in the shade, so he was a tad worn out! I think there were 23 bundles, seems like? And I think Charlie and Alex carried up 3 or 4 bundles, maybe. So, Max kinda redeemed himself after shirking his other domestic duties. Charlie did pay him to help with the roof, but he really earned his paycheck that weekend, and it would’ve cost a helluva more to hire someone to haul all of those shingles up to the roof.

Just thought I’d mention it since he was such a dick about scrubbing his toilet, etc. But he’s a guy, and as my husband says, “All guys are dicks occasionally…” :)

Now, that the roof is done, I wouldn’t mind if Mother Nature decided to throw some more of that hot weather our way. Since I returned from visiting Nana Maude and my son, Rory, on July 22nd, the temps since –  topped out at 85 yesterday. Otherwise, it’s been in the 70s during the day and 50 at night as is the forecast for today and tomorrow. And last I looked, it’s NOT September!

I know. I know. I shouldn’t complain, but it was difficult enough to leave the beautiful sunshine in Florida and Georgia without Summer going AWOL here in Ohio, ya know? It’s often brutally cold in the Buckeye state from October to April, so I’m not happy that we’re getting cheated out of our normally sizzling summer – even if it’s only for a few days.

And on that thought, I shall bid everyone adieu.

THANKS for reading my blog, and if you’re looking for a good book to take on vacation or whatever, check out my list of favorite books at   http://tenaciousbitch.com/my-favorite-books/

Peace out from TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

~TB/ks

© Tenacious Bitch 2014

 

 

 

Post #138 – Wish I Could Boil My Fingers…an Adventure in Sink Surgery

One Saturday, a couple of weeks ago, Susan, my mother-in-law, came down to visit from Cleveland. On the Monday prior, I asked Max, my 22-year-old, to clean his bathroom by Thursday, so she wouldn’t have to either traipse through mine and my husband’s bedroom to the master bath (which she’d never do) or trek downstairs to the half bath in the wee hours.

I gave him until Thursday so that if it wasn’t sanitary, which is usually the case, I could kick his ass back in there to clean it again on Friday. WARNING – if you have a weak stomach, turn away now! Go back to the pristine premises from which you hail because the images below ain’t pretty or for the faint of heart. No, they’re not as disturbing as, perhaps, the latrine at a concentration camp but probably not a whole lot better.

On Thursday afternoon around 4:00, I was in my office down the hall working, and I heard him shuffling around in in his sorry excuse for a loo. After about 15 minutes, I heard the unmistakable sound of an explosion in the vicinity of his room, and I heard him shout, “Dammit! What the fuck?”

Not to worry. It was a fake bomb, accompanied by rather impressive graphics – all courtesy of his XBox.

I crept into his bathroom for a peek at his progress, and I was bitterly disappointed. Check out his sink…

BAX'S SINK JUNE 2014

And, then, there was the toilet…

BAX'S NASTY TOILET - FLOOR

I marched down the hall to his room and beat my fist against his door rapidly, which I’m sure sounded like machine gunfire from outside, LOL.

“What?” he asked in a rather annoyed tone.

I opened the door to find him lounging on his bed, his Xbox controller in his hand, but luckily, his game was paused, so he was at least listening to me.

“You can’t possibly think your bathroom is clean?” I snapped.

“Well, what’s wrong with picking up all the trash first?” He whined in a defensive tone.

“Nothing, but you were supposed to be finished by now. Please get back in there and scrub your sink, the tub and your toilet, and I’ll do the floor to make sure it’s clean.”

Yes, I know, he should’ve done it all himself, but I knew such was asking too much of the universe that he do a decent job on the floor as well because his idea of cleansing the tile was swooshing a mop around for 3o seconds, paying no attention to the grime on the floor around his toilet or the weird crud huddled up under the canopy of the cabinet under the sink.

“Okay. Okay.”

“Now, please. I’ve got enough to do before she gets here.”

He frowned, and I slammed out of the room.

The next day around 3 p.m, I went downstairs to get a glass of water, and he was in his bathroom again. And this time, I could smell the effervescent perfume of SCRUBBING BUBBLES. My relief was tempered by my skepticism that his toilet would be hygienic enough for any woman to park her behind upon it.

Unfortunately, while I was eyeball deep in work, he managed to slip out of the house before I could inspect his janitorial efforts. And goddamit – his toilet was still filthy. The counter was clean, but everything else was still dirty, and he hadn’t even touched his bathtub, which had a smattering of dead bugs layering the bottom. Awesome!

He’d been showering in the guest bathroom downstairs (at the back of the house) because his tub wasn’t draining properly. No wonder. There’s probably a family of insects clogging up the pipes or something.

I left several vitriolic messages on his phone and a few angry texts to boot, but I knew I wouldn’t hear from him. And I didn’t. He said his phone died. WHATEVER…DICKHEAD!

Funny thing though, he hadn’t mentioned his sink wasn’t draining either…didn’t take a genius to figure out why…

BAX'S SINKThere was something stuck in the drain.And he might not show up until 2:00 the next afternoon, and Susan was supposed to arrive around 11 a.m., so, of course, it was all on me.

I donned my hazmat gear, an old t-shirt, ratty shorts and a pair of vinyl gloves. I stuck my finger down inside the sink, but I couldn’t seem to get a hold of the object. It was about the size of a quarter, and it kept flipping around between my gloved fingers.

First, I tried a pair of tweezers, but they weren’t long enough. Next, I grabbed a pair of salad tongs, but they were too wide.

I finally realized, the only way I was going to fish this thing out was to use my fingers – sans the protective vinyl. I ripped off the gloves and stuck my fingers into the drain, and I managed to pluck it out on the first try. It was, in fact, a very hairy and grimy quarter…but, alas, there was something else wedged in the sink.

After a momentary bout of cursing, I took the plunge again, and this time I snatched a penny from the bowels of the sink.

COINS FROM BAX'S SINK

You’d think my time playing sink surgeon was over, right? Oh, but, of course, you’d be dead wrong because there was still something else stuck in the curve of the pipe.

“Holy fuck balls, Max!” I shouted.

The last tidbit appeared to be a tiny bottle of some sort. I tried several times to pull it out, but it was plastic, and it kept slithering out of my grasp. At which point, I went into my bedroom, grabbed a sewing machine needle from my chest full of sewing junk. And I stuck the needle into the teeny, tiny bottle…and voila…

THING IN BAX'S SINK 2

It’s a little bottle of eye drops, a sample from the eye doctor, perhaps?

We had a robust shouting match about him shirking his responsibilities when he returned very late that night. And I told him that he’d have to clean his bathroom once/week from now on because I was not going to spend another two hours on my hands and knees scouring his bathroom floor ever again. And for chrissakes, if you drop something in the sink, remove it before it turns into a waterlogged bit of rusty goo!

He apologized later, but the damage was done. And the worst part was – though I washed my hands repeatedly, I couldn’t shake the phantom slime lingering upon my skin after my dissection of his sink.

Yeah, wish I could’ve boiled my fingers!

And I seem to be cursed by nasty plumbing mishaps, i.e., http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/05/16/like-a-really-bad-sit-com/   …when Nana’s toilet imploded…:)

Hope all is better in your world than that auspicious day was for me!!!

Over and out from insanity central…

And for my wonderful fans who keep emailing me about my memoir, I’m getting close to finite! :)

TenaciousB and her band of truth-spouting hippies~

TB/ks

© Tenacious Bitch 2014

Post #137 – Revenge is a dish best served without Coca-Cola cake…

Five or six years ago when my father was still living, he and Nana Maude came to visit every fall for my son Rory and my husband Charlie’s birthdays- which are only 3 days apart. I wrote about Nana in my last post and in several earlier posts including one about issues concerning her goose down pillow at – http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/05/25/post-61-macys-alleged-faux-paus/.

We all took a deep breath the minute Dad’s car landed in our driveway – wondering what kind of drama Nana will cultivate this time.  I was stirring my chili when Nana hobbled into the kitchen, her short white hair like a disheveled halo around her head as she leaned on her big, red walker. A  homemade cake was nestled on the shelf thingy on her walker.

I gave Nana a hug, put the cake on the counter and said, “That was so nice of you to make a Coca-Cola cake. I can’t wait to have some.”

“Well, I hope it turned out all right,” she croaked with another big smile and a twinkle in her eye. She always says that, and to date, I’ve never eaten one of Nana’s pies, cakes, cookies, biscuits or brownies that weren’t delectable.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Southern delicacy known as Coca-Cola cake, it’s a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, which has 1/4 cup of cola in the cake and about  2/3 cup in the icing, which makes both very light and fluffy, and it adds a certain zing to the chocolate flavor.

The next day, Charlie’s mother and stepfather, his grandparents, his Aunt Nancy, his sister Tally and her girlfriend, Melissa, all came down from Cleveland for a cookout/birthday party around noon. And Rory and Heather, his girlfriend at the time, were supposed to be at our house around noon as well.

Around 11:00, I was scurrying around the house – setting out the silverware and a dozen other last minute details when Nana came toddling into the kitchen. She looked at the Coca-Cola cake on the kitchen table with a stack of dessert plates beside it, and she said, “I need to put this up.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Why?”

“I made that for Rory, not for everyone.”

I was immediately annoyed but too busy to argue with her. However, Nana had other ideas. “Nana, there’s plenty of cake to go around,” I said firmly, glancing at the 9″ x 13″ sheet cake. “We won’t cut it until Rory gets here, and I can set aside some for him to take home.”

She shook her head. “No, I made it for Rory,” she said, picking up the cake and sliding it into the cabinet beside the table, “Not for all those other people,” she said as Charlie walked in the room.

“Nana, when you told me you were making a Coca-Cola cake, I didn’t make anything else. What’re we supposed to serve to Charlie’s family?”

Silence and a vacant stare from Nana, followed by a shrug.

“Rory won’t mind to share. In fact, I’m sure he’d insist on it,” I snapped.

“No, I made that cake for my great-grandson, not …” her voice trailed off when she realized Charlie was standing behind me. A glimmer of guilt wavered in her eyes, but I knew she wouldn’t change her mind.

I glared at her, wanting very much to deck the old, selfish crow who just happened to have given birth to my dearly departed mother.

“Nana, I’m getting that cake out, and we’re going to-”

“No,” Charlie sputtered angrily. “I don’t like chocolate cake anyway.”

The hurt and anger I saw pulsing in his eyes sparked a new level of rage against Nana.

“I’ll just go to Kroger and get another cake,” Charlie barked.

You’d think that would elicit a reaction from her, but it didn’t.

“Excuse me,” Nana muttered, looking down. “I’ve got to go to the restroom.” I watched her slump by us, head down, wondering how anyone could be so incredibly selfish.

The moment she left, I looked at Charlie and said, “I’m so sorry, honey. I had no idea-”

“It’s not your fault.”

I shook my head. “Don’t worry about it. As soon as everyone gets here, I’ll put the cake back on the table, and she won’t have the nerve to say one word about it.”

“No,” Charlie said, grabbing his jacket from the coat tree in the living room. “I’m going out to buy another cake, so I’ll have something for my family. I don’t want her fucking cake.”

I nodded. I thought about apologizing again, but there just aren’t enough words in the universe to erase the kind of hurt that Nana frequently bestows on people.

“I can go. It’s your birthday. Why don’t you go sit in-”

“No, I need to get out of here, away from her,” he said.

I nodded, and he turned and walked out.

A few warm tears dribbled down my face. And I grabbed a tissue from the box on the kitchen counter and sat down in a heap on the living room couch. I blew my nose, feeling so embarrassed by Nana’s rude behavior. And I just couldn’t fathom how my overly generous mother could’ve shared the same genes.

And if all that weren’t bad enough, here’s the kicker. When Rory and Heather arrived a few minutes later, I explained the whole dessert dilemma, and my handsome, 21-year-old son – shook his head and said, “I don’t really like that cake. And I’m not big on sweets in general.”

“I know,” I said. “But, I, unlike Nana, don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, even hers, by revealing that info. But even if you loved that cake, you’d never want to hoard it like that.”

“Of course not,” Rory replied.

But at this point, it was too late. Nana had poisoned the Coca-Cola cake, so to speak.

Charlie arrived a few minutes later with a white cake with vanilla icing, which was delicious, btw. And  just to piss Nana off, I didn’t eat one single bite of her damned cake. When she asked why I was eating the store bought cake, I just shrugged. She got the hint, but that wasn’t good enough for me…

Three years later after my dad died, she moved in with us. And she constantly asked me to make a Coca Cola cake since wasn’t able to bake anymore, but I never did except one time when I hosted my Writer’s Club meeting last year. I gave everyone generous portions after dinner and huge blocks of cake to take home. And then, I hid the rest in a cabinet that Nana couldn’t reach.

Later, when I was loading the dishwasher, I heard Nana’s walker bumbling down the hallway, and I smiled.

“Well, hello, there, got any cake left?” Nana asked, smiling.

“No, I’m sorry, it’s all gone.”

“You didn’t save me any?” she grumbled, in wide-eyed shock.

“The people in my group had never had it before, so I gave them all some to take home, and Charlie had a piece. Besides, I didn’t make it for you. I made it for my friends.”

Her watery blue eyes turned cold, and tears of anger crested upon her thin, blonde lashes. She turned and stomped out – as best a 95-year-old woman can stomp anyway :).

I slept very well that night. And the words Coca-Cola cake have never graced her dry old lips again.

Over and out from the bitchy baker and her truth-spouting hippies…

TenaciousBitch

TB/ks