Gas For the Soul

So,  we are renting a house (and an old one at that) – it had a dinosaur in the basement, that we believed to be burning up half the state of Pennsylvania’s electricity  usage.  So, our landlord decided to replace the dinosaur with propane heat – apparently more efficient and cheaper.   A few weeks later, during a torrential downpour, a big truck pulled into the driveway , sliced through the beautiful green lawn and laid down the tank.  I didn’t notice at first just where it was going.  Until I looked out the kitchen window – which overlooks a rather large (and full) pine tree with a space high enough  to stand under the branches, and on which the previous owner had hung a ceramic bird feeder.  I once imagined myself sitting at my little kitchen café table, caffeine drip in my hand, watching the birds – or squirrels – dining under that canopy where the feeder swayed.  Oliver prefers to lie on said table watching the butterflies settling on the bush on the other side of the glass, but no matter – we could share the space just fine.

But to my dismay – this is what I saw.
And, in case you’re wondering, that trail running from the tank to the house is NOT a gopher tunnel; it is the gas line to the house. (Note the speeder who is starring as an “extra” in my photo.)  I guess there will be no more soccer in the side yard.
I was momentarily speechless.  That is NOT exactly what I consider an ideal morning view with my cup of coffee.  A propane tank, roughly the size of a 747 fuel tank, nestled dead center in the yard under a – thank goodness for that! – oversized pine tree.  Really, it’s  as large as the commercial tank my mom has for her restaurant.  The good news is, most people can’t see it from the road.  And really, isn’t that the important thing??  

There’s probably enough gas in that thing to heat the White House, though there’s probably some law or something about the White House NOT having propane heat lest some terrorist target its location and blow all 570 gallons of its white paint to smithereens.   At the very least, there’s got to be enough gas in it to heat our Hobbit-sized little house for the next five years.  Really.
So Todd and I are pulling out of the driveway one weekend afternoon, and I said to him, “will you just look at that thing?  It’s HUGE.”

“Yeah, it looks like a giant pill.”

Now, we do share the same sense of humor, he and I.  And I just started giggling like the March Hare.  He was pleased, I could tell, that I found his comment so hilarious.  But, simile aside, I burst into hysterical laughter because I crack myself up.

“ Life got you down?  Have we got a PILL for you! And when things get really bad, add some fuel to the fire! Because, remember – depression hurts everyone!”  Bwahahahahahaha!!!

So, with Todd’s help, I made a small adjustment….

It’s gas for the soul, folks!!   And THAT, my friends, is how I find Joy.

10 Things That Piss Me Off

1.  All the people who think it’s a good idea to shovel junk into kids for every gad dang holiday and birthday.  Just last week, I got a call from the school nurse that my daughter’s class will be having a guest reader and that “Guest” brought treats for the kids.  The choices? A Tootsie Pop, or Skittles.  And, this, before 10am.  Before 10 am!!  Who the hell thought this was a good idea??  I reiterated my thoughts regarding whether anyone ever considered American obesity and the epidemic of Type 2, and whether sending in a fudruckin bag of grapes would be more – oh, I don’t know – proactive.  How do we teach children to, in the prolific words of Jimmy Buffett, treat their bodies like a temple – not like a tent ?

2.  People with obnoxious stickers on their vehicles.  Like “Save the whales” jabs at those women out there with a greater presence, stick figures pissing on the president, and – OH! Especially little dangly things that invite all sorts of unwelcome questions from your kids on the way home from school.  My kid is barely an adolescent who doesn’t yet consider the size of his package as something to obsess over – how can this disgusting veiny sack on the back of another parent’s truck not introduce a wayward thought about whether “they” can actually be “that” big??

3.  People who can’t drive.  And people who do not obey the simple laws of the road.  Like: texting while driving.  The so-called Marine driving down Rt. 10 – a two-land roadway that winds its way through Amish country and serves as a thoroughfare for countless horse and buggies – drifting from northbound to southbound for the better part of 30 minutes . And, on another day on this same road where there was road construction and orange cones marked the center line, I found myself crawling behind one such horse and carriage, with children peering out the back at me in Todd’s Mustang, like I was some exotic animal at the zoo.  Some asshole in a foreign-car-hybrid-crossover whimpymobile had the audacity to zoom up behind me and … are you ready for this?…. pass ME in the Mustang AND the horse and buggy… with zero visibility.  Not only did he put himself, any oncoming driver, me, an entire Amish family and their horse in jeopardy…but he actually, for a split second at least, thought his little tin can should be passing a Mus..tang.  Really.  And 5 miles later, when the road became a 4-lane highway, homey found out what the exhaust of a real car smells like.

4.  Movies that should be really good, but really suck.  Love, love, love The Avengers.  Very well done… loved Tony Stark’s snarky discourse throughout, loved the characters’ interaction with one another, and particularly loved… Thor.  But, not for the reasons you might think.  I have an affinity for period flicks – epic tales and those set in historical eras – I wasn’t an English major for nothing, you know, and I gravitated toward medieval and renaissance literature.  But, I also fell in love with a little epic tale written thus far in 7 novels by Diana Gabaldon.   She has a HUGE following of fans, albeit a contingency of nutty zealots, who discuss the novels at length amongst themselves like chipmunks at an acorn convention  and have fantasy polls on Facebook to determine who would play who if the novels ever made it to the big screen.  I will admit to trolling a little just to see who the nominees were, but I – in a hypocritical display of opinion – was adamantly opposed to accepting any livingmale play the lead role of Jamie Fraser.   That is, until I saw Chris Helmsworth.  My friend T – who is herself a fan of the novels – does not agree.  But I don’t care.  If there’s gonna be a live version of the red-haired Scottish demigod, I think Chris is IT.

5.  Losing my train of thought.  Happens WAY too often nowadays, and I’m unsure if it can be attributed to aging, or sleep deprivation.  Or, 7 weeks of viruses.  Anyway, I lost my train of thought in #4 – I was talking about bad movies and ended up slipping absent-mindedly into a Jamie and Claire reverie.  If you’ve read the books, you understand.  If you haven’t, you’ll just have to trust me on this one.  ANYWAY, so … loving The Avengersas I do… I wanted to see the individual characters’ movies.  I hadn’t seen Captain America before (yawn) and I actually fell asleep watching it.  Twice.  As I happen to also be a big fan of Natalie Portman, I was particularly pumped to see Thor.  So imagine my disappointment when the movie turned out to be a shallow showcase not for talent, but for beauty.  Not that I mind wiping my chin occasionally during a movie, but REALLY.  I could’ve written a better script.  The dialogue was cheap and shabby, and the romance between these two characters, portrayed by two very talented actors, was underdeveloped and unconvincing.  It serves as a painful reminder that the acting can only as good as the writing.

6.  And since I’ve brought up the topic of viruses – Viruses.  Piss. Me.  Off.  I am so sick of being sick, I’m sick over it.  I’m not going to whine, but have I mentioned I’ve been sick continuously since the last week of November?  Really.  Sinus issues>headache>chronic cough>laryngitis>chronic cough>possible pneumonia turned bronchitis>ER-destined, violent gastrointestinal virus accompanied by dangerously low blood pressure>chronic cough>extreme fatigue>swollen lymph nodes>chronic cough>inflamed ears>bad cold.  I’ve taken enough medications in one month to stock a pharmacy.  I had enough “tests” to confidently report that I am NOT dying.  Of anything.  Though if I get sick one more time, I may just have to euthanize myself. 

7.  Mucus.  I have more mucus than a snail.  I have never, ever, in my entire life, endured so much mucus.  It’s in my nose, it’s in my throat, it’s in my chest.  No medication is fixing this.  I haven’t told Todd this yet, but I decided to purchase stock in Kleenex.  And, as my father-in-law reports, mucus signs a permanent lease after age 60 and eviction is nearly impossible.  He giggled like a lunatic at this, but I was NOT amused.

8.  Pet vomit.  I hate vomit.  Any vomit.  But pet vomit definitely tops the list.  My cat, who is himself a perfect specimen for health (in spite of several flea issues over the past several months), does occasionally need to purge apparently.  I guess I should be grateful he doesn’t do it on the carpets, but I DO NOT want to clean it out of his water dish or food bowl.  Ugh.  And it isn’t a clean catch either…. as it usually spills over the side and onto the floor around the bowls.  It is an especially unwelcome sight during recovery from the aforementioned violent stomach virus.  Double ugh.

9.  Bumping into furniture and doorways.  Betcha didn’t know I’m not the most graceful bird in the flock.  I have more bruises and scrapes from miscalculating doorways, misjudging my proximity to the coffee table, knicking the skin of my hands on you-name-it, and stubbing my big toe in the middle of the living room.  Oh, and last week?  I reheated my cup of tea in a microwave-safe mug and subsequently burned off three layers of skin on my right ring finger.  Yeah.  And every time I do something stupid like this, I get really pissed off.

10.  Rude people.  In general.  I may have been sheltered too long, but in my new life I am getting out more and more, and am perpetually amazed by how inconsiderate people are.  Like last weekend, we were shopping in our pjs at Walmart… and these people had their shopping cart blocking the main aisle while they perused the shelves just inside a side aisle… they saw us coming and made no move to allow us to pass.  What’s more upsetting about rude people, is the fact that they don’t even know they’re being rude.  Because most people just can’t be that rude.  They just are either completely oblivious, or were never taught to consider others.  I was raised in a service-related business – so maybe I have a better perspective on consideration.  Like stepping out of the way to allow others to pass first.  Or allowing another car to pull out, or go before me.  Or holding the door for someone instead of letting it slam shut.  Or following the procedures in the school parking lot. Or buttoning up the f-bomb in public so that children don’t hear it. Or just being nice.  OMG! Can they just be nice??  There’s a reason someone created that phrase about random acts of kindness.  Because there’s too many people out there who are afraid it will kill them to practice it.