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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stuff. And a lot of nonsense.

It's seriously hot here in the urban village. Oh hell, it's hot everywhere around the urban village too but, frankly, the heat in the valley doesn't bother me. Mostly because I'm not there. The heat that's got me up at 3:30am is the heat that surrounds me and not the heat that surrounds people I may or may not know 20 miles to the west. I'm sorry they're hot, but not as sorry as I am that I'M hot.

I've had to turn the ceiling fans off because, after about three days straight my sinuses rebel and I begin to feel as if there's a tennis ball sitting in the back of my throat. IF I catch this early enough I can, through the noisy use of saline nasal spray and salt water gargle, nip this in the bud, thus enabling me to haul it out to work while the other three people I support either go to school (an acceptable alternative) or sit around the apartment running up the power bill by using a box air conditioner that has needed a new filter since we moved in three years ago and only blows tepid air anyway.

I also don't dress well in this kind of heat, I look like Jabba the Hut when I wear short sleeves and it's too oppressive to wear anything BUT short sleeves. My older son had a birthday yesterday, it comes around this time of year every year, go figure, and we're usually too hot to do much of anything, which disappoints him greatly but he claims to understand. Yesterday morning I had to tell the hubster to wish the lad a happy birthday, the hubster had forgotten. He's been too busy sitting around brooding about a memento of his father's that he had always wanted and, it turns out, is now in the possession of one of his brothers and has been for several years now.

His brother has had it for years and the hubster didn't even know it was missing from his father's wall. Why? Oh, maybe because he never freaking visited his father? Because for years I dragged his sorry ass to their house once, maybe twice a year when we got an invitation and the rest of the time the hubster spent complaining about what a witch his step mother was. Now granted, I don't think she's a witch. I think she's a LOT worse than that, I can honestly say that she is one of the meanest, petty and hateful people I know but that's not really the issue, is it?

The ISSUE is that the hubster has spent the last 40 years on a campaign to show the bitch up. Like THAT'S gonna happen. While his sister and brothers figured that she wasn't going anywhere and dealt with that, the hubster refused to do anything of the sort. While they picked up the phones and called their dad now and then, just for the hell of it, the hubster continued to sit around and complain about his step mother.

So, she's still here, not that we'll even see her again (and it's not like that bothers me) his dad is gone and his memento is in another state with a brother he complains about only slightly less than he complains about his step mother. I'm sort of conflicted about this actually. In the first place, if the hubster had spent any freaking TIME with his dad that ugly wall plaque would have been hanging in my dining room right now. Or else it would be shoved in a box sitting in the storage garage we pay monthly to maintain because, God forbid, we actually get RID of the 100 sq feet of JUNK we shoved in there three years ago and never go near now. In the second place, well, what good does this crap DO anyone? It hung on my father-in-laws wall. One day, my father-in-law went to the hospital to have his gall bladder out and subsequently died, never again returning to the home and family he loved. Okay, that part is a private joke, I'm not that maudlin and I write a hell of a lot better.

But my point is (and yeah, I have one) that plaque didn't do anything for anyone. It was a company logo. A company, btw, the hubster worked at for as little time as possible and hated while he did. My father-in-law, just like my mother-in-law (the hubster's mother, not the witch) and my own mother, had houses full of crap. And I had a house full of crap because a) the hubster can't leave anything, he has to bring every freaking piece of detritus home with him including furniture we neither needed or wanted but it wasn't nailed down and b) I sort of felt like it was what I was supposed to do. I kept this shit because my mother kept this shit.

And in the end, my mother died and all that crap was just sitting there, doing no one any good, taking up space and accomplishing nothing. Does that dirty teddy bear dressed up in the lace dress and holding a parasol hold any memory of my mother? It was hers, yes, but if that thing ends up in the dumpster will I suddenly forget what my mother looked like? Those stupid baskets of porcelain roses I felt compelled to keep hold nothing dear to me, it's just stuff, and most of it is in boxes in a storage facility by the airport which costs me more money than I can afford.

Every now and then, something happens to an item, a table gets scratched, a plate gets broken and the hubster goes ballistic. OMG, there's a scratch on the table! This strikes me funny in a way, had he cared half as much for my heart as he did for the coffee table I wouldn't have so many empty spaces in it where the breaks never quite healed. Not to mention that the tables are usually a foot deep in junk that the hubster has deposited there and never goes through, I cleaned the entire apartment last week because I knew my father was coming over to see my birthday boy and left the dining room table to the hubster, as he uses it as a desk. After a week of whining and asking, we sat here last Saturday, in a clean living room and a dining room knee deep in papers and mail and magazines, some of which the hubster threw a table cloth over while my step mother tried, in vain, to sit down at the table and failed because I actually trusted the hubster to take a little pride in his living space and freaking TIDY UP THE TABLE. He uses "tidy" as a verb, by the way, I don't. It's not an action, it modifies a noun as a rule, thus making it an adjective. As in "the room is tidy." The hubster, however, insists on "tidying" a room. I think that's weird. But I digress...

Anyway, I think it's extremely annoying that he goes ballistic about a scratch on a table he piles with junk. Now, I have, every once and again, tried to soothe this tirade with the explanation that it's just a table, no one was hurt, it's a scratch and it's not going to affect anything. This is ALWAYS greeted by him going off on how, since it's just a thing, we should just take an ax to it and destroy it good and proper.

And then he accuses me of hyperbole.

I don't know if this is a guy thing or what. What I do know is that my son's birthday is more important that railing about someone leaving a fingerprint on the spine of a book. I know that the time that's been wasted mourning a metal plaque could have put to better use shopping for a birthday card, or going through the mail and finding the disconnection notices or just standing in the front window early in the morning while it's still cool outside and watching the pink streaks of dawn meander through the ever lightening sky.

The things that are of value are intangible and untouchable. Last night my younger son gave his brother a birthday card and a lottery scratcher. It was all he could afford. The grin on his brother's face when he got that ticket was worth way more than the five bucks his gift cost. Someone remembered him. And it made him happy. And no plaque in the world, no porcelain rose, no perfectly sanded piece of maple could have come close to the feeling he got when his brother remembered his birthday, and the feeling I got watching him.

The twenty-nine bucks he won on that ticket didn't hurt either.

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