Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taxi of the Deceased

In honor of Halloween, I'm finally going to divulge the story about my husband driving around with dead people in his truck.  I've mentioned it a few times and I keep saying that I'm going to tell you, but I  also keep forgetting.

Now is the moment.

Mind you, when I tell this story, most people have the same reaction at first.  So if you find yourself staring at the screen with the look of utter confusion/shock/whatthefuckness on your face as you read on, it's the common response.   

This blog entry's disclaimer is that I swear that my husband is NOT insane.  However, I DO believe that he should be supervised or checked up on at regular intervals because he's very creative, and intelligent and his thought processes get him into weird predicaments.  Those of us who know him are not concerned that he spends a good portion of his day shaping the mind of a small human, so that should confirm that he's A-OK.  He's a good kind of "wackadoodle".  (And he makes me feel normal.)

A few days before Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I came home from work and Justin looked particularly excited about something.  Usually, he's very chill and laid back.  Instead he looked like a big ole happy yellow lab, bounding over, in my face, excited to greet me at the door.... minus the crotch sniffing, of course.

"You are never going to believe what happened to me today at the storage bin!"

Well, if that doesn't make you tingle with anticipation, I don't know what will.  


I put my work stuff down and was preparing myself for one of those long winded stories that is usually about nothing too thrilling, because the poor guy doesn't get much excitement in his day.  'Deep breath.  Focus, Vicki.  Focus.  Liven up and look interested now!"

"I can't possibly imagine what you found at Bob's that could elicit this much enthusiasm."  We have a truck stored there.  The truck stores lots of crap that isn't worthy of being part of the practice room for hoarding, a/k/a our garage.

"I found dead people!"

Ok.  I admit my interest was piqued.  He got me on this one.  Interesting shit DOES happen at Bob's!

"Excuse me?"  

"Dead people.  In boxes.  I found them in the dumpster!"  It was as if he found a brontosaurus skeleton or something.  He was seriously pumped!  

"In the dumpster???  What in the hell are you talking about???"

"I went to Bob's to get something from the truck and thought I would throw out some stuff.  I took it to their dumpster and when I looked in, I saw these three cardboard boxes.  The were still sealed, so I was kind of curious what was in there."

I'm staring at him and all I can think of is, 'Oh my God, he's so bored that he's dumpster diving now.  This is very sad.'

"Justin, you took people's garbage out of the dumpster?"

"Vic, I HAD to know.  You know how I am."  

Yes, I do.  If he was a cat, he'd probably be dead by now from his crazy curiosity.

"I opened the boxes and there were dead people in there!  Someone threw out cremated remains.  They had never even opened up the boxes.  And there was information in there too.  Names and dates and photos."

"There were photos in the boxes?"  No one put photos in my father's box when we got his ashes back.  I felt a bit slighted.

"No.  The photos were in the dumpster under the boxes." 

"You went back in the dumpster to get the photos???  Are you kidding?"  The visual of him digging around in a dumpster was so odd.  He's a germaphobe!

"It all was right on top.  It's not like I was purposely looking through the dumpster for shit.  I didn't even have to get in."  

"Thank God.  That's disgusting.  Plus you aren't supposed to do stuff like that."  Handicapped man + dumpster diving = big no-no.  The doctor hadn't included that on the list of stuff he wasn't supposed to do.  It was pretty much a given.

So, I listened the whole story and he went out and got the boxes and the photos.  I admit that I was a little intrigued.  And saddened.  Three people lived on this earth, died, were mourned by their family/friends who had them cremated, and then some uncaring asshole tossed them in the garbage, along with personal photos of precious moments of those lives.  

Every pet that has passed since 2000 has been cremated and they all are in boxes on a shelf in my bedroom.  My father, as some of you may remember from last week, is in my daughter's room, busy waking her up in the middle of the night.  I keep the remains of those that I love close to me.  I can't even imagine spreading the ashes in a lovely place outside, let alone toss them in the dumpster.  Clearly, the person who threw these boxes out didn't really care about them.  They put them in a community dumpster with unwanted things.

"What are you going to do with these people," I asked.  

"I don't know.  I have to find out what you do with them."  I suggested that he call a funeral home and ask them what you could do.  You aren't allowed to bury pets in your yard, so there MUST be some sort of limitations about what you can do with human remains, right?

Days went by.  I forgot about the dead people.  

Then Hurricane Sandy hit and our area became a disaster.  We lost electricity for a few days and everything that was outside was tossed around.  Apparently Sandy was big on renovations and landscaping. 

She also enjoyed dumping everyone's garbage and recycling onto the lawns.  There were photos everywhere.  I came outside the next day to find my neighbors collecting photographs that were strewn all over the complex and joined in to help.

"Who are these people?  I don't recognize anyone.  Do you guys know who they are?"  I didn't see one familiar face.  I'm big on photographs so I was hoping that I could collect them and we could give them back to the person who probably thought that they had lost them forever.

When I got back inside, I told Justin about the photos and he looked a bit guilty.  "Those are the dead people."

"Oh my God!  Justin, are you kidding me??  You still have the dead people??!" I couldn't believe that he still hadn't done anything with them yet.  

"Yeah," he answered sheepishly.  "I kept forgetting to do something with them.  I'm still not sure who to ask and I've been really busy the past few days.  So, I've been driving them around."

I blinked and reiterated, "You're driving them around."  He was that desperate for company that he was hanging out with dead people?

"Yep."  I could hear his brain cranking, trying to think of something good to use as an excuse.  "Just think, if I didn't bring them home and drive them around all week, they probably would've been spread all over Bob's parking lot in the storm.  That's no way to be dead."

More blinking.  I do a lot of blinking at him when he says this kind of stuff.  I think that he's partially serious and partially going for some shock value.  It's all about doing really nutty crap in the most normal fashion possible.

"Get rid of them, Justin.  You're completely freaking me out.  Before you know it, you'll be Googling them, trying to find out more information about who they are.  Your new dead friends."

"I already did that.  I couldn't find anything."

Flash forward a week or so.  

I come home from work and there's the bouncy, happy lab running at me again.  "Guess what I did!"

"Brought home more dead people?"  That was sarcasm, kinda.  If he said yes, I would not have been surprised.

"No.  I got rid of them.  I ran into a cop at the gas station and asked him what I should do with them."  

Again, I"m intrigued.  And shocked.  "You asked a cop?!  And he didn't arrest you or have you carted away?  How did you approach this subject?"

"I just walked up and told him about my situation and how I found them in the dumpster and asked what I should do with them," he said very matter-of-a-factly.

"And?  What did he say?"

"He asked me to repeat myself and then he told me to hold on while he called someone to find out."

Personally, at this point, I would seriously consider driving away for fear that the police officer was going to contact the local psych hospital and they were going to send someone to get me.

"No one really seemed to know, so he suggested I scatter the ashes somewhere out of the way.  I went to the park and scattered them by the woods.  They're at peace now."  He seemed a bit peaceful himself.  I could tell that he felt better now that the people were somewhere proper.  

A few weeks ago I was searching for a box in the garage when I noticed a pile papers on the floor in the corner under a cart.  I stretched under and grabbed the pile and slid it out carefully.  In the midst of some old college papers were some photos.  The photos I had picked up on the lawn about a year ago.  The dead people.  I thought I had thrown them all out after I found out who they were.

I thought about the dumpster and how kind it was for Justin to respect the ashes.  He respected them more than the person who threw them out and was probably connected to them somehow.   As much as I made fun of him for driving dead people around, I think it's sweet.  It was a caring gesture.  

I'm sure I will tell Allison about this one day and she will have her own opinion about how cuckoo/normal she thinks it is.  But it has a good moral to the story.  Respect the dead.  Even when you don't know them.  Because every life is important.  Every life has purpose.  Respect the purpose.

Plus if you make fun of them, apparently they will screw with you.  In the middle of the pile of photos of the dead people was a photo of me and a dog and bird..... who are also now deceased.

I took my photo out and threw out the rest of the photos.  Then I walked back inside and put it back on the side of the refrigerator, where it's been hanging for the past seven years.  I can't remember when it stopped hanging there.  Wasn't it always there?

I have no idea how that photo was removed from the fridge and tucked in with photos of strangers on the floor in the corner of my garage.  I'm too freaked out to think about it.


Happy Halloween Everyone!  xoxo

Me and the Peanut after Pumpkin Picking
HEY........How did she get all the way up there?????
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

She Sees Dead People....

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to talk about spooky crap.  Dead people seem to fall into that category.

Before I go on, I have to do a little disclaimer here.  I am not a medium, psychic, clairvoyant, witch, or any other kind of person that connects with the deceased.  I have never actually seen a ghost before, because if I had seen one, I'd be in the local psychiatric hospital, sitting in a corner, terrified while ripping out my eyebrows.

I have, however, seen ghostly activities that scared the bajeezus out of me and left me either screaming or crying.  I'm a big sissy though, so what might be scary to me might be giggle-worthy to you.

So back to my topic.

I think my daughter sees my father.  And he's dead.  I'm not kidding about either of those statements.

When Allie was a baby she would look up at the ceiling or at a blank wall space and suddenly smile and giggle.  You could tell that she was watching something.  And whatever that something was, it was extremely entertaining.

The first time this happened, Justin and I both watched her and asked, "WHAT is she looking at?" We would squint and stick our heads right next hers to see things from her view, and there was nothing.

At least it looked like nothing to us.

After a few more episodes, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Well, holy shit.  It's my dad."

"What?!  What do you mean it's your dad??"  Justin looked around nervously, trying to see if there was something around us.

"I know my father. He's all about entertaining kids.  Remember Moheeken, Boheeken and Hobomeeken?  Anything for a laugh.  He's probably making goofy faces at us, or telling her some wackadoodle story about Rindacella and Her Three Sissty Uglers."  It seemed so obvious to me now.

These mysterious gigglefests continued until she was able to speak.  Then the wake up calls began.

Okay.  I'm totally speculating on this one.  Actually, my mother is the speculator.  I just think her speculation may have some merit to it.

Allie does not sleep through the night.  She has slept straight through maybe six times in her three little years.  It's torturous for me to have broken sleep (it hits the Bitch Button in my brain).  Justin can wake up, have a conversation about how to install a torque tube and why a super charger is important (these are car terms, for those of you who were starting to take it to a pervy place), and then roll over and be in Snoresville within two minutes.  AND he's cheerful in the morning.  It's disgusting.

I know.... that's something a jealous person would say....color me green.

After hearing me complain about this nightly interruption for a few weeks, one day my mother comes out with, "Where's your father?"

"Well, that's kinda beyond my realm of knowledge.  I'm assuming he's chatting with Saint Pete at the Pearly Gates.  You know what a gabber he was....." Forever a smart ass.

"Where are his ashes?  Are they still in that room?"  My mom is quite the interrogator and has no tolerance for silliness when she's presenting a point.

I should mention that Allie's room was our office before she was born.  We had two desks and computers and file cabinets and all sorts of stuff in there.  We also had my father's ashes in there.  They were in a bag, in a container, in a box and they used to sit on my desk.

When Justin, my sister, one of our friends and my mom did an Extreme Makeover on the room after Allie was born, Dad was put into a storage box along with a photo printer, some sentimental cards and a pile of jumbo paper clips.  The box has been shuffled around that room a bit.  It currently resides in the closet.

"Yes, the box is in Allie's room.  Dad's in the closet, I believe."  I like to talk about him like he's still a living being, in case you hadn't noticed.  We all seem to do that around here.

"Well, get rid of it.  That's probably what's keeping her awake.  Take your father to a beautiful place and spread his ashes.  It's not good to keep him in that box, especially in her room."  She said all of this very matter-of-a-factly.  Like she has heard of deceased people keeping babies awake quite often.  And like she's an expert on the proper care and the preferences of cremated remains.

Even scarier is that I'm kind of buying into the theory.  Especially after that whole thing with Allie  laughing at the ceiling and stuff during the first year of her life.  I can see my father getting bored and waking her up to play now.  

Unfortunately for Dad, she's at a stage where she's quite fearful of anything or anyone she doesn't understand or know well.  So, I imagine he's freaking her out a little bit.

My dad was awesomely nuts, so if she is seeing him, I hope she starts warming up to him and enjoying the wackiness.  His initials were JPC and he would tell people they stood for Just Partly Crazy, which was quite accurate.

I still haven't done anything with my Dad.  I had wanted to take him to Aruba when I went on my honeymoon, but I was very sick and didn't pack him.  And I forgot to consult with my siblings about it first.  So, he never made it back there.  He really liked Aruba.

I'm convinced that when the moment is right, I'll know exactly what to do.  Then I can ask my sibs and see what they think.  To be honest, I'm kind of just waiting it out to see if he tells Allie what he wants me to do with him.

How cool would that be???

If it happens, you'll be the fifth to know.  Don't be offended.  I've got four other people to contact.  I have two brothers, one sister and Theresa Caputo from the Long Island Medium to call first.  I'm sure you understand.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Invasion of the Germs

I imagine that if you haven't been sick during the past month, you know someone who has been ill during that time.  Every year, in September, I get a cold.  And the same stupidity plays out repeatedly.

The Ten Steps of Coping With Vic Sickness
  1. Start feeling crappy and get annoyed ("I don't have time to be sick")
  2. Deny crappiness and claim the sneezes and snot are just a result of seasonal allergies
  3. Begin taking Claritin
  4. Continue denial in hopes that if you keep telling yourself it's allergies, it WILL be just that
  5. Buy different allergy medication and some other cold medication "just in case"
  6. Get really sick and listen to people tell you how you should be resting.  Ignore them.  You don't have time to be sick, remember?
  7. Blame the now-confirmed sickness on jinxing yourself during step 5 by buying that "just-in-case cold medicine"
  8. Become one with the couch and admit "I think I might be sick".  
  9. Finally take care of yourself and get better.  This is the one intelligent step.
  10. Realize that somewhere in the midst of the denial around number 4, you were kissing and hugging your family and now you've passed it on to them and they are miserable
Optional Step 11) After everyone gets better, you get sick AGAIN, but this time you blame your family instead of allergies.  Do not take responsibility!  Ever.

So, I'm at step 11 right now.  And I'm totally annoyed, which puts me back at Step 1.  The second time around the steps are modified. (Yes, there are more.  I can make up as many as I want, you know.)
  1. Start feeling crappy AGAIN and get annoyed. ("Really?? This came full circle??") Blame everyone from Step 10 above and have a reason why they are probably the host of this illness
  2. Skip the whole allergy rigmarole and immediately start bitching about how you shouldn't have been hugging and kissing people because now THEY gave you the cold again
  3. Buy multiple kinds of medication.  Sinus, Sinus and Cold, Cold and Flu, decongestants, expectorants, throat sprays, sore throat syrup, cough lozenges, and every syrup that has "Robitussin" on the packaging.
  4. After being ill for another day, go back out and buy ALL of the above shit again, but this time purchase the NIGHTTIME version.
  5. Be very particular dispensing medication, as you learned how this could go horribly wrong on your wedding day if you start medicating yourself all willy-nilly out of desperation.
  6. Sleep.  Anywhere.  You're sick and people will understand.
  7. Don't let people near you "because I'm really sick." (Oh, NOW you're careful!)
  8. Be pathetic.  Especially around those who potentially could have given the cold back to you.  If they are annoying to you because of some other reason, feel free to add extra guilt.
  9. Feel better, but keep the pathetic thing going.  Sympathy helps.
  10. Start diagnosing everyone around you who looks ill or tells you they think they have allergies.  "Oh, no!  You're SICK.  You should go home and take something and rest!" because clearly you are better at bossing people around than you are at listening to your own advice. (Stubborn much?)
I can appreciate those over the counter medications.  I respect them after overdosing on multiple kinds on my wedding day (my poor sister-in-law was summoning Saints to try to help me because there was really nothing else to do.  Only a Holy entity was going to fix that shit.)  

And I praise them after being seriously ill and pregnant and unable to take anything other  than Tylenol (because it's smart to go to a huge casino 3 weeks before giving birth....there's no germs there!  Who would ever guess I would become so ill I had to sleep in a chair? Casinos are so sanitary!  UGH!)

Allie is still coughing and it breaks my heart every time she has congested coughing spells.  Thank God for Hylands cough syrup.  The homeopathic stuff seems to work quite well and she doesn't clamp her hands over her mouth every time we give it to her, so it mustn't taste so bad either.  

She's such a little trooper.  Even feeling poorly, she still has the energy to play or go to the park.  I hope she continues to be a little BA (bad ass) into her adulthood.  Although I would prefer that she be a RBA (realistic bad ass) and recognize the symptoms, identify the cause, and treat until recovered, instead of being a SA (stubborn ass) like her mother.

I wish you all good health and I'll be back soon.  I have lots to tell.  There was traveling, along with  birthday festivities, while I was gone.  I may have an interesting little ditty to tell somewhere in there.

May the force of immunity be with you!

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