Monday, January 19, 2015

What's Black and Scrubs Your Back?

Martin Loofa.
[timely, no?]

So I have a new job.  More on that later.

The real excitement is depression.  Let me rephrase that... two solid months of depression.  Let me embellish. My dear wife has gone through two solid months of depression. Folks with bipolar disorder tend to swing from manic to depressed (Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix). Two months of depression is really rather a lot. For anyone. In fact, it's unprecedented here.  After a brief conversation with the psychiatrist, it was time to take a trip to....


Yes, the Happy Place<tm>. Otherwise known as The Booby Hatch. Funny Farm. Loony Bin. Madhouse. Laughing Academy. Etc.  I'm kinda shocked at all the synonyms for this. I'm kinda unhappy too, as I like to refer to our house as The Madhouse.

It's not what you think it is.  Or maybe it is, depending on what you think.  Over the years, there have been a few trips there, little with any real comedy potential.  Generally, things are pretty calm. This time we hit the jackpot.

There are many units there, for people with different disorders and capabilities. This one seemed fairly nice.  I was allowed two one-hour visitations per day (this would have worked better when I was unemployed, not that I'm nostalgic or anything). When I got there, I was introduced to Nina, a very nice girl. Ten minutes later, Nina handed us a note. It said we were a great couple and that Jesus loved us. We should play the lottery precisely because Jesus loves us.


Then there was Sara, an eighty year old lady with one of those diseases that makes you shake. She would get so angry at her hands for shaking that she'd yell horrible things at them. Anatomically impossible things. As a result, she scared the poop out of most people (except for my wife, of course). There was also Julio, the Manic Hispanic. Julio is a great kid but apparently under-medicated. They were watching DVDs and Julio was reciting the lines along with the characters. Loudly.  Mania and noise have a negative effect on me so we moved to the next room.

In the next room, we were serenaded by Vicky the Snorer.  We'd get a word or two out and then [SNORE] and a few more words [SNORE]. A nurse interrupted her slumber to let her know that this was not good behavior. She agreed and quickly resumed snoring.

Nina came back and asked if we had read the letter.  Apparently Nina had written a letter to everybody, including the staff and visitors, about Jesus.  I think most of them knew already, so it got to be annoying.  I told my wife that they had better explain that this was not acceptable before someone with less understanding than me (really?) popped her in the nose.

Today's visit started with Nina asking if she could sit with me until my wife returned. With all of the goodness I could muster, I said yes.  She actually got an entire sentence out before she mentioned Jesus. If we weren't at the Happy Place<tm>, I would have brought out my inner Satan. She was good enough to leave when my wife came back.

Shortly before I arrived, Nina flipped out on her group, which upset everyone. I suspect they finally decided to send her to the Jesus Ward.  A further person debated me on how great a president Obama is. I had to keep reminding myself to behave. Of course she was arguing this point - the lady was in the mental ward.

If you're still following this, you probably have one question: how did they allow me to leave?
No, the other question: how is my wife.

Thanks for asking - she's pretty good, all things considered.


You're probably asking yourself what's been going on at the house while Mom's in the hospital.
Glad you asked.

The real loony bin is the house.  The pets have taken full advantage of the situation. Marshall has taken to waking me at obscene hours of the morning to go outside. Mind you, this only happens when Mommy goes away. So far he's gotten me up at 5, 3 and 7 on alternating days. Here I am, all set to sleep late (job starts at 8am) and the little monster decides to play Fun with Daddy.

I thought I got away with ignoring him the first time but he showed me: he got into something and had diarrhea. The other times were just for fun.  Ever have to keep watch on a dog at 3am, so he doesn't run around the side of the house and bark? In the freezing cold? Naked?

As I mentioned a while back, the cat is diabetic, so he needs insulin shots. Unfortunately his daddy doesn't do needles, so a brave family member stops by to Dart the Cat. Unfortunately the brave family member lost my keys, so the cat missed a day or two. As a result, he's been rewarding me by peeing all over the house. Naturally I found this out the hard way. We actually have puppy pee pads two feet from his litter box because he likes going there for some reason. This is by his Southern Litter Box. The Northern Litter Box is near the kitchen. He avoids that one by peeing on the rug near the sink, which is how I discovered there was a problem. Ever do dishes and wonder if you spilled water, only to discover that it wasn't water? Yeah, that.

Marshall won't eat his food when nobody's home, although he will dive right for cat food, so I know he's not sick. He also goes Fishing for Treasure in the Cat Box, a game nobody wants to watch. To change things up, he 'helped' me clean the rug yesterday. I had to clean the rug because every time I clean the rug, he magically makes tissues appear, then shreds them all over the rug.  So he helped me clean by continually sticking his nose in the bag I used for picking up the detritus from the last time he shredded. He really seemed to enjoy that bag. After I got home later that evening, he had gotten into my work bag and consumed three fruit bars, shredding the silver wrappers all over the rug. Mind you, there was not a single crumb of fruit bar - only wrapper.


On the way to the Happy Place<tm>, I was ordered to stop at KMart and pick up a few games and puzzles for the folks.  Happy to contribute, I unhappily stopped at KMart. Unhappily because KMart is a hell hole. Every time I go there, there are unbelievable lines at the cashier. Apparently putting more than one or two cashiers at registers physically hurts management, so they make sure there aren't enough cashiers at any single time.

The parking lot had so few cars in it, I wondered if they were even open. After locating everything I was ordered to procure (coloring books are with office supplies and puzzles are with toys), I made my way to pay for them, with just enough time to get to the hospital.

Heh heh heh.
I had forgotten where I was.

There were exactly two lanes open, one of which had customers bailing out. The register must have started spitting out lungs or bullets or whatever KMart registers spit out (anything but register tape or change). People were fleeing the aisle with arms full of boxes and bags.

I was in the other lane, which had inexplicably ground to a halt, for no apparent reason.  Ah, I thought to myself.. I'm at KMart. This is precisely why I don't go there, not even with my wife.  Several millenia later, there was only one person in front of me. By this point, I had given up on seeing my wife on time.  The lady in front of me had one tiny little box (of fiber bars, don't ask), so this was a slam dunk.

Not so fast, Coloring Book Boy.

The register had stopped spitting out register tape, so the guy allegedly operating the register called a halt to operations (how could one tell?) and threaded the paper into the machine.  Or rather, he tried to thread the tape through the machine. He seemed to be a fairly competent cashier, which should have made me suspicious in the first place, so I figured I was in the right line for once. However, the simple act of putting new paper in the register was obviously beyond his meager capabilities. He kept jamming it in, folding it, ripping it and completely failing to get the paper through the slot.  I suggested if perhaps he hit it, REALLY HARD, that might help.  After a few more failed tries, I told him that I was going to hit it REALLY HARD. I even reached out to help him.

A small cheer went through the line as the cashier finally succeeded in putting more paper in the blasted machine. Fiber Lady paid with some sort of loyalty card and, as a result, somehow wound up getting fourteen receipts (I was terrified the paper would run out again) AND a whole lot of change that required meticulous counting out.

Sweaty and nervous, I stepped up to the plate (my only sports metaphor for the year). Register D00d got me checked out in record time, although he bagged stuff up and never exactly told me how much I owed. Having eventually gotten that out of the way, I ran to the car and took off.

When I got to the hospital, I noticed something was missing. Yes, Register D00d had somehow managed to keep one of the coloring books for himself and I somehow managed to not notice it til an hour later. WHY DID I EVER GO TO KMART?

So yeah, I have a new job.
I'll tell you about it next time.

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