Widowmaker: The Horror

Some people have bad hair days. Thus far, I’ve been having a bad hair lifetime. We’ve been at odds for over thirty years now, with my hair being full of cow licks yet devoid of body, and me punishing it for just being itself. It has survived being permed, colored, and put into ponytails of all sizes and configurations. As my mom would say, “fried, dyed, up and tied.” My hair even survived middle school mall bangs. That the picture is from DANCE team, not cheerleading. I will admit to being the co-captain but will point out that I wanted to dance to Prince and not Vanilla Ice. We spelled out “ICE” with our pompoms at the end. Shoot me in the face.

Anyway, I can understand why my hair would hold a little ill will toward me. It has devoted its life to burning out vacuum cleaners and clogging shower drains, when not sticking to the insides of my shirts and tickling me. When shopping for vacuums, I refer to my hair as The Widowmaker. Last night, it went too far.

I had already cleaned out the part of the shower drain that I could reach, and the shower was still draining slowly. I emptied a bottle of Drano into it with no luck. In a moment of insanity, I reached out of the shower and grabbed the plunger. This accomplished nothing, aside from shoving the clog further into the pipes and filling the water pooled at my ankles with chunks of tried rubber and microscopic, mentally horrifying fecal matter.

“What have I done? I might as well have just stuck my feet in the toilet.” HORROR.

So, I stepped out of the shower (washing the lower half of my legs AFTER stepping out of The Horror, as if that would help) and went to Home Depot to seek out Red Devil Lye.

I strongly suspect that Red Devil is illegal or out of business, because it’s hard to find now. Instead, I got Drano “Kitchen Crystals,” which I took for a good substitute because they come in a metal can which yells “DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING.” A good life strategy in general, especially if you’ve just swallowed lye and value your esophagus.

When the kitchen crystals didn’t work after I poured them into the regular drain, I took off the cover to the overflow trap and poured some in there. Toxic vapors? Yes. Draining tub? No.

So, I went to the ghetto hardware store close to my house and got a hand crank snake, per Google. While this gave me a good workout and allowed me to stick my hands into water swimming with lye, it only produced one small bit of hair. One pipe hasn’t produced this much frustration since Baby Jessica. Before I called a plumber, I’d try one more thing. Liquid Fire.

This was what the salesman tried to sell me the FIRST time I went to the hardware store, but I wanted to try the snake because the bottle of Liquid Fire kind of scared the shit out of me. You can pour an entire can of Kitchen Crystals in a tub and (apparently) wade around in it. The Liquid Fire bottle pretty much said that my legs would be reduced to oozing stumps the very millisecond they came in contact with Liquid Fire. The warnings read like the Happy Fun Ball commercial from SNL. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT LIQUID FIRE. DO NOT TAUNT LIQUID FIRE.

It took two rounds, but the Liquid Fire eventually cleared the clog. I thoroughly cleaned the shower, giving it an extra spray of bleach, just to ease my mind about the whole “might as well stick my foot in the toilet” thing.

Side bar: Liquid Fire AND Kitchen Crystals smell like perm solution, which should definitely make you never want to get a perm. If nothing else, perming will make your hair angry. You do NOT want to make your hair angry. Trust me on this.

A Nice, Soft Place to Die

There are some neighborhoods where, if one lets one’s lawn get a little out of control, a neighborhood association of some sort comes to put down the proverbial smack. In other neighborhoods, people just wait for Metro to write you a citation (this has happened to a friend). In my neighborhood, one knows that one’s lawn is getting out of control when the neighborhood crackheads start knocking on the door to offer their services. Trust me, you don’t want to hire a crackhead. They’re unreliable and they neglect the trim.

In truth, it had been time for me to mow the yard for a few weeks, but the weeds that had sprung up had the most lovely purple flowers. My yard looked like a field from the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie. But the crackheads had begun to arrive and the lawn really was getting to a length that may have seemed like an invite to mice, so I broke out the mower yesterday.

I had mowed about eight feet, looking about a foot in front of the mower, when I came about two feet from mowing into a dead cat. It was at the very edge of the yard, hiding in the 10-inch-high flowers. I let out a loud gasp, regrouped, then immediately Twittered about it. Priorities. I think this was The Cat Formerly Known As Cat I’d See In My Back Yard. Oh well, buddy. Those cars really DO come flying around that curve, don’t they?

I realized later that Murphy has a perfect view of The Body from his perch at the big picture window in the living room. I wonder if he is now aware of his own mortality, or if he thinks The Body is just asleep, or if he notices The Body at all. Then again, when The Body was The Cat, it would come up to the office window and yowl to taunt Murphy. Maybe he knows more about how The Cat became The Body than he’d like to let on. If there is a way to kill another cat without actually leaving the house, I’m pretty sure Murphy would have mastered it. Note to self: do not piss Murphy off.

Making mother nature your bitch, Part 1

As many of you may recall, I promised a while back to give you a full report on my relationship with my new push reel mower. Dad warned me that I would find such a mower to be “….uh….a good workout….let me know how THAT goes.” Luckily, my friend Google was right: modern push reel mowers really ARE pretty easy to push. It’s pretty much only a workout if I rake afterward, which I tend to do because I haven’t gotten the bag attachment yet. I’m not sure a bag attachment would be any good unless the grass is wet, cause it tends to just fly out to the sides a la Bugs Bunny.

I like him, though. Well, as much as I’m capable of liking an instrument of summer torture. I can get down in the ditches and funky spots (which are about 80% of the yard) without worrying about a rock flying up in my eye or slipping on the grass and chopping off one or both of my feet. The push reel also makes a rather amusing Edward Scissorhands noise.

My neighbors seem to be a tad bewildered by this newest of weird-ass behaviors. One teenager asked me, “is that cutting your grass?” “Well, it better be! Otherwise I’m out here pushing it around for nothing!”

There’s a spot in the backyard that’s under a tree and filled with clover (and rocks) instead of grass. Rather than continue to mow this, I will be establishing a cemetery in the back yard. Some day soon, I’m going to use my new jigsaw (purchased at a yard sale for a whopping 4 bucks) to cut out some headstone shapes and then have a PWOT party. Paint Your Own Tombstone, that is. There goes the neighborhood!

In other news, dad’s most recent medical update email says that his brain cancer is doing well, but they’ve now also found cancer in his liver. Sister and I have been instructed to wait until after Christmas to book place tickets, since Christmas day is the last day that the cruise tickets will be refundable “if anything happens.”