Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Poop House Chronicles (Part Nine): A Thin Line Between Pity and Disgust

I'd been going about my business with the poop house family for a couple of weeks at this point. I know that it's difficult to comprehend that all of this disgusting, revolting information can occupy such a small amount of time, but I assure you that's the case.

I mentioned in the last post that during this time I suffered from nightmares about the poop house, and in general didn't sleep very well. I was about to see things which would add to those troubles.

Seasonally, at this point in the story, we're in roughly early- to mid-autumn. In the Midwest, that generally means that it can still get up in the upper 90's during the day, sudden showers can crop up out of nowhere, the humidity makes life unbearably sticky and gross, and it's possible to have frost on your car when you wake up in the morning. All of these factors combine with other things which in all are supposed to comprise the appeal of life in the Midwest. Personally, despite spending the overwhelming portion of my life here in the North American Midwest, I still don't see the appeal, and if it weren't for the ties of friends and family, I don't think I'd have anything to do with the place. I mean I like seasons and everything, but the Midwest finds new and interesting ways to make the best parts of the best seasons totally suck.

So one sweltering day, I had a mid afternoon cancellation. This meant that if I went to the poop house a little earlier than normal, I could be done for the day. Normally people would look at finishing a work day early as a good thing... Since the poop house stood in my way, I was not one of the normal people. I knew that in order to finish early I would have to ruin my day early by going to the poop house, and that by going to the poop house earlier than they typically expected me, I would be surprising them. (And not in a good way.) In all likelihood, they would not have lifted a finger to work on anything because they weren't expecting me until later.

I went to my office. I chatted up one of my friends who knew my caseload while I was there.

"So the 'Waltons' [name changed] canceled on me."

"Oh! That's great! There's no coverage today. You want to go get a drink? I finish at 6:30... We can go then."

"No can do."

"Why not? You just said that you had a cancellation. Last time I checked, that means that you finish early since there's no coverage on the board."

"Well, you see, I always go to see the poop house family last."


"And since they're not expecting me until after that appointment is supposed to be over, if I show up now, that place is going to be extra gross."

"Yeah, extra gross poop house means you'll probably have to stay there longer than usual. And that equals extra-strength heebie jeebies, and an extra long shower, it's almost more trouble than it's worth."

"If you ask me, that whole case is more trouble than it's worth. They should just put the kid into a permanent placement and be done with it. The parents are NEVER going to change."

"Well, if you're out of the shower by 8 give me a call and we'll go get that drink."

"Will do."

I chatted up a few other people around the office, putting off the inevitable, giving them time to get something done, even though I knew it wouldn't happen.

Sometime between 5:30 and 6, I ran out of people to talk to, and procrastinate with, and so I went begrudgingly on my way to the poop house. And on the ten minute drive from my office to that festering sore of a residence, I shuddered at what I was likely to encounter, and I cursed to myself, and my upper lip curled in an unpleasant snarl that was becoming a victim in the form of an entirely involuntary facial tic.

I pulled up to the curb. I tried to control the snarl, and the cursing. I sat in my driver's seat, gripped the steering wheel in my fists and violently shook back and forth. I then reached back into the bag in the back seat and changed into the poop shoes while muttering incoherently something to the tune of, "...Can't believe this... fucking disgusting... nobody is paid enough for this... fuck... if one of those fucking little dogs touches me... son of a bitch... living in poop... this is hell... I'm in hell... need to advocate human sterilization... Fuck."

I walked up to the front porch and noticed that some of Mitch's alley-way finds hadn't made it to the trash, but to the top of the porch heap of garbage. Not quite the same thing. I knocked and the dogs began to shrilly bark. Mitch opened the door a crack, looked surprised, and told me that he was going to put the dogs away in the bathroom before I came in.

"Fine. Do it."

A few minutes later Mitch emerged, coming out onto the porch rather than letting me into the house.

"You're early."

"Yeah, I am. But your goals were the same no matter what time I was going to come and check on the progress."

"Well, we're not exactly done yet."

"Would you be done by the time I normally show up? Think carefully about how you answer."


"Probably? When did you get started working on the stuff we talked about?"

"Well... uhh... you see..."

"Let me guess, you haven't even started."

"Well, uhh, kinda."

"Kinda? You 'kinda' started to clean up the mess? You 'kinda' picked up poop? You 'kinda' did the dishes? You 'kinda' did laundry? You 'kinda' got rid of all the stuff you picked up in the alley? You 'kinda' gave Millie a bath? Stop me when I hit something that you 'kinda' did."

"Well, we didn't do any of that."

"None of it?"

"Well, we were going to do it before you got here, but you're early."

"That wasn't a wise answer Mitch. You just told me that at the very most the goals I've set for you would take up less than two hours of your day, because you haven't started, and I'm roughly two hours early. That's not good for two reasons. One, you're not working at a full time job, so you have AT LEAST EIGHT workable hours per day, and yet you're not managing to work here for even two. And I'm betting it's not the commute that's stopping you. And two, if you're not working to accomplish the goals I set until you know I'm coming over soon, that means that you're not spending the right amount of time on them, which means that you're not cleaning appropriately, and that means I'm going to have to look harder at what is getting done, and how it's getting done... There are more things wrong, but those are the biggies!"

"Well, uhh..."

"Mitch, why haven't you started? Why is there poop on the floor? Why are there dishes in the sink?"

"Well, that's the thing. We're out of toilet paper. I don't have any way to pick up the poop."

"Well, usually when I run out of something necessary like that, the solution is to go and get some."

"Well, Martha has the money, and she's at work... And we don't even have bus fare to get out to see her."

"You have no money and no toilet paper in the house?"


"Ok, that's something that you need to take up with your wife. It's absolutely unacceptable that if you have money between the two of you that at least some of it should be left here, because taking care of kids costs money, and you're going to run into expenses."

"Yeah... I guess you're right."

"I know I'm right. So what I'm going to suggest is that for right now, you pick up some of those old newspaper ads and use that to pick up the poop, because it can't stay here on the floor."

"Oh, I hadn't thought of that."

"Ok, so let's get going on that."

As Mitch went through the house using newspapers which should have been thrown out months or years ago to pick up poop deposited days or hours ago, little Millie came bounding out of her room to see what was going on. She was filthy, but that took a backseat to the first thing that I noticed, which was the angry red rash which covered the vast majority of her exposed arms and legs. I then noticed the swelling in her face. I'd like to say that the facial swelling was noticed first, but due to her normal level of pudginess, it took me a moment to realize that this was well above and beyond her normal look.

"Mitch! What's going on here?"


"Mitch, Millie is covered in a rash, and her face is REALLY swollen. Don't tell me that you didn't notice!"

"Oh, that. Well, Martha took her to the doctor, and he said that it's a heat rash and swollen tonsils. She's got medicine in the fridge."

At this point Millie began screaming that she wanted more of the medicine. Mitch responded by screaming back that she couldn't have any more until later.

Millie became enraged at being told no once again. She ran over to the disgusting rusty box that they called a fridge, and tried to pull it open. Mitch blocked her and prevented her from opening the fridge. This only pushed her further over the edge. At which point she turned suddenly and felt that her best course of action was to sucker-punch me in the stomach.

The wind knocked out of me, and aghast at that response, I could not speak. I inhaled sharply trying to recover my breath... My body's natural response to a need for air was met with a considerable problem when the only air to inhale was so foul and nauseating as that which I was being forced to inhale. My eyes began to water, and the chunks rose in my throat. Meanwhile Mitch grabbed Millie by the upper arm and pulled her into her bedroom. He closed the door behind her after casting her solidly into the room in a forceful but not abusive way. Millie audibly screamed and cried in her room for the next several minutes but did not reappear.

Once I was able to regain my breath, choke back the vomit, and blink away the natural eye-watering response to the foulness, I said something briefly to Mitch about his response to the outburst. The exact words escape me.

As Millie continued her temper tantrum in her bedroom, I looked around and noticed that the roach problem was significantly worse than it had been lately.

"Mitch, I noticed that your roach problem seems to be getting worse, what's going on there?"

"Well, they usually get worse this time of year, but they are pretty bad right now."

"And did you guys go out and get any spray like I suggested?"

"No. We couldn't afford it."

"Ok. When does Martha get paid again?"

"Not until next Friday."

"Ok... Well, I really think we need to get something going before then... Hmmm."

"Well we don't have the money for toilet paper right now, so we REALLY don't have the money for bug spray."

At roughly this point in the conversation little Millie came out of her bedroom calm as ever, as if the previous incident involving her fists and my stomach had never happened. I admit that part of me was pissed off at getting physically assaulted by a five year old, but pity took over when I looked at her swollen face and the horrid rash covering the vast majority of her body. Kids lash out when they don't feel good in any way... It happens.

Little Millie then asked Mitch for a sandwich.

"I can't make you a sandwich."

"Why not?"

"We don't have any bread, and I don't have any money to go get some."

My heart broke.

"Mitch, you don't have any toilet paper, bug spray, or bread, and you don't have any money whatsoever?"

"Nope. Martha might have a few bucks, but we've got to make that last until her next check."

I thought for a moment. I knew very well the idea of not having the money to go and get necessities. I knew what it meant to have to make it work with what you've got, but as someone who typically planned for things like toilet paper, I knew that hunger often took a back seat to being able to wipe your ass. But in the time I'd known that feeling, I never had a child I had to support. It wasn't fair that she couldn't have a sandwich and had no toilet paper. It wasn't fair that she had to live in this roach motel because her parents were spending their money on god only knows what instead of getting bug spray.

"I tell you what, Mitch, get started on your chore list. I will be back in a little bit and I want to see some progress."

I let myself out as Millie pleaded with Mitch for a sandwich and he repeatedly told her that he couldn't make it happen.

I went to a local market and picked up toilet paper, bread, and bug spray. I paid for it out of my own pocket, and never submitted the receipt to the office for reimbursement, because it was within my power to do $7.64 worth of charity that day. I then drove back to the poop house and walked up to the door. I knocked and Mitch and Millie came out to the porch.

"Mitch, I went and I got you enough bread and toilet paper to get you through, and a can of bug spray because you need it."

Millie looked at me as though I were the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy all rolled into one.

"You bought us bread?"

"Yeah, I did... You said you wanted a sandwich, didn't you?"

"I DID!"

"Well, now you can have one."

"But you got us toilet paper, too?"



Mitch thanked me, and I told him that he could thank me more effectively by going back into that house and actually spending some time on the chores he knew he needed to do.

I turned and left, driving to see Martha at work.

I walked into the pizza shop, and shook my head in disbelief at the fact that they let her work there. I then addressed her as she stood at the front register.

"Hey, Martha."


"I was just over at your house. I saw Millie and talked to Mitch. He said that you took her to the doctor for that rash and the swelling in her face."

"Yeah, it's a bad heat rash, and the doctor had to run some tests to figure out what is going on with her face."

"What do you mean?"

"He thinks she might have lymphatic cancer or something... Said he'd know more in a couple of days."

"Oh my god!"

"Yeah, my aunt died of lymphatic cancer... so there's a chance."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"It could be nothing, that's why he gave us the antibiotics."

"Ok, well, be sure to keep me updated about that! But the other thing I wanted to discuss with you is the fact that you're the one working and you're leaving Millie with Mitch, and he's got no money to buy anything as needs arise."

"I don't have any money either. All I've got are the bus tokens I got from Dave."

"And you don't get paid until Friday?"

"Nope... We're due to go to the food bank though, so we should be fine."

"Ok, well, if that doesn't go as planned, let me know, or have Mitch let me know... We'll figure something out."


I couldn't believe it. We had enough horrible shit to deal with... Adding cancer to the mix was not anticipated.

I left Martha's pizza shop, and called Dave to let him know what was going on medically. He showed a marginal amount of concern, but didn't seem to get too worked up. I, on the other hand, was plenty worked up for the both of us. I just had to wait to see how it all played out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In case you care:

I know a lot of you are just coming around for poop house posts, but in the interest of keeping you informed, I will let you know a couple of things:

  1. First off, my computer is still being a huge bitch. This usually means that I am relegated to typing up the poop house posts on the meager time that it allots to me before randomly deciding that it needs a rest and spontaneously shuts down... It makes things difficult.
  2. Secondly, my time is now occupied by a crappy retail job that I took in the interest of paying bills until I can find real work... Who knows how long that will be. This means that I'm spending a minimum of 30-40 hours a week doing swing shifts, and not sitting on my computer being awesome/unemployed. This also adds to the delay.
  3. And finally, in a move totally out of character for me, I have gotten sick. I currently have a really nasty cold, and in addition to not being able to breathe out of my nose, all I want to do is sleep. I might have to take the Admiral's cure, (known as "whiskey-ing it out of the system,") which is to drink enough alcohol to kill any and all germies coursing through my bloodstream. I have a feeling I might be able to use this method effectively.
Furthermore, I have this weekend off, but I hope to be spending it tailgating at the Ohio State- Michigan game... This will be a prime opportunity to continue the whiskey-it-out method if I haven't already recovered somewhat.

That's all for now. More poop house to come, and trust me when I tell you that things will get REALLY REALLY NASTY within the next few posts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Poop House Chronicles (Part Eight): Let's get ready to RRRRRRUUUUUUMMMMMBBBBLLLLLLLLLE!!!!

(My computer is still acting up, so I apologize for the delay on this and some future posts.)

The poop house haunted me, both when I was awake, and in my nightmares.

When awake, I fitfully itched and scratched, compulsively cleaned things I already knew to be clean, compulsively showered multiple times per day, did laundry to a point which would be considered highly wasteful by energy and water conservation standards, and generally dreaded my next foray into hell.

When asleep, I was tormented by the nightmarish number of cats, dogs, and cockroaches. Sleeping sucked because it was seldom restful sleep, and usually I was at the mercy of all the living creatures in the poop house, which generally meant that I dreamed of having dogs biting at my ankles, cats hissing at me from shelves, and cockroaches surrounding me no matter where I turned... And of course the smell. Yes, even in my nightmares the smell was thick and utterly rank.

Normally, Lizzle is pretty affable most of the time. Hell 95% of the time Lizzle is downright likable to most people with any intelligence. (Admittedly Lizzle is less likable to those who posess IQ scores on the lower end of the spectrum, because she derives intense pleasure from mocking many of them with words that are too big for them to comprehend... And despite the lack of intelligence and vocabulary, they somehow manage to pick up on tones of derision, ridicule and mockery.) Lizzle really tries not to make fun of the dummies, but so many of them just beg for it! And like any good realist, Lizzle admits that there are always bad days here and there for anyone, and she's not going to pretend that she's the least bit likable when things are bad, or when she has cramps. But once the poop house came along, Lizzle started losing sleep. Sleep-deprived Lizzle is a different beast altogether. Sleep-deprived Lizzle tries to be nice, but generally operates on a really short fuse, and once that fuse is lit, it's spent for the day, until a little bit of fitful sleep essentially hits the reset button. Lizzle knows that parenthood robs a person of countless hours of sleep, but those hours are balanced out by the mellowing effects of affection for the offspring, rendering most parents pretty tolerable, if not likable. But the sleep-deprived Lizzle has no children. No pets. No nothing. Instead sleep-deprived Lizzle had the poop house, and needless to say, there was NO affection WHATSOEVER for the poop house. In point of fact, Lizzle had nothing but contempt, loathing, and hate for the poop house... And all involved with putting her there and keeping her there.

Lizzle is tired of referring to herself in the third person.

I admit that I was a little coarse and probably difficult to be around at this point in time. Things were not looking as though they were going to improve any time soon though, so my real friends tried to offset my general aire of unpleasantness by asking me to recount my daily interaction with the poop house family. I don't know if they thought it would be cathartic for me to just vent and that I would be more pleasant once it was out, or if they just had a really morbid curiosity about everything, or if they figured that since they had to suffer my presence, they might as well get the latest chapter of the horror story, but whatever the hypothesis, whatever the reasoning, no matter how many people I told, I didn't feel any better about it. Never. I did get to a point where I was able to laugh about the sheer foulness and and misery of my daily visits to the poop house, but only as a means of mental self preservation... I never genuinely felt any better about it, and to this day it still intensely bothers me. The laughter and joking merely made others more comfortable around me.

So I went back the next day.

Again as I sat at the curb, changing into poop shoes, I cursed under my breath. I then cursed at normal volume because the subtle cursing didn't make me feel any better. I turned my gaze to the poop house, noticing a grocery cart in the front yard that hadn't been there before. Knowing that there wasn't anything more than a run-down bodega, much less a full-on grocery store, within a mile of this shit hole, I had the distinct feeling that the cart had not been idly dumped by someone traveling to their own home, but rather that it had some significance to play in this visit. As it turned out, I was right.

As I choked on the foul air standing and knocking on the front door, I listened to the dogs barking. Mitch took his sweet time doing whatever he was doing inside, I assume he was getting up from his late afternoon nap in front of the television... Because he certainly wasn't cleaning. He opened the inside door, and as he reached to open the screen door, the five small dogs barked and rampaged down at his feet, and spilled out onto the porch the instant the door was open. Contrary to the instincts that you and I have, they were not out to make a grand escape. Rather, they snarled at my feet and one of them chomped at my pant leg. While I'm not one to advocate violence against animals, I am also not one to tolerate being bitten, especially when the offending animal has been living in filth and has god only knows what growing in and on it. I fought the urge to kick the little bastard off my ankle and merely shook him off, and suggested that Mitch store the animals somewhere other than little Millie's room for the duration of my visit. This would become a part of our daily routine.

As he collected the little beasts one by one and shoved them back in the bathroom, I pulled up my pant leg to make sure that my skin was still 100% intact. Once the process of containing the dogs was complete, he opened the screen door and let me in. Instantly I knew two things: 1) Mitch had DEFINITELY not been cleaning prior to my arrival, and 2) I knew I was right about that shopping cart. As I looked around, I saw enough dung on the floor that if I hadn't known better would have made me think that I hadn't been there just one day earlier. I looked around without moving more than three steps beyond the front door and could count more than a dozen piles of crap.



"Mitch, I'm still within spitting distance of your front door and I can see at least a dozen piles of poop on the floor... That's your number one job on the chore list, so what on earth have you been doing? Because picking up poop ain't it."

"Well, uh, you see..."

That aforementioned short fuse had been lit. I was now a ticking time bomb.

"And now that I'm looking around to see more than just poop... What is all this stuff?"

"Well, uh, you see, that's what I was doing."

"I don't follow."

"Well, I was out earlier walking down the alley, and I saw this computer, and then I saw this box of stuff, and then I saw this..."

He carried on, indicating all of the treasures he'd found on his trek down the alley. My inner rage was about to boil over, and so I focused my efforts on controlling that, rather than listening to the whole list.

"MITCH. STOP. You're telling me that despite the fact that you have a total of nineteen animals to clean up after, and a house that the state has told you is too cluttered and filthy, that you went down the alley and picked up OTHER PEOPLE'S GARBAGE and brought it into your house?"

"Well, yeah," he said in a manner so frank and simply that it astonished me.

"Mitch, if I've been coming every day and telling you things that you need to throw out or clean up, what part of picking up other people's trash and putting it in your house did you think I'd be ok with?"

"Well, it's not trash, you see..."

"Mitch, I'm going to cut you off, because here's the deal, if your house is already too full of stuff you can't manage to keep clean and organized, and the state has to call to make sure that someone like me is coming by every day to make sure that things aren't getting any worse, and in fact, work with you on making it BETTER, what made you think that taking things that other people had THROWN AWAY would make this better?"

"Well, this isn't trash... It's a computer."

"Mitch, I'm not trying to insult you, but you don't live in the ritziest neighborhood in town... When someone around here throws something away, there's usually something pretty significant wrong with it that they can't fix. Nobody is going to leave a WORKING computer out in the alley."

"But I can fix it."

"Really? Do you have the expertise to know exactly what is wrong with it, or the parts to repair it?"

"Well, no. But I've got these other ones over here too... and I'll fix them and sell them."

"You see, this is why I have a problem with this... You're currently pointing at five other computers which you've amassed by some means or another, and I am assuming that none of them work either. If they did, you'd either be using them, or you'd have sold them as functional. You've told me that you don't have the expertise or the parts to fix them, and since I know you guys are going to food banks to get food, I think it's a safe bet that you're not in a position to go out buying computer parts, diagnostic equipment, or even pay for a class to learn how to figure out what's wrong with them. Stop me if I'm wrong, at any point, but if the state is telling you to clean up your house and get rid of all the clutter, which by the way would include broken computers that you don't know how to fix, doesn't adding a grocery cart load of other people's trash seem a little counter productive?"


"You don't have to say it... We both know the right answer to that one. And I tell you what, I'll even tell you that you can hang on to that broken computer, but in trade, you've got to take TWO grocery cart loads of other stuff that is broken, or trash, out to the alley. You can't keep adding other people's trash, when you've got too much of your own."

Mitch looked at me utterly crestfallen. I was making him choose. And for him, choosing certain things among his house full of garbage was like Sophie's choice.

"Mitch, I'm not trying to be mean here, but if that's what it takes to show you I'm serious, I'll be meaner than a rattlesnake. I want you guys to get this house cleaned up. I want to be able to tell your case worker that you're making progress. I want to be out of here just as badly as you want me to be out of here. And I know that you don't want me in here every day, telling you your business, and if you get this place cleaned up I don't have to be, but that's the problem; that's why you can't keep heaping new stuff onto the pile here."


"That's also why you can't be going out to look for stuff when you've got a house full of animals to clean up after. Because it's pretty obvious that while you were out and about, the animals have gone to town, and it shows that cleaning up after them wasn't your first priority."

"Well, I was going to, but then I sat down to take a break and then you showed up."

"Mitch, if I haven't even made it this far into the house and I can count twelve piles of poop without even looking around for the ones which might be a little bit hidden, or around a corner, I'm betting that you didn't just sit down and 'poof' I was here to catch you taking a break. I am in full support of taking breaks, but that means you've got to be doing something productive in order to take that break... And I've already told you I wasn't born yesterday, so I'm betting that you guys haven't cleaned a thing since I left yesterday, have you?"

"Well, we did some laundry."

"You started that while I was here... So that doesn't count."


"Come on... I'll give you the points for honesty."

"You're right."

"I figured. The question is, what are YOU going to do about it? I've already told you that I am not going to do it for you. I will tell you what you need to do, and I'll supervise, and I'll help you with resources, but my job it to make sure that Millie is safe, and that Dave knows she's safe... And I can't say that I'm able to give Dave a very good report today."

"I'll clean up the poop."


"I'll go through the pile of stuff."


"And I'll take some of it out back to the alley."


"And I'll do the dishes and the other stuff on the chore list."


"And what? What else is there?"

"Mitch, there's a whole lot that isn't on that daily chore list that could be done... But in the interest of setting goals I think you can achieve, I will settle for what you've already promised me you'll do, AND NOT going out and adding to your problems with other people's trash."

"Oh. Ok."

I did a pretty standard look around the house, made sure that the poop got picked up, (in the end there were more than two dozen piles of poop found and cleaned up,) made sure that he knew what he had to get done by my next visit, and left.

As I changed out of the poop shoes, soaked my hands in sanitizer, and raced home, I called case worker Dave to make sure that he knew about the massive amounts of poop, and the additional garbage in the house... There was NO WAY IN HELL that this was going to come back on me. I passed the responsibility to him by making sure he was aware of what he had Millie living in.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Time to separate the wheat from the chaff!

If you can make it through watching this video without audibly giggling at least once, then you have no business here... If you cackled like a freak, then you're right where you belong! (Possibly not safe for conservative work environments.)

Thanks for coming out!

Dear Readers,

I know for a fact that you are an intelligent group. As intelligent people, I'm sure that you all voted yesterday. No matter the candidate you selected on your personal ballot, nor the candidate selected by any of your given states, I want to thank you for going out and participating in what was a long, arduous, historic, (no matter who won the presidency, it was going to be pretty historic,) and intensely electrifying election. Participation in the democratic election process is just one of the many things that makes this country so great! And whether you supported him or not, it's now time to unify behind President Elect Obama and get to work on turning around this runaway train.

Whether you hail from a red state, or a blue state, or a county which went the opposite color of your state as a whole, know that your vote mattered, and be proud to live in a nation where you were allowed the opportunity to be a part of the process.

I am going to show my political bias by stating that I am proud that all three of the states I've called home since coming of legal voting age all went blue, and it makes me intensely happy. It also makes me happy that we have a President Elect who is eloquent, calm under pressure, and knows how to pronounce the word "nuclear." I am also happy that Sarah Palin is headed back to the snowier regions of the non-contiguous USA, and return home to her pregnant teenage daughter, and her moose hunting. Thanks, Alaska, but you can keep her!

With all of this said, I thank everyone for their civic duty, and hope that the next four years bring peace, prosperity, and a renewed sense of pride to you all.

Way to be awesome, America!!

Faith, Hope, Peace, and Love,


Monday, November 03, 2008

The Poop House Chronicles (Part Seven): Time to meet Millie

When last we left off, I was in the poop house, struggling to breathe and counting up the grand total of 14 cats and 5 dogs.

Like you, I was appalled by the number.

The mad rush of felines to the food bowl was astonishing, and not in a good way... (In case you hadn't figured it out already, nothing that happens in the poop house ever happens in a good way!) But with the sudden burst of activity in the home, the human residents all decided to come and and marvel at the fracas.

Martha had incited the feline riot. Mitch came staggering in next, and I'm only half convinced he wasn't after a little bit of that kibble for himself. It wouldn't have surprised me to find out that anyone in the house occasionally dined on the off-brand meow mix currently being served. Shortly after Mitch's arrival in the kitchen of feline horrors, a tornado blew in... And that tornado was named Millie.

So many of you want Millie to be a shiny, pristine little cutie in a frilly pink dress and braided pigtails... So many of you will be disappointed.

Millie wasn't really able to help the fact that she was a spitting image of her corpulent maternal genetic heritage. She was of average height for a five year old, pudgy - bordering on the brink of being a childhood obesity statistic. She had pale skin, which made it all the more obvious that she was not one to go and play outside, though the degree of paleness was difficult to determine due to the amount of filth all over her body... (The fact is that if you or I at age five had had a face one one hundredth as dirty as this poor soul, our mothers would have instantly pulled us over by the upper arm, licked a tissue and taken to bathing us using the universal solvent that is "mom spit." But then again, our mothers didn't raise us in poop houses, and wouldn't have the worries of encountering animal feces or contracting toxoplasmosis from the endeavor.) She was barefoot and wearing tattered second hand clothes. Looking at her little legs, it was blatantly obvious that she was covered in flea bites. And as she whirled around the kitchen it was hard not to notice that the bottoms of her feet were quite literally black and caked with god only knows what. Little Millie had stringy, greasy blonde hair not unlike her mother's, which obviously hadn't been shampooed in a week or more. And as she bent down to pick up one of the cats during the middle of its meal, her mother hollered "No!" and it instantly became clear that this was not a word that the child was accustomed to obeying, and very possibly not accustomed to hearing. That single word set the storm in motion.

Instantly little Millie began screaming at her mother. And since we're dealing with such high caliber parents here, Martha's obvious reaction was to scream right back at her.

Given that this was very early on in my interaction with this family, I elected to observe, rather than instantly correct the poor choice of parenting method... I mean I'm not "Super Nanny" here, my job is to work with them on the house first, effective parenting methods could be managed later... And some parenting skills would come in later, but not until the home cleaning, animal over-population, and hygiene issues were well on their way to being resolved.

Millie continued to scream at Martha, Martha continued to scream at Millie. Mitch must've felt that he was being left out because then he got in on the screaming too! It was roughly this point where I had to yell over everyone.

"OK EVERYBODY! LISTEN UP! This screaming match isn't solving anything. Millie, your mom told you not to pick up the cat while it's eating. She doesn't want you to get scratched or bitten. So please leave the cat on the floor until it is done, or go find something else to play with. Martha, Mitch, you're not saying anything that can't be said in a normal tone of voice, so let's take it down a notch or two."

They all stood stunned in silence. Clearly this concept was foreign to them. Not yelling? Who in the world came up with these shennanigans? What tomfoolery is this not yelling business?

The only sounds came from the cats fighting and chewing down at our feet, and perhaps the light skittering noises of all the cockroaches all around, both visibly and beyond the surfaces of the walls.

Millie, momentarily silent, stood shifting uncomfortably and began picking at the crotch of her soiled little outfit. Once situated down below, she was once again attracted by the sounds of the cats, pouncing on the first cat she could find who was not actively chowing down on the kibble. She picked it up, baby-talked to it for a few brief seconds, held it awkwardly enough that the cat was noticeably uncomfortable, and then chucked it in the general direction of the ground when it began to hiss and scratch at her.

Millie and Mitch pounced on this opportunity for a "told you so" moment. I again decided not to correct the parenting and instead refocus attention on the more serious issues.

"Millie, can you do me a favor and go play in your room? We'll be in to see you in a minute."


"That's fine. You can go watch TV for a few minutes, I've got to talk to your parents for a bit."

Millie gave me a little attitude and sashayed out of the kitchen.

"Ok, I know that this is just my first time meeting Millie, but based on what I'm seeing, I'm not encouraged guys."

"Whaddya mean?"

"Well, clearly we need to start addressing some hygiene issues. When was the last time she bathed?"

"This morning."

"Ok, see, I don't believe that. I might have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST NIGHT. So let's try again with the real answer."

"I don't know... Mitch, do you know?"


"See, that was more along the answer I was expecting, and the fact is that if you can't remember the last time it happened, then you're overdue."

"(silence from the peanut gallery)"

"Furthermore, I noticed that she was grabbing at her crotch, so that means that we need to talk to her about the importance of wearing clean underwear every day, and it's pretty likely that we also need to talk to her about cleaning herself up after using the toilet."

"How do you want us to do that?"

"Well, since there's a history of molestation by her biological father, I'm going to suggest that you handle that Martha... Start out by talking to her about it, and then stay on top of it by making sure that she's actually changing her underwear every day by assisting her, or by checking the laundry. As for the bathing, I'm telling you that she needs a bath or shower AT LEAST every other day, and since it's summer and it's hot out, it really ought to be happening every day... and if need be, you should probably spend some time making sure that she is washing thoroughly."


"Now let's get this poop picked up off the floor and get started on those dishes so that I can get out of here."

Martha took to the sink to begin work on the dishes. Mitch tracked down a roll of toilet paper and began scooping up piles of excrement. When we got to Millie's room, I noticed an unusual amount of dung on the floor again. I again admonished them for keeping the animals in her room. I then decided that a shower was more important to me than anything else I would accomplish during this visit.

The shower was scaldingly satisfying.

(The next visit gets a little hostile!)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It is very nice to meet you all!

For those of you curious as to how I spent my Saturday, I'll tell you.

I went and performed my civic duty as a responsible member of the citizenry. Many of you might wonder what else I did with my Saturday... (That's provided that you were interested in my Saturday to begin with, but since you're still reading, I will keep telling you.) I did very little else with my Saturday. Why? Because as a responsible member of the citizenry in a swing state, I spent FIVE HOURS waiting in line to cast my vote.


Five hours of standing in line, getting to know the other civic-minded Ohioans who happened to join the line roughly the same time that I did. Making corny election-related jokes which were still infinitely more amusing than Jay Leno, making corny "waiting in line" jokes, being generally amusing, and doing cross words that I had the foresight to bring along in my purse, you know, just me being awesome in a 5 hour line.

Hold up that beautiful little hand of yours with all those gorgeous digits fully extended. Now imagine that each of those fingers represents one hour of your Saturday afternoon. And if you can't get enough of this example, then take those five hourly digits and break them down into the sixty sub-parts to represent all those minutes... You can keep going, breaking it down to smaller and smaller parts for as long as you want to keep gazing at your hand, but I don't want to bore the rest of the readers, so I'm going to stop with the current breakdown.

So yeah, when I got home, my poor little feet were really perturbed, so I sent them off for a pleasant soak.

Those of you who know me well, or at least pay some degree of attention here probably already know how I voted. I'm not going to state it directly because this is not one of those political blogs, but I'll just say that if the next four years are anything like the last eight, don't blame me.

If any of you have any curiosity remaining about the voting, I will say this... If the line at the polling place today is in any way indicative of how Ohio is going to turn out, I have a feeling that we're going to swing blue this year.

Since I'm already here, I will get to work on completing the next installment of the poop house chronicles... I think it should be up tomorrow, Monday at the latest.