Mom vs. The Remote Control

Mentally speaking, my mom lives in a world apart from the one where we are physically present. Technical things are a mystery to her. Take, for instance, that most common and omnipresent of objects in the Western household, the remote control. After several years of owning a particular TV, my mom’s remote control began having issues. Based on previous stories, one might be tempted to think a hot caffeinated beverage might be involved. Not this time, at least.

Eventually, the remote control gave up the ghost and stopped working altogether.

I was at her place the day she had bought a new universal remote from Radio Shack. She opened it up and asked me to set it up for her. I read the instructions and then asked her for batteries.

“Batteries? Why would you need batteries?”

“Because that’s how they work, mom. The batteries supply the power to send the signal… Mom? Did you try replacing the batteries in the old remote before you got this one?”

“That one doesn’t take batteries.”

“No, mom, I’m positive it does. How else would it work?”

“I thought they worked by magic.”

(Arthur C. Clarke had not yet died when this happened. His adage was proven right within his own lifetime.)

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I Hate It When I’m Forced To Be An Asshole

Some people have no problem turning on that asshole switch, gettin’ their bitch on, or whatever. It always leaves me twitchy. I absolutely HATE doing it. I prefer to be respectful and, in turn, I expect to be treated in a respectful manner. But Fred Loya Insurance (see previous post) just forced me into that mode. So now, I’m not only angry at their handling of the situation, I’m even more angry that they forced me into behavior that makes me squirm. It’s also a fine line between getting highly assertive in a vocally upset manner, and Hulking-out. For me, at least. I do my very best to keep him in check, but there are times when that beast within wants to break out and rampage. Hulk smash. I wasn’t in the best mood already, and having them jerk me around was pushing me to a bad place. Interestingly, I got my point across using none of my typical, every-day foul language. But I still had no choice but to act like a total jerk. They wanted me to drive my car somewhere so they could photograph it and blah blah blah. Then they would approve certain repairs, blah blah blah. Seventy two hours blah blah blah. Four words:





It’s NOT rocket science. I take my car to the collision repair facility, they fix it, the insurance company pays. Done. It’s been over a week since I was hit. This waiting, dragging heels, and stalling crap from Loya is a farce. Call me, say go, and nothing more. I will not respond to their “jump through this hoop, now go do that” runaround garbage as anything but the asshole they are forcing me to be. And I despise them for it.

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Let me state, for the record, in my opinion Fred Loya Insurance (a.k.a. Loya Casualty) is a fraud. In my book, this so-called insurance company is just a pack of ripoff artists. My car was hit last week by someone insured with Loya Casualty. She pulled away from the curb without signaling or looking, straight into my car, just as I passed by where she was parked. There’s no way this can be anything but her fault. Luckily, I was going around 15 mph at the time. No injuries, just some pretty bad dents in the front passenger-side door. I keep getting told that they are “investigating” or “researching”. They tell me they need to reach the woman who hit me, but will not answer or return her calls. I think what they’re researching is a way to avoid paying for the damages. I’m really pissed off. Next stop, California Department of Insurance to file a claim. Then I’ll probably take it up with a lawyer, as well. These slimeballs are pissing me off. My car should be FIXED by now.

Loya Casualty (Fred Loya Insurance) is a fraud

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I Love My Gay Cat

So, cat # 3 in the household is Neo. Wait, did I not tell you we have cats? We have cats. Seven. Cats. Three is a good number of cats. The dynamic works quite well. Seven is . . . on the way to crazy town. This is only partly my doing. But I digress. I’m here to discuss Neo.

He chose his own name. How, you ask? The Spousal Unit had picked out a couple of names for him and I did the same. The names she had picked out were Angel and Xander. She may or may not have been a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. (Hint: she was.) Mine were Mr. Potato Head and Neo. I’m going to guess you don’t need help figuring out where those names came from. I also thought that Neo was an apt name as Neo means “new” and he was, at the time, the newest cat in the growing brood. Anyway, what we did is this: we put him across the room and took turns calling him by each name. “Angel! Angel!” caused him to look around, absent-mindedly. (We were unaware at the time that this would be his normal mode of operation.) “Mr. Potato Head” produced much the same result, as did the diminutive “Spud.” “Xander!” got more of the same. Just . . . vacant. But, ah, calling “Neo!” produced a perk up of the ears, a “chrrrup?” and, yes, a kitten standing up and hurrying over to us.

This may have been the most intelligent thing he’s ever done. Don’t get me wrong, I love this cat. He’s quite probably the sweetest living creature I’ve ever met. He loves attention and will run ahead of you, flop on the floor, and chrrrup for rubs and attention. If you walk over or past him he will repeat this same cute act until you actually do pay attention. But he’s about as smart as a cotton ball. On top of that, he is incredibly orally fixated. Hands, faces, the box fan, counter tops, plastic bags, table legs, CD cases, shoes, door jambs, and chairs are but the tip of the iceberg. The chair, though . . . he licked the faux finish off the chair at the Spousal Unit’s vanity in the master bathroom. All of this, however, pales in comparison to his ongoing affair with the alligator from Fantasia. Yes, you read that right.

Amongst other Disney items in the house, we happened to have a Disney Beanie (like a Beanie Baby, but a Disney character) of the alligator from Fantasia, the ostensibly male alligator that dances with the tutu-wearing hippo. The first cat to discover the alligator was cat #2, Spice. She would “catch” it almost daily and present it as a gift to the Mommy Cat. This is a pretty normal cat behavior. But Neo . . . Neo is different.

Before I go any further it should be noted that Neo is neutered. This probably only adds to his sexual frustration.

The first thing we noticed was that he would hook his lower jaw into his collar, almost as though he needed a ball gag or something. He would jump up on the bed, hook his jaw, knead a blanket, make very strange noises, and, well, slowly hump. We wondered if it was that auto-asphyxiation thing, and warned him about Michael Hutchence. As teenagers are wont to do, he paid us no attention. However, after a few years of this, he suddenly discovered the alligator.

It was basically the same move: chin down, kneading, slowly humping, but with the alligator in his mouth. While he’s never actually gotten it quite right, it’s fairly obvious he is attempting to mount the alligator. This is not a daily occurrence, though. Oh, no. Daily is far too infrequent. My horny little cat does this perhaps three or four times a day, every single day.

I love that stupid gay cat.

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Mom vs. Benneton

Several years back, there used to be a Benetton store in La Jolla. I don’t even know if the chain is still in business anymore, but while there were some here in the US at that time, they were damn near ubiquitous in London. I think there was one every 200 feet going down Oxford Street between Regent’s Road and Charing Cross Road. At least it felt that way. Back then, my mom and her husband used to go to London almost every year for 2-3 weeks. She’d visit her sister now and then, but mostly it was to re-absorb the culture of their youth. I mean, let’s admit it, SoCal has a lot of things to offer. Centuries of culture ain’t one of ’em.

On one particular sojourn, they took a side trip west of the London area to a place called Marlborough. It’s a bit south of Oxford, about the same distance west. It’s a relatively small town, or so my mom tells me. Close as it seems to London on the map, the accent is very different there. To the point where my mom sometimes had a hard time understanding what the locals were saying. But I digress.

Now, a very long time ago, my mom got the photography bug. I don’t know if my dad had anything to do with it, but they actually had a full darkroom setup in the garage for many years. Plus silkscreening equipment, etc.. So my mom always used to bring her trusty Nikon. This was before digital cameras became terribly popular, so she was using film. When she returned home and had the shots developed, she was so happy to show me a photo she took in Marlborough of . . . a Benetton store. “But Mom,” I said, “they have them all over in London.”

“I know that, but this one was way out in the country–in Marlborough! I was just so amazed to see one all the way out there.”

“Oh. Um. Okay.”

A few days later we were walking down Prospect in La Jolla, just passing the Benetton store, when my mom said, “Oh! I have that photo with me. Let’s go into the store and show them!”

Call it, oh, a son’s intuition, but I just felt I should not be part of this. “I don’t feel like going in right now, mom. You go ahead. I’ll wait out here.” And so I did a little window shopping at the jewelry store next door.

It wasn’t more than a minute before she walked briskly out of Benetton. “Let’s go,” she said, with a tight expression on her face.

“What happened, mom?”


“No, really, mom, what happened?”

“Nothing. Let’s go.”

“Mom, I can tell something happened. What was it?”

“Well, I walked into Benetton, and went up to the man in there and said, ‘You won’t believe this! I was in England in a little town called Marlborough, way out in the country, and there was a Benetton store there!’

“He didn’t seem very interested. All he said was, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’

“‘But don’t you see,’ I said, ‘there’s the Benetton here, and thousands of miles away in this tiny town in England, there’s another one!’ He still didn’t seem to be interested, so I told him I took a picture of it, and then showed him the photograph.

“He looked a bit confused, but I handed it to him and told him I had this print done for him so he could have it for the store.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Maam, I’m a customer. I don’t work here.'”

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Mom vs. The Adding Machine, or Shit My Mom Does, part one

Okay, so the category name “Shit My Mom Does” is a ripoff. But my mom is 100% original. Here, in all its glory, is my first mom story. But it’s the first of many.

For a few decades now, my mom and I have worked at the same place. Well, that doesn’t express it correctly. We have worked together at two different companies, the current one being an organization I started.


Currently, the company we’re at is small, and there are only three people in our little office area, my mom and I included. At our previous employer, there was a bit more space. I think we totaled seven people. Maybe eight at the height of success. It was located in what used to be private residence cottages. We used both halves of a duplex and a two-room place above the garage in the back–which is where my office was. My mom was downstairs.

So, one day I got a call from her on the intercom asking me to come downstairs and look at her desktop calculator. (It was the kind that had a digital readout but also a roll of paper if she wanted to actually use it as an adding machine. Which is what she called it. But I digress.) She told me that it was all 8’s the whole way across and she couldn’t get it to clear. Never mind that I was in the middle of some database programming. This was obviously an important situation that needed immediate attention. Down the stairs I go, and into the cottage where her office was located.

Sure enough, the calculator is all lit up. She said she has no idea what happened, but it just started doing this a few minutes ago. Totally out of the blue. On closer look, though, it’s not really the number 8 all the way across. The whole display is just lit up. Everything on. I hit a few keys. No change. I switched the power off. No change. Yes, you read that right. It didn’t change. Power off and it was still on. So I picked it up to get a better view of the power switch . . .

And an opaque tan liquid poured out. Coffee. With cream. And, I’m quite sure, sugar.

She had spilled her entire cup of coffee on the calculator, mopped up her desk, cleaned the coffee off the face of the calculator . . . and then called me as if she had no idea what could be wrong with it. To quote from The Mythbusters, “Well, there’s your problem!”

Thus begins the stories of my mom’s bizarre behaviors. Oh, but wait, there’s more. There’s so much more.

Hello world!

So, here it is. My blog. I’ve started others (and–quite obviously–abandoned them). We’ll see how this one goes. I am at a time in my life where I think I need to start writing out all the things that are going through my head. Well, no. Actually, it would be far more honest and accurate to say a very select few things that are going through my head. While some people may not think so, I do have a filter. Less so when speaking. Or when alcohol is involved. But a filter nonetheless. Also, I do understand that there are some things that would be . . . unwise to put in writing.

This may end up being a rather boring blog if I keep that filter on a high setting.

Sure, if this were an anonymous blog I could just say what I want. Change the names (and probably a locale, date, and time) to protect the guilty, and everyone is off the hook, right? Okay, maybe not. And so here I am.