Artifacts of Madness

I come with a lot of baggage but it ain’t Louis Vuitton. It’s not even the kind with the little wheels. I schlep it around kicking and screaming.

COVERS OF WOMEN’S magazines at the checkout counter:  Drop 2 dress sizes in one week!  Next line:  Chocolate cupcakes to die for! Look inside and see the Ask the Doctor section. I have a large mass growing on the side of my neck. What should I do? Here’s a suggestion—why don’t you go get a big pair of shears and cut it off?

THE NEIGHBORS I have the restraining order against had their water shut off the other day. You can always tell a shut-off compared to a meter reading. Readings are done methodically by street. Shut-offs require the serviceman to wrestle with wrenches and rusted knobs. Next thing I see cop cars racing down the street. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what happened—the serviceman called the cops because the homeowners came out and harassed him. Maybe threatened him, who knows. It isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen to some poor schmuck trying to do his job. They need to start hiring tough guys, like repo-men, to shut off deadbeats’ water.

SERIAL LIKERS: I will never click on your blog. I have disabled ‘likes’ from my posts but there is no way to disable them from the reader feeds. But your robo-likes will no longer show up on my blog. Here’s an idea: why don’t you try writing something? I’ve clicked on a few serial likers’ blogs and found hundreds of comments on their About pages. I thought, wow, they must be good. But this is what you see:

Thank you for liking my post!
Thank you for liking my post! I’ll be back!
Thank you for liking my post! You rock!
Thank you for liking my post! I’m following you now!
etc., etc., blah blah blah

Please go do your part to keep Facebook shallow.

RECENTLY AN ACQUAINTANCE told me I need to kiss more ass if I want to be successful. He said it was part of the job. Sorry but I can’t do that. He said, fine, but are you happy? Uh, like kissing ass is going to make me happy?

Every now and then I put an ad in the paper advertising my housecleaning service. And every time, I dread answering calls because the cheapest people in the U.S. live in Arizona. They’re used to cut-rate labor and have no clue what a really clean house is, performed by an ethical person. I think of each cleaning job as a work of art that I sign my name to. Last week I placed a completely different kind of ad entitled Not Like Other Housecleaners. This time I wrote what my requirements are, and included a minimum price. I can only do one house per day. It was a little snippy but I’m sick to death of retired people following me around like I’m going to steal something,  interrupting me, asking me are you almost done? and forcing me to listen to CNN. It’s oppressive and I can’t do it anymore. Well damned if I haven’t been getting calls all week from really nice working people. I don’t have to fear returning calls, they already read the ad. I don’t know what the moral of this story is—maybe don’t kiss ass, it’s not worth your self-respect.

A bathroom I was asked to clean. I passed. I have cleaned for people who treated me like scum—lucky for them, I don’t name names. I did laundry for a local couple who were very nasty to me. If I showed the pictures of their laundry (which I had to pick up with rubber gloves and a stick), you would get sick. But not as sick as I.

A keyboard at a jobsite.

What I find on my front lawn in the morning. Gosh, I’m so glad they switched to Bud Light. Even f*cking a**holes need to watch their waistlines!

A neighbor’s yard.

A friend’s garage.

You don’t have to have doors or hoods on your cars here.

Only in B*sb**. 

This newspaper, from a very liberal city we visited in the Pacific Northwest, tossed around the word ‘anarchy’ like it’s The Big Solution. A tidy, anti-gun city  with mowed lawns, no litter, no smoking, and thousands of conformist students all with the same unkempt look, all on their phones. How do they know what anarchy is? They should come down here to the border to see it in actual use. First thing they’d do if someone threatened them is call the cops. Then they’d run back home to their mamas.

Look at the bottom line on the bus. Religion OR reality? I don’t get it. Are they saying people need to make a choice, pick one or the other? What kind of message is that?

34 responses to “Artifacts of Madness

  1. I think I pick reality.
    Set your own standards and stick to them. A wimp will be taken advantage at the slightest provocation. People like to lord over whomever they think they’re superior to. Don’t put up with it.
    Good luck.

    • Hi Bob, me too, reality is pretty crappy but it’s the world we exist in, so we need to try to make it better in our own small ways.

      I know some weak people who get taken advantage of constantly. Nice people, but ‘nice’ doesn’t always work. Sometimes it just sets you up for a fall.

  2. Used to find some kinda peace of mind reading your posts for no reason. Dunno why but may be I could relate my own experiences with yours. But ‘coz of the mess-ups in my own life, it’s been quite a long time since I read any of your posts. After reading this post, I think I should have read more often. Will try to follow and hope to find more of and better than it. Keep up the good work.

  3. As fulltime RVers, we have visited Bisbee several times. We really liked it and found it charming. Obviously we’ve never visited your neighborhood. It must be tough to live where you are and see people living like your neighbors. I was especially touched by the little dog leashed to the steering wheel in that shell of a car. Sad.

    I do love reading your blog. Even when the subject matter is unpleasant or difficult, your talent makes it worth reading.

    • Hi Jo, thank you. There are two Bisbees—the historical ‘downtown’ area, which really is charming, and then there’s the rest of it. We live closer to Naco, near the border. My friend and I were just discussing how to sum up Cochise County—the word is ‘sleazy.’

  4. I love that you placed a “real” ad and attracted normal clientele.

    I wish the company I work for would let me advertise what type of guests I would like to wait on. My criteria would really be quite simple: “Please be respectful.”

    Is it wrong of me to want to know more about the guy with the purse?

  5. Wow! Great pictures. i can’t decide which one is my favorite though.
    Serial likers….after your response yesterday, I figured out how to remove it from showing up on my page. Still working on my community wall…I like it, but trying to keep it from showing people who follow me…rather only people “i” choose to follow. Shoots a blog bullet at the serial likers and one line commenters.
    That keyboard looks like they smoke and eat at their computer for ours a day. H ha.
    That garage would be what mine would look like if I didn’t MAKE myself keep it cleaned up. We have a two car..and vowed we could always be able to pull both cars in and be ale to open ALL doors. :). So far…so good.
    Crack lady…hilarous. Religion or reality…hhmm.. i’ll have to chew on that one.

    • Hi Live stronger, Is that community wall I’m seeing around a widget, or part of the theme you chose for your blog? It’s something new. It’s so weird to see my picture pop up on blogs who have it every time I leave a comment. Must be a way to adjust it.

      The likers—ha ha I’m still getting tons of ‘likes’ even though I ranted about them on this post. Just proves they didn’t read it! But their famewhoring little faces won’t show up here! The bad side of this is when a regular reader leaves a like—sometimes people who generally comment just leave a like for support. But I know who they are and appreciate them.

  6. In between soils jobs, I cleaned houses for a few years. I so recognized your rant and am glad you found good folks. I loved cleaning a perfectly clean house for folks away at work. I know the “work of art,sign your name” feeling. Loved reading this rant today…just felt good, (hopefully it felt good to you as well). I even have a friend with a house that looks like your friend’s garage. sigh. I kinda wish you could actually get out of B*SB**. But then again, maybe that place needs you, those kids, those animals…

    • Hi Sue, my favorite clients are the absent ones—my number-one request is GO AWAY! I like cleaning dirty houses (not disgusting filthy ones, but lived-in ones) because it’s gratifying to transform a house to perfection. AZ is so dusty and buggy and there’s always the hard-water stains to scrub out. The hardest part of AZ cleaning is the vast expanses of tile floors to wash, man that’s hard on the body. Next rant will be about a horrible editorial job I took on from a person I made a very bad judgment about—yikes what a psycho. It’s a mad world out there.

      I’m trying to get out of B. Right now we’re making repairs so we can put the house on the market. Don’t expect it to sell anytime soon though, but you never know. We have a big barn and someone could have a business here, or horses (no zoning laws work both ways!) Yeah I feel like the Peace Corps, to go where I’m needed. I will always support our local animal rescue groups no matter where I end up because it’s so bad here. And I’d sure miss my urchins. Thanks for writing hon.

  7. I’m scrolling through those pics and my first thought is wow, humans are a nasty scab on this beautiful planet, but then I keep scrolling, get to that butt crack/purse and the Jesus bus and I am laughing out loud.

    • Will you tell me how she can not know her ass is hanging out? Does she not feel the warm desert winds gently caressing her cheeks? I guess I should talk, with me peeing on the side of the road and all…but honest, I don’t do it among crowds. And guys, take note…skinny jeans, motorcycle boots, and a purse is not a sexy look. Oh well, they’re probably nice folks…right?

  8. Those are some eye watering pictures! I agree with you about anarchy–in fact is the next word in the poster “family?” Sounds like a confusing and confused event.

    • Yes it is family. Funny how self-labeling works. If you need to declare to the world you’re an anarchist, you certainly aren’t. If you have to claim on your gravatar thingy that you’re funny, you probably aren’t…if you call yourself spiritual, or expert, or tolerant…well you get it.

  9. Those pictures are too much!

    I absolutely agree on the Serial Likers part. I like to know WHAT you like about my post. Was it my poor attempt at humor? Was it the syntax? Did the picture from Google get the job done? I mean, I’m glad someone out there liked the post, but I want feedback!

    • Well, they didn’t actually like your post because in all likelihood, they didn’t read it. I don’t Facebook or Twitter or push my posts in anyone’s face, so I don’t understand this desperate need for fame. I blog to interact with people I can learn from or who make me laugh—but mostly to relieve the pressure of feeling like a steam pipe ready to blow…

  10. Back when I was a young whippersnapper of a varnisher, an old fellow about 70 or so who’d been at it a long time gave me some advice. He said, “Today, people are hiring you to varnish their boats. Some of them are jerks, and you take the job because you need the money. That’s fine. But here’s the trick. Your goal is to come to the point where you hire your customers, and you don’t have to accept any jerks.”

    That’s what you did with your new ad. You’re hiring your customers. You’re telling them, “You’re going to have to prove yourselves worthy of having me, because I’m the best.”

    Of course, I know I’m not the very best, and you probably know the same thing. But face it – if best is 100% and we’re hitting 97.2%, who’s going to care?

    As for those faux likers – here’s what I did. I went in to the avatar settings and clicked the little box that says “Don’t show any avatar”. It makes me laugh every time I put up a new post. I always get those “spam likes” and it doesn’t do them a bit of good because their avi doesn’t show up anywhere.

    As for all those other pics – well. I’m feeling much better about the way things are around here. I can be terribly untidy, but I’m not that untidy!

    • That’s exactly right, I’m hiring them. What a huge difference the wording of this ad made in weeding out the type of clients I don’t want. I had to take the chance that maybe people wouldn’t respond to it, but the opposite happened—I’ve picked up several new clients who are exactly what I’m looking for. Apparently they were looking for me, too.

      Ha ha great idea to not show avatar, I didn’t even know that option was available! Man I can’t believe this ‘like’ craze. It’s really icky.

  11. I loved the “all over the place” mentality of this post. In some sort of crazy way it all stuck together like gum to the underside of an old school desk. I could never mimic your style, but I have to say this Debra, I really, really like it.

    The photos were raw and real. Life in your part of world is quite different from your past in CT. What a transition. Does it feel more alive? Because it certainly seems that way.

    Religion or reality? I think they want you to choose between their religion or their reality. What a hoot!

    Thanks. I never get tired of reading what you write.

    • Thanks Bill. I try for some impression of order outside myself, because of the lack within. Doesn’t always work but your gum analogy is a riot!

      Yeah it’s more alive, but too much so for me. Every store has uncontrolled screaming kids. There’s too much litter and disrespect of property. This morning on the way to work I was in back of a car that threw some plastic garbage out their window on my street. It pissed me off, it always does. There’s nothing you can do but clean it up. I’m tired. But at least people are generally friendly, unlike CT.

      I’m seeking a home that has the best of both worlds and don’t think it really exists. But I’m definitely headed on a northerly path.

  12. Hi Debra: I think you have given that place your best shot. Maybe the nomadic life (RVing) would be better for you. You could workamp different places like so many do. Those jobs seem pretty plentiful and many times you can park for free and get hookups. Why stay in a community and try to make a difference and give back when it seems pretty thankless and so frustrating. It’s a crazy world we live in these days. The rules have changed. Time to start thinking outside the box. Arizona definitely seems to have a very defined rich/poor segment with not much in between. Lived there myself years ago and always felt that. You can have the best of both worlds as an RVer, footloose and fancy free and set up workamp jobs all over the country and go with the seasons. You have cleaned up after those people long enough and now it is time to take care of you. IMHO. Take care.


    • Hi Virginia, I would love to become an RV gypsy but we have too many dogs and cats. I had to look up ‘workamp’ so thank you for teaching me a new word. We sort of already do think outside the box just by being able to survive here, you have to be willing to do whatever needs to be done. As long as our customers are respectful, we don’t mind. I just did a day-long fussy weeding job and enjoyed it. Along with my editorial work we squeak by. But yeah I’m tired and it’s time to move on…even though Arizona has its own special beauty and all this wonderful sunshine. One thing about this lifestyle is there are always people who need help and if you can figure out how to find them, you can get by. Thanks for writing and hope the beautiful state of Maine is treating you well.

  13. What’s there to clean in that bathroom? A sledgehammer seems to be more appropriate/useful.

  14. Make sure to turn off your outside faucet. The parasite next door will be filling his buckets from it after he gets despr8t for water. And he/she will feel totally justified in doing that…

    • The thing is I would’ve offered if the people weren’t so hostile. They have dogs, after all. That’s what bad neighbors don’t get—that sometimes you’re going to need help. I tried to explain that to them when they first moved in, but they just smirked and blew me off. Nah, they can’t get in my yard.

  15. Why does it bother me?

    Debra your advert is genius. What refreshing honesty.

    • In the end it didn’t work though. The two new customers I was excited about both turned out to be nasty and exploitative and their houses were just too big for me. Who the hell needs 2700 square feet, and then complains that they’re strapped for money and tries to beat their service people down. I’m so tired of it all.

  16. That bathtub is horrifying. Looks like everytime it needed cleaning they just put grout over it.
    They want you to eat more chocolate cupcakes in case you lose those 2 dress sizes so you buy the next issue on how to do it again.
    If you need to kiss ass to succeed you’ll be kissing ass forever. Kissing someones ass is like almost giving permission to someone to treat you like crap. I’m sure kissing ass is beneficial sometimes but I just suck at it cause I do it so halfheartedly.

    That dog looks so sad and if I was a girl the picture would make me go “awwwwww.” Religion or reality? I choose neither cause they both suck! I guess I choose reality. I just have to find a better one.

    • Ha ha we learned the hard way through experience that you can’t put new grout over old grout! You have to scrape the old stuff off first, duh!

      Man work is so hard to find around here and people are used to very cheap labor. They don’t even know what a professional job looks like. I’m as nice and diplomatic as possible to customers, but when all they want to do is beat you down in price, I quit. This is how they price jobs here: I go meet a client. They ask me how much. I tell them. They say, “but the last girl did it for only $. . (some ridiculously low price.) I say, “what happened to her?” They say: She didn’t show up. She stole something. She broke stuff. She didn’t do a good job…etc., etc. But you want me to work for the same low price and be ethical, honest, reliable, trustworthy, professional, and keep my promises? Yup. I’m so sick of them all!

      Yeah Mindo, let’s find a better reality. Any ideas?

  17. I think bargaining is something many people do no matter what. They’ll talk down the price if it’s free. Sometimes it’s like you’re no longer looked upon as a human when it comes to business. It sucks.

    Yes I do have an idea. I have confirmation of a spacecraft trailing this comet and it will take us to paradise. Wait, that’s not reality is it. Crap, I have no ideas.

    From what I’ve researched on the internet it’s pretty warm all year round where you’re from. That’s sort of like paradise, isn’t it? I don’t know, it is to me right now cause it’s freaking wet and cold over here.

    • I think this is especially true when you’re self-employed and in the service industry. People don’t argue with corporations but they’ll try to exploit someone trying to get by. No longer human is a good analogy—I feel numb most of the time.

      I’ve been reading and reading about how people are dealing with times like these (badly), and there are websites where people write in and are convinced they’re from another planet. Seriously. Of course I don’t believe that, but I sure do empathize.

      It’s really cold here right now. We’re in the high desert, 5000 ft. So we do have winter, but very little snow and it doesn’t last as long as up north. Within the next few days it will go up into the 70s again, then get cold, back and forth. No, it’s not like paradise at all. You know all my life I’ve heard that Vancouver is like the coolest place in the world to live.

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