Monday, September 24, 2012

My Commute Stinks

On my way to work I pass many stinky things.

The first of these stinky things is a transfer station. If you don't know what a transfer station is:
So basically, it is a home for wayward trash...or a pre-landfill landfill.
On some days you would never know it is even there, but others you can clearly smell the fetid odors of trash and spoiled food wafting over the highway as you try to make it through the tiny toll booth as quickly as possible so you don't have to breathe in the smell.
Oh god. The stench! Must. Not. Breathe.
The next two stinky places are really close together and their proximity makes for a smell that is doubly awful, like some sort of bouquet of raunchiness.
Ahhhhhh...Eau d'Ass Stink....
The first place in this duo of stench is a waste water treatment facility, or as I like to call it "The Poo Refinery." It, as you might imagine, smells like shit at all times. But sometimes there is an especially bad shit smell day. As if the whole town has eaten Taco Bell, bad Indian food, and all manner of fried things, all at once.
Oh god, there will be no toilet paper left in the tri-state area!
The second place in the duo is a fish factory. Here they fry and freeze all of the fish patties, fish sticks, and fish nuggets that get shipped to a store near you. And you can smell its extreme fishiness mixing with the aforementioned poo refinery. Eugh...I may or may not have thrown up in my mouth a little...
Anyone want to smell an ass-ton of fried fish and poo?
I work right on the seacoast (less than a mile away from the local beach), and twice daily I have the chance to smell low tide. Usually it is just once, but if I time it just right (or wrong) I get to smell it as I arrive AND as I leave. Woohoo!

For those of you who have never had the privilege of smelling low tide, I'm not really sure how to describe it. The best analogy I can come up with is it is like the ocean just farted up this smell of fish, salt water, and icky sand, but the nice ocean smell is there too, so you sniff it anyway.
Because you are an ocean fart sniffer.
After I escape the ocean farts and get into work, I get to smell melted plastic. It's what we do. We melt the plastic and make it into fiber, which is then made into rugs, felt, auto carpeting, etc. I have pretty much gotten used to it, but every now and then, a machine gets gummed up and the plastic burns. That is NOT a pretty smell.
Why does it smell like a well-done, barbecued Barbie doll in here?
I specifically asked for medium-rare.
When I get to my office, I have the pleasure of sitting near the bathrooms that inexplicably smell like someone just took a huge, greasy dump in there at all times. Seriously. They have never NOT smelled like that.
Bonus (I guess?): You can take a shit and no one will know.
So that is the olfactory version of my commute. You're welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Domestically Challenged, Part Trois

This is part three of my Domestically Challenged series. In case you missed it, visit part one and part two. How many parts will there be? I don’t know. There will continue to be new “entries” whenever I find something domestic that I am inept at, so this could very well go on forever.

This entry is regarding house plants. Or just plants in general. I kill them.
If you give me a plant or expect me to take care of one of yours,
you have sentenced it to certain death.
Currently in my house I have a little palm-like tree, a Christmas cactus, two shoots of bamboo, a citronella (it usually lives outside, but has to be brought in for winter), and a tropical tree/plant thingy that are alive. I used to have three shoots of bamboo, but...
Do you have any idea how hard this shit is to kill?!
I killed it very effectively without any effort at all.
The reason the rest are still alive is probably because I don't touch them. I also make David water them. In fact I am forbidden from touching the tropical tree/plant thingy because it's David's and it has flourished since he rescued it, half-dead, from a dark shelf in Walmart.
Mostly because I don't touch it and I try not to breathe near it...
Most houseplants have very few steps in their maintenance plan: water, sunlight, moderate environment, maybe a little isn't a hard plan to follow.
"Maybe you are just a dumbass."  - The Plants
It's not like I don't try, but clearly all of my plants are suicidal. I water them weekly (bi-weekly for cacti). I make sure the shade plants have shade and the sun plants have sun. I have even bought the little Miracle Gro fertilizer sticks and followed the directions exactly. I re-pot them when (if?) they get too big for their container. I have tried watering plants more if they are looking crispy or less if they are looking spongy. Despite all of this, all plants invariably succumb to my "care."
Oh, goddamnit! I just bought you ten minutes ago!
Apparently I should just stick with air ferns...I am like the Scourge of Plants, which is the shittiest super power ever because indoor plants are pretty. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Coward's Disease

This is not going to be a typical post. It won't be funny, but hopefully you will forgive me, while I talk about something very difficult...


September tenth is World Suicide Prevention Day. Did you even know there was such a day? I didn't.

Breast cancer has a whole month of the year where everything you see is pink and you are informed about the horrors of detecting, having, and fighting cancer. It is public because it needs to be for women (and sometimes men) to be proactive about early detection and seeking help immediately. The combatants in the arena of cancer are rightly painted as brave gladiators and tough survivors.

But what about a condition that is just as deadly, but infinitely more difficult to detect?

In my experience, the reason there isn't more awareness around depression is because it is painted as coward's disease. People suffering from it are painted as damaged, flawed, and weak. Is it any wonder that those suffering from it, often do so in silence? Who among us wants to be portrayed as any of those things, especially when you already believe the worst of yourself?

Depression is a silent specter that stalks many throughout their lives, hiding away in the shadows, almost forgotten, but emerging at their most vulnerable to drag them down further into the abyss. If you suffer from depression, you always know it is there. It is there in the terrible thoughts you have while you do the most mundane of tasks. It is there in the nagging voice telling you that you are a waste of space and even though you have silenced it thousands of times before, some days you can't help but believe it. And, unlike cancer, there is no cure. It never goes away. You can medicate it into submission, but it will still be there and on low days, it finds you. The battle never stops.

It becomes a part of you, the pain and sadness. It festers and consumes everything, so you can't remember a time without it, and that in and of itself makes getting help scary. The familiar, however painful and awful, seems infinitely better than the unknown.

I was a coward. I did not wish to seek help, because how could I admit that my own mind had turned against me? I had a job, a loving boyfriend, a nice place to live, a family that admitting that I still wasn't happy, was I saying all of that wasn't good enough? How dare I even think that I deserved help when so many others have it so much worse?

Eventually, I got help and realized that depression may mean that I am broken, but I am not weak. I am not less than anyone else. I have a right to seek help, no matter what my situation, because my happiness matters.

I am proud to say that I am here today, still fighting. And most days, I would like to think I am winning. I'm here because my loving boyfriend, now my loving husband, supported me and forced me to get help. I'm here because my family loves and supports me everyday. I'm here because I will be damned if depression is going to steal even another moment of my life. But most importantly, I'm here because I choose to be.

But do not for a moment think that I am not scared. I am scared to write this. I am scared to talk about my experiences. I am scared that the depression will come back. I am scared that I will be judged as  tainted, damaged, and unfit. But I want to be here for others who suffer. I need to be here for them. I need it, because they need me. They need me to tell them that depression lies when it says that you only have death. Get help and tell it to go fuck itself. Life is worth the fight.

There is a lot of joy yet to find.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

It is Labor Day! Woo! Day off!

But wait...what the fuck IS Labor Day, other than an excuse for a barbecue and a day off from work?

Most of us know that Labor Day is meant to celebrate workers of any and all kinds, but is that it? Seriously? I'm not saying it isn't a good enough reason to celebrate, it's just...I kinda expected more. Well, I needed to find out because I am on a continuing quest to know everything. So strap in bitches, I am about to drop some history on your ass. HARD.
Aw yeah.
Depending on who your source is, the invention of Labor Day is credited to either Peter McGuire or Matthew Maguire. Either way, it was in the area of New York/New Jersey and involved one or more dudes with the same last name (but different spelling), in the year 1882.
Either way, one of those sweet mustaches wins.
The average working conditions at the time sucked all kinds of ass and this was meant to be a holiday to show solidarity with your co-workers. So, kinda like a company picnic today...except then, you were hoping more that they would be motivated to pull you out of a machine or save you from a fall instead of just saying, "Oh him? Screw that guy."
Fucking Ted and his new hat. He's wearing an Indiana Jones fedora and fancy pants.
The rest of us are stuck with these straw hats and regular pants. What an asshole.
A fairly new idea called labor unions became closely tied with the new celebration. Labor unions were all about worker's rights and safety, which a lot of companies were not gung-ho about. After a few years, a couple of states were like, "Hey, looking out for your fellow worker and not having people die all the time IS an awesome idea! Let's do this shit!"
Oregon was first in 1887.
Oregon: fucking trendsetter before it was cool.
Fitting, I guess, as they are one of the birthplaces of hipsters.
They chose the first Monday in September to celebrate, because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving, which I suppose was some kind of symbolism for being independent from the whims of The Man and being thankful for it. Or five months was way too long to wait for another day off.
You know what this month needs? A motherfucking holiday.
President Grover Cleveland finally signed it into law as an official federal holiday in 1894. Why did it take so long? Probably because he was totally against the idea of supporting unions.
Don't act like this is not what you think of every time you hear Grover Cleveland's name.
What ended up changing his mind? There was a huge railway strike in Pullman, Illinois due to unfair treatment of workers. Despite the governor of Illinois saying, "Do NOT send in the military. This shit is peaceful right now and we don't need dudes with guns blowing this out of proportion", Cleveland sent in US Marshals and the Army, under the pretense of the strike violating the Sherman Antitrust Act (basically, the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits police, firemen, hospital staff, and other public service workers from striking because it would be a threat to public safety. In this case, the public service being interrupted was the US Mail).

In the end, approximately 18 workers killed (depending on what source you reference), many more were wounded, and it was a political disaster for Cleveland. He was afraid there would be more violence and strikes, so he quickly signed Labor Day into law to show his support for the killed and wounded workers...In other words, he did some serious ass-covering.
Sorry for fucking up and killing all those dudes and shit,
here's a holiday celebrating your right to do what I just tried to stop you from doing. 
Today, Labor Day mostly marks the end of the official summer vacation season. You get one last trip to the beach and one last cookout before the weather turns to shit. So, while you grill up those weenies and close up the pool, take a moment to be thankful that working conditions don't suck as much as they used to. All because a President sort of killed some dudes and was trying to save face.