Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fry Cutter Incident

Since Derek and I are in the midst of splitting but are still sharing the house this may seem a little like sour pickles to be posting stuff about him.  Oh well... I can live with that.  Besides I want to preserve these memories as much as a reminder of how miserable he made me sometimes so I don't ever make this mistake again as for the comic relief that a life stranger than fiction can sometimes provide.

A couple of nights ago we had an incident involving a french fry cutter.

You know I'm a die-hard Idahoan in my heart and nothing but fresh cut potatoes make real french fries... those over-processed garbage things from the freezer aisle are not real.  They are plastic fries.  And we do not eat plastic at my house.

Mine isn't this fancy but it works the same way.  It's
just a $10 "As Seen on TV" jobbie from Walmart.
The cutter pictured is from Rawsie.
A little before bedtime Derek poked his head in my office and asked me where the fry cutter was.  I went down and pulled it out of the cupboard because that was just easier than trying to explain...  Never thinking that he needed remedial fry cutting lessons, I went upstairs and did my thing and got ready for bed.

Around 2 am some loud banging from the kitchen woke me up.  Followed by a little cussing...  While I was still trying to decide if I should get up and see what he was doing or let it go, he came and poked his head in my door and said "I broke the fry cutter."

I was incredulous and asked "how?"  I don't know if he answered or not since even in my half asleep state I was thinking "how the H. E. Double-Toothpicks does one break a fry cutter?" but I followed him back down to the kitchen to see what mess he'd left for me this time.

Sure enough.  Remedial lessons should have been given.

The insanely obvious take it out of the box, set it on the counter, lift the top, put your potato inside and push the top down... I guess was somewhat less than obvious to him.  He took the whole thing apart.  Even parts I didn't know came apart!  And then jammed the top down over the base an inch farther than it should go and without the blade inside.  And it was stuck together.  I mean stuck!!

I tried pulling it apart and wedging a knife between the parts to get some leverage to wiggle them apart.  A table knife, not a sharp one.  I'm may be reckless but I'm not stupid!  Before I could get any movement, he took it away from me.  Just grabbed it out of my hands... same as the time he grabbed the new breaker thingy out of my hands and electrocuted himself on the breaker box because he took too much of it apart and touched an exposed wire.

Heaven forbid that I might know just the tiniest bit about what I'm doing...

Anyway, he still couldn't get it apart.  And he started wailing about the lack of assembly instructions on the side of the box.  I was miffed because he grabbed it out of my hands.  And he was angry and frustrated because he wanted fries and couldn't make them.

Yes, I said "couldn't."

Go ahead.  Roll your eyes.  I did as I said I'd just cut them with a knife and figure out the cutter in the morning.  So he hands me a big butcher knife.  The biggest one out of the drawer.  Like I'm gonna clean up potatoes and slice them into french fries with a gargantuan knife meant to hack a side of beef into all those different cuts?  Right...

I asked for a smaller knife.  And he handed me the next one down.  Again, too big for the job.  But... I took it and did what I needed to.  Nicked my thumb and it bled all over the kitchen.  I wrapped a clean dishcloth around it and cut his fries and then went and put a bandaid on my owie and crawled back in bed.

No thank you was proffered.  No inquiry if the cut was bad enough to need attention.  Nothing.  How rude, right?

The next morning it took me less than 10 minutes to work the fry cutter pieces apart.  It really didn't need all the cussing and pounding and wailing in the night.  So, yes I am going to refer to him as "dumber than a fry cutter" from here on out.  Maybe only in my imagination, but still!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pirkle Truck or... Purple Truck?

After my round of screw ups I wrote about nearly two weeks ago, I've only had one more big one that had the potential to be life threatening crazy.  Lots of small stuff, but thankfully only this one last biggie!

Picture by Linda Deal on
Coming home from my therapist's office right after we'd talked about the dog fight and the knife I saw a purple semi truck and found it so distracting that I started turning the steering wheel to drive head on into it...  My mind wasn't, however, completely blank like in the previous incidents.  I was remembering Myrtle Olsen and a phone conversation I overheard, anyway I heard her side of it, at the drive-in restaurant she owned in Shelley, ID when I was a kid.  Now this was back in the days before everyone carried cell phones and trucking companies depended on GPS tracking to know where their trucks (and drivers) were at every possible second... and a dispatcher for Pirkle Transport had called Olsen's Drive-In, knowing that the driver she was trying to reach with an urgent message about his load, frequently stopped there.  For at least half an hour Mrs. Olsen, getting ever more frustrated and angry at the disruption, insisted there was no purple truck parked outside.

Simple misunderstanding, I'm sure.  "Pirkle truck" does sound very much like "purple truck."

But still... that little flash of memory had me headed toward plowing right through his grill.  And that was disturbing enough that I had to pull off on the next road and get myself together to finish driving home.  I was truly scared that my mindlessness was going to cause real bodily harm, or even death, to someone.  Maybe even me.

These are the kind of things that make driving exhausting!  I feel like I have to keep an iron grip on the steering wheel and have a constant stream of self-talk reminding me to keep my eyes on the road and not on trees, junk, road kill, advertising signs or whatever might be off to the side.

My therapist, his name is Tom and I guess I should start calling him that because it's easier to type and... it is his name... Tom thinks I'm still over-thinking about mindlessly letting the dogs out in the yard together and causing that huge bloody fight and that's making me read too much into a simple mistake.  He said more experiences that turn out ok along with time and self-permission to simmer down the hyper-vigilance about it will show me that it's ok to forgive, forget and move on with life.  I hope so!  It would be so nice for something to feel normal and right again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Help! I'm Screwing Up Again

I wrote a little bit here about a painful episode in my current life where everything came crashing down around me all at the same time and my psyche couldn't take it any longer.  I sought out help.

That's still not a fully comfortable thing for me to admit.

I'm glad I did it but there's still a little part of me that wants to hold back talking much about it because of the lingering stigma of needing help with mental health issues.  Today I'm going to try and step out of that doubt and talk about therapy a bit.  I'm still seeing the therapist a couple of times a month.  And this last time he reminded me that I haven't been doing so well at keeping up my end of things...

Photo credit:
I haven't been writing, specifically, so he gave me two assignments to write out before our next appointment.  One is what I'm calling a 'Screw Up Journal" (and no he doesn't like the title, I'm to find something more positive) detailing all the stuff I'm forgetting so that there's a record to help determine if it's just the one big screw up leading to the next and the next and on to the next one after that OR if there's a more serious underlying cause.  The other is an essay about what a happy life would look like to me.   We had talked about stability, which was seriously lacking for a long time, being key but things are somewhat more stable now and I'm still not ok.  I know what's missing:  security is the other half of the equation.  And security is still elusive.  Why must it be so very elusive?


About 10 days ago, my lack of focus/concentration/attention caused an incident that was very dangerous.  Potentially lethal even.  It scared me in many ways.

With absolutely nothing on my mind, truly just a total blank, I let all of the dogs out into the yard at the same time.  They don't get along.  They fight.  That's why we keep them separated and have for many months.  All along I thought I was protecting Lightning from Thunder, but... what I'm really doing is protecting Thunder from Gizmo.

Gizmo attacked.  Then Lightning and Jack jumped in.  And between the 3 of them they took Thunder down viciously.  I had to break them up or they would have killed him.  In the process I was bit at least twice, scratched and badly bruised up.  Somehow I managed to get Lightning into a headlock and restrain him with my right arm while beating Gizmo with his spiked collar that had slipped off over his head as hard as I could swing with my left.  That gave Thunder enough of a break to get out of the middle of it.  I drug Lightning and Gizmo into the house still snarling and thrashing.

All 5 of us were bloody messes.

Luckily all the wounds ended up being small enough that I could care for them at home - no trip to the vet for stitches (and explanations!).  And thankfully I kind of switched into an emergency management mindset and did what had to be done before I sat down and bawled for 3 days.

The tears were partly because my actions put my baby in harm's way and got him hurt.  All of them hurt, really.  That's a huge amount of mental anguish!  And they were partly because I was shaken to the core and crying is how I deal with stress in pretty much any situation.  I don't necessarily feel great appreciation for that feature of my personality... but that's how I've always been.  Stress me out and a river starts flowing from my instantly red and swollen eyeballs.  And still another part of the tears came from fear... Fear of disappointing Derek and fear of having him see me as the utter failure of a human being that I felt like.

The next day, I tried to unsheath a knife that was not sheathed.  The particular angle of the blade in my hand didn't cut... but it had the potential of leaving a deep slice across my entire palm.

The day after that I walked away and totally forgot until the smell got to me that I had food cooking on the stovetop.  Yup, this Idaho girl burned the potatoes... literally.

These 3 incidents we discussed in the session along with the thought that I was feeling like a danger to myself and others.  That's the 'why' behind keeping a record.  Did the one big screw up have me so stressed out and worrying about screwing up that I subconsciously sabotaged myself into the others?  Or is there something more messed up going on inside my brain?

Sadly, my run of screw ups continues.

Coming home from my therapy session last Friday I nearly drove head on into a semi-truck.  It was purple.  And that distracted me from keeping my eyes, and mind, on the road.

Yesterday I nearly cut down the blackberries and tried to replant the poison ivy because I doubted my identification of which was which.  The leaves are somewhat similar in appearance but not in how your skin reacts to contact with them!

I hope we can fix this before someone is seriously hurt or, God forbid, dies from my mindlessness...