Thursday, June 16, 2011

“Mama said there’d be days like this…”

Let me state right off the bat that when it comes to weeks…I’ve had better ones.  Technically, the week isn’t over but for the unknown individuals busily running the Conspiracy to Generally Screw with Ivan’s Very Existence, it should be.  I have a feeling that they’re only going to put in half a day tomorrow, and meet at Chili’s after work for dinner, drinks and several rounds of furious high-fiving.

The plumbing problems here at Rancho Yesteryear have subsided for the most part, but they made their presence known practically from the get-go when my mother noticed shortly after we moved in that the tub in their bathroom was a little grungy…and upon closer inspection, realized that the toilet wasn’t flushing as well as it should, causing it to expectorate into the tub.  The tub also had a tendency to take on water when she ran the washer, and since this is not considered a normal occurrence to people who either own or rent, she pleaded with my father to call the landlady and get someone out here to look at the problem.

My father sprung into action…calling the next day.  (This is why we were doing all we could to keep our bowels tight, even calling the local food bank to see if they had any of that infamous government cheese on hand.)  The plumbing people came out and did what plumbers do, natch, and the guy in charge of the outfit came out to the living room to give my parents a report on just what was making the plumbing act in such a demonic fashion.

He explained that they found a few things blocking the pipe that leads from the house to the street sewer, and that one of them was a washcloth.  We immediately surmised that the washcloth had to have belonged to the previous tenants (my mother has ascribed a darker motive, saying they did it deliberately to screw with the landlady) because if one of us had dropped a washcloth into the commode, we definitely would have remembered doing so.  My father expressed some skepticism about this at first (as is his wont) until my Mom patiently explained that we didn’t have that many washcloths to begin with and offered to do an inventory to account for the ones we do have.

The plumber guy also went on a rant about the fact that our house is equipped with “low-flow” toilets, something which did not meet his approval while understanding that if we had our druthers, we wouldn’t have them around either.  He said—without realizing the irony—that “those toilets aren’t worth a crap,” and then he apologized to my mother for the coarseness of his language.  I suppose I could have told Shecky the Plumber that my mother once worked in the warehouse of a furniture store, where the F-bomb was pretty much in everyday use as an adjective, but I decided discretion was the better part of valor.

The downside to this whole plumbing issue is that my Mom has announced that we’re going back to Scott Tissue as our preferred brand of terlet paper, something that I’m not at all enthusiastic about because, really, wiping your ass with sandpaper would achieve the same result.  (That stuff is so thin it only has one side.)  She was forced to buy Scott when she and my Dad were living downstairs at the Double K Ranch because of a plumbing mishap there (the toilet started backing up into their shower—and I’ll try not to be too graphic as to what came out of there but my understanding is that a large portion of it was a rice-like substance mixed with human waste); the guy brought in to solve the problem suggested that dispensing with Charmin would be a wise course of action.  (Personally, I think these guys are on Scott’s payroll.)

Earlier this week on Facebook, an old high school chum was celebrating a natal anniversary—and she must have been pretty sensitive about it because she tweaked her account to keep people from writing “Happy birthday” on her “wall,” as the ‘book people refer to it.  So what I did was basically wish her a happy one on my wall, even including her name in a tag so she’d be sure to see it (I wrote something like “It’s [person]’s birthday today, and though she thought she was clever to keep people from observing it on her wall she wasn’t so devious to keep me from announcing it on mine.”).

Well, the retribution for my little stunt is that she “defriended” me a couple days after.  Something that just made me laugh, because I took pride in knowing that even after being away from high school for so long my powers to piss people off are still in peak form.  I casually mentioned this incident in a phone call to The Duchess, who remarked that our friend’s action was “petty”—prompting me to return with “It’s not even Lori Petty or Tom Petty…this is ‘King’ Richard Petty.”

But the biggest bummer this week concerns a joint project that was instituted by both myself and my BBFF Stacia—we had devised a plan to raise some funds to liberate me from the vise-like grip of my father’s television choices by adopting one of this country’s most cherished charitable institutions…namely, holding a raffle.  Anyone interested in kicking in a buck to go towards the purchase of a TV set (new or used) that I could attach to the cable hookup in my bedroom would be entered in a drawing for a prize of a gift certificate from  I’m not laying any blame on Stacia when I tell you that it was her idea, and a darned good one, I thought…and so did several other people who commented while kicking in.  I was tickled pink that I got quite a few takers, and for those of you who entered the (mumble) I want to thank you profusely for your generosity.

Tuesday morning, I got an e-mail from TDOY cohort Pam that stated she was having trouble kicking into the television kitty—and so I started to investigate, thinking something was screwed up with the PayPal donation link.  (I even put in a new link, but kept getting the same onscreen message: “This merchant is unable to receive funds.”)  Eagle-eyed Pammy noticed an e-mail at the top of the page, one I recognized as setting up for my father at a time when he had been bitten by the eBay bug.  So I had to access that e-mail account to find out what was going on…and that was easier said than done, because while I seem to be able to remember all of the names of the characters on The Space Kiddettes, passwords refuse to stay in my memory banks for very long.

I finally get into the account and find three e-mails from the people at PayPal…all ostensibly on the same subject.  Their policy dictates that raffles are verboten, and this means that Stacia and I will be taking a trip to the principal’s office.  No, I’m just kidding about that…it means that they have put a freeze on the account until Stacia and I have rectified this online fund faux pas—she needs to remove the link on She Blogged by Night to my link, and I need to correspond with them telling them she’s done so.  Oh, and I also had to stay after class and write on the blackboard: “I will not have my way with PayPal in such an unsavory manner ever again.” (The amusing thing is before I found out that we were PayPal scofflaws, I tried going to the PayPal site to learn what infraction I was guilty of and every time I’d click on a link in an effort to get an explanation I kept getting 404 messages, telling me the page no longer existed.  It was almost like being married: “Honey, what did I do?”  “You know what you did!”)

It’s too late to make a long story short, I know…but the bottom line is we had to prematurely end our fundraising—and in retrospect, that’s probably where we made that one fatal mistake.  By using the word “raffle,” we invoked the ire of the all-powerful entity known as PayPal; we probably should have just edited that word out of the posts from the get-go.  I thought the PayPal people found out about our little fundraiser because they’re devoted followers of SBBN (and why wouldn’t they be?) but the consensus is that someone blew the whistle on our nefarious scheme, given that other blogs and sites have engaged in similar activity with nary a peep from PP.  Stacia’s theory is that a disgruntled SBBN commenter turned states evidence but I won’t be so quick to point the finger because, really, it could have been anyone who squealed.  (There is no shortage of wankers on the Internets, and the pathetic thing is they keep filling out applications every day.)

The only drawback to l’affaire PayPal is that the account is still in limbo, which might be a problem because it’s the one my father uses for eBay-related business…and my reluctance to tell both him and Mom what went down has all the familiar trappings of a sitcom:

(Sentimental music)
DAD: What I don’t understand, son is…why didn’t you come to us with this in the first place?
ME: Gosh, Dad…I don’t know…maybe it’s because I thought you and Mom would think I was kind of stupid…
DAD: Well…let’s be honest…you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed…
(Laugh track)
STACIA: We’re real sorry we broke your PayPal, Mr. Shreve…but Ivan and I have a keen idea on how to raise some money to replace it…we’re going to have a bake sale!
PAYPAL OFFICIAL: I think we might have a few things to say about that, young lady!
(Dad, Mom, Stacia, PayPal guy and I all laugh along with the laugh track…music out)

Wacky blog dream sequence aside, the drawing of the winner’s name went off without a hitch even though the hat Stacia used belonged to Mr. Stacia, whose head-covering apparel apparently brings new meaning to the phrase “ten-gallon hat.”  You can read all about the results (I’d publish the name of the winner but they asked to remain anonymous…and I can’t say I blame them) at Stacia’s post (now with more cats!) at the Chuckie Award-winning She Blogged by Night.  But I just want to thank her for all her support and help, and to those loyal TDOY followers who donated to the abbreviated cause: “Ooooh, you’re a good group.”

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Stacia said...

Well, technically, the winner didn't ask to be anonymous -- I just figured that it should be their idea to announce they were the recipient of a gift cert if they wanted to, or they could keep it secret in case they were afraid of what narcs and wankers might do.

The pictures on this entry just slayed me. The toilet paper is CLASSIC.

Marilyn said...

Priceless! I live in a large condo building, so my plumbing in the WC is generally fine. But the hubby insists Scott Tissue is the only way to go. I'd actually like to go using something that a little more substantial...

Caftan Woman said...

Life tips from sitcoms: If you had sat through the entire episode of "I Love Lucy" wherein Lucy and Ethel tried to raise money for a trip to Europe by organizing a raffle, you could have avoided a lot of trouble. Of course, on the return trip from Europe Lucy tried to smuggle a large amount of cheese into the country which, I assume, was industrial strength.

As long as your laugh track is intact, you will survive.

Scott said...

You're using toilet paper? I would have thought a fella like you, with a fine appreciation for heritage and tradition, would know better than to fall for a fad like that. Or worse, those newfangled corncobs.

Me, I stick the with tried-and-true Roman method: a sea sponge on a stuck, stored in a jug of brine.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

If you had sat through the entire episode of "I Love Lucy" wherein Lucy and Ethel tried to raise money for a trip to Europe by organizing a raffle, you could have avoided a lot of trouble.

I knew there was something Lucy-like about this enterprise! Hoisted on my own petard!

Rich said...

I would totally watch a retro-sitcom with you and Stacia.

Re: Facebook: if that chick was able to adjust her settings so that people couldn't write on her wall, then she should've known that she can also change the settings so that her birthday isn't even shown on her page. You're better off without her; she sounds WAY too sensitive.

ClassicBecky said...

Ivan, didn't you know that Scott now has a version called Soft? It actually has 2 sides. Or, as my farmer ancestors did, there's always the Sears catalogue.

I wish I had known about your raffle -- I mean, fund -- I would have given at least 50 cents! I am lucky to have a TV myself -- my old TV died, I had no money, and my wonderful boss gave me a nice one, only 4 years old -- they got a huge one, the kind that you have to add a new wing to the house for.

As for your idiot FB friend, don't feel bad. My own nephew unfriended me when I was not happy that he posted something with the words C--------r and M----------r in the title. I reminded him that my grandkids see my site, and he acted like I was Jerry Falwell's personal moral police!

ClassicBecky said...

P.S. Are you and your BBFF kind of like Lucy and Ethel? I would bet you are Lucy!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I should probably take a brief bit o'time here to defend the gal who kicked me to the Facebook curb...I don't have the evidence needed to convict her in court (I mean, it's not like she sent me a message saying "Sayonara, you little dweeb...") but because I don't really believe in coincidences I would find it hard to believe that she jettisoned me for reasons other than my being brazen enough to remind her she's another year older and deeper in debt. (The timing of this is just too perfect.) I don't hold a grudge against her, though...and if I were able to attend my 30th high school reunion this year I'd probably still have a chinwag with her.

CB (ClassicBecky) asked:

Are you and your BBFF kind of like Lucy and Ethel?

I won't pretend to speak for Stacia, but to me it's more like Dobie and Maynard...

Oh, and one of my oldest friends who's also on Facebook reminded me today that she bought a TV set from me the year that I left Morgantown (2000) and according to her, "It's still going strong." Talk about hindsight being 20/20...

ClassicBecky said...

I know what you mean, Ivan -- I still love my idiot nephew...I guess I could have put that better, but he'll never see it!

I had to laugh at your use of "another year older and deeper in debt". Just yesterday I was talking to a blogger friend, and I said "Bless your peapickin' little heart." He was too young to know who Tennessee Ernie Ford is, so I sent him a Youtube clip of Ernie singing "16 Tons"! He loved it.

Stacia said...

I won't pretend to speak for Stacia, but to me it's more like Dobie and Maynard...

In a BRING ME THE HEAD OF DOBIE GILLIS kind of way, I suppose.