It’s Raining On Demo Day

Some days are awesome, filled with adventure and excitement for whats to come. Today is not one of those days. This morning I woke up to a headache. Not a bad one, just one of those subtle throbs that’s juuuuust enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head and remain in the cocoon of your bed… indefinitely. But, I didn’t. I can’t be that big of a slacker ass loser. I have to at least pretend to be productive since I still don’t have a job. 4 months without a paycheck, but who’s keeping track, right? My bank, that’s who is keeping fucking track.

After I’ve made a cup of coffee I sat down to check all my emails and to look over the job sites that I visit every 2 or 3 days to check for new listings that I might be at least qualified for. Low and below I’ve been informed that while my “self evaluation showed that I met minimum qualifications required, I was not referred to the hiring manager” for an Administrative Assistant job that I applied for. So I guess that a decade of experience in Strategic Planning and Project Management isn’t enough for me to get an admin job with the Federal Government. Perhaps if I get my MBA, they one day will let me answer a phone but lets be realistic, probably not.

As I forcefully sent that email notification to the trash my fitness tracker beeped at me and told me it was time to stand up. I actually said out load to my wrist, “I will fucking murder you.” in a menacing tone. Literally I felt murdery. Yes, that’s a real word, because I say it is. This tune was what inside my brain sounded like:

Then my sweet, annoying, demanding, drooling cat kept crawling on me. Meowing at me. Forcefully head-butting my hands as I tried to type through job searches, rubbing saliva covered jowls on my forearms. Bless his heart for wanting to show his murdery (still a real word, don’t even argue with me today) mom attention. Not wanting to be a dick to an innocent geriatric cat, I figured I should probably sit at the kitchen table like a fucking adult to type rather than slouched in the corner of the couch anyway, and moved. The. Cat. Followed. Me. He sat at my feet, meowing. Then that didn’t work he stood on his hind end with his front paws on my thighs meowing.  Then he jumped on my lap, lost balance, clawed the hell out of me and fell. So I had to pull another chair over right next to mine so he cold sit by me. And because I am murdery (fight me about that word, I dare you) today, I’m irritated by his love. Which makes me feel bad, because who gets mad about an innocent animal loving them?

puddy
Exhibit A – Furry jerk insisting on being next to me at all times, except with the Sailor is home, then I am dead to him.

So, I’m sitting at the table with my stupid loving cat finally situated and I have no interest in looking for a job because that’s just going to depress me further. So, I open the blinds to the little balcony and see that it’s grey and rainy, which makes me happy and also explains my mild head throb. I friggen love this kind of weather. Expecting to get blasted by a humid inferno, I tentatively cracked the balcony door to find, it’s almost cool outside so, I leave the door cracked. But, the sound of cars driving on wet pavement, the slight smell of ozone and the grey sky makes me think of home and now I’m weepy and battling homesickness.

Just as I’ve almost given into getting back in bed and reading my book for the entire day, my phone buzzes. I have a notification from my menstrual tracker app. Side note: Listen, I can’t take oral BC anymore thanks to the Big C, which used to be my way of knowing when Aunt Flow’s train was due to arrive.  Once that went bye bye, I could never remember to write down when to expect to be surfing the crimson wave again so I could always be prepared and not taken by surprise in public. So, I downloaded the Flo app and wa-la, my phone just tells me like it does with everything else in my life. Anyway, Flo sends me a notification that sometime in the next 24 hours or so, my uterus will begin to violently tear down it’s own walls, pissed-off that it has decorated a womb-nursery for a spawn only to be told, “Not this time buddy,” and it will all go to waste yet again.

And it all becomes clear to me. This isn’t me being murdery, this is my uterus being a angry that I haven’t gone forth and been fruitful, wasting all her work on redecorating for the hope of a cellular minion taking up shop there. She’s beginning her hormonal temper tantrum in preparation of demo’ing my internal nursery. Now I know I can just eat a bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips and a few (dozen) donuts and I’ll feel better. You’d think after 15 years of this happening every fucking month I’d have a clue by now.

I’m Having a Party

Me: The Sailor is going state side today for a week so, I’ll be solo here.

Friend: Oh, any big plans?

Me: I’m having a party.

Friend: Aw, you’ve met some friends then? Yay!

Me: Ha ha ha ha. Yeah, me and the cats with a oversized bottle of Rose. Woo! Par-tay!

Friend: Aw, I’m sorry.

Me: Why?

Friend: Aren’t you lonely all by yourself?

Me: Uh, I’m not all by myself, I have the cats. And it’s only a week. Besides, I’m cleaning the house all nice so I can lay around surrounded by all my throw pillows, watching whatever the hell I want on TV, knitting, with my fancy scented candles burning, not wearing pants in a clean house… I literally might have a dance party in my fluffy socks in the ugliest pajamas that I own. Or I might take a hot bath for 3 hours. My options are endless.

Friend: Ooooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyyy

 

My Throw Pillows

The Sailor and I were watching “The Intern” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. There is a scene where the widower, Ben, that De Niro plays takes in a young fellow intern into his home to loan him a room after his parents kick him out while he finds his first apartment. As he gives the young man a tour, the young man sees his perfect made bed with decorative throw pillows and comments, “I like that you do the throw pillow thing” and Ben replies, “I was married for a very long time…” and nods kind of sadly…

Me: *Sitting, cocooned by all my feathery throw pillows…* Babe, after I die will you keep all my throw pillows around?

Sailor: Ha, no.

Me: BABE!!

Sailor: Well I mean maybe as fire starters for my bonfires…

#ShitTheSailorSays

A Pox Upon My Face

I have always struggled with my skin. For as long as I can remember I was always treating one or another break out. When I was 21 it was at its worst and my dermatologist and I both agreed to give Acutane a try. Yeah, the stuff that if you get knocked up while you’re taking it makes your baby have crazy deformities. It’s no joke. At the time there was no generic either. My initial dosage started at $800 a month and by the end of the 6 months I was up to $1200 a month… and I didn’t have insurance. I paid it. Happily. I was desperate. The battle continued after that but, the Actuane helped tremendously. Oral birth control reined in the few break outs that continued after that. Unfortunately good old breast cancer put the ixnay on that since I’m never again allowed to take any oral medication that contains any kind of hormones. So that battle was lost but, the war continues.

Living in southern Virginia, I had found a cleansing and topical treatment routine that was working… mostly. It was good enough I wasn’t self conscious and I was happy with the results. But, everything effects my skin; mood, water intake, diet, exercise, weather, stress, regional allergies, seasonal allergies, washing with city water vs well water, time of the month, time of the year, Zeus coughs on Mount Olympus and I get a cystic volcano on my cheek…  So when we began our journey first up to Ohio, I knew I’d have a new but, temporary battle. My parents’ well water messes with my skin. It used to be naturally SUPER soft and have a bunch of iron in it. It used to wreck my skin. Since those years of me living there though, they have gotten a water softener so, I held out hope that would help. False. Well, it isn’t as bad as it used to be and we were only there for a week so I had come prepared with various washes, scrubs, creams and lotions to combat the inevitable flux. One week of driving in the RV only stopping to sleep in the RV at rest stops was another one. I was prepared for that too. I mean, I did my best using facial wipes and being the crazy lady doing a full face wash routine in the rest stop bathroom that has a push and hold faucet but, whatever. It’s that or look like Acne Amy by the end of the trip. Our month in Tacoma was the final US travel hurdle. Usually my skin mostly likes the WA weather and my allergies are less exhausting there. It’s just a couple reasons I love the Pacific Northwest. So a couple of tweaks to the usual daily facial routine and I was OK.

Japan, I was clueless on. I had no idea on how my skin would react. I assumed the first couple weeks would be a shit show. Unfortunately a shit show on my face is not easy to hide. Using makeup to camouflage the trouble spots gets tricky when it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity. AKA it melts right the hell off within minutes of walking out of the air conditioning. Le sigh.

We’ve been in Yokosuka now for over a month and a half. 99% of that time I’ve looked like I have chicken pox, no joke. My face and my neck are ANGRY with this place. I’m assuming it’s a combination of sweating ALL THE TIME, changes from AC to heat to AC, base water, stress (hi, have I mentioned I’m still unemployed? I need a job please) and diet changes. Plus lets face it, I never can seem to drink enough dang water. So, I started researching. Digging into how Japanese women (and men) keep their faces looking porcelain. First I found, they are just graced with beautiful skin genetics. Which I’m jealous of frankly because obviously, I am not that blessed. What else I found is that Japanese women don’t mess around when it comes to taking care of their skin and hair. They follow a double cleansing process that has no less than 6 but up to 12 steps. No joke. And their products are geared towards that. Most beauty blogs and articles state that cleansing your face at the end of the day should take approximately the same amount of time as applying your makeup… Dude. Applying a full face of make up, not even a formal event style, just a, “hey we are going out to dinner for some burgers with friends and I want to look fab,” takes at least 30 minutes. I mean, for me longer because I have all my splotches and spots from breakouts to camouflage. This statement alone has left me reeling. OBVIOUSLY I am failing in the eyes of my Japanese sisters when it comes to the first and most crucial aspect of my night-night face routine. This nightly process lead to a simpler less intense morning process not surprisingly.

So, here is what I have gathered the in Japan is the norm for  facial routines.

Morning

  1. Cream Cleanse
  2. Lotion/Essence
  3. Serum
  4. Moisturizer
  5. Eye Gel
  6. SPF

Night

  1. Oil Cleanse
  2. Foaming Cleanse
  3. Exfoliation
  4. Lotion/Essence
  5. Mask
  6. Serum
  7. Massage
  8. Moisturizer
  9. Eye cream
  10. Spot treatments

Yep. If you’re keeping tally, that 3 types of cleansers a day. My Japanese beauty enthusiasts are not. Messing. Around. I can’t say I am surprised though. I mean, I spent 6 months getting to be a certified Esthetician. I used to give people expensive facials for a living. And really, while the order might be ever so slightly different and the US terms are slightly different, it’s conceptually the same. Basically Japanese women give themselves full facials every night.

Armed with this new knowledge I took a little walk over the the Exchange to check out the little beauty section to see what I could find that would be a US equivalent to the descriptions in all the articles on Japanese facial routines. I still have a few products that fit the bill in certain steps like a foam cleanser and a cream cleanser, exfoliation etc. I was basically looking for an oil cleanser, a lotion, a light day moisturizer (I have a neutrogena one that is almost empty) and a pimple patch spot treatment. And I found… not much. Whomp whomp. They had one oil cleanser and it was mostly coconut oil which I already know makes me break out BAD, like possible allergy type rash and pimples. There were no real products that fit the description of the Japanese lotions. Even the traditional US toners were limited. I already have Clinique Lotion 3 which is a clarifying toner. I like it. It works. It’s expensive. I planned to continue to use it after cleansing but, before the lotion. I also hoped to find a nice Japanese alternative since I hadn’t found a decent dupe in the US for it. No pimple patch covers (they sounded so promising in the articles and blogs!) They had my usual Neutrogena day moisturizer but, meh, since they didn’t have the other items I just was over it.

Back home I started an intense search on must try products. I read blogs, reviews and articles. What I found is the beauty of this J-beauty (yeah, that’s what fancy beauty bloggers and writers call it) process is that while there are a lot of products obviously, the process, the ritual itself, was what seemed to be important rather than the fanciest most expensive products. OK, I can really get behind this. I found amazing reviews for products like SK-II Essence and Albion Skin Conditioner Essential but, I certainly don’t have over $100 for one product. So I narrowed my search down to just drugstore products. Thankfully I found that Japan has a plethora of these that are highly rated and most had received coveted Cosme awards which is similar to the Allure and Elle beauty awards that we see on products in the US. I also found that Japan, as a whole, takes regulation of ingredients in their products and claims made on what a product does very seriously. So if a product claims to lighten age spots, you can rest assured that it has really truly proven to do just that. It’s that exact reason why you don’t see a ton of creams and lotions claiming to reverse aging like you do in the states… because they just don’t have products that they feel REALLY actually “reverse” aging.

After several hours of of going down the rabbit hole of J-Beauty blogs, reviews, announcements, reddit boards and lists, I had over 2 pages worth of possible products to try. My lists were nice and organized by type and I had even snapped screen shots of what the packaging looked like since I obviously can’t read Japanese and was concerned the Japanese drugstore might only have kanji signage. I even looked up the best drug stores for beauty products. Basically I am all set to adventure out into town for a little shopping trip. The drug store, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, that I want to try and hit up is about an hour and a half walk which sounds far, but really isn’t.  The Sailor has agreed to walk with me so stay tuned for that adventure!

 

The Last Thing

Looking for a new job is stressful. It’s even more stressful when you are currently unemployed in a foreign country and only have a limited amount of savings to keep you afloat. Let’s not even discuss the chaos of unpacking and trying to organize a lifetime of items in a new space that is over twice the size of any place you’ve ever lived. My skin has broken out. I hardly sleep at all. Or I sleep for 12, 13, 14 plus hours and can barely function. I’ve scratched holes in my scalp without even realizing it. My stomach can decide on a whim to not like whatever I’ve eaten and gurgle in turmoil. It will even out. Things will fall into place in their own time. Everyone says so but, they are saying it to someone with anxiety and probably a little OCD if the truth were to be told. So, I scratch and run to the bathroom and try and take Zzzquil or set alarms for early in the morning to force exhaustion the next day. And I job search online. I fill out web questionnaires that take an hour and supposedly rate my ethics and math skills. I cross my fingers and hope that I’m not too over qualified or too under qualifed.

I found a list of jobs I wouldn’t hate and are within walking distance of my house which really are my only criteria. Some of them needed to have forms printed, filled out in blue ink and scanned back in. No problem. I have a printer. Sadly in the 2 months in transit the brand new black ink cartridge decided to go kaput which with my sweet cheap printer means that it won’t print or do anything. While frustrating, I’m not really surprised. I’m lucky that the store that happens to carry ink on base is right across the street so, I just walked over. I contemplated getting the 4 pack that included the 3 color cartridges as well but, as mentioned before, I have a cash flow problem, so $12 and one black ink cartridge later I was home. By now it was dinner time so I called it good for the day.

After a great night of falling asleep at 4am and waking at 6, 7:30 and finally the last time at 9:30am I just gave up and got up. I made coffee. I checked my email. I skipped breakfast because my stomach felt angry, like it might or might not be filled with napalm. After a few good deep sips of glorious caffeinated beverage, I decided to install my ink. My stellar printer LOVES to struggle with printing when a new cartridge gets swapped in. Two hours later of cleaning the printer heads and check and re checking the vertical and horizontal alignment it was in the last step of cleaning the printer heads one last time when and error message popped up and let me know that all three of the motherfucking color cartridges are empty. Fuck it. It was past lunch time and since I hadn’t eaten in the morning, I was hungry. As I warmed up my left over risotto my stomach gurgled and twisted and sent me running to the bathroom before the 2 minutes on the microwave could even run out.

I ate my risotto at barely above room temperature while staring at our new very disorganized entertainment cabinet with all of our DVDs stacked up next to it and cords hanging out the front doors. Rather than angrily walking in the hot windy  drizzling day to the store for more ink, I set to the task of organizing the entertainment stand. I cleared everything out, reworked wire locations, and organized the DVDs that we still have cases for; organized and neat, stacked and sorted. It helped relieve some of the irritation of the ink being lame. I sat down to re-set up my Echo so I could be super lazy and ask Alexa for the weather especially now during typhoon season. It’s tricky setting up a device for a foreign location where you now live but, you’re address is has a technically US zip code. Some googling, and trial and error I got Alexa connected to the new WiFi and answering “What is the weather?” and telling me the weather close enough to where we actually are and not Norfolk or a random US west coast city.

Pleased with myself, I plopped down on my couch to start the job search back up with a plan to hit up the library later in the day to print out all the necessary forms and make copious copies of them. As I picked up my laptop, I heard a pop and felt my glasses shift… So weird. As I reached up to take my glasses off to look at them, they wobbled strangely and bloop, the lens plopped out into my lap. My black frames miraculously just cracked in half at the side. Not even at the bend or hinge, just a random ass spot popped.  Granted I think I paid a whopping $15 for the frames so they weren’t exactly top of the line but, dang. I just got them maybe 5 months ago. Obviously you really do get what you pay for.

It was one more thing today, just one more thing and it was the last one. The last damn thing. So, now I’m just sitting on the couch eating cheese mindlessly watching whatever happens to be on. I’ll just try again tomorrow but, today? Today is obviously done.

Tipsy on a Tuesday Afternoon

When the Sailor sent me an email from Puerto Rico where he was for over 2 months for relief work after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria saying, “WE GOT ORDERS TO JAPAN,” I was ecstatic. WE were ecstatic. What an adventure! A tropical island, completely different culture with a long complex and interesting history and we would be right on Tokyo Bay. We both immediately talked about climbing Mount Fuji, seeing the historic cities with their shrines and temples and listing all the surround countries that suddenly became long weekend trips. We were like little kids talking about summer camp. But no one really warns you about the process of moving over seas and what it entails so let me enlighten you. IT FUCKING SUCKS!

It sucks if you don’t have a perfect health history (check) and if you have pets that you can’t (or in my case re-home – check) and I can not even imagine it with children. It gets infinitely more frustrating and draining with each seemingly mundane aspect of your life. You think you have an idea of packers coming into your house and wrapping up all your stuff and taking it away… for 2+ months and living out of duffle bags. Eating on paper plates and plastic flatware with dollar store pots and pans in an empty house. Going to work and coming home to an air mattress and 2 lawn chairs. Then it happens and you realize, “Ummmm, this feels shitty,” because suddenly your home is empty and doesn’t really feel like home.

You think you understand that you’ll have so many days to relax, travel and visit your family and friends before boarding a very long flight but, suddenly 30 days of leave to do all that blows by and your standing at an airport waving goodbye. Funny, though no one ever really talks about flights getting delayed or canceled and having t frantically call your ride back at 3am to come lug you, your 4 giant duffle bags and 2 yowling scared shitless cats BACK to your family’s house again. Yeah, that happens. More frequently than I was aware. Then 24 hours later you do the same choked tearful goodbyes to the same family.

Then suddenly you’re watching a stranger wheel your two pets away to be loaded into the belly of a plane where they will be for the next 12+ hours and you cry some more because, they don’t friggen know. You know they don’t know and there isn’t anyway to tell an animal, “It’s fine. You’ll be fine. It will be over in no time.” You can barely explain that to a small child. You just see their sad little furry faces wide-eyed from the back of their cage looking at you like, “So this is how it ends” and your heart breaks because you haven’t slept in almost 36 hours because your original flight yesterday was delayed for 24 hours and you’re stressed and nervous. And the little girl whose dog is riding on the same cart with your cats is crying saying, “It’s ok boy. You’ll be OK. I love you. I’ll be waiting for you Japan.” And it’s just too much so, you cry too. Yeah, that was me.

No one warns you that as soon as you get here, all you’re going to do is run all over the damn base; apply for housing, immediately choose from a list of houses sight unseen or immediately know you want to live off base, then you’re on your own, 72 hours to report your pets entry onto base because they are under temporary quarantine, schedule a quarantine appointment to have the 12 hour quarantine lifted, get a Japanese phone, get a mail box, go to a week long area briefing, make an appointment to have your household goods delivered, make an appointment for a pre-move in inspection of your new home… It’s constant. It’s unrelenting. And you walk everywhere because you don’t have a car and it’s hotter than than Hades and more humid than his balls. Even if you did have a car, you couldn’t drive it because they drive on the left side of the road here (or if your egocentric, the “wrong side”) and all the traffic signs are in Japanese.

So you get your house. For us, since it was our first time in Japan and our first time living abroad, we chose base housing. Well, Kyle chose our house. Without me. I was salty for about 30 seconds. Then I didn’t give a shit because I just didn’t want to have to live in the Navy Lodge (aka Hotel on base) for months. When he went to the housing office early one morning to see what he had to do to request housing, they directed him to a house brief. After they told him he had to choose base housing or off base housing. Off base housing had another briefing. If he chose base housing then they had a list of base homes available right now for him to choose from. If he didn’t choose right then, the next guy from the briefing in rank got a choice and when he brought me back with him the list would be shorter. The next guy in line that the Sailor just happened to out rank smiled. He knew what he was choosing if the Sailor passed to come ask me. So he chose and a high-rise called Satsuki Heights became our new home for 3 years. Sight. Un. Seen.

Then you have a choice, pay to continue to stay in the hotel until your household goods are delivered, pay to rent furniture and shit to live in your new place until your stuff is delivered or move into an empty home and rough it on the floor until your shit arrives. One guess what we chose.

So you’ve made it this far. All your appointments are made, and you’ve begun attending the week long area briefing classes that basically spends the first 3 days telling you about the base, and reminding you that you’re living on a military installation so, ya know, don’t do stupid shit like talk about ships and what they are doing  and when. Oh and don’t get in fights at the bars or drive at all if you’ve had even one drink because the Japanese blood alcohol limit is .03% which is the rough equivalent of smelling a decent beer. During this time, they give you a sweet photocopy booklet to study for a written driving exam. Yes. It’s a booklet with all the new laws of how to drive on the left side of the road and what all the traffic signs mean. The translation is a little sketchy so the descriptions are… well, I was really glad for the pictures that accompanied the descriptions. On your final day of briefing you take the written exam if you want to get your SOFA license. BTW, SOFA is just a fancy acronym for status of forces agreement. Basically it’s just a host country (in our case Japan) agreeing that us foreigner living here for military purposes can get a quick license if we already have a US license, pass a set of simple tests proving we can handle the subtle differences (among maaaaany other things). There are 50 questions on the written and you need an 80% to pass. Here at Yokosuka they gave an incentive to really study. If you got 100% you get first choice of schedule availability for the driving exam. The Sailor assured me that he’d get a 100%. Needless to say, I was one of 6 that got 100% and he didn’t. HA! I haven’t taken the driving exam yet. I’m sure that will be complete fuckery. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you’ve made it thus far without losing your shit, bravo. Sadly, thats about to change. Because now comes the delivery of your household goods. The Japanese movers are polite, nice, patient and effective as fuck. No matter how awesome they are thought, they can’t fix what the US packers and movers drop kicked across the country and on to a container ship. Some of your shit will get broken. If you’re lucky it will be a cheap clothes drying rack or small bowl that had seen better days anyway. If you’re unlucky your grandfather clock will be jacked up bad enough you don’t know how to fix it and the corner of your flat screen 3D TV will be broken off among other things. Yeah, it will make you mad. You will silently rage and if you’re like me you’ll shut down and take a nap on the couch surrounded by chaos. Then when the movers are done and you look around at all your stuff and wonder how in the hell you fit this much crap into a one bedroom apartment back home, you’ll crack open a delicious Coca Cola, chug a few swallows then tip in a shot or two of Sailor Jerry straight into the can and sit down to spew your woes of the last several weeks out online.

And that’s how I ended up tipsy on a Tuesday afternoon.

I Require a Possum in a Top Hat and Monocle (Original Post 03/06/16)

I grew up in a middle class house in the burbs of the north eastern corner of the Midwest in the 80’s. It was pretty normal really. Well, I thought it was. I mean everyone’s dad hunted, did his own taxidermy and lined the walls of your den and living room with said stuffed animals, right? To make things even more interesting, he had a tendency to “find” animals that needed help and saving and regularly brought them home from his hunting trips along with the carcasses of the slain. Oh, and he was also on the sheriff’s call list for when a buck (a male deer for you non-countiefied readers) was hit by a car but not decimated and they wanted someone to come and take the decent body… To butcher, wall mount etc..

More than a few times I came home and opened the barn (think giant garage with room for his Kubota tractor and riding lawn mower and an upstairs) to find a giant lifeless deer strung up skinned and gutted ready for butchering.  Totes normal.

My  earliest memory was in our basement. In a nook tucked back under the stairs where he had rigged up a wood stove to our laundry shoot to help heat our little post war bungalow was his work bench. It was close proximity to the wash tub that our washer drained into. This was important for his taxidermy work. I didn’t remember the exact process and formulas for the chemicals but one of the first steps after the ducks were gutted and skinned the pelts had to be soaked clean and tanned.  I used to stand next to my dad on an overturned bucket watching him at the sink. Sometimes if I wasn’t pestering him too much he’d give me the eyeballs to play with while he cleaned the bodies. My mother was repulsed which I couldn’t understand as I rolled the little jelly balls between my fingers occasionally turning my little hand sideways lining them up between my middle and pointer finger so it looked like my hand had little eyes and my thumb, working up and down resembled a talking mouth. Like a hand puppet. What? You didn’t play with eyeballs when you were a kid?

Anyway, he’d move to his work bench eventually where he shaped foam bodies with clay molded thighs and inserted wire into legs and beaks. I would sit on a tall stool he would pull up for hours watching him hand paint special tiny glass eyes, airbrush preserved legs and feet to be the just so shades as if they still had blood pumping through them. It always amazed me how suddenly some lumpy foam oval would suddenly have a feathered pelt stretched over it and to become the body of a drake mallard or hen canvas back. Sculptures clay molded to get the shape of the head just right. Some were bound to be in perpetual flight, mounted to a post off the carefully selected piece of drift wood to be wall mounted or a wire des retry coming from a selected spot in the back to hang from the ceiling forever coming in for a landing in out little bungalow’s living room.

My favorite were the standing ones. They didn’t just stand on the table. My father created entire vinettes to accompany them. Some perched on preserved and perfectly airbrushed logs with moss, preserved leaves and all. My favorite was a hen and 2 babies. Now don’t freak out. He may have shot the hen in season but the babies he found road side a casualty of a motorist. The momma and rest of the best were beyond saving from a taxidermist perspective but two weren’t so badly damaged that he couldn’t salvage them. So the hen he already has stuffed got a new habitat that was a nest and the addition of 2 offspring.

Yes, roadkil was regularly considered “finds”. One Christmas my grandfather and young uncle were in town for the holidays. On their way to join us at my Aunt’s house then hit a giant pheasant. Smashed their windshield. But they stopped and went back to see if the damn thing needed to be put out of any misery. It in fact was dead from what appeared to be a broken neck. It must have flown directly into the big old Cadillac’s windshield. Knowing my father they scooped up the fresh kill and put it in the trunk as a Christmas gift for my father. To say he was excited by that smelly thing was an understatement. In his defense, it was a big fucking bird. It hangs in mid flight to this day in his man cave.

I think all this leads me to where I’m at today. I have always had a little penchant for strange taxidermied animals over say, glass vases or pretty pottery. I have never had the opportunity to purchase any freaky stuffed squirrels or wall mounted boars heads but, should that opportunity arose, I’d be giddy with glee. That being said, The Sailor has just agreed that I can get a stuffed opossum wearing a little vest, monocle and top hat while carrying a little cup of tea or gentleman’s cane. I know, I married well. He’s a man of good taste and infinite understanding of how to make his lady happy. So, now the search for Sir Oliver Possington begins.