The Beautiful Ugly

I’m staring at the clock on our kitchen wall.  It’s an ugly clock.  I think it has some sort of meant-to-be-faded map in the middle of it.  It has brown edging and gold numbers with a clear, see through, backing to the numbers.  Yep, it’s feckin’ ugly.


I bought that ugly clock.  Yep, paid actual money for it.  I just wanted a normal clock.  A regular solid colored, round, wall clock, so I could know what the hell time it is.  But, alas, at the megastore where I bought it there were only these fancy-shmancy ones.  I stared at the clocks in the aisle for a super long time before I decided on this one.  I really ruminated over it, mainly, because I knew if I picked the wrong one Wifesy was gonna hate it.  I was right on that one because Wifesy does hate this feckin’ clock.  She claims you can’t see the time on it because the gold numbers sort of blend into the faux wood edging and then, of course, there’s no backing to the numbers.  She’s right.  You can’t tell time on the damn thing.  We meant to take it back, as Wifesy and I are very good at returning things.  But, in the hurricane of everyday life the receipt was lost.  So, now we’re stuck with it.


oh.dear.god. Too many, brain melting.


I have this sensation a lot.  It’s the idea that I want this particular thing, but I need to have it now or there’s only one store I can go to or I’m on a budget and so I buy something in a panic.  The purchase always ends up being something that is not quite right.


Even as a kid, this happened.  I wanted a 12 speed bike – something sleek and aerodynamic looking with one of those mini bike seats that only an anorexic could sit on without any pain.  Instead, my parents got me a 3 speed bike with a wide-assed seat.  The seat was so wide it felt like something a grandmother would request at a restaurant.  “And give me an extra-wide seat, Sir, okay?  I’ve got the hemorrhoids.”


The bike just wasn’t cool and I was looking for a cool bike, so it sat in the shed and I barely rode it.  I never said anything to my parents about it because I didn’t want to seem ungrateful.  In a sense, I always felt ungrateful when it came to them.  You see, we had food and shelter and a pretty solid, stable upbringing, so what was my problem?


I think part of it was that my mom is the QUEEN of irregular.  If it’s irregular or odd, she buys it.  If I wanted a pair of designer jeans – say some Sassons, I ended up with Lassons or something equally embarrassing.  It didn’t help that mom eventually went to work as a volunteer at a thrift store.  She loved the job so much that she even went on to become the manager.  For years, all we ever received was thrift store clothing as gifts.  It got to the point where my brother and I would smell everything right after we opened it.  It became a running joke in the house.  “Sniff test, bro.  Is it from the stoooooore?” I’d ask.  He’d sniff and then we’d fall over laughing.



My mother was even a recycler of medicine.  I would get a stye in my eye or something equally teenager-ish and my mom would say, “Your dad had one of those.  Go and get his medication out of the cabinet.”  I would search around finally coming up with a small tube.  I looked across the label to make sure it was for styes.  That’s when I would inevitably see it – the expiration date.


“Mom, this medication is really old,” I would yell.


“It’s perfectly fine.  Just use it,” she would say.


“But, the label says 1972.”


“So?!!” she’d yell back.


“Well, it’s 1992.”


“Oh, it’s fine.  Don’t be ridiculous, just use it.”


My brother and I have very similar memories of this sort of thing.  There was a time where we all suffered from bad allergies in the house and mom’s constant refrain was, “Take a seldane.”  It was literally her cure-all.  I mean she said it constantly.  You had an itch – take a seldane.  A cough – take a seldane.  Depression – a seldane.  It was nuts.


Years later, my brother and I heard a news broadcast that seldane was taken off the market because it was linked to heart attacks.  “You see!  All that time she was trying to kill us!” I cried between fits of howling.


The comedy was black in our house.  The darker, the better a lot of the time.  I suppose that comes from wearing slightly irregular, thrift store clothing, while riding a wide-assed bicycle seat all through town during an age when all you want to be is cool.


It wasn’t only clothes and old medicine either.  My mother would commonly use things for purposes outside of what they were originally intended for.


Recently, my brother and I were with mom for her 70th birthday.  We were all talking about juicing and my mother said, “Oh, I’m definitely going to juice when I get home.  I want to get off this vacation weight.”


I said, “Okay, but you need a real juicer not a blender…”


“Or a sledgehammer like Gallagher,” my brother chimed in.


“And you can’t just run over fruit with the car and collect the juice in a pan,” I smiled.


“No, no, come on.  I have a juicer somewhere in the attic,” said mom.


“Yeah right,” I said.


“No, really, I have a juicer.”


“It’s probably a food processor and she thinks it’s a juicer,” said my brother.


“Yeah and she’ll try to use it anyway,” I said.


My brother and I started laughing and then I did my best mom impression.  “What?  What’s wrong with using this food processor as a juicer it works perfectly fine!”


“And if it doesn’t work and I feel bad about it I’ll just take a seldane,” said my brother.


“Oh, yes, a seldane.  Even though they’ve been off the market since 2000,” I added.


“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with them.  They’re perfectly fine,” said my brother laughing.


I’ve been back to that megastore recently where I bought the sh*tty clock.  They have regular ones there now.  Just straight up, round clocks, in different colors that tell the time.  But, for some reason…I think I’m going to keep the ugly one.



Important CANADICA note:  There is a HUGE game going on over at Canadica today and if you’re American (and non-American) you’re invited to play.  If you’re Canadian, you’re invited to laugh.  Either way, everyone wins.  Go over, after you read this.  I’m going to!



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Photo creds:

clock-feature, wallclocks


34 thoughts on “The Beautiful Ugly

  1. My mom always told us to drink Sprite, for a headache, stomach ache, a cold, a skinned knee. And it could not be 7-UP, it had to be Sprite. Sometimes she would recommend leaving it open to get flat, that was somehow better. Funny, I actually truly believe Sprite fixes things. And I swear it has fixed my own kids. Now putting it in my eye…I’d stop there. Nice read.

    1. looool. that sprite shit is hilarious. it all reminds me of the greek father in ‘my big fat greek wedding’ his was windex. he’d spray it on everything, your knee, the car, the dog…etc. too funny. that sprite thing is priceless. xo, sm

      1. ummm, my Mom had us drink ginger ale for all of the above…..soda conspiracy to get us trained to like it early?

    2. My mom was the same. Sprite for everything. 7-up only if the store she was at didn’t have any Sprite at that time. We were really limited in the store options back then.

    3. My doctor suggested soda water before I go to bed because I was getting leg cramps in the night, she said it has quinine in it which will help. I can’t see quinine on the ingredients list though….

    When my mom retired, she began volunteering at a thrift store.
    I. feel. your. pain!!
    She also keeps and uses terribly expired meds.
    Your post made my day.

    1. it is a curse. loooool. any person with a family who volunteers at a thrift store should be banned from bringing ANYTHING home from there. although we did get a car from there once. yep, a feckin’ car… true story. loool. xoxo, sm

  3. There is no greater pastime for siblings than to ridicule their parents, is there? Then again, it sounds like your sweet momma is ripe for the fodder, bless her little Seldane heart. I wonder what my boys will say about me someday. Something to look forward too…

    As always, great laughs, Sweet Mother!

    1. ‘bless her lil seldane heart,’ indeed. i think it’s somewhat of a bonding experience making gentle fun of ones parents. i can’t wait to see what my future gayby may do to me. payback is a b*tch. loool. xoxo

  4. OK – I just blew soda out my nose. Thanks for that. My mom believed that straight coffee or ginger ale were cures to most of what ailed you. My mom not only bought irregulars – she would buy the wrong size and tailor it to fit. I recall a pair of lemon yellow chiffon slacks – there was nothing right about those pants.

  5. You cracked me up with your tales of seldane 🙂
    Just like you, most of my purchases have been impulse-laden, hence regret-laden. I am particularly drawn to asymmetry because it is odd. I don’t look at the price, neither at the quality. I just need to have it. If they found a way to make an asymmetric clock with some numbers missing, I am sure I would buy that too!

  6. Aaaah good memories. 😉 I grew up with op shop [thrift store] clothing as well and then I married a guy who LOVED garage sales. The Ex was a real artist at finding bargains. He found a huge tv for a song and it lasted for a decade. Then he found an upright freezer that’s still working to this day…I think it’s now 20-something but I don’t have the heart to get rid of it [faithful service and all that]. As for me, I’ve been buying second hand books my whole life. 😀

    Medications though? The Daughter is a vigilante on use-by-dates. One day over and it’s gone. -sigh-

  7. Ok, U got Seldane, YOU were lucky. MY mom gave us HORSE LINIMENT in a glass of warm water for cramps. I’d KILLED for a Seldane. But in college “Nurse Hot Tang” gave u a Corcidan tablet (old timey antihistamine & acetaminophen) if u went to the nurse’s office for ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING – oh and a cup of hot tang. Almost made me sentimental for the horse liniment!

    And I would have traded u the thrift shop clothes for my Kmart clothes (this was a long time ago when the clothes there were really, really cheap – WWWAAAYYY before Jackie’s clothes were sold there).

    And we NEVER EVER went to the doctor – my sister stepped on a purple thorn (they are poisonous) and it went in so deep it was probably in her bone. My mom and grandma held her down on the dining table and grandpa pulled it out with a pair of pliers. Then they put purple carbolic salve on it. The miracle is that she didn’t get a bone infection! I once drank a half a coffee cup of bleach (bleach is NOT good for the digestive system) and another time ate a box of Ex-Lax (my OLDER sister told me it was chocolate candy) that should have KILLED me dead (luckily I threw up and that’s the only thing that saved me) and my little sister (of the thorn fame) once drank about a fourth of a bottle of whiskey – my grandpa gave her a teaspoon to “break out the chickenpox and she LIKE it (did I mention she was 3 or 4 at the most and an ounce will kill a child?). DID NOT SEE A DOCTOR for any of those!!! The REAL MICERALE is that we survived to adulthood!!!

  8. This cracks me up. Parents are so weird! I can’t really follow Mel, who should by all accounts be dead by now, but my dad’s reason to live is Liquidation World. He has bought me all manner of weird items from there like a crepe pan, or hip waders, or garden trellis (when I lived in an apartment), or.. I can’t even think of them all, because they were only $1.99! What a steal! That wouldn’t be so bad, but he grocery shops there as well. So basically if my mom dies, he’s going to be eating whatever gets liquidated. And let me be the first to tell you, off-brand Chef Boyardee does go bad. So does Korean liquorice.

  9. When I was 10 I wanted a clock in my bedroom. I spent a great, huge amount of time there….
    “go to your room you ungrateful brat, you can just stay there till the cows come home!”
    “How long is that?”
    “Two hours.”
    I wanted my own clock so I could tell when the cows were home, not that we had cows in the suburbs, but two hours, or four hours well a clock would tell me that.
    My mother finally relented. She bought me a clock for my wall. I think she hated me that day. It was a black and white cat, the clock face was on the cats stomach. The cats eyes went back and forth and the tail twitched back and forth too. It made a terrible noise.
    I hated that clock. But it hung on the wall in my bedroom for years, till I left home.
    Twenty years later, I was helping my mom move and going through boxes of stuff she had saved ‘for me’. Boxes of stuff. There on the top of one of those boxes was that stupid cat clock. She had saved it, thinking I guess I would still need to know when the cows came home.

    1. looooooool. oh, val, that story is awesome, touching, funny, sad, and just so uniquely you. i loved it. and i want a picture of that cat clock. it sounds awesome. even with the creepy back and forth eyes. lol. much love, sm

  10. Two things…

    One, I always ended up with the weirdo stuff too. I remember when I was younger LA Gear was really popular…those shoes that lit up when you walked, and they came with a keychain. My mom told me they were too expensive and went and bought me NY Fear which were so poorly put together than the light went out on the left shoe the first day.

    Secondly, my mom’s answer to every ailment is, “Have a glass of water and take a nap.” Me: “Mom, my ear hurts really badly. I have an infection.” Her: “Have a glass of water and lay down for a bit.”

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