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2004-07-19 | 11:03 p.m.

My gold membership always expires when I am worse than broke. Sucks. All my pictures gone kaput. Can't take any more because no digital camera. I am jonesing hard for a digicam. Begging even, not that it works. Thinking about putting the kids in school and getting a J-O-B. Just for the camera, seriously. Duff says everyone at work is buying the Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom, but how do I know that's the camera for me? Anything with "wide zoom" in the title is off-putting, since I like to shoot portraits more than anything else. But maybe these terms no longer mean what they once did. Perhaps they now mean quite the opposite. I was never very smart about photography; I just like the part where I get to take the pictures.

One nice thing: After hearing me whine about not having a camera of my own (while using his), Bob offered to let me sell the nicest of the Asm*t shields he has and use the profits to buy a camera. But I have never liked selling something to get something else. Bob thinks I'm being ridiculous. To him, it's just a means to an end. But I would rather earn the money for the camera and hang the shield on my wall. Not to make it mine but just to put it on display. I have room for it and I think everyone knows I would give it back the instant it was needed. I love rotating artwork, especially since I can't afford to buy. I took back an old picture of Oruc's that Frank lent me years ago and for it, Frank traded me a new picture of Bob's that I really like. There's plenty of Bob's stuff that isn't to my taste but this one is different--all birds and no penii. And I have another picture of his that's really uncharacteristic and sweet. So I guess I will just collect his weird stuff. I bought one of his paintings in 1986 called "Queen of Hearts" and my nephew Damien has it hanging over his bed, which makes me laugh. He also has a Joan Miro print in his bedroom, "Bird in a Cage" (or "Oiseau d'un Cage"--I believe--though I cannot find any reference to it on Google, which makes me doubt my memory). And that he also got from me. It cracks me up. You have to understand that Damien is the sort of guy who has Budweiser titty posters and a 64-inch TV in his garage. You just wouldn't necessarily put him in the surrealist/expressionist camp, you know?

Anyway. Duff's father has been here for eleven days. In the morning he will fly away. Much too early to wake up for. Today he made me so mad I think my blood literally boiled. I had throbbing veinage, that's for sure. I ran away to my mother's but didn't tell her what he'd said. She tries to give me the right advice (just be nice, you can get through one more day, just smile until you can lock yourself in the bathroom) but as often as not she gets madder than I do.

He said he was going to hire a handyman to finish the girls' bedroom. Because he did it all wrong, against advice, trying to get it done in three days. And then when he reached the inevitable impasse, he was stumped. But of course, nobody is allowed to say "Well, DUH." It's all emperor's new clothes. And then he has the gall to say he wants to hire a handyman, but he doesn't want any of our "relatives or friends" to work on it. He said he was going to ask Carmela next door who she hires.

The more I thought about this, the madder I got. First of all, he has always treated me like I'm a fucking idiot. Fine, whatever. The implication here is not just that I can't hire a decent handyman, but that any relative or friend of mine would likely fuck up the job. That is SO insulting! He's the only one who ever hired a truly bad contractor to work on this house!! Against the advice of our real estate agent, he picked the cheapest idiot pothead electrician he could find, and that guy didn't even do all the work he was supposed to do! When Duff doesn't know how to fix things and won't or can't spend any money, it puts me in a bit of a bind, frankly. So my Relatives and Friends have come and saved our asses more times than I care to count. For which I love them endlessly. And the NERVE of this asshole, to imply that my Relatives and Friends are incompetent, when he has so thoroughly fucked up the room himself, Jesus H. Christ! It's so disrespectful and insulting, and so NEEDLESSLY disrespectful, since I never had any intention of bothering anyone I know with the ugly-ass mess he made. God. He just had to get his dig in, you know? He had to take a potshot at MY people. But I don't say anything, and obviously I'm not allowed to kill him, so I just get to seethe and slam doors and kick the dog (missed) and rough up the washer and dryer.

There is more but it is just too pathetic to write out. Suffice it to say that I want out from under his thumb. I don't want to hear any more of his sage advice. I never again want to be told I'm not allowed to do something as long as HE owns THIS house. Even if it means we have to live in a dinky apartment again. At least I would have my dignity. We'd probably have to give the chickens away, though.

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