15 January 2020

Snow Hostage Situation Day Three

We had a beautiful weather event here in the PNW.  Looking out my window, I have over one foot of snow on the ground.  Snow here isn't unusual but this amount of it is.  Although we had snow for one month this time last year so fingers crossed that this melts nicely.

I've been home for three days, plus the weekend.  I've reached the Maybe I Should Paint point of being housebound.  Luckily for all involved I don't have enough to complete a project so it's not an option.  And the power has been flickering, so that's fun.

Lucy is bored with me even though I spent an hour outside this morning taking photos and letting her zoom around.  I have a book I keep meaning to read and it's still on the table.  I have culled through the gigantic stack of magazines though.  I've caught up on everything on the dvr and watched a few movies. I've done a little writing but with flickering power and a dying laptop it is not my best choice of activities.

In peak adulting, I've done the laundry and my chores multiple times. I've treated the kitchen sink drains.  I've done some work even though it's frowned upon.  I've cleaned up my email. I organized the recycling.

Like a teenager, I've messaged my friends, I've posted on facebook, and I've off-and-on played two games on my phone.  My bff mentioned one of them a few weeks ago so I tried it and really liked it.

WordScapes is a good game to keep your brain going. Also, the graphics are pleasing, which matters to me and probably not to anyone else.  Every once in a while I get stumped and frustrated but I eventually get it.  Not before whining about it though; including screenshoting the game and messaging my bff with said whining.

The other game is related: WordStacks.  I thought I would like this game more than I do.  The dyslexia struggles with it more than I would have predicted.  But I'm stubborn so I just keep working on it until I figure it out.  Which probably is the entire point of playing games such as these at my age.

Now the temperature is dropping and low clouds have arrived.  We have a chance of either high wind and warmer temps or more snow.  It's a Sophie's Choice of weather options.

And I just realized that I have Monday off because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I'm never leaving the house again, I fear.  Send suggestions for entertainment stat.

14 January 2020

Sketchy Start to the New Year

On New Year's Eve, Kevin and I went on an adventure.  He unexpectedly took the day off and offered to go for a drive. But: I had to choose the destination.  The weather is complete crap right now so this presented a specific challenge.

There wasn't snow in the mountains, or shall I say near enough to make it worth the effort.  Crossing the border on New Year's Eve would be particularly stupid, as would be traveling to Seattle.

This leaves the coast.  It's only a day trip so my choices were limited, a bit.

I chose to go to Fort Casey. (click the link) I've been there a handful of times but as a younger person and loved it.  As one would guess by the name, it's a former military fort that is now a state park.  It's beautiful and feels a little like time travel.

It was over an hour away, a little short on the drive part, but it was bucketing down rain and windy. Because I make good choices and Kevin is silly enough to support those choices, most times.  Armed with coffee, a full tank of fuel, and breakfast burritos for Kevin (yuck) off we went.

This is where I mention that it was stormy all day. Not your usual dark, dreary, wet, beautiful PNW. Wind warnings, rain accumulations, avalanches in the mountains, and slides in some lower mainland areas.  PERFECT time to take a drive.

It wasn't bad while we traveled.  We got to Deception Pass, where I ALWAYS stop, and the rain was sideways across the bridge.  Yeah, we didn't stop.  I mentioned that we could try on the way back.
Taken through the window

When we arrived, it was raining but not bad. Not bad being on a scale of folks from the PNW. Natives don't use umbrellas, natives don't always use hoods or even raincoats.  We had hoodies and regular jackets.

Depending on where you were standing, the wind was tolerable.  On top of the fort, for example, was super windy, as one would imagine.  We hiked one of the trails but didn't go far because of the rain. There were a handful of washouts and it felt like one gust of wind and I would be in the water. We walked through the embattlements (where the guns and turrets are) and read all the signs like tourists.

This is where I say that Kevin has grown patience with my photography.  I only heard "What are you doing...oh." once.  To be fair, it was raining and windy on the trail so pausing to take a photo of a tree probably not my best idea. (but I got the shot)
Weird lighting because rain.  Or ghosts.

I have no idea how much time we spent there, between the hike and the climbing/touristy thing.  We went to the truck as the dark clouds really rolled in from the water. Kevin mentioned getting lunch and a coffee so I began to look at my phone for nearby places.  We were in an area where the service is sketchy, great signal one place and nothing at another.

Instead of turning left to return home, we turned right to head to the ferry.  Because taking a ferry during a winter storm is an excellent plan.  When I finally got a signal again, nav said the ferry was 45 minutes away, which seemed strange. Even though we both have grown up here, we had never gone this direction so we had no idea where we were, mostly. Regardless, that was too far for this adventure so we pulled off in Freeland to have lunch. We would make a plan over lunch.

After chatting with the waitress, it turns out the nav had grabbed the mainland side of the ferry route instead of our current location.  The ferry was indeed only 10 miles away.  But I hesitated. A ferry in a windstorm is not the best idea.

Because we were outside in a storm, I was a hot mess.  Between the wind, the rain, and the hoodie, I had reached crazy homelessness in a windstorm level of messy hair.  Not cute.  Before we went into the restaurant, Kevin mentioned the mess.  Knowing that there wasn't much to be done with it, I ran my fingers through my hair a few times, twisted it into an unsecured ponytail, and called it good.  Then it poured down rain between the truck and the restaurant.

So when I hesitated about going on the ferry, Kevin was curious as to why.  I'm usually all-in, despite any misgivings or sense of self-preservation.

"Are you scared?" he asked and I said no, I wasn't.
"Is it because of your hair?" he asks, completely deadpan.

I burst out laughing loudly in the middle of the restaurant.  Yes, Kev, it's because of my hair.  If people weren't looking at me strangely before, they did after that actual laugh-out-loud.

We finished lunch and headed to the ferry.  There was a minimal wait - go figure - that provided us the opportunity to watch the whitecaps.  We jumped out of the truck once parked on the ferry and went upstairs, like children.  Of course we went immediately outside because we have no sense in our heads.  In case you hadn't figured it all out yet.

I was only able to take about two photos because the wind was making holding the phone difficult.  Probably the universe forcing me to make better choices.



It's a short ferry ride so we stood next to the windows and watched the waves for just a few minutes before having to return to the truck.  Even though it was a really short ferry ride, it was still Ferry Ride.

Once we were on the mainland, it was mostly rain.  Once again, the nav added to our adventure. The freeway was backed up so they gave us a different route that took us along the waterfront.  So much more enjoyable than the freeway.  Once past all that and on the "real" way home, we stopped and got another coffee for the rest of the trip, turned up the music, and came home.

All in all, we left about 10:00 a.m. and we were home by 6:00. We ate dinner then celebrated the New Year at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time by watching the ball drop in NYC.  Oh, and we had ice cream.

There's just something about making questionable decisions, risking your life a little bit, and going on an adventure that makes you feel a little more alive and ready for whatever this new year is going to bring.

And I got some fantastic photos out of it.




12 January 2020

"They're not Gross" - A Success Story

I was the kid who read everything.  Cereal boxes, directions, phone book.  It didn't matter what it was, I read it.  For a while I struggled with reading when I was very young - which is remarkable to think about now - and I had early intervention.  Once that was solved (I know that's not the right word but it so works in my brain so I'm leaving it) then I was unstoppable.  Read.all.the.things.

It comes as no surprise that the other day I read a recipe on the back of a salsa jar. Of course I did. And of course there are recipes on salsa jars. Duh.  (did you know that? because I didn't...does this mean there are recipes, like, on all the boxes and jars? It's a whole new world, if so.)

Anyway...

Kevin loves those breakfast burritos at mcdonalds.  I just...can't.  I think it's a texture thing.  And in my head it's a mental block, like fish tacos.  It's like food cognitive dissonance, I just can't.

The recipe was for breakfast burritos, strangely.  Now I acknowledge that such a recipe isn't rocket science.  If I really thought about it, I could probably have figured it out.  But I hadn't thought about it because yuck.

On the flip side, I have a need to know how things work, how things are made.  If you know me in reals, you know that the wheels in my brain are always spinning.  And that I ask a lot of questions.

About a week later, I mentioned the recipe discovery to Kevin.  He is a particular eater so I wasn't sure of his reaction to the idea that maybe (and heavy on the maybe) I could make the loved breakfast burritos.  To my surprise, he was into it.  I had anticipated a "Let's just leave it to the professionals" response.

Yesterday was the day to try, it turns out.  He was home, I was at a low level of distraction. Let's do this.  Then I couldn't remember where I read the recipe.  So I just winged it.

AGAIN: not a cooker.  Not a hard recipe.  Chance of success: Probably.

Six eggs, mix in salsa and onion and pepper, scramble.

I put in three big spoonfuls of salsa. Because more salsa is good, right?

What's that unpleasant color between orange and pink?  It turned that color.  Now *I'm* out.  Nope, looks weird. I'm done.  I almost don't want to finish.  Just put it in the trash and claim an accident happened.  In my life, this is completely PLAUSIBLE and would be accepted on its face.

But I persevere and now I'm hurrying to assemble these dumb burritos before he comes in. Because I knew the visual could spin him out too.

I laid out the tortilla...flour, not corn and my brain is all "Corn might be better" BASED ON ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  I have no skills, my brain is just making arbitrary suggestions at this point.

Added cheese.  Because: CHEESE.

Then I realized it had to be warmed.  And I don't have a way to keep it together.

Kevin, who has joined the adventure at this point, helpfully suggests tape.  Even I know that's not a good idea.

I remembered that there were toothpicks in the china cupboard in an antique gravy boat. Because of course they are.

Reassembled the burrito, put it in the microwave for a handful of seconds, gave it to Kevin and waited.

"First off: too hot."  Well, easily remedied.

"Secondly...and I can't believe I'm saying this: too much cheese."

"No such thing. That's blasphemy." I reply.

"Otherwise" he chews thoughtfully "They're not gross."  This, in my world, is praise.

Steeling myself against the uninviting color of the egg/salsa, I made one for myself.

First off: Kevin is wrong. Perfect amount of cheese.

Second:  Meh. It was okay.  My initial decision about breakfast burritos remains correct: No thanks.

I will make them for him again but I'll probably pass.  It's just a no from me, dawg.  It's a texture thing.  The uninviting color is just too much. And I don't want to waste the once a month that I can eat eggs on burritos.

However, SHINY SIDE: it's one more thing that I can make. So, that's a win. For Kevin.

11 January 2020

Pardon the Interruption

Oh hai.

With the holiday break and a dying laptop, I took a break from the interwebs.

It turns out that it was a good thing to take a break from the chaos that is the interwebs right now. But despite good intentions to have better control, here I am. Back at it.

So, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and now we're in the throes of January.  2020 is starting to look just as challenging.  Neat.

Self care is a thing. Do it.  You won't regret it.

Regular posts will begin tomorrow.  Until then, be like Lucy:

Stay cozy, friends.

03 January 2020

It Smells Like Onions

In case you're wondering how the parents have been, let me tell you.  Get a cuppa, with a shot of whiskey.  Someone around here needs to drink and I can't.

Their van broke down a week ago.  Kevin arranged to have our friend the mechanic look at it and to have it dropped off that day.  Kevin then told his parents that we had errands to do and we would let them know when to leave so we could meet them at the mechanics after our errands were done.

We had accomplished lunch and no errands when Kevin's dad phones to tell us he's waiting at the mechanic's shop.

We finished one errand, disagreed about finishing the second one, didn't, and went to pick him up.

The mechanic is Kevin's childhood best friend.  He's doing us a favor because it's Kevin's dad.  But he's a busy guy so there wasn't a clear timeline as to when we could retrieve the van. Plus the holidays are a thing.  However, by the end of the day, Kevin's dad told him that it would be ready Tuesday.  We don't know where Tuesday came from.  Neither does the mechanic.

It is an electrical problem that started suddenly.  The mechanic called and asked if anything else had been happening with the van.  No.  Wait, the passenger door lock doesn't work.  Fast forward about an hour and "I forgot, the back door doesn't work. You hit the switch and it open then closes repeatedly."

Otherwise, it's perfect. It's like explaining to the doctor that your head hurts then hours later mentioning that your nose bleeds when you bend over.

Today, Friday and not Tuesday, he phoned Kevin (who is at work today) to see if they could use my truck. (actually a SUV, we just call it a truck.  Or "the station wagon")  At 9:00 am, for an 11:30 appointment.   He had to hang up, phone me,  get the answer (No, because I had plans) then phone his dad again.

Instead of the f-i-l either calling ME or walking the fifty feet to ask.  Or going yesterday when I was home ALL DAY.

Keeping up?

If they had let me know earlier, I could have rearranged my plans. Or I would have been clear-minded enough to take Kevin's big truck instead.  But planning ahead is not something that is possible anymore.  Everything is either an emergency or inconvenient.

Instead, they borrowed the neighbor's SUV.  (my sister-in-law's father)  The one that he slid into our fence in the snow about a year ago.

Kevin asked his dad if he had talked to the mechanic. Yes.  What did he say?  He didn't know. Did you ask him what the next step was? No.  Why?  *No reason given*

Now Kevin has to call the mechanic to get a timeline.  I suggested he leave it but we know that's not an option. That's just frustration talking. Because I return to work on Monday, something has to be resolved by then.

To clarify: they can use my truck, they just have to give me a heads up, and they have.  While we were on our road trip, they took it without asking.  YEAH.

"What did you need in town?" Kevin asked.

"Oh, she wanted a burger." his dad replies.

*blink* *blink*

a) she shouldn't be eating a burger and I doubt that she ate more than a few bites at most.
2) how about we NOT steal my truck?
c) THEY ATE IN MY TRUCK

Kevin asked, not without a little incredulousness, "So, you ate in her truck?"

"Oh, yes.  It's fine though.  We shook out the mats (they didn't) and ran the seats back and forth to make sure we didn't leave a mess."

DEEP SIGH.

We took the truck the next day and the smell of onions wafted out as I opened the passenger door. I squinted at Kevin across the truck and he just quietly said "I know..."

And, while I'm ranting about this: they took it twice and didn't put gas in it.  To prevent me from sounding like a complete ass, it is not a gas mileage rig.  Town is 20 miles away one way and they don't ever make just one stop.  So we're looking at a little less than 100 miles.  It's not just a few blocks down the street.

AND, and, and.  While I was in town this morning, I passed my father-in-law and guess what he was doing? Putting gas in the borrowed SUV.  Sigh.  Maybe it was empty, that's what I'm choosing to think.

Because my tank is full.  Actually and metaphorically.

I just about clicked "Publish" and Kevin phoned.  "Mom wanted to know if we knew anything about the van."  Followed by "Well, your dad is frustrated because the mechanic talks to you and not him."  Cue: Kevin's head exploding.

That, my friends, are how the parents are doing.


31 December 2019

New Year's Traditional Meme

It’s tradition! The New Years Meme!

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
 Meditate & Yoga!  
Definitely recommended and something I hope to sustain

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Mostly, yes. We still need a new stove

3. My resolutions for 2020:
        Continuing to paint the interior of the house
         Painting the exterior of the house
        Write more.  This is a rerun, and will always be

4. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, no new babies this year. 

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, and it was awful. Young people are not supposed to die.  
Lost some older folks and a friend to suicide. 2019 can also die.

6. What countries did you visit?
"Oh Canada, our home and native land.."
(This is not my favorite question...Let's try: What trips did you take?  Yeah, we didn't have time for those this year either )

7. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
A new government

8. What dates from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April - a reconciliation I would have never thought possible.
June - the achievement (and recognization) of a goal 
September - achievement of a new goal
          

9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
        Racecar
        New office and responsibilities
        Reconciliation

10. What was your biggest failure?
        Not remaining hopeful. This year has been so dark and society
seems to keep sinking lower

11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just a little case of pneumonia

12. What was the best thing you bought?
      this is silly and frivolous. I've wanted one since they came out:           A moon lamp.  I finally bought one after years of mooning (get it?) over it.



13. Whose behavior merited celebration?
         Kevin, for persevering despite the challenges
        A friend who gave grace when it really wasn't expected


14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
He Who Shan't Be Named and the people who support him.

15. Where did most of your money go?
        Racecar, mochas, books, bills

16. What did you get really excited about?
Good thing: going racing. Thursdays                                               Bad thing: governmental indictments, investigations and impeachment.

17. What song will always remind you of 2019?
        Even Though We Break Up in the End
        Rival

18. Compared to this time last year, are you: 
~ happier or sadder? Happier
~ thinner or fatter? Same-ish
~ richer or poorer? Better than last year

19. What do you wish you’d done more of? 
Read...I look at my bookshelf and want to read everything right now.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of? 
        Despair at the current state of affairs

21. How did you spend Christmas? 
Eve -  Quietly, playing a game with a six-year-old
Day -  The best kind of chaos with 7 kids and 11 adults

22. Did you fall in love in 2019?
Every day.

23. What was your favorite TV program? 
       Bold Type, Grownish, Good Trouble

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 
"No. I'm not a hater. It's a waste of time" is my standard answer but this year He Who Shan't Be Named is SO on the list.

25. What was the best book you read?
         Looking at my bookshelves...umm, well.  There wasn't really a                     favorite this year.  
             Oh! wait:  Good Morning Good Night - Lin Manuel Miranda

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
        Bohemian Rhapsody movie soundtrack

27. What did you want and get?
          Peace

28. What did you want and not get?
         A vacation away

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians and The Hate You Give

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
          51 years, but Kevin says 40.  I don't actually care about the number                     Coffee and cake with my bff the day before.                         
                   Slept in, lunch out with Kevin, shopping the Day of.               Worked, time with a friend and dinner out the next day

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A functioning government and not the constant feeling of needing to flee to Canada

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?
I've added color matching converse sneakers to my wardrobe

33. What kept you sane? 
 Kevin. Lucy. BFF's. Mochas.  

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
          Loose definition of celebrity: The guy from WeRateDogs, the kid from "I Pet That Dog"Finn on Instagram, and Roman and his mom

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
the whole gawdamned gawdawful thing.

36. Who did you miss?
My former co-workers.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
        I don't know that I met anyone new, really...Rekindled an old                       friendship so that's kinda someone new

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019:
       Clock is ticking, plan accordingly








29 December 2019

Punched in the Nose by 1989

For Christmas, Kevin gave me a new medicine cabinet for our bathroom.  We've been slow-rolling a remod in there and this is one of the last pieces before changing the actual cabinetry.

He was taking apart the old one about thirty-seconds after I got dressed this morning.  The amount of times I think "Oh, okay, we're doing this now" is probably in the hundreds.

The original medicine cabinet was what my friend calls "Picture wood", which is just cheap laminate over pressboard.  When we moved into this house is when we realized that we didn't have a cabinet. I bought one on the cheap, with the intention of replacing it sooner rather than later. Fifteen years ago.

I am pretty good at going through things medicinal and tossing them once expiration dates are passed.  This is where I say that mostly Kevin's stuff is in the cabinet.  I have a different organizational system, for those of you who just went "Wait, what?"  And I'm not tall so my stuff is in a lower cabinet.

Anyway.

On the top shelf was cologne.  He doesn't wear cologne. In fact, I can't remember the last time that he did.  He set them aside with the stuff, as if to indicate that it could go into the new cabinet.

This is how that went:

"Okay. um, Kev?  I am PRETTY SURE that this bottle moved up here from the house on 21st Street. In 1991."

"So you're saying throw it away."

"It's probably turpentine."

To which, welcome to my brain - apologies for the broken wires - I tell you that I didn't seal the paint can up well enough on the last painting adventure.  Guess who needed paint before installing the medicine cabinet.  THIS GIRL.  After a quick text to a friend who would know how to remedy such things, we made do without it.  And this is why turpentine was in my head.  Because who knows that word anymore?  I do.

What were we talking about, again? Oh, cologne.

So, yes.  We did not put the bottle of BRUT back into the cabinet.

There were also two bottles of Old Spice because that is a requirement for all males in the United States.  I don't mind the smell of Old Spice so I kept one and threw out the other.

Finally, you might have guessed what was next.  Yep, Drakkar Noir.  Because it was the 90's.
There was not one second of hesitation in tossing that bottle. While it was cool back then, now it's just a bad internet meme.


Oh, and while doing so, Kevin remembered that he had stopped wearing it because HIS BROTHER BOUGHT SOME TOO AND WORE IT.  I had somehow blocked that out of my long-term memory.

So, this is where I say that I've become a little too diligent about recycling.  In this case, a lot too diligent.  Old Spice is in a ceramic bottle so it had to go into the regular garbage.  Drakkar also went into the garbage because it is required by law. Probably.

But the Brut. Who would have guessed that it came in a recyclable plastic bottle?  It did.

Without thinking, which those words really should be on my tombstone, I poured it down the sink.

Yeah. I am a genius.

Kevin happened to walk through the kitchen was all "RUN SOME WATER!!!!!"

Now our house smelled like an 1985 bar for the rest of the day.

And guess what asthma doesn't enjoy?  BRUT.  That seems right, like the body's natural defenses coming to protect me from my own stupidity.


23 December 2019

Done...No, wait. Not. Okay. Done. Kinda

Tis the season to be busy and overwhelmed.  Everyone seems to have had the same sentiment this year: it just came at us SO FAST this year.  No one feels prepared, I think.  the fact that this post has taken me almost three days to complete is almost too on-the-nose of an example.

Photographic evidence of the status of this house on Saturday:


I had to go into town twice.  TWICE.  Once with Kevin to pick up groceries while he got his hair cut and then alone to run errands and do some shopping. To be fair to Kevin, he had projects going on and frankly, he just didn't want to go.

What the photo above does not contain is the bouquet of flowers I bought for Kevin's parents 62nd anniversary.  I didn't buy a vase because and I quote myself: "You have So Many at home."  

I did not have So Many at home.

At least not of the correct size for a small bouquet.  I finally landed upon an antique vase that is actually Kevin's mothers.  AND THEN I couldn't find the ribbon that I would have sworn that I brought home from work.  I actually said, aloud, to myself "This is NOT WORTH spinning out over."  I used a simple red ribbon and moved on with my life.  Crisis averted.

The giant Macy's bag on the floor is my father-in-law's present to my mother-in-law. It's a knife set.  I'm not even asking at this point.  (she doesn't eat, she doesn't cook anymore...)  Add that to the to-do list.

If you snoop, you'll see take-out chinese food on the table.  

What you can't see is the grocery bags on the other counter and the groceries still waiting to be put away.  

Then we wander down the hall to Santa's Seventh Circle of Hell


Unfinished Christmas cards to do.  Yep, still.
Gifts to wrap
Decorations stuck in decorating purgatory. Yep, still
Bloggity to write, which made me remember to pay two bills. And because I have excellent time management skills.

Stuttery handwriting and capitalization courtesy of low-on-the-spectrum dyslexia

This is today's list.  The top part is what I accomplished when I went back into town.

The middle is what didn't get accomplished while in town.  I walked into the department store, did two things, then my brain went all "NOPE" and I left without finishing.  Too many people, I hadn't eaten (I make such excellent choices) and I'd forgotten my headphones.

The bottom part of the list is to do either tomorrow or Monday.  Or both.

Right now, we are waiting for Kevin's mom to decide if she wants to go out to dinner for their anniversary.  Yep, you read that right. Out to dinner.  The person who no longer eats wants to go out to dinner.  After going shopping today.  I just can't even with this so we'll move on.

Two fun things today:
I went to the Hallmark store today to get two cards and gift for a coworker.  I brought home this guy:

He was on the shelf behind me when I was choosing cards.  He politely asked me if he could come home with me.  Of course, I said yes. No one tells Snoopy no.  The cashier decided that he looked "Christmas-y" and gave me 20% off.  Santa comes in all shapes, sizes, and settings.

Next, I walked downtown (which is lovely.  Actual sidewalks and everything! No canned muzak or fluorescent lighting)  to a legit record store.  You open the door and are transported back to the late 1970's immediately.  the smell, the old shag carpet, the record racks, 8-track cassettes, memories represented in album covers.  My mind was a little blown with sensory overload.

And they had two cats: Hemingway, who is grey with green eyes and polydactyl and Kennedy, giant sleeping orange fluff ensconsed on a giant cat bed on the counter.  I told Kevin that we're going back just for the experience.

This downtown experience was probably the reason that I had such a visceral reaction to the department store. It was scene from a Hallmark Movie to scene from a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  To be fair though, who goes Christmas shopping on the last Saturday before Christmas.  I know, EVERYONE.

Kevin went shopping tonight with his best friend. They went to a MALL.  I know, right? Those still exist!  He said that it was eerily quiet for being days from Christmas.  Meanwhile, I'm hitting "add to cart" on the amazon like my life depends on it.  

I had the realization about 9:00 that I needed to choose my battles.  Thus the last second online ordering.  I am also doing last minute cards while high on the inhaler, significantly upping the difficulty level.  Shaking hands make for interesting card signing and addressing.

NEXT DAY:
I made one more trip into town today, did some non-Christmas errands and finished shopping.  I think.  We'll see.  I make no promises.  AND, and, AND this all hinges on the packages arriving as scheduled.

Because Kevin went shopping, he had to wrap my gifts tonight.  He has the guile of a small child. I have a guess of what one gift is because he left it in his shop AND THEN had me come into the shop to help with the racecar.  And while I'm busy sounding ungrateful, he chose his mom's ugly wrapping paper. #whatthehellkevin  #tealisnotaChristmascolor  #neitherismauve

What remains, you ask?  Cards for his staff have to be done tonight. Wrapping what I can wrap. Picking up two more photos for a collage frame present, and waiting.  

Update:
It's now a full 24 hours later.  How does all of this *waving of my arms* feel WORSE?  HOW?

So far everything but one book has arrived.  Kevin's presents were delivered while he wasn't home so that's a relief.  One, however, is an odd box-shaped box that was a @#%# to wrap.  I actually came into my office just now to get the labels and here I sit, writing.

Cards are in the mail and hand-delivered to staff. So that's done.  
Presents are all purchased and half are wrapped.  

I just realized that two photos I had ordered didn't get printed.  I'm certain it's an error on my behalf.  Now I'm measuring how much I want to run to town tomorrow to pick them up.  My family has a no gifts for grown-ups policy.  However, I was going to frame the engagement photo that I posted here a few months ago for the couple and my mom.  Hmmm.  

I worked all day today and finally left a few minutes early because it was at the point of starting a project and leaving it undone or just leaving.  Of course I chose leaving, because: adult.  This allowed me to do some last errands and be done. Or so I thought until a few minutes ago.

I am posting this because I need to have ONE THING finished today.  If you need me, I might just go sit in my car somewhere and drink coffee.




19 December 2019

Happy Tears

Okay, this IS a humblebrag.  I don't mind saying.

Today is my birthday and I've already been in tears three times. Twice were happy tears and once was laughter tears.

It's 10:30 in the morning.

The first happy tears was from my birthday present from Swistle.  It is a thoughtful and kind gift, as you would all assume.  It was the simple note that she included that undid me.  Thank you dear Swistle for being my friend for many, many years that seem like only 10! 10 Years!  May we be old ladies together.

The second happy tears was a facebook post from our friend who lives in the midwest and helps with the racecar.  He always, always, always, treats me like an equal.  He was the one who first started calling me crew chief and he did it again today with a facebook post.  It's a little thing but it's significant to me.

The third, laughter tears was a text exchange from a coworker.  We were exchanging dog photos and she sent a photo of her dog that refuses to get in the car and has to be forced.  I said "To be fair, I don't want to leave the house most times either."

She replies "Do you make your husband shove you in the back seat? hahahahaha"

OMG, my friends, y'all make me laugh.

I had chocolate cake and free coffee for breakfast.  The cake is from a decadent bakery called Pure Bliss, where I met my best friend in my old work city yesterday for an early celebration.

I slept in this morning, which Lucy appreciated until it was time to go get treats. Her schedule, not mine.  We went to our friend's coffee stand, who left a note that my coffee was free.  Hooray for friends who own coffee stands!

I've been watching facebook notifications tick up, as they do on your birthday.  I recognize that some folks just post by rote and I Don't Care.  I still enjoy it.

Kevin gave me a sweet card this morning, then hid this one in my laptop:

He drew the smiley face in the zero. Whimsy is not like him

Kevin has decided that I am still in my forties, in a hilarious way; by purposefully purchasing and defacing the above card. "It has been written, therefore it is true" it says inside.   For the record, I am 51 today.  I don't struggle with my age but it is astounding to think about.  He also posted a sweet note on the facebook.  He's not usually a sentimental guy but bets are off this year, I guess.

I never work on my birthday.  I usually sleep in, have lunch with Kevin, then do some shopping.  One year it snowed and I stayed home all day and it was lovely.  One year that I did work at a company that I hated. Their policy was that if it was your birthday YOU provided a treat for everyone.  And they posted your birthday so you couldn't get out of it.  Yeah, hated that job.
A little too Michael Scott/Office Space for me, thank you.

Today went mostly as planned.  I went Christmas shopping after lunch.  Just to stand in the middle of the store for fifteen minutes listening to my mom on the phone.  She phoned to wish me a happy birthday so that's nice. Just not in the middle of the men's clothing department.

Now I'm trying to decide what I want for dinner. I think I'll cook and bank going out for the weekend.

Thank you friends in real life.  Your posts are making me happy and laugh and feel fantastic.

Oh, one final thing: Kevin's mom's crazy best friend has posted on the facebook three times today wishing me a happy birthday.  And called me Sweet Pea.  Anyone who knows me in real just huffed out laughing.


18 December 2019

Five Gold Rings

With apologies for a) putting that song in your head and 2) to Swistle for continuing to rant on this topic.

This all started on Saturday when Kevin came in the house and casually says- and I quote: "Well, sister-in-law told mom she wants her ring..."  

It took me a second to react when he said it.  Like in the movies when your ears ring and everything slows down.  "Um, WUT?"  He explained that I would receive the original wedding ring and S-i-l would have the one she wears now.
"Okay...well, that's nice.  It's HORRIFYING that she already dibbed the ring though."
"Yeah...." he replied quietly.  He just doesn't have the energy for this right now. I let it go, for now.

BUT OMG.  I'm so ANNOYED ON SO MANY LEVELS.  I need charts and graphs.  I walked away and whipped out my phone to text Swistle in outrage and frustration.  W.t.a.f.

Apparently, she types in dripping sarcasm, there was a conversation somewhere along the way where my s-i-l called dibs on my mother-in-law's wedding ring after she passes.  I don't know how this conversation began and I don't know that it would help if I did.

Okay. *deep breath* She has known her longer and they are closer.  I get that.  Clearly they have had a discussion and that couldn't have been easy.  There, there's my extended grace.

Some background information: his dad replaced her original wedding ring years ago with a big diamond one. That's the one that has been dibbed.  If I remember correctly, the original ring has a small diamond and is a similar cut to mine.  On a sentimental scale, the original is more valuable.  They will have been married 62 years next week.

BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT.

S-I-L did this when we closed the Moody House.  She wanted the kitchen chairs and the couch and...and...and...it was a THING. This was over ten years now so I'd kind of forgotten about it. I guess it's good to be reminded now when we can process than when everyone is up in their feelings.

It's not the ring. I honestly don't care about the ring.  It's a lovely gesture on my mother-in-law's behalf to give the "daughters" her wedding rings.  It's the entitlement, the assumption, the nerve of the request.  

And then...

His mom wondered if I would wear her ring in lieu of MINE.  Clearly, she's not in her right mind.  I told Kevin that I would not; which was more important to him than I would have guessed, he's not a sentimental guy at all.  But that I would wear it on another hand/finger.

Lastly, let's acknowledge that his mom is making preparations.  This is what I call happy/sad.  Sad that it's happening and happy that she is thinking about it and making plans, instead of leaving it to us.  AND CLEARLY that needs to be done.


15 December 2019

Party Maneuvers Completed, Successfully. Mostly.

Last night was Kevin's work Christmas party.  These parties give me some anxiety every year.  Because the universe has a sense of humor, I've ended up being the boss's wife.  Somewhere, in a different timeline perhaps, sixteen-year-old rebel me is laughing her fool head off at this thought.

I mean, seriously.  How did this happen?

It's a big party and was at a winery;catered and with a gift exchange for employees with fairly expensive gifts.  (for a gift exchange, like $100-ish tools, etc.)

My goal is to just not do something to attract attention at these type of events.  Also, Kevin is uncomfortable in these settings.  He wears the title of boss uncomfortably and really, really doesn't like being the center of attention.

The seating is open and first come, first served.  Last year we sat at a table that ended up being awkward as the night wore on. This year Kevin promised one of the wives that we would sit at their table.  This is awkward because she is the wife of the dispatcher, whom everyone hates. H.A.T.E.S.  She, of course, is not aware of this which is a relief and yet even more awkward.  I sat next to her, as we have a quasi-friendship from these events, and Kevin sat with his right-hand-guy Martin on the other side.  So, Kevin fulfilled his promise while not appearing to be on Team Hated Guy.

I made it through dinner without cursing inappropriately, or tripping, or spilling. I managed to remember folks names and shake hands, do all the appropriate stuff.  I  accepted an awkward hug from a really drunk employee, I did not visibly react at one of the drivers who has a new girlfriend (again) and obviously newly-colored hair. I chatted with one of the wives who is in recovery and doing really well. I shook hands with one of his new guys who is INSANELY attractive and was even verbal. I did not throw a punch when one of the office girls hugged Kevin a little longer than I liked.

As the plates are being cleared from the table, the dispatchers wife mentioned that she loves the gift exchange and LOVES it when people steal.  I reply that it just makes me anxious, I don't enjoy it, at all.  "Oh but it's so much fun to watch!" she says.  "Nope, I'd rather go to the gynecologist than steal a gift."

FUCK.

I mean, seriously. THIS MOUTH.

Kevin was AGAPE yet laughing. Incredulous.  That poor guy. But he chose me so there's that.

Fortunately everyone laughed. I looked at Kevin and said "Came in a little hot with that, didn't I?"  He laughed and was all "Um, YEAH."  Martin said "You know, you could have just said DOCTOR." which made me laugh even more.

A few minutes later, I told Kevin I was going to go to the bathroom before this whole gift exchange thing started.  He says what he always says - in jest and in truth - "Don't embarrass me."

I stood up, took two steps and heard Martin quietly but emphatically say "WATCH."

Yeah, I nearly walked into a waiter carrying a full tray of full water glasses.

GOODGAWD.  Thank goodness for Martin.

The evening continued and it went fine.  Kevin ended up stealing a gift from one of his guys at the next table, with the intent of giving it back afterward.  He just really, really, didn't want to go in front of a big room of people and this was his solution.

This is where I say it's touching to see how well-liked he is. People clapped and cheered his name when he stood.  He hates that even more when I acknowledge this.  He just doesn't see it about himself. He thinks it's just his wives rose-colored glasses. But it's not and that is just lovely to see.

AND his guy whom he stole the gift thought that it was so incredible when he gave it back to him.  Everybody won.

The party winds down and now everyone is relaxed and chatty.  One of his guys LOVES Lucy and her facebook posts, so he made sure to say hi and make a joke.  One of the wives follows me on Instagram and made a point of complimenting my photography.  Another one of his guys remembered my name and called out to say hi.  This isn't to humblebrag and say "OH, Look how cool I am" but to just appreciate that people are kind to say nice things.  And again, to me, reflective of how well-liked Kevin is.

The owners of the company (father and son) always make sure to find us/me and chat. It's really appreciated and I recognize that not all companies are like that.

While this is happening, the owner's (the dad)  wife corners us as they walked away and is talking about how nice the party is.  Kevin excuses himself because someone waved him over.  He turns back to me about three paces away and gestures "Sorry...you're good?"  I nod and take a few breaths.  I can do this.

The wife is like talking to an old school Church lady.  She's not above name-dropping and legit humblebragging about houses, trips, cars, etc.  It's fine. She's fine.  Here's where I say that I have the kind of face, aura, whatever that people tell me things.

She begins to talk about how she'd planned on her husband retiring by now. How much of a struggle it was to come to acceptance that he doesn't want to retire and how she had to come to terms with that and make a different life for herself.

Umm, this is pretty heavy for a Christmas party and for someone you see only annually.

So, I say something Kevin often says "Well, he's lucky that he has the privilege of being healthy enough to continue to work and do it because he enjoys it."  This lands, thankfully, as intended.  "Oh yes, we are blessed with health." she responds.  WHEW.

Then she inquires what I do for work.  She remembers something about children.  This is incredible to me that she would have any ounce of any idea of my work.  I explain my job and she nods emphatically.  "That's important work that you do..." She said something how long I've been doing this type of work, which then prompted me to say "I've worked in non-profit my whole adult life, with at-risk families in early childhood, women in crisis, and now in early intervention for early childhood."

"You're doing good work. You're doing God's work."

AGAIN: this is not to humblebrag. Like Kevin, this makes me super uncomfortable and now I'm trying to figure out how to disengage.  By some stroke of luck, she is waved over by someone and I can bail outside to where Kevin is talking about cars and I am back in my wheelhouse.

Kevin nudged me "It go okay? You're alright?" and I nodded "Yeah, better than expected. It's good."

Then his mechanic WHOM I ADORE and is a GIANT of a man, gives me a big bear hug.  We have reached the "I love you guys" portion of the evening.  To which Kevin is all "Welp, time to GO."

We got into the truck and sighed a collective sigh of relief.  "Well, that's done for another year." Kevin says.  "And without any major disasters" I say.  "YEAH" he laughs, a little relieved and incredulous.








13 December 2019

Just Pay it Forward and Shut up

Okay, here's another coffee post.  Well, coffee related.  It's about a meme.  Well, that's also a theme around here.  I'll just get to the point.

The other day two family members (different branches) posted this meme:



Okay...cracking of knuckles, pushing up sleeves...

Pay it forward is a lovely gesture and I have zero understanding why anyone would want to demean it.  Why, why, why in the world of Carmen San Diego would you NOT want someone to pass a little bit of goodness on?  These folks need bigger problems.

The barista's here in the beautiful PNW make MORE THAN I DO.  It is because of tips, for sure, and they're not going to retire being a barista but they often bring home more than I do.

Starbucks doesn't give you the option to tip if you pay by card or app.  They usually don't have tip jars or if they did, they are tucked behind the register.  It's not easy to tip them.

Not everyone who goes to Starbucks is WELL OFF.  C'mon now. Is their world view so narrow? I go to Starbucks and I am far from Well off. I can't even see Well off in the distance.

Coffees aren't EIGHT BUCKS. At the most, usually, and including tip they are about six dollars, depending how fussy you are about your drink.

I'm not a fan of generalizations as a whole.  This one just really pulled my string.  People have a wide variety of circumstances and are rarely what they appear.  Maybe they are travelers who don't know the area but they KNOW the starbucks.  Or they're working from out of town and have per diem.  Or maybe they have a gift card from a birthday. The chick in  the lexus might have just lost her mom, maybe she just got a bad diagnosis, maybe she just lost her job and just needs a dogdamned treat.

And let's say that predominately these folks are better off than most. Does that mean they don't deserve a kindness? "Oh, you're doing well, so...NO NICE THINGS DONE FOR YOU."

Finally....taking out my earrings...do not call my Bougie Becky.

12 December 2019

Even If We're A Little Bit Sad...

Two weeks ago I pulled out our Christmas decorations.  This is what my office currently looks like:

If you are surprised that there aren't more boxes,
there are three emptied totes in Monica's closet.

Now there are a few things to know:

This is super unlike me.

Well, that's it actually.  This is unlike me.  Usually I have everything decorated by the end of the Thanksgiving long weekend.  This year I actually threatened to decorate while Kevin was away BEFORE Thanksgiving.  Obvs, this didn't happen.

Part of what stalled me was it feels like I'm missing stuff.  So I had to get back into Monica's Closet and open the Fall and Spring decorations to see if I somehow put stuff in there. (just shush, I am aware of my issues)  Sadly,  I did not.

The other part is Kevin isn't quite in the spirit this year. I mean, he's not usually super Merry Christmas guy anyway but really not so much this year.  He tried to make Christmas happen for himself by getting a tree early and putting lights on the house.

His mom is less every day.  She mentioned that she is worried that she won't see the end of the impeachment hearings.  Her brother is dying of prostrate cancer and now her favorite sister-in-law is dying of lung cancer.  2020 is going to be huge for funerals.

It's just one of those years where it feels like everything is falling apart.  Because IT IS.

Too late now but: *WARNING*

The only shiny side of this is that our favorite uncle is hopefully on his way here for a visit.  For the first time since Kevin was a kid, he might be here for the holidays.  It's for a horrible reason but we're happy he might be here.

Kevin's spirits lifted a bit last night when he saw his surrogate dad, the father of his childhood best friend who helped raise him.  Uncharacteristically, he told Kevin "I'm not going to shake your hand. I'm going to hug you.  I haven't hugged you since you were a small boy. And I'm hugging you now."  (Kevin is 57 years old, by the way)

I know, right?  Heartachingly sweet. And it comforted Kevin.

So, today I am digging through a box - that I thought was empty - and finishing the house.  We are going to be MERRY dogdamnit.  Even if we're a little bit sad.




08 December 2019

What to do with Funeral Clothes

Yesterday amongst the hustle and bustle of Saturday chores, holiday prep, and general stuff, the A.D.D. demanded that I clean out our closet.

I mean, it was kind of in the back of my mind that I wanted to do some reorganization but suddenly my brain decided TODAY WAS THE DAY, DOGDAMNIT.  And part of today because A.D.D. is super fun.

No, I'm not the boss, in case you're wondering.  It was one of those I'm just going to lean into it days.

The closet isn't that bad, to begin with.  This is where I say that someone else who lives in this house, that isn't Lucy, has more shirts than I do.  To be fair, he has safety shirts for his work "uniform". And he has eleventy racecar and truck shirts, all in shades of black - white. Plus a handful of dress shirts.  Boys have it easy.

I've been trying to pare down my side of the closet for a while. It's one of those "I never wear it so why is it in here?" kind of things.  Know that I don't usually buy clothes new so when I discard clothing, I'm only "losing" like $5 and it goes back to the second hand store.  I think this is also why I can so easily cast away things.  It's recycling, kinda.

Also. the A.D.D. is super particular about clothes.  I may love something but if the sleeve is tight, or the pocket is weird, or the tag itches, too bad so sad. Off you go, cute or nah.

Here's the the difficult part though.  The section of closet behind the door is reserved for jackets, pants, favorite hoodies, and what I would call "Funeral and Job Interview clothes"  You know, the stuff that you pull out only when your grandma dies or that initial big interview or on the flip side of the emotion spectrum, kinda: annual holiday party.  In my case, these are some of those items:

Kevin saw these on the bed and asked "What are those?"
"Funeral and job interview clothes"
"Oh, huh."
They take up valuable real estate in the closet where I can either simply have more room or hang up hoodies and t-shirts instead of them being in a drawer.  I wear them only once in a great while so it makes no sense for them to hang there.  There are other shirts/tops/blouses/whatever of that category that are already folded in said drawer.

Taking it one step more though: the sweaters on the far right are classics.  The boho top on the upper left is pretty cool.  The others...well...I really like them but it rarely occurs to me to wear them. And they're a little dated...but styles are cyclical....so....hmmm.  Their fate is yet to be determined.  I guess they're not hurting anything in a drawer, they've hung in the closet for years.

One thing I don't enjoy about this closet is that the shelf is super high.  Giants hung the shelves, I swear.  I have a tiny, antique foot stool that I use to organize that shelf, otherwise I literally and actually toss hoodies, etc. up there.  Kevin just noticed this the other night as I was putting away laundry.  We've lived in this house for 14 years.

My workaround is an heirloom dresser from Kevin's mom. Because of the ridiculous height of the closet shelf and rod, it fits absolutely perfectly there.  It's where I keep shorts, hoodies, and now funeral clothes.  Mostly stuff that I don't wear often.  I also have a regular dresser that holds regular dresser stuff in the actual bedroom.

And it did not come out of this adventure unscathed.  I reorganized how that works too.  When I got the dresser, about a year ago, I was loading it up at nine o'clock at night and did not care about ease or organization.  Now, apparently, is the time.

Socks and understuff in the top drawer.  For someone like me who gets dressed in the dark and in a hurry more than a grown-ass adult should, this should help the process.
Next drawer is pajamas and....I'm not sure what else now...I don't have that many pajamas.  (t-shirts, really. Not actual pj's)

Yoga and track pants are next.  I have gathered a bit of these. For one thing: with a bit of styling, shall we say, I can get away with these at work unless I'm doing direct service. Then I have to dress like a grownup.

Here's the next puzzle: bottom drawer is backup hoodies. Ones that I like but don't wear on the regular.  Now I have hoodies that are hung in the closet ("work appropriate", if you will) and my favorites are in the dresser in the closet.  Don't say get rid of some hoodies because that is blasphemy.

Oh, *bad words* then I forgot about t-shirts. I had to decide if I wanted to hang those again or cycle them with the seasons.  Two puzzles now: t-shirts and hoodies. The hoodies remain in three part purgatory and some of the t-shirts are piled on the chair.  Finally, I took away two hoodies and combined the t-shirts into two groups: ones that I will wear now with the hoodie and only summer ones.  T-shirts and hoodies combined in two separate drawers, depending on use.  This is probably too complicated of a system, I'm thinking.

Meanwhile, the house is not decorated, the football game begins in 40 minutes (#GoHawks) and Kevin is going to want dinner and eventually access to the closet and/or bed.