31 January 2024

Shades of Blue

 The other day I had a training at work. It's for the new Having to Leave the House duties that I agreed to and will likely regret. It was only supposed to take an hour, until my job partner had something come up then the training was delayed for an hour.

It was that kind of morning anyway. I mean, I had to leave the house so everything was already askew. Then there was road maintenance almost the moment I left our road and traffic on the freeway because it was commute time.  

Because of the snow and the father-in-law, I had errands stacked to do that day.  Also, the training was too long to have Lucy just wait in the truck so I was free for the morning.  So I wasn't disappointed when I had to find something to do for an hour.  

Instead of waiting at my office, I went and completed some errands; starting with getting a coffee at Starbies.  I usually go to my friends coffee stand but couldn't so I went the bougie route. It's been a minute since I've done that so it felt a little decadent. 

I had five things on my list and I knocked off three before having to return to my office.  I had to do that math of "It only takes this many minutes so I can kind of do it and still be on time" versus "Just wait and be a little early".  I hate that constant debate with my alphabet brain.  When I returned for my training, I had time to chat with one of my favorite advocates for a few minutes. Then the training, which entails more than it was when I did this observation/inspection tens of years ago in one of my old lives.  That's okay though, at least I had a basis of knowledge to begin with.

After that was complete, the next task was to drop off donations at the second hand store. I am still on a tear with culling through the house and  I'm going to need to stop soon or we'll have nothing left.  I never take the coupon they offer and I very rarely go inside.  There is just never time, it feels.  Today though on a whim, I decided to go browse.

$42.98 later, I am a happy camper. This is where I mention that this second-hand store is run by a church whose proceeds go to the Christian school. While this is not at all my belief system now, it was affiliated with the church I used to attend decades ago.  Also, I'm friends with kids who went to that school and they've grown up to be fantastic adults. So while it's not my belief system at all, ever, it's a good school that I don't mind supporting versus a corporate charity.

Anyway, tangent. My point is that wealthy church ladies donate to this store.  As a result, the quality of stuff is better than if you went to the nearby goodwill, which is now in a low-rent part of town that I try to avoid.  There is plenty of good quality, brand names or nearly new, items in the church store that are still second-hand priced.

Within about thirty seconds into the browse: I have three books.  I was drawn to the books even though usually I skip them because the to-be-read pile is increasing, not decreasing.  I bought three Nicholas Sparks novels, one of which BookTok has been raving about.  And yes, reading an author who always makes the reader cry IS a questionable decision but here we are.

I was wanting a different cover for Lucy's crate because the color scheme in my office changed from haphazard "that will do for now" to greys/blues/black.  I found a really nice tablecloth that perfectly matched the new curtain.  I could have stopped browsing right then and been happy.  But I kept looking, just in case.  There was a bright and I mean BRIGHT pashmina that caught my eye but I couldn't think of a use for it so I left it.

While browsing, I realized I had to use the bathroom.  They keep the door locked so I had to ask for the key; not my favorite but I understand.  It was attached to a cowbell, in case you want to guess one of the main industries of the county where I live.

You can't take items into the bathroom so I set my stuff aside and took care of things.  Upon returning to pick up my stuff, what catches my eye but a TARDIS.  A TARDIS.  Randomly set on a back shelf as if they didn't know how to categorize it.  It was small, like three inches tall so it was also remarkable that the alphabet brain didn't scan right over it.

Keeping track: three books, one tablecloth and now a TARDIS.

I went down the kitchen aisle even though I don't really need anything, especially since closing the parents house.  But one time I did find a brand-name small pot that I love so I always peek.  I browsed past the full china sets and requisite expensive knick-knacks.  

There was something in my head compelling me to go get that bright pashmina.  I headed to the opposite corner of the store, thus browsing most of it again, and put it in my cart.  I didn't know what I wanted to do with it but I figured I'd figure something out or worse case: bring it back. 

Oh and in the bringing back category, I bought a chair cover that isn't going to work. I can't be too disappointed because: books, TARDIS, tablecloth, pashmina.

The need to retrieve the pashmina made me go down the electronics aisle, which leads directly to the register.  I usually avoid it, I never want anything there, and second-hand electronical stuff can be sketchy.  What would catch my eye this time?  A nearly new brand-name, expensive  MONITOR.  I've been considering a third monitor for my work computer for about two years.  During my busiest times, it would really be helpful.  Sure, I can make a request through work but that takes time and a form and just nah.  Also, I just try to not draw attention to working from home whenever I can.  

$14.99 and it was in my cart.  It's at least $100 new because I nearly bought one a few weeks ago.  

Now I decide it's time to be done. Clearly the gods have shined down on me for this trip and I will not tempt fate further.  $42.98 is not a lot of money but I did kind of cough at myself when she rang it up and told me the total.  But I had a CART, that's how much I browsed and bought.  

I was so happy with my excursion, I decided that I didn't need to stop at the grocery store.  I headed straight home to play with my new toys.  I piled everything onto my desk and began to distribute them.  The tablecloth - perfect, the TARDIS matches the tablecloth.  Two books up on the shelf and one put out to read next.  The pashmina laid aside for now.  I disassembled my desk a little bit to plug in the monitor (sold as-is but assured to work)  

Featuring the new tablecloth as well

Ah, a stumbling block.  We're back to the vibe that began the day.  I didn't have an available port on my computer for the cord.  I did the debate that often happens  when you live away from town: order a new cord from the shmamazon and wait or go into town again?  Lucy hadn't been walkies yet and I was too excited to be patient so back into town we went.  (yes, yes, the monitor is no longer $14.99. Now it's probably $21.00 with the cord and fuel. I am still winning)

We did that quickly, still skipping the grocery store because: priorities. Upon returning, I hooked up everything and it worked and there was joy. Until.  Until I couldn't get the mouse to scroll across the new screen.  With a tinge of panic I go through all the settings, multiple times.  I click the help link.  I click the help link again.  I curse and pout.  

Finally, I did a search and tried a few things before stumbling onto Reddit.  (use that for random information when you can't find it on the google. Trust me)  I had told myself that it was going to be something dumb.  It's always something dumb when it comes to these things.  It was indeed something dumb.

You literally and actually have to tell the computer where the monitors ARE in relationship to each other.  As in: are they in a level row?  No.  Okay so one is higher than the other.  You click on the monitor icon and drag it in proportion to the others then repeat.  A swhoosh of the mouse and TAH DAH. I have three monitors.

And it is a GAME CHANGER.  FIVE STARS. Highly recommend.  If you work from home and have a lot of data or graphic design or even just a writer and you don't think you'll need it, add a screen.  It's amazing.

I just noticed that I need new lampshades. 
I was never a fan in the first place and now they don't match

While I was high on my successful shopping trip and I.T. task, I went out to the kitchen to make myself a celebratory lotus drink.  This is when I remembered the pashmina. A few minutes later, I had accidentally found the perfect spot for it, as I had hoped and assumed would happen.  

Dude. Bruh.

It is so bright. SO.BRIGHT.  Kevin was all "WHAT IS THAT WHY IS IT SO BRIGHT"

Terrible lighting for a photo but you can still see
how bright it is, which is the point. LOL

When I started this post, it was to share my excitement over my super-successful shopping trip.  Then as I was editing, I realized that this is the most excited and happy that I've been in months, if not a year.  That in itself is worth acknowledging.

But seriously: go get a third monitor.  LIFE CHANGING.

And I'm certain you can see that pashmina from space.

16 January 2024

Raising Parents - The Bar has been Lowered

 Remember when I mentioned during the Guide to Raising Parents that your phone is going to ring?

Yeah, THAT.

It feels like today it has rung/rang (?) every hour on the hour.  It's not even 5:00 pm and I am ready for bed now.  

What had happened was...

My father-in-law was in the hospital.  I had to call the ambulance for him Friday afternoon.  He phoned me and was short of breath so  I rushed down and he was throwing up and couldn't stop.  He said he was very weak, thought he was going to pass out and that's why he phoned me.  After some questioning, we decided to phone the ambulance. They were here very quickly this time, which is remarkable because the outside temp has been in single digits for days. I assumed it was going to take a little while.

Two of the paramedics had been here before, one that liked the sibling's dog and one that was out for my mother-in-law one of the eleventy times. In fact, he asked about her and gave condolences, which was very sweet.  "She fought to the very end, didn't she?" he stated.

I will say that he had sounded short of breath the day before on the phone but I didn't know what he'd been doing prior to the call so I didn't panic.  But then when I got there, he was short of breath again. So we told 911: shortness of breath, vomiting, weakness; which are all code for heart attack.

He has: 

  • Pulmonary edema...fluid around his heart and lungs
  • Chronic Heart Failure...exacerbated by the edema
  • Dangerously low 02 levels...he was on more oxygen than mom was when she passed. Yikes.
  • Dehydration (ironically)
  • Kidney Failure

The hospital originally said that it would be about a three - four days stay, depending on how everything shakes out.  Saturday, he announced that the doctor said he could go home tomorrow.  To which the nurse looked shocked and said No.  To add to it, they couldn't give him one dose of the needed meds this morning so it prolongs his stay by at least one half-day.  So doing the math...maybe Monday but probably Tuesday.

Then...the nurse said on Saturday it would be a few days. The doctor phoned later that day and said Well, we're probably sending him home tomorrow.  Kevin and I both were like WHAT.  The nurse seemed very surprised as well.

We explained how he is going to be alone for the majority of the time and we have concerns.  We explained what happened almost exactly a year ago with hospitalization ending in a care facility. We advocated him staying as long as possible. For him, and for us if I'm being honest.

They did a physical and occupational skills test and he passed so they're sending him home and without support. Sigh.  What we finally figured out was that he passed at baseline, meaning he can mostly do things by himself versus being measured by someone my age who undoubtedly could easily manage on their own.  The bar to pass is very low. So, there's an adjustment of expectations for us.  Also, we were comparing to how he used to be versus now and they were just looking at now, objectively.

Kevin and I talked about how I cannot be responsible for him during the day.  I had just mentioned to Kevin that it's making me nervous that he's home alone all day and I can't easily check on him. (like I could when they had their house) And now HERE WE ARE. He is less and less able to take care of himself.  Easy things like the dishes or feeding the dog or even feeding himself.  He's showering less again. And if you ask him, he'll say he's FINE. 

Oh, I forgot a big part: he fell during the early morning of New Year Day and broke his little finger.  He went a week before getting his hand checked (side-eye to the siblings about that) and now he has a cast. On his right hand.

Then during his hospital stay, he mentions that he thinks this has been happening for A WHILE.  I cannot EVEN with that.   And like Kevin pointed out: he's constantly at the doctor so how was this not been addressed earlier?

Now we're caught up to today.  

When they discharged him, they wanted him to be seen by his cardiologist AND his regular physician.  I made the cardiologist appointment and held off on the other one.  It feels unnecessary for two doctors to see him for the same thing.  This is something to add to your list, if you're keeping track: doctors will want appointments and not consider the impact on the patient and or family.  You have to advocate for them to avoid that.

Meanwhile, I went to the cardiologist appointment and he was owly.  He was not in the mood for me or the doctor.  I'm not offended and I'm also not going to play that game.  I know he doesn't feel well and he was probably expecting to be 100% in the one day that he was home from the hospital.

I asked the cardiologist if she felt it was necessary or worthwhile to ALSO see his regular physician.  She said no, because everything that needed addressed will be done at the appointment with her. Also, the issues are purely cardiology issues.  Also, I asked if we could just stick with her ONLY for the next little bit as the issues are cardiology related.  She agreed and thought that "streamlining" was a good idea. (her word, not mine)  Then I turned to my f-i-l and said "So, for right now, we are NOT calling the doctor for any appointments. We are only calling the Cardiologist from now on."  He did not enjoy that decision.  I bet he breaks that "rule" within days.

Part of the reason for that decision is a medication change is what precipitated the whole hospitalization.  Between a med change from the cardiologist and a med change from the physician, it put him in pulmonary edema and no exaggeration: could have killed him.   For now only one doctor is changing prescriptions.  (add that to your notes: prescriptions are a NIGHTMARE for the elderly.  SO.MANY.OF.THEM and from Different.Doctors.Who.Don't.Talk.To.Each.Other.)

She did an overview of everything and timelines, she was really thorough as if solving a puzzle.  She mentioned that it looked like he had lost weight but that he hadn't.  She looked at me as she finished the question.  I quietly mentioned "FRAIL" and she was relieved that we saw it too.  She said he had a marked change physically in three months, which is concerning.  However, his blood work is good, the hospital ran every test available, and on paper he's "healthy".

Then we got punched in the nose a little bit.  She sighed and said "I think what we are seeing is a natural progression of the aging process..."  Meaning: he's winding down.  She then turned and reviewed his meds and decided that "We will look at paring some of these meds down as much as we can in the near future."  I was not ready for that.  

He's transitioning to palliative care. I had to breathe through that a little bit.  He did not understand what was said or happening and I think that's a good thing.  It also made me suck-it-up-buttercup because he wouldn't have understood why I would have gotten emotional.

He has an appointment in one month to re-re-evaluate everything.  If he continues on the decline, then she'll begin to pare back his medicines.  She also wants to schedule a procedure that would take him off blood thinners and make falling not such a panic situation. (still scary, nonetheless)

So that was done.  Next Level now begun.

Then I took Lucy to the beach because we've been cooped up for a week due to single digit temps and I needed AIR.  Wouldn't you know it, as I'm standing on the icy cold beach, the phone rings.  This time it is the hospital, checking in with us regarding his status and ensuring we've made his follow-up appointments.  

I let them know that we would not be seeing his regular physician and why; they agreed.  I explained that we are starting to look at palliative care and she didn't seem surprised.  This made me think of when my mother-in-law was in the hospital and the E.R. doctor then the E.M.T. both asked us "What are you doing?  She needs hospice."  It took them to Say It, otherwise I feel we would still be devoting our time to keeping her alive to this day.

Now mix into this calls between Kevin and I as he updates the siblings, has questions, and/or I've forgotten something. 

Also: I gave up on any sort of work today.  Hopeless.  

Because as I sat down to try to work this afternoon, the phone rang.  It's my f-i-l's physician's nurse, wanting to schedule the appointment that everyone else decided was cancelled.  Clearly, they had not seen the report from the cardiologist.

I explained The Whole Thing again and our reasons for not having the appointment.  The nurse says "Well, I think that Dr. Bal really wants to see him in the office"  I admit to a little trill of annoyance. I asked "Can you tell me why?  I'm not being snarky, I just need to understand why he would need to be seen when he was just seen by an entire hospital AND his cardiologist."  To this, the nurse was a little quiet.  I continued: "If she reads the report and the hospital report and Still has a compelling reason for him to travel to Another Appointment, then phone me back and the family will work on it."  She agreed and sounded a little downtrodden so I amped up my cheeriness so she didn't think I was the internet meme version of myself.

Nearly an hour later, she phoned again.  The doctor had read everything and agreed that there wasn't a reason for him to be seen. Thank you little 8 lb. 6 oz. sweet baby jesus.

Now we have to circle the wagons, again.  We won't make any big decisions until after the next appointment when we know the next steps.  Who knows, maybe he'll rebound and surprise us. Probably not but maybe.  We won't tell the cousins until we know.  Even with all of this, we have time.

Oh, and finally, this one last piece: he joined a gym about two weeks ago.  We were reluctant but "let" him do it.  Unbeknownst to him, I phoned the gym and gave them all the information I could and instructed them to phone me if something ever goes wrong.  He went three times then ended up in the hospital.

When I phoned them to let them know he wouldn't be in for a while, they were immediately and genuinely concerned. He's already charmed them.  They were relieved he was okay and was still planning on returning.  "He doesn't know when to quit!" they said.  In a "Wow, does he know he's 85?" kind of way.

I think today he knows he's 85.  I'm not sure if he knows to quit, either. 

15 January 2024

Glimmery Complaints

 My awful former husband was on the facebook the other day.  You know how sometimes in it's wisdom, that app will feature a comment on a post from someone you know or may know?  It did that.  Sigh.  And he's still an ass, posting an inappropriate commenton a car fire traffic notification.  He's also a red hat racists so that's the nicest word I will use here.  In person, I have PLENTY worse words for him.  

So that was momentarily upsetting.  Then I made myself feel better by blocking him.  I probably should have done that a long time ago when I learned he had an account but maybe I just needed the validation and satisfaction of clicking BLOCK on that particular day.

One of my last projects from the parents is my mother-in-law's photos from her tablets.  I have been avoiding this for years.  With zero judgement: she was a terrible photographer.  She tried really hard but she didn't have that talent.  Then add in that it's a tablet camera, which are terrible.  AND THEN add in the eleventy hundred photos...mostly blurry...of her little dog.  Sigh.  Secondly only to the fifty-eleven photos of my father-in-law either sleeping or playing cards.

With that though, there were a few gems. There were also videos of her dog, which sometimes featured her VOICE.  So, if you needed me for anything yesterday afternoon, sorry but I was laying on the floor.  I haven't shown them to Kevin yet.  That feels dicey.  Of course, he wants to hear her voice again but at what cost, I wonder.  Kevin said that we're lucky to live in a time to hear her voice again, even if it's just her playing with the dog.

There is just the whiplash of going through photos still.  There was one of her house, with her standing on the deck.  It felt like one of those Google Earth/Streetview photos.  It felt a little haunting and I still am still thinking about it.

Yesterday I had to go into my old office for a meeting and that's always a little disorienting.  I worked in that office for almost three years and it still feels odd NOT working there, while I am there.  It's kind of like returning to an old workplace after you've quit.

But now because of that meeting, I'm going to have added responsibilities which will require me to travel to all the centers.  I'm excited about this now and will need reminding of that fact when it's time for me to leave the house.

I have a new stove that I'm still trying to figure out and I'm going to complain-in-privilege: it's a cooktop and I had forgotten how much I hated keeping it clean.  Or rather, the OCD hates keeping it clean. Then I remind myself that it was a gift and made having to replace the washer a week later not so painful.

There is a giant television under our bed, which is probably not the best place for it. But where does one store a 65" television in this little house?  Kevin was given a new television from his work and so we swapped it out with the one that is now under the bed, which is only two? three years old.  We didn't put it in the bedroom because that one is months old and more size appropriate.  So, yeah, first world problem: we have an extra television.  (update: which is now going to one of the nieces because I felt badly just storing it under the bed)

So, this is a list of complaints that kinda aren't complaints per se.  It's just been an odd balance of "Oh this is not good" and "Oh, this good thing happened" lately.

One would say "Well, it's always been that way" but has it?  It doesn't feel like that. Perhaps it's because the past few years have been challenging, and that's not near strong enough word for 2023, that ANY glimmer is noticed.

06 January 2024

On the Sixth Day

 We made it through Christmas with some big feelings and a few tears but overall, it was a very nice time.

The only big "oooof" moment was when the (adult) kids accidentally set a place for mom at the table. Of course, it was my father-in-law who noticed and announced "There's one too many!"  To which the room went silent for one beat then we rolled with it.

I mostly defrocked the house on the 27th.  My brain could not handle the "clutter" and things not being where they normally are.  The alphabet brain has been at full strength lately.  While boxing up stuff, I still sent items off the goodwill.  I maybe, might have, also bought some gnomes on clearance for next year.

Every year I lament how I store the actual ornaments. Usually they all fare well, if something get broken it's because I've dropped it.  It just takes a long time to rebox, or wrap, and organize them all into this huge tote that I have.  Last year I was going to buy an ornament storage box but then everything started falling apart and I promised myself "NEXT year, no matter what."

After some fits and starts, I ordered one and it arrived on a Friday.  Kevin was excited because it meant the tree was getting put away.  What happened was I got overwhelmed with putting the actual box and dividers together.  Three days later, I finally took everything down and put it away.  

Yes, the ornament box is worth it.  Once I got it together and a rhythm going, it went pretty smoothly.  Also, it fits on the top shelf of Monica's Closet so it's out of the way and lessens even more the chance of something breaking.

Then I did the superstitious cleaning of the house prior to the New Year.  I've done this for years so it's not unusual.  We stayed home for New Year's Eve because neither of us are big party people anymore. (also: 15 year sober! As of the 1st)  We watched Oppenheimer (good, long, not so much with the uplifting) then Kevin crashed.  I think "powering through" finally caught up with him.  

We went for a drive/four-wheeling on New Years Day, returning to a place of our second ever date.  We had Happy Meals for lunch/dinner and just relaxed.  

For all the anticipation, the holidays passed with little fanfare and not as many high emotions as we expected.  I say this with relief because it's been so difficult to predict.  I am glad that we kept it low-key this year, I think that was exactly what we needed.  

Now it's the sixth and I had a realization that we're good.  We're both happy, relaxed.  We're not teary or sad or depressed.  Sure we have our moments and we will probably forever.  It feels like that burden has lifted.  Like a metaphorical mantle has been removed from our shoulders.

With that, Kevin and I have always been a team because it's only ever been just the two of us. Certainly it's waxed and waned because we're human.  But we've never had the "interference" of having children and with that we have also missed many bonding experiences that people who are parents share.

However, since 2023 has happened and we're truly starting to look at and plan for the Rest of This Life, we have bonded again, similarly to the olden days when we were dating.  So, if that's the good that comes from the awfulness of this past year, then it...well, it's not worth it...but it's the shiny side.

Okay, enough of the mushy stuff sorta kinda.  Today I was finally finishing organizing Monica's Closet. But like for real, it's completely done. I've made such good progress this year, even with bringing home stuff from the parents house.  This past year has caused me to cull through things as if my life depended on it.  

I had the realization that Niece and Nephew aren't going to want this stuff. I also don't want to leave a mess of useless stuff for them to cull through.  It's time to use it or get rid of it.  I've taken one load to goodwill and made one trip to recycling.  I've put stuff out in the cupboards, up on the walls, or out where we can see it.

I have one file box left.  It has family photos that still need to be in scanned then put into albums.  It still has paperwork leftover from my childhood scrapbook that I suspect will mostly end up in recycling. There was also the half-finished scrapbook of all our trips to Vegas.  

This is where I went down the rabbit hole a little bit.  There was an album of postcards and an album of ticket stubs and ads or articles of places we went.  I went through it and added some, took out some, threw out stuff I was keeping just in case that I'll never do anything with.  I'm done with the project for now as in a perfect world, I need a bigger scrapbook.  That will be another day and it doesn't live in Monica's Closet.

While doing this, I thought about the first time Kevin went with his racecar friends and had a Hangover kind of experience, the first time I went and fell in love with Vegas, which is odd because I don't gamble or drink.  I remembered my very staid sister-in-law puking out the car door in the middle of the boulevard, Kevin hating being on top of the Eiffel Tower.  Getting murdered at the end of The Mob Experience. Racing with friends.  So much laughter and adventures with our friends. 

Next project was correspondence from my childhood best friends.  Much of that went straight into recycling as I don't recall most of the references anymore. Also: Cringe Level 1,000.   I saved some that specifically that mentioned a milestone or a person who remains important.  I'm boxing up some and sending them to my friend to reminisce.  (Frog, you can put them directly in the fire but you should peek first! lol)

Now remains a pile of photos that need to go into albums.  I'm considering doing that tomorrow while I'm on a roll and Kevin will be gone all day.  Monica's Closet is clean, organized and finished.  After living in this house for eighteen years, it's finally complete.

I spent the rest of the evening in my rocker and relaxed for the first time ever in this room; watching the fire and listening to music.  My office is finally a space I can relax and spend time.  On the Sixth Day, she finally got her cozy space.

02 January 2024

New Year's Recap - Please Play Along

 It’s here! The New Year Review Questionnaire !  I made a few tweaks this time. This was borrowed from the late Dooce years ago and I wanted to add a few.

You could do it too, it’s a fun way to look back on your year. Although no one really wants to look back at these past two three four years.  Sigh, Let’s do this anyway.

1. What did you do in 2023 that you’d never done before?

It was such a strange and sad year.  I can’t think of anything.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

Meh…shrugging…not making direct eye contact…shuffling of feet…

My resolutions for 2023:

1.   Painting.  I STILL have to fix everything I missed because I painted while actually going blind

2.   Debt reduction because oof, 2022 was expensive

3.   On previous lists was purchase a new stove because it was 18 years old.  My father-in-law bought 

       one for me as an appreciation gift so I can take it off the list, even if I didn’t actually do it.

My resolutions for 2024:

1.   Painting.  I still have to fix where I missed because I painted while actually going blind 

        And now the doors are needing it too

2.   Debt reduction because oof, 2023 was even MORE expensive

3.   Read more.  Write More.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

No, we are out of that stage of life, unfortunately  Fingers crossed for a recently married niece, though!

4. Did anyone close to you die? 

We ARE in this stage of life: Kevin’s mom, Kevin’s childhood best friend’s mom, someone Kevin grew up with, and a wife of a distant friend. Then, just under the wire on the night of the 30th, one of Kevin’s childhood best friends 

5. What states or countries did you visit? 

Oh Canada and no other states but have traveled from one end of Western Washington to the other

6. What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2032?

This is a repeat and I have high hopes: A working government free from the cast of Idiocracy.

7. What dates from 2023 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May – My mother-in-law’s passing

August – Sitting at a car show, in the sun, at the seaside, singing a Hal Ketchum song with Kevin because we couldn’t think of Hal Ketchum’s name.  

Christmas – The happy/sad of it all

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

     This is silly but I finally nearly emptied Monica’s Closet. It is half-empty and my goal is to keep it that way.  It’s just so satisfying.

9. What was your biggest failure?

We added to debt instead of decreasing it. Sigh.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It was the Stupid Injury Olympics this year:

*Hit and Run by a dog that injured my knee and put me in a brace for weeks (November)

*Broke two toes stubbing them on an antique Queen Anne chair in our bedroom (May)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

This is so bougie: the whole Lotus drink set-up.  The soda stream, the syrups, the spoons and measuring glass.  Not only does it feel luxurious having it, I’m drinking less sugar and caffeine.  Whether or not we are actually saving money is beyond my math skills level.  And now we added the Keurig.

12. What was the best thing you created? (it can be art, it can be a spreadsheet or an organizational thing, it could be a human!)

I love that the interior walls of our home are now all painted, new curtains and light fixtures.  It feels like a home from Better Homes and Gardens now.  Oh, and my garden!  Also, my photography

13. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Hospice workers. I know the word “angels” is overused but whew.  They are other-worldly.

14. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

This will be my answer perhaps for eternity: The entire GOP & its brethren

15. Where did most of your money go?

Ugh. Bills

16. What did you get really excited about?

It just wasn’t that kind of year

17. What song will always remind you of 2023?

       Small Town Saturday Night – Hal Ketchum

       Symphony – Imagine Dragons

       Auld Lang Syne – Dan Fogarty (thanks, Swistle.  Lolsigh)

18. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Gah, I don’t even know. Sadder.

– thinner or fatter? Same somehow.

– richer or poorer? I can’t think about it. Poorer.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing.  I always wish I spent more time writing

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Being on the phone

21. How did you spend Christmas and the New Year? 

Eve –  Here at home mostly.  I picked up Japanese food for dinner only to have to return to town because we forgot some gifts.  At 6 p.m.  Then we watched Harry Potter

Day –  Gathered with all of the family for snacks, presents, games and dinner

Eve – watched a movie and went to bed.  I watched the needle drop (Seattle reference)

Day – Slept in then went for a drive/4-wheeling

22. Did you fall in love in 2023?

Every day.

23. What was your favorite TV program? 

Grace & Frankie, Staged, Suits

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 


25. What was the best book you read?

 Ack, I have had a dearth of enjoyable books this year.  They were all fine, just fine.

My to-be-read pile increased instead of decreased (thanks, booktok)

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? 

Playlist suggestions on the pinterest.  One for every mood and/or setting

8-D music for neuro-divergents (click here for description)

27. What did you want and get?

 Working from home for the foreseeable future

28. What did you want and not get?

 Gosh, I can’t think of a single thing. We are also at that time of our life.

Well, also, I really wanted a certain former “president” in prison. (he’s not worthy of being named or acknowledged as a president)

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

 We have fallen out of the habit of watching movies.  Neither of us enjoy superheroes or horror so there are very few choices these days. However, we binged “All the Light We Cannot See” like a movie and I really enjoyed it. 

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

55 – Accidentally got my birthday present on the 11th (a red Keurig). Kevin had a work emergency so my usual plans for lunch with him then shopping were dashed.  I stayed home and watched holiday movies. And my father-in-law gave me TWO bouquets of flowers so it was good that I stayed home.

It was Taco Tuesday so that was good.  Kevin & I had lunch later that week.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

   A little less death and injury.  It feels like a big ask but one can hope.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2023?

Lazy…Yoga pants and hoodies or tshirts, no shoes unless walkies

33. What kept you sane?

Walkies with Lucy

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t have anyone in particular.  However, I thought of people I follow on the ticktock. (none of them are influencers; mostly photographers, wanderers, artists, book nerds)

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

I just can’t… My hopes are pinned on November 2024

36 Who did you miss?

My mother-in-law.  I wouldn’t have guessed that last year, but I do.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Young Padawan, Lucas.  He helps Kevin with the tune for the racecar.  If he were our son, I would be so happy.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023

Use the thing or give it away.  After closing the parent’s house, I realized how much we keep that we don’t need or have intentions for that we’ll never follow-through. And how fun it is to give stuff away to people who want or need it.

24 December 2023

Merry Christmas!


May you continue to receive gifts of love, peace, and happiness

23 December 2023

To All A Good Night

 I'm on Winter Break now and am making a point of enjoying it. Last year was chaos and I don't want a repeat of that, at all, ever.  The way the calendar fell and with some vacation days I had to burn, I have three weeks off this year.   Other than the holiday, I purposefully don't have any big plans scheduled.

We just dropped off the last of our Christmas cards and the neighborhood ones are waiting for tomorrow.  The process took much longer this year than usual but I think they'll arrive mostly in time.    It felt like I had too many cards but by the time I finished, I didn't have as many as I thought.  I'm genuinely relieved that I can go browse sales for more now.  I took Swistle's advice to heart that if we don't want to do cards then we don't HAVE to.  I focused on the central family and our friends.  I didn't do all of the cousins this year.  It feels a little strange but mostly a relief.

I'm running behind on watching holiday movies.  I have just gotten out of the habit of watching television.  I try not to turn it on during the work day so the habit of watching/listening has been broken, I think. Lifetime used to have good holidays movies and I used to just set that channel and Hallmark on constant play during the season. But now we don't have that channel anymore so it's not that easy.

Anyway.  I've watched Round and Round on Hallmark, which was actually a Hanukkah movie that featured a time loop.   It was very progressive and I loved that. Then there was one that I don't remember the name.  The original owner of an historic house appeared in current time.  It was a little romancy and that's okay.   

Then I watched The Family Stone. This is one movie I make absolute sure I watch every year.  I think it was missed when it was released and perhaps mis-marketed because the cover photo doesn't at ALL match the storyline. It has everyone in it and is such a good mix of comedy and drama.  Have kleenex at hand upon watching.  Now Miracle on 34th Street is playing.  It's the 90's version, which I prefer.

On Friday I left Lucy at home *gasp* and went pick up the remaining gifts with my grocery order.  All in all, there were seven stops and took a little over two hours.  It was also warm and raining so it was very incongruous with task at hand.  I had my Christmas playlist playing in the truck and just kept my mind focused on finishing.  One store didn't have what I needed so that created another stop then one order didn't have what I ordered so I had to go INTO the store.  I was braced for chaos but it was pretty mild, busy but mild.

I arrived home exhausted but satisfied, just in time to go out to dinner for my in-laws anniversary.  We took Kevin's dad out to dinner to "celebrate".  I didn't think it was a good idea but it wasn't my plan.  It went fine and he was happy to have us together at dinner so that's happy.

Wrapping is all I have left to finish.  This is easily the earliest I've ever been done. My plan was to be completely done by noon today but we went into town to have breakfast, then there was some family stuff that left me triggered so I stress-cleaned the house from rafters to floors.  You know, as in the holiday spirit. lolsigh.

Tomorrow morning I will wrap everything, take the neighborhood cards and treats to the mailboxes, then be completely finished. It seems gone are the days of last minute shopping and wrapping and organizing.  I kind of miss it; not the stress but the busyness of it.

Also, almost assuredly I've forgotten something.  Not to worry, stores are open tomorrow if so.

I hope this finds everyone cozy where you want to be and spending these days in the way that makes you happiest.  

20 December 2023

13 December 2023

Surely It's Christmas

 I wrote that whole rant about my Christmas Play list then realized I could share said Play List.  And yes, I put a lot of thought, research, and time into this.  Probably more than is reasonable for a grown-ass adult.  But I'm a former 80's teen, mixed tapes are my jam.

And I know as soon as I click "publish" I will think of a song...it's okay, this is already a pretty long list.

All I Want for Christmas is You - Mariah Carey

God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/We Three Kings - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan

Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade

Peanuts Theme - Charlie Brown Christmas

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses

Seasons of Love - Rent soundtrack

Cool Yule - Matt Dusk

Christmas Baby - U2

You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Put A Little Love in Your Heart - Al Green

Last Christmas - Wham

Peace on Earth - David Bowie & Bing Crosby

River - Joni Mitchell

Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg

Let it be Christmas - Alan Jackson

Baby, It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin

You Make it Feel like Christmas - Gwen Stefani

Happy X-mas - John Lennon

Do They Know it's Christmas - Band Aid

Mele Kalikimaka - Bing Crosby

Santa Baby - Madonna ( or Eartha Kitt)

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Frank Sinatra

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - The Pretenders

Please Come Home for Christmas - Bon Jovi

Winter Wonderland - Eurythmics

River - Robert Downey Jr. 

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - Darlene Love

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey

Step Into Christmas - Elton John

Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You - Billy Squier

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry

O Holy Night - Nat King Cole

Blue Christmas - Elvis

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas - Michael Buble

Fairy Tale of New York - the Pogues

We're Totally Frocked

 Last year I had the clever idea to make a Christmas playlist on my phone. I share the music app with Kevin so I included music he would like too.

Well, this is one of those examples where the gap in our ages show a difference.  His preference in holiday music is different than mine; the biggest is genres.  He prefers the more classic songs and Country Christmas.  Whereas I'm GEN-X so A Very Special Christmas is embedded in my DNA.  

This season has been challenging with the loss of Kevin's mom, it was her all-time favorite season.  Their wedding anniversary is on the 21st.  She hoped for snow every year like a child. She loved Christmas lights on everything. There was few things she enjoyed more than shopping and then watching everyone open their gifts.

My point being, this has been rough.  I knew it was going to be and kind of tried to prepare for it but you just can't.  You Just Can't.

The other weekend I asked Alexa to play my Christmas playlist and the algorithm played all the songs that I tolerate.  I kept yelling "Alexa, skip this song!"  And that, as I think about it, is an excellent example of this year.

Eventually I switched to SiriusXM and it was marginally better.  (p.s. my privilege is showing:  wah, my robot won't play the music I like. wah, the music subscription service isn't making me happier)

Today I asked Alexa to play A Very Special Christmas and it felt more pleasing and comfortable.  Then it occurred to me to just create a new playlist.  So now there's a Surely Christmas playlist and all the Whos in Whoville are happy.

So, then let's talk about how Kevin has called four five times today because I cried over Christmas cards yesterday.  I had it planned, cleared the table and had a cup of coffee. I was done with work and walkies for the day.  I took out everything: all the cards and printed labels, stickers and confetti, found a pen and then the list.  That's all she wrote.  I literally did one card and walked away.  

I always chose a card Kevin's mom would love, if I didn't buy a specific special one.  We sent it to their PO BOX even though they lived next door. She would tape them up on her window so she could see them from her chair.  It's all different this year.  So...yeah.

It's the 13th today and I am mostly done with shopping.  This in itself is a Christmas Miracle. This is also an example of how I tried to prepare for this holiday.  I started very early.  Kevin is done, the family name I chose and Kevin chose is done.  The kids are mostly done.  Even the gift for the gift exchange is purchased and will be assembled ten minutes before my staff Christmas party on Friday.  

In another example of how this year is going, Kevin ordered my gifts over the weekend.  One arrived on Sunday and he hid it in his shop.  One arrived on Monday...and....in the original packaging.  #thanksshamazon

So, I got a Keurig for an early birthday present, which is later next week.  Hooray me.  (it is cool, a matte red and narrow to fit in a small kitchen)  Kevin hates it when things like this happen and also: I never want to snoop or have hints about my gifts.  

I offered to Kevin that he could choose one of three gifts already under the tree to balance the scales.  He laughed and surprisingly said no.  Instead he ordered something else and then I saw the notification in my email.  GDAMMIT.  But I don't know WHICH one he chose or HOW MANY he chose of that gift so it's still a fun surprise.

The house is decorated and festive. I've mentioned often that this house tends to shrug off decorations like a toddler wearing a hat.  I don't understand but I keep trying.  Very few of the decorations I had in the old house are still here, mostly given away to the niblings or goodwill.  

This year, because Christmas Challenge Level 1,000, I have Kevin's mom's decorations.  When I packed them away over the summer I knew it was going to be a festive punch in the face when I brought them out and I wasn't wrong.  Also, though, I have found that it's nice to have her around.  There's a Santa on his sleigh, a big Santa boot, a bunch of candles, a big candy dish, and some trees.  

And wouldn't you know it, the house has happily accepted her decorations.  They blend in perfectly with my decorations and with the house.  Go figure.  Apparently the house was just waiting for her.

The Santa boot and the Santa sleigh
(also: that's her lamp)

Four of the trees are hers. The table cloth is hers

These are all new, purchased last year.
My childhood BFF sent the perfectly matching Christmas card
My current BFF gave me the candle holder years ago

A mixture of decorations collected over the years.
And Velma from a Christmas Eve happy meal years ago

A different location for the tree this year, because reasons.
Also, white lights instead of color

03 December 2023

04 November 2023

Permanent Nerdery

 After waiting for two months, I have two tattoos!!!  

I've wanted one for quite a while and had tentatively set a goal for a Significant Birthday then that birthday happened right at the beginning of the pandemic.  Then my mother-in-law passed and it just compelled me to follow through with it.  I wanted a Doctor Who tattoo originally but then I found the tribute tattoo that I wanted.  I found it on the ticktock app actually.  (Bunami Ink)

I found the shop I wanted and made an appointment.  Unfortunately, it was going to be two months away.  But as happens in life, those two months flew right by.  Originally I was scheduled for 5:30 pm on Wednesday, right after my sister-in-law got hers. (this is where I whisper "this was my idea and then she did it too")  Then the artist phoned about noon and asked if we could bump it up and I was all SURE, with a little flutter of anxiety.

The shop is in the historic part of town and is kind of funky.  They're super nice and of course, a little edgy.  ALL WOMEN staffed.  Paige is the newest artist, thus the two-month wait versus six months wait that is standard, I discovered.  She felt like talking to one of my nieces; like a daughter-figure, in a good way.  The shop is separated by booths, kinda, ten feet by ten feet; and it was surprisingly cozy.  Everything you see on television is open air settings and like a group effort.  I was relieved that it was a one-on-one setting.

We sat down and got cozy.  She decided to do the Doctor Who one first because it would take a little bit longer. She measured the templates again to make sure placement and size. Because, you know, this is permanent.  

During the consultation when I first saw the Doctor Who one, it reached from my hand to my elbow and I was way "That's too big!"  She agreed, especially as the wrist where the veins are is very tender.  She sized it down a little bit and had to close some loops in it in order for the tattoo to look good so it might not specifically say "I will love you through all of space and time"    (this will make you giggle in a minute, keep reading...)

Also, she placed them so if my arms are hanging "loose" at my sides, they're not obviously visible.  Not that I was worried about it, but I appreciated the attention to detail like that.  I work from home now but who knows what the future holds. 

She started to begin then hesitated "You're good, what do you need?" she asked very kindly.  I said "Just do it, don't hesitate, don't tell me about it. Just do it."  She laughed and was all "Okay" and ZAP.  Like Swistle explained, the first few were AAACCCKKK then the body acclimated.   The soft "underbelly" of the arm is Super Tender.  I had to breathe through that for a few moments and near the crook of the elbow and aforementioned wrist was pretty SHARP feeling.  

It was EXACTLY how Swistle described so I was sitting there thinking "Swistle said it would feel like this..." and I'm eternally grateful to know that ahead of time. Then about a third of the way into the first one, my brain/anxiety suddenly went "Um, okay, so this is REAL. We're doing this" so I had to breathe through that a little bit.  Then you just kind of lull into the zone, just as described.

I will say that one of my friends at the coffee stand was incredulous "You got TWO!?! On your first time!?!"  I guess I didn't think about it that way.  

The tribute one is on my left forearm, closer to my elbow than my wrist.  The Doctor Who one is on my right forearm and is nearly the length of it. I don't know if they're big or just seem bigger because  my vision is wonky. A determination can't be made until the dermshield comes off and we can really see them. They look Really Dark and that will fade with the dermshield removed and with time. I'm not disappointed at all, despite that previous paragraph.


Did I tell you that the Doctor Who tattoo was a surprise for Kevin?  What had happened was the mom tattoo wasn't going to come close to the 45-minute allotted time and when I was browsing through the tattoo examples on my phone, she saw the Doctor Who tattoos and got very excited.  She mentioned that she could do that one too and it wouldn't cost much more at all due to the time it would take. Basically, it was a buy one and get one free.  I thought about it for a second, realized that my follow-through is not good and what the hell, let's do both.  So, I didn't tell Kevin that I was getting that one.  He knew it was on the list for the future/maybe but he was expecting just the flowers.

It's is Galifreyan, the native language of The Doctor.
It says "I will love you through all of space and time"

After I was done, I met Kevin at a restaurant for dinner.  As we were waiting to be seated, I told him "Sorry that took so long, you'll see why in a minute."  He looked a little panicked so I shrugged my arm out of my coat and showed him the flowers.  Then I put my arm back in my sleeve and started to shrug off the other sleeve. "Wha...what did you?" he asked.  I showed him the other and he said "That's Doctor Who, right?"  I said yes and "It means I Will Love You Through All of Space and Time."  He smiled then did that expression where he realizes he married a crazy person.  I've seen that expression many times.

Indeed, Kevin was very touched, first by the mom tattoo then about his.   Then he joked "It doesn't have my name or anything, that could go for any guy."  LOL   Then he also said "You got one for me so you know Brother is going to be all WTF, my wife didn't get a tattoo for me" which made me really laugh.

The next day it was so ITCHY.  I chose to have the dermshield tape on it because I didn't want to risk infection or complications.  It makes the skin wrinkly, which is disconcerting because your brain sees it and says OLD LADY SKIN! Moisturize, for the love of god.  It hurt with heavy sleeves, like a hoodie but otherwise is just kind of tender.  Each day is better but itchiness is still a thing.  

Also, this is where Surely was reminded that Surely has sensory issues so having TAPE on her arms has made her a little fussy.  I'm actually counting down: Today is Day Three of Seven.  I can take off the tape on Wednesday morning.  Also, I got prescription Allieve for my knee and am super happy to report it takes the edge off my arms as well.

I have zero regrets.  Will I ever get another?  Not sure.  I can't think of anything that I would like and these are exactly what I wanted.  Originally, we were going to try to incorporate a dragonfly into the flowers but they were going to be so small that it would just look weird.  I'm not sad about that.

OH! Wait, I'm a little bit of a liar.  Right before my appointment I saw a tiktock where the guy got a tattoo then used his phone on it - like a QR code - and it PLAYED A SONG.  It's a real thing and you get the code from Spotify.  THAT is intriguing!  but I would never be able to choose just one song.

I showed my father in law the next day and he said "You girls sure must have loved her to do that..." which was so sweet.  I told him "Well, I'm not getting a tattoo for MY MOM" and he laughed.

The Doctor Who took about thirty minutes and the flowers took twenty.  I asked hundreds of questions so I had something else to focus on.  Here are the highlights:

*Has she ever seen Asian symbol tattoos that were wrong and she said yes.  Only once has she explained to the person that it was wrong.  The girl thought she had "Family" and she had "House".  It required a second symbol to mean family. As in, add the people symbol because the house with the people symbol means Family.  She said she told the girl and she was "Okay, thanks" then never returned. Lolsigh.  

*The most stupid tattoo was a camel on a guy's big toe.  I didn't get it then she said "camel-toe" and I was OMG.  Because: omg on all the levels.

*She's never done private areas, if you will.  She said it's not her thing and it would have to be something very meaningful to even consider.  Never on a man though.

*She is picky about what she will tattoo because she's new to the field and "building her brand" and she admits, even after she's established she'll probably still be picky.

*She said other artists will tattoo everything/anything.    She did say they have "drop in" tattoo availability and "joked" about me coming back for something else on a whim.

*She said men are the WORST.  The worst.

*I always thought it was a law that if you're drunk, you can't get a tattoo but it is one of those Moral vs. Legal things. She said she won't do it though, because drunk people.

*Finally, there isn't a thing like "Tattoo School"  This surprised me a little. Typically, a person will apprentice in a shop for year(s) and learn by observation then work their way into actually tattooing.

So, it was a fun experience and I'm happy that I did it.  Kevin likes it and is curious to see how it turns out once everything is healed.  Maybe I'll do another one but probably not.  Would I recommend it?  Yes, I would.  

Also, I got a cute sticker:


31 October 2023


 It's Halloween today and it's only noon and it's already been a day. (as evidenced by that poorly-constructed sentence)

It's been a week and one day since I had the dog body-slam me.  Guess where I was today?  Yes, the clinic.  


First of all, it was another new doctor because my new doctor wasn't available.  He was like an attractive nerd-like quality yet outdoorsy.  His name was Brooksy.  His full name was Collin Brooksy Hayfen.  Dr. Hayfen.  It felt very Greys Anatomy.

(it's been a busy brain day today so this is going to wander)

Wait, I was excited to tell you about Dr. Outdoorsman that I left out how I ended up there.

I've been wearing a brace for a week.  It helps and it's cumbersome and I realized that I was 100% triggered this morning by this whole process.  It's like 2012 reimagined without the ambulance ride/hospital stay/casts.

Kevin was fussing over the weekend that my knee didn't seem improved. I promised him that I would phone the chiropractor in the morning and if he said "Go to the doctor" then I would do so.  He said "Go to the doctor"  


I made the appointment and only had to wait until this morning.  That's plenty of time to spiral and imagine that I'm going to need surgery (again) and be on bedrest (again).  With added splashes of "AND this wasn't even my fault, Not even My Dog." pouting.


The doctor said to wait and see AND to take prescription Allieve AND to follow-up with an ortho doctor.  Use it but also stay off of it.  Basically everything I've been doing and BONUS: I get to pay for that advice that I was already employing.


Today I learned that "Injury by large dog" is NOT an unusual injury.  The x-ray tech (yes, x-rays) said he gets one about once a month.  That makes this marginally feel less stupid.  

However, I also learned today that the brother has already commented about how no one likes the dog and the dog can't be around the family and that's upsetting.  This is a veiled comment because upon entering their house for family dinner on Sunday, I said "No. Stay. No. You've spent all your chances with me" to the dog. To which, Nephew put the dog in the bedroom because he is my favorite.  

Kevin is fully prepared for the "Your dog is a d*ck and it nearly put my wife in the hospital" confrontation this weekend.  I kinda want to watch with popcorn and a soda.


But Good News: my blood pressure was back to its usually crazy low numbers.  To which, I wondered "Wow, I wonder what happened...what's changed...hmmm...ohhh, dead mom."  (I totally just heard her in my head "Oh SURELY!")


Meanwhile, I'll be working from home and skipping walkies and taking it easy this week.  If you need me, I'll be on the couch.  Oh, and Kevin said again: "Thank god for you working from home."  Yes, Kevin, that is exactly it.  If I weren't HOME I wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place.


Happy Halloween


26 October 2023

Dog Breaking and Entering

 Well, because this year simply cannot get any more dumb, I've hurt my knee.

Actually, no, *I* didn't hurt my knee.  The siblings dog did.  Please update your 2023 list to include:

Injured knee by 60+ lb. boxer dog who broke into my house

The siblings have a boxer and this is the second one they've had.  They're terrible at training their dogs AND it's a boxer.  I described it as "Poorly trained" and was corrected to say "Not trained". It has zero boundaries and I've tried working with her but a dog that isn't made to behave isn't going to change by any small attempts made by me.

Usually the dog is in the house during the workday.  On Monday, I was working in my office and heard the jingle of a collar that wasn't Lucy's.  I got up from my desk and went into the hallway to discover the dog bouncing back and forth because it's always over-joyed to see people.

Wait, you have to know that the first time she did this she peed on our brand new couch.  Proceed.

Lucy was on the people bed, sleeping, and she stayed up there during this ruckus.  Good girl.  I'm body-blocking the dog to get it to go down the hallway, through the living room, and out the door.  All the while, hoping it doesn't pee all over the carpet.  

I was nearly successful when the dog spun and body-slammed into my leg.  The leg that used to have eight screws and two plates holding it together.  Luckily, I was standing next to my chair so I could hold onto it and not fall.  And then just hold onto it until I could regain my composure.  I honestly thought it was broken, again.

It took my breath away and this is when I realized that my phone is on my desk, at the other end of the house.  And the dog is still in the living room.  Holding my breath, I took a few tentative steps to discover Not Broken but Definitely Hurt.  I got the dog out the door, slammed the door, then sat down.  

My knee swelled almost immediately and I sat there debating what to do.  Emergency room? Urgent care? Chiropractor?  I got ice, made a blanket fort on the couch for me and Lucy, and laid down.  After about an hour, it was still painful but obviously not broken.  I could wiggle my toes, bear weight and had mobility, even if it did hurt.

Clearly, I was done working that day too.  

Kevin came home a few hours later and asked what happened.  He was annoyed then more annoyed because he can't just call and say "KEEP YOUR DOG OUT OF OUR HOUSE" because a) there will be drama and 2) it's my father-in-law who is letting the dog out during the day.  Instead he asked about ibuprofen and ice and what I thought I should do.  I told him that I was going to see how it was in the morning then decide.

I couldn't get comfortable during the night, which didn't bode well for the situation.  The next morning, only my knee hurt.  When the dog hit me, I felt a pop in my ankle, leg, knee, and hip.  Now I could feel like my knee was displaced; everything else seemed in working order.  I phoned the chiropractor and got an emergency appointment; after hearing "You were hit by a what?" from the receptionist.

Our friend the chiropractor was incredulous.  He knows the family dynamic and everything that has happened this year.  He agreed that nothing was broken and examined my knee.  "It's very inflamed" he tsked.  He adjusted my ankle and my hip which really needed adjustment, probably the "pop" I heard.  Then did an over-all adjustment and checked my knee again.

He's always honest, which I appreciate.  "It's going to hurt, probably worse tomorrow then hopefully get better.  If by Friday it's not, you can come back OR go get it checked"  This is one of the reasons I like him, he will say "This isn't my area" instead of just having me return again and again.   

I went home after buying a brace and we rested the entire day. It still hurt but it did feel marginally better.  I had to make sure it wasn't a placebo effect though.  Then yesterday, I had a meeting at work so I put on the brace, took some ibuprofen and lots of water, and off I went.  It was at the college, not my office, so lots of walking, including stairs.  I did okay but definitely felt sore.  I made it back home and rinse/repeat: couch-ice-ibuprofen.

Later in the day, I was reading when I heard a scuffle outside on my deck.  Lucy had been laying on her blanket on the deck so I opened the door.  The effing dog is back.  This is where I explain that Lucy is thirty-pounds and eleven years old.  She cannot take a hit from that dog and that's what boxers do.  

I'm trying not to yell because it makes the situation worse. I'm blocking the door, yet trying to keep a small space for Lucy to sneak into the house.  The boxer, circles around her "playing", and slams her. Lucy growled and snipped at her then looked at me with an expression of "Sorry" and "Help" and I'm all GOOD GIRL. Then Lucy dove into the house and I again slammed the door in the dogs face.

I do feel badly because the dog is lonely and badly trained but to quote Kevin "We're not sacrificing our dog to train your dog."  I gave Lucy some CBD and we both took a nap.  At this point, I was able to walk a little without the brace but it felt risky.  Every once in a while, I would feel my kneecap "slip", which hurts a lot. 

Kevin came home last night and I mentioned that the dog was here again.  He immediately phoned his brother and said "The dog was here again today.  It knocked Surely on her ass yesterday and hurt her."  At first my father-in-law denied letting the dog out, LIKE WE DIDN'T KNOW DIFFERENTLY then admitted that he did "But I don't think she went anywhere."  


I think I'm going to be fine.  I don't think I'll need to go to Urgent Care tomorrow.  I will decide later today if I will go to the chiropractor again or just let it heal over the weekend while using the brace.  In fact, I ordered a different one that isn't so cumbersome which will be here today.  I am hoping to be annoyed that I won't need it by the time it arrives.

But I will have lost a week.  A WEEK of productivity because I got body-slammed by a dog.

Oh, and when I say "It broke into the house" I mean:  We have a big deck with gates off of the living room.  During the day, Lucy will lay outside on her blanket for hours.  Sometimes I leave the gate open so she can come and go as she pleases.  If I know the dog is out next door, I lock her gate so she can't get on the deck.

I also leave the screen door and door to the house cracked open so Lucy can come in without needing me. There is a big rock that blocks the door so it only opens about six inches.  Kevin hated this set-up until he was home with her for a week then was all "I understand now" because Lucy wants in/out/in/out/in/out all day long. This is our compromise.  

Also, if you thought "Well, just don't do that anymore" my response is It's my house that I would like to live in freely.  I shouldn't have to worry about a dog breaking into it. They should worry about Not Letting the dog break into it."  So, yes, I've thought about this a lot.

Usually Lucy will come in the house if she sees the dog come over to the house.  However, it appears that the dog has learned to check the gates to get onto the deck.  Also, it seems to do it quietly so it's in the house before I know it. That's what I mean when I say "Broke into the house"

So yeah.  If you need me, I'm the one with the brace and the cane, feeling my age and thinking about ordering a truckload of sage to cleanse me and everything I own.  2023 has been ridiculous.

Gratuitous photo of Lucy
sleeping on the people bed

22 October 2023

I Broke The House

 Kevin is gone all weekend, working on a project.  I thought I would just have a relaxing weekend, with nothing big planned.  Maybe paint, maybe not.  Watch a movie, read. 

With that, I usually do all my chores (housework) on Fridays so I have the weekend to do whatever.  Because Kevin was going to be gone, and frankly I just didn't have the energy, I skipped it.  I figured I'd do it over the weekend.

With that and because of the alphabet brain, this isn't a big deal. Most people would never notice that I had skipped chores.  Well, I had also let the laundry pile up a bit.  This is very unusual because after having no power for four days years ago, my PTSD will not allow it.  Except for this weekend.

And the universe laughed at me.  Silly mortal.

Now let's add that I can't get the bathroom sink to clear. I've tried everything, Kevin has tried, and no.  I did manage to get it to flow better then it stopped.  I have time on my hands, I will try again I thought.  I started the laundry and went to work under the sink.

This requires a towel because no matter how careful I am, there's always water.  I had a hand towel and an old bath towel down.  Upon taking everything apart and cleaning it with the little tool, nothing was improved.  I put everything back and it was WORSE.  Wtaf.   I decided I would leave it and Kevin could look at it tomorrow. Clearly, I had put something back together incorrectly or something.

Then I checked on the laundry.  Nope.  The washer stopped.  Of course it did.  It threw a code so I searched it and it said the drain was blocked.  Now this has become a Kevin problem. The interwebs assured me that this wasn't a big deal. The interwebs lies.

About 6:00 Kevin phoned and said he was on his way and apologized that it took so long.  "What's happening there?" he asked.  9/10 times the answer is "nothing".  Today was "Well, it appears I have broken the house. I can't unclog the sink and now it won't drain and the washer stopped working."

He immediately went to 1,000 because all he heard was two things weren't draining.  I assured him that it wasn't a drain issue, it was a coincidence.  All the while, hoping it was indeed, a coincidence.  But the other sinks drained, the tub, the toilets.  It wasn't a drain issue.

I'm bailing out the washer and throwing soaking towels into the tub when he came home.  "I'm going to fix the sink..." he said.  I stood there like...wut?  But okay.  I realized that he needed to make sure that we didn't need a plumber because our plumbing was broken.  Because that is exactly how this year has gone for us.

He took apart a piece that I hadn't that was near the floor of the cabinet.  And...retch.  There was the plug.  I offered to switch him places because I don't ick out as badly as he does.  Also, that meant he would go look at the washer, which was more important to me.  

He has a thing about "letting" girls do gross jobs.  Even though I know he'd rather go to the dentist than clear that clog, he told me no.  I wasn't disappointed.  I went back to bailing and wringing towels.  

Once he fixed the sink, he came out to look at the washer.  I showed him the google search and he went to work.  He pulled out the washer then jumped behind it.  He took off the back of the washer and...it looked nothing like the internet said it would.  

One of his best friends used to work at Sears when it was still a thing.  He reluctantly called him and asked for help. To my relief, he said to do the same thing that the interwebs did.  He also suggested (literally) unplugging it and plugging it back in.  I had already done that.  Twice.  He had Kevin check one more thing then asked us to run it on a different cycle then let him know if it helped.  We did and...nope.  Then we got the "It's probably more expensive to repair than to just replace it."  I flipped him off but said "Thanks for your help!"  (remember, he's on the phone)

It feels like Kevin asked simultaneously "How much does a washer cost?" and "I hate to ask but what are you thinking about dinner?"   Sensing a shift in the ether, he said "I don't care, you can make eggs. Cereal. I'm going to go shower..."

I cleaned up the mess in the mud room as best as I could with a broken washer in the middle of it. Then started dinner and tried not to swirl the metaphorical drain myself.   Kevin came out from the shower and said that his friend wanted him to check one more thing.  Back behind the washer he goes, we try it, it doesn't work, and now the washer is full of water again.  

I returned to making dinner and Kevin went out to his shop.  He came back with buckets and asked for help.  I started to gesture toward dinner like "DO YOU SEE THIS" but refrained because it's not his fault for trying to help when I had broken everything in the house. #melodrama

We took out ten gallons of water then called it a night.  We ate dinner then I got onto the interwebs again to search for washers.  No one keeps appliances in stock now, in case you're wondering.  I checked a local store and while they were closed, the site said they had them in stock.  Fantastic.  When do they open?  11:00 am.  Sigh.  But at least they had one and it wasn't terribly expensive.  

KEvin offered to phone the siblings to see if they would let us do two loads of laundry.  I said no, because if one thing went wrong it would be my fault FOREVER.  He tried to deny that but then just couldn't.  "We'll save that until tomorrow" he says.  Answer will still be no tomorrow, Kev.

Finally we went to bed and Kevin was almost immediately asleep.  Love that for him.  My brain is trying to find  traction, what can I do in the morning to be ready for this.  Is there anything else we can do.  Certainly, this isn't a new problem.


I realized that I can hand wash clothing.  It's been done for centuries.  While not fun and not even in my Top 100 Ways I Like  to Spend My Time, it was better than what-felt-like a disaster I had on my hands. It's 11:00 pm and I'm googling "How to wash laundry without a washer."  You know, just in case there were new developments since the 1700's.  There wasn't but at least I felt like I had a plan.  I went to sleep thinking how I could prioritize what needed washing, what could go next door if I chose to ask, and what could wait.  It is super fun living in my brain.

Oh and this is where I also realized that there shouldn't be that much water in the wash and perhaps it wasn't just a drain issue.  #causeandeffect

Kevin left the next morning at 6:30. I woke up momentarily but thankfully fell back asleep.  About an hour later, my  alphabet brain started yelling at me about laundry.  I got up, made coffee, and contemplated My Plan.  Once coffee was started, I emptied a tote and let it start to fill with soapy water. I had to deal with the wet  towels from the night before first.  In they went into the soapy water for 30 minutes. I took my coffee, a brownie, and the dog and went back to bed.  I turned on NCIS so I wouldn't get caught up in a movie and distracted. 

Wet towels are the worst to wring out. The worst.  This is where I explain that my preference in towels tends toward a cozy rug.  I want them thick and heavy.  Kevin tends toward "This is the towel I had when I moved out of the house when I was 18."  One by one, I took the towels out of the soapy water, wrung them the best I could, carried them to the kitchen sink, then rinsed them.  

My hands hurt, I don't think I have fingerprints anymore, and that was really hard work.  At one point, I said aloud "This is the WORST" then laughed at my own self.  Trying to balance karma immediately,  I said "No, no, this is bad but it's not the worst.  There are many worst things."

I did the best I could then put them in the dryer.  I was a little worried that they weren't wrung enough and I was right.  It took forever for them to dry. And it caused a little catastrophasing of "Now the dryer is broken."  Eventually they dried and I could see and feel where perhaps the washing machine had been not working well for a while.

Next I did the "easy" clothes: socks, underwear, yoga pants, tshirts.  This went much easier but wringing them still made me wish for one of those old-fashioned wringers that essentially strangled all the water out of the clothes.  Finally the dryer finished the towels, I started the color clothes then tried to psych myself up for more towels.

I realized that I didn't need towels, per se. I needed wash cloths and hand towels.  My first instinct was "They sell those at the store every day" then I tempered that with "Well, that applies for every single item I'm washing so..."  I washed just the hand towels and wash cloths.  

The store texted me to confirm that the washer I wanted was in store.  I replied "I will be there in an hour."  Then he clarified: "Do you want top load or front load?"  I answered "Top load, preferably but beggars cannot be choosers."  They had both and they were waiting for me.

I showered, feeling bad about creating More Laundry,  and loaded up Lucy.  I phoned Kevin to let him know and he was relieved as well.  I bought the washer after a little debate and went to pick it up.  This is how I had to get it:

Thank the universe for the back-up camera and 
a husband who drove dump truck teaching me
how to back up

Okay, so now that was done.  I began to pull out of the loading dock when I saw that I missed a call.  I assumed it was going to be Kevin.  It was not.  It was my father-in-law.  I was immediately curious because the siblings are home.  I phoned him and he asked if we still had his hand truck.  Weird.  "Yeah, it's in your old shed."  He asked if we could bring it to him when I got home.  Puzzled still, I said Yeah but what are you moving?"  He stopped then tried to verbalize but his cognitive delays wouldn't allow him to form the thought.  Somehow the universe whispered in my ear.  "Did you mean Mom's WALKER?"  Relieved, he said yes.  Well, it's kind of a hand truck, for people.  

About THAT: the doctor told him that fall prevention is A PRIORITY.  He cannot fall and remain living.  So, in answer to that he just about fell outside this morning while I was gone.  The siblings yelled at him and this was him being contrite.  

Now I'm home, hoping it doesn't rain before Kevin gets home.  In the olden days, my father-in-law would have this done by the time Kevin got home but this is where we are now.  The last load of hand-washing is in the dryer.  All that remains is still more bath towels, jeans and bedding.  

And I'm still not sure that the dryer isn't dying.