30 July 2015

This Shouldn't Be So Difficult

We have had two challenging, yet ridiculous, experiences lately.  This definitely qualifies as First World Problems, but it's still unnecessarily annoying.

First, Kevin broke our ice cream scoop.  I'm unsure how, but he managed.  So, no big deal, we were going to the store the next day so we added it onto the list.  This is where I say that we shouldn't shop together because we're both youngest children.  One of us are going to make an impulse purchase.

Who knew how many different kinds of ice cream scoops there are.  I mean, it's not a complicated tool, I don't understand why there are so many variations. I get that I can barely find the kitchen aisles in most stores but this is an ice cream scoop. 

Funny aside: Kevin spotted a melon baller and mentioned "Why would someone even bother?"  Also, a store worker tried to help us but I don't think she quite got our not complicated requirements for an ice cream scoop.

The one that was most similar to the one that was broken had a bright pink handle.  I can't even.  I know it's silly but I'm not a twelve year old girl.  Finally, we just chose the simplest, sturdiest one.

While checking out, I noticed the price of the scoop.  $15.99.  FOR AN ICE CREAM SCOOP. 

Kevin had taken a call while we were checking out, when he returned I asked him to guess how much the scoop cost.  He ventured a guess of $7. He joined me in righteous indignation when he heard the price tag. 

We totally returned it and bought a more reasonably priced one.  Which one was it, you wonder?  The one with the unfortunately pink handle. 

I'm still astounded that there are so many variations of ice cream scoops, something that a sturdy, large spoon can do.  Also, how stupidly expensive they are.  Bored? look it up on the amazon. There's one that is $34.95.  For an ICE CREAM SCOOP.

(photo courtesy of amazon.com)
It occurs to me that this post shows that we are the youngest children.  You'll see why in a second.

We went out to dinner with the kids on Sunday, a rare treat. (with the kids, not the pizza part)  The in-laws chose the restaurant, a pizza place in one of the historical districts of Bellingham.  They love it but it's not my favorite.  This is coming from me, the person who would eat pizza every day if I didn't want to be 3,000 lbs and dead.

Here is why it's not my favorite:
There are categories of pizza, by city: New York, Detroit, Chicago. 
Then, instead of the standard Vegetarian, Hawaiian, Meat Lovers, style of pizzas they have names like 57 Packard or Lakeshore Drive or Marshall Fields. 
And, the ingredients are all very similar, mostly consisting of combinations of red meat and gourmet cheeses.

This is pizza, folks, it doesn't have to be so complicated. It's just so hipster.

To add insult to injury, the pizza isn't that great.  Our in-laws were completely befuddled as to why we didn't like it.  It's like they don't even know us.  We are a PB&J couple, not a pita with hummus and organic celery couple.

This concludes the This Shouldn't Be So Difficult portion of my life. This is also where I would suggest that we need bigger problems but that ship has sailed over the past few years for us.  So, I get to pout about ice cream scoops and hipster pizza.

14 July 2015

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet

So, there is a lot of hub bub about the New York Times article yesterday about how Seattle is going to fall into the ocean when we have The Big One.  Swistle asked me what I thought about it so I answered her and then thought..."Hmm, this could be a good post" so here it is:

I hadn't read it either but the news is talking about it a lot right now so I feel like I had read it. I admit, I was a little hesitant to read it, thinking it was going to be anxiety inducing.  It was, a little bit, but if you live here it really isn't something you haven't heard before.
From my perspective, it's something everyone knows but just...not ignores per se...but lives with.  It's like living with a volcano on Hawaii.  It's there, and chances are it's going to blow, but you just live your life.
I disagree a little bit with the perspective that no one is prepared.  Many buildings, especially since the Nisqually quake, have been retrofitted to withstand a quake.  Most schools, hospitals, etc. are required to have things like televisions, appliances, wall hangings, etc. tethered.  (many households - like new builds - have this as well) 
Plus the earthquake kits.  It seems like many folks have these (not doomsday preppers, just regular people) not only in their homes but in cars as well.  Schools and care centers are asked to have them, but it's not required.
An interesting thought/theory: BC hasn't done much about preparedness, even after the Nisqually Quake.  Theory holds that if such an event occurs, the border will effectively disappear to help pool resources.
There is an element of futility, people with ocean front property know the risk and there's little that can be done.  We've already seen the ocean reclaiming property here, without a quake and separate from climate change effects; think a river reverting to its natural course.
I'm glad she mentioned the Ring of Fire, because that's a thing.  It has been increasingly active and it has kind of a pattern to its activity.  That does make me nervous, because it seems like it will be our turn soon.  However, she did a good job writing about why we've been a bit immune to quakes like the other areas (Japan, New Zealand)  and that made me a feel a little better.  It's as if we're sort of protected but once the pressure releases, we're utterly screwed.

It is kind of common knowledge that Seattle is screwed.  It's protected by many little islands so it wouldn't be quite the direct hit that the Oregon or Vancouver coast would take.  However, downtown Seattle is literally built over the original city that burned in a fire.  It's sketchy now in areas because they were drilling a tunnel for a freeway and the ground started to sink.  Also, it's built below the water table in areas.  Nothing can be done with that.  They're building a seawall but that's not going to prevent damage from the Big One.
Now, we live on a small mountain, on the side that doesn't face the bay.  We will be missed by most of the drama.  Our house is tethered so it will be the internal damage she spoke about and the loss of resources.  We have a generator and fuel so that will get us a few days, and the family and neighbors are next door so resources can be pooled.  With the creek, we should still have a water resource.  It's the food and fuel component that is worrisome.  But that's all temporary. 
Infrastructure reports tell us that none of our bridges would withstand a large quake, so this isolates us a bit but there are ways around that with four-wheel drive.  The question that she poses is a good one: But where are you going to go?  Eastward, of course.  Or north to our Canadian friends that live nearly in the Yukon Territory.  But that's in theory.
I follow the writer on Twitter, she definitely knows the area as she spends most of her vacation time on this coast.  I believe her intention is pure, not one of drama.  She sure needed an editor on that first part of the article though, sheesh.
We still talk about where we would live once we retire.  It has gotten less likely now that there are grandchildren (grandnephews/nieces is such a cumbersome description)  We have talked about being snowbirds or having an RV and doing extensive traveling.  But this would be low on the list of reasons why we would move away from our beautiful little corner of the world.

And this is where I say that I have no formal science background so my knowledge is picked up from living here, state history, and what I've learned in school.  Also, the one non-family neighbor is a Science professor at the University here.  He's told us all about how the Earth does what it does.

11 July 2015

Only One Mike

My mom phoned the other day.  It turns out that the house next door had sewer issues and there was a crew working there.  This is the house where my mom has been keeping an eye out for the owners who live overseas.

The work required that her water be turned off and when it was turned back on, the worker came over to let her know.  Somehow, my mom ended up walking next door to see the ongoing work.

She tells me that there was a guy running a small backhoe behind the house.  He sees her and says hello, calling her by name.  For whatever reason, she chats with this guy even though she isn't sure who he is.  Wait, it gets worse. (not terrible worse, but worse)

The guy asks about me, by name.  "I'm sure she has lots of kids by now."  Mom tells him that I'm very happy, been married 25 years and didn't have kids because I couldn't have them. She tells him I have about ten nieces and nephews and that's enough for me.  The guy said  to tell me hello. 

The guy's name is Mike and he's slender, average height and has dirty blonde hair.

Yeah, she totally had a conversation with my ex-husband.  The one whom I have a permanent restraining order against for domestic violence and stalking.

"Mom, did you just have a conversation with my ex-husband?"

Count to twenty before she responds.

"Well, I...hmmm, I'm not sure."

OH FFS, mother.   This is where I breathe deep and remind myself that she is eighty years old.  And in her defense, she hasn't seem him since early 1990.

She wondered if it could be anyone else.  I told her that I didn't date any other Mikes, any Mikes that I do know/have known didn't know her and didn't fit her description.  I dated like six guys since I was sixteen so it's not like the process of elimination is difficult.  

I even went as far as to scroll through my friends list on the facebook. No one was on the list.  I asked Kevin if he can think of anyone he or we know that runs heavy equipment named Mike.  No one.

So...yeah.  That's not freaky at all.

And yes, he would be bold/dumb enough to talk to my mom like nothing had ever happened. 

Kevin was a little  taken aback.  He knows how crazy the end of the relationship got but he said "It's been twenty six years so chances are, he will forget all about you again."  I'm assuming he is right.

An old friend was at the party at my mom's house a few days later.  I told him the story and he laughed.  "I didn't think he was smart enough to run a backhoe." 

08 July 2015

What I've Been Doing on Summer Vacation

So much stuff going on.

Okay, firstly, the mother-in-law.  She's doing okay.  We're tentatively pleased that she has been home one month without returning to the hospital.  She's on oxygen and still not eating well but we've recently learned that she's doing about as well as someone in her condition can.

They continue to shrug off help and we've all had to just take a step back and let them manage.  We are just going to have to wait and hope that nothing goes terribly wrong. In the meanwhile, I work in the afternoons so that leaves them unsupervised, if you will, for about three hours.

I had to do a final exam for my ankle last month.  The doctor remarked how well I had healed after "such a traumatic injury."  It was a little jarring to hear that, again.  It's been three-plus years since that adventure started and it's kind of faded into the dark corners of my memory.   I am hoping that the exam is the last time I have to deal with that whole thing.

The photo project has stalled.  It has been over 80 degrees here for a month and many days over 90 degrees.  Not only is the office uncomfortable during the summer, I just didn't feel like it was a good idea to handle old photographs when it's this hot.

And...work.  This week will be the first normal week that I've had.  Last week was spent as training, with training being defined as lots of overdue filing.  To boot, for the second time, I have begun a job without an actual desk.  Because I am job sharing and the person is there, I am left hovering at other peoples desk.  I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed.

But I am using some of the advice from Swistle's latest posts about new jobs into play.  Be patient, look for solutions or things I do like, and voice concerns when the opportunity arises.  

I know that after this week, the job will look differently so I need to be patient.  I set a goal to finish all this filing so that it's no longer an option.  Finally, yesterday before I left I got to chat with the executive director.  She asked how I was feeling/thinking about my first week.  It gave me an opportunity to say "Well, I've done lots of filing..."  I'm relieved to say that she was a little surprised and stated "We'll find other things for you to do."

The gardening project has taken a beating because of our unusual heatwave and now smoke from the fires in British Columbia.   A few of the plants are looking pretty bad but I'm hoping to limp them through the summer.  My dream is that next Spring everything will bounce back and be lovely.

About that heat wave, I know others have rain and tornadoes but this heat is overwhelming.  We're used to low-mid seventies and rain, not a month of high temps.  You can tell that people are getting a little stabby because we're missing our rain.

We bought a kiddie pool and put it out on our deck. Then Kevin put up one of our canopies from the race car trailer and now we have a lovely little oasis out there.  We sit out there after work or whatever with our feet in the pool and just relax.  It's absolutely lovely and a foreign concept to us.

A friend of mine added me to a summer reading challenge.  I started with A Million Little Mistakes and it was very disappointing.  I actually laid on the floor of the office and read it in about an hour.  Next I read The Thirteenth Tale, which I've been meaning to read for years, and really enjoy it.  I have a book on my tablet called The Reincarnationist that I want to start.

That's how my summer is going.  Busy, full of change, and getting slightly less stressful