31 August 2019

One and A Half Stars

Any time the fact that we used to do Friday Night Family Dinner came up, people who don't know us wistfully say how nice that is.   So, let me narrate how last night went:

We haven't been doing dinners because Kevin's parents have aged way too much to handle it.  They go, alone and early, to the buffet instead now.  We gladly stay home.  The Brother pouts.  (he's older, by the way, for people wondering. He will be sixty in the winter)

An old family friend that we don't see often asked everyone to meet them for dinner.  Unfortunately, they asked the brother so the information we were given was not accurate or perhaps even true.  Because yes, he makes things up so he looks like the good guy and/or victim, depending on the situation.

It was supposed to be in the town where Kevin works, where the friends live.  Okay, it sucks that Kevin has to commute 35-40 minutes home, clean up, then return back but it's a one-off situation.  The Brother's wife also works in this town so she had to do the same thing.  To be fair, she doesn't need a shower after her workday and Kevin does.

Then came the What Time is Dinner conversation.  Kevin gets off between 5:15 and 6:00.  He's the boss so he's the last one out of the gate, usually.  I say this not as a humblebrag but because the Brother just doesn't seem to understand this, like, ever. (I suspect the green-eyed monster)

Meanwhile, the brother is usually home around 4:00 every day and may I remind you: lives next door.  Meaning he could totally gather up the parents, go to the restaurant and we'll catch up.  But NO. We must travel together, because reasons.  Kevin rolls with it, like he always does.  He tells them that he will try to get out of there early but his work is super unpredictable.

Turns out that Kevin got home on time.  But traffic was miserable because the Brother agreed to do this dinner on Friday Night of Labor Day weekend.  We're literally traveling through two counties to get to this dumb dinner.

Oh, the dinner isn't in the town where Kevin works after all.  It's twenty minutes FURTHER SOUTH.  All I could hear in my head was Urkel: "Oops, did I do that?"

Sidebar: if it was coordinated by Kevin things would have happened.  How about Saturday and not Friday. How about somewhere in the middle of all of us instead of nearly an hour away?  How about we do it early so everyone can enjoy dinner. But no, because Kevin's brother coordinated it. AND, these folks are in their late sixties. They're no youngin's either so this wouldn't have been a big ask.

We are ready to leave and Kevin phones his parents to see if they're ready.  Yes, they are.  Is Uncle ready to go? They think so. (Uncle is staying here for two weeks, by the way. Because we need more people here.)  Who is Uncle riding with?  They don't know.  THEY HAVE BEEN TOGETHER ALL DAY.

Kevin, bless.his.heart. said that we should just ride with the Brother.  He keeps trying to make fetch happen here and I've had to hardline him a few times.  I don't want nor need to spend time with him, especially when he's driving because TERRIBLE driver.  He accquiesed and we were taking our own truck.

Now we seque into who is taking the parents.  They can get in our SUV but it's not easy because they're 80.  The sister-in-law has an SUV that they CAN get into.  Someone still needs to take Uncle.  AND we are trying to keep the f-i-l off the roads so someone has to take someone.

No one can figure it out.  It's impossible. It's an unsolvable puzzle.

We went outside and there stands Kevin's mom in the driveway.  She has NO IDEA what she's doing.  Kevin steers her back toward the house and his dad comes out and starts to clean out their van, as if they are taking it.

We hear the Brother start his TRUCK, not the SUV, and pull up the driveway.  (don't get me started in transporting eighty-year-olds in a lifted, 4-wheel-drive truck.  Ain't nobody got time for that.)

Kevin finally says that the parents are to ride with us.  We adjust the seats, get a stool for his mom, and eventually get everyone loaded.  We pull down the road and drive past the brother, who has the Uncle.

FIVE MINUTES LATER, WHILE ON THE FREEWAY, the s-i-l texts me and asks if they need to pick up the parents.


About halfway there, it occurs to me that I didn't see his mom's oxygen get loaded into the truck.  "Kev, do we have her oxygen."  He blanches and says no.  It's already way too late to return so we have to take our chances.

We got to the restaurant and Kevin goes to drop off his mom.We didn't have the handicapped placard because the brother and s-i-l keep the spare one.   There was fortunately parking close by.   Kevin gets his mom out of the car and there is confusion.  We don't know why.  Because this is our life right now.

His dad stays in the car.  His brother is wandering around, doing anything not to have to help with the parents.  Finally, we get everyone out and they proceed to stand in the middle of the driveway, holding up traffic.  Talking.  Because we don't live together.

I very nearly just got back into the truck.  Bring me my dogblessed dinner out to the parking lot.  Because I am over all y'all.

We finally get them inside and to the table.  This is one of those opportunities where I want to drink.  No, NEED to drink.

Dinner was fine, it wasn't the best restaurant to take elderly people who can't hear.  Unfortunately, it was a long table so we weren't able to talk much, the whole point of this dinner.  

We stayed too long, like always.  Because eighty-year-olds shouldn't be out at the grille at 8:00 pm.  This NEVER occurs to the Brother.  He likes to stay and visit after dinner, like the restaurant doesn't need the table and his parents aren't elderly.  Kevin usually hints, then states that it's time to go every time. Every time his brother gives him a wounded look like Kevin is being the d*ck.


We got home just before 9:00, Kevin got the parents unloaded then walked them into the house to get settled in for the night.  I parked the truck and went into our peaceful house and sighed heavily.  He came home a few minutes later and we just exchanged THAT LOOK.

The LOOK where everything is shit and doesn't have to be and we're all over it and there is nothing to be said  that we haven't already said/heard.  AND, if you're thinking "our family would be easier..."  I'm going to gently warn you that everything changes when parents/siblings age. It changes.  It might be okay now but later, it might not.

So, yeah, Friday Night Family Dinner.  Super fun.  Rated: Two Stars.  Maybe One and A Half.  Do Not Recommend.

29 August 2019

I Don't Know What to do with My Hands

(edited for proper punctuation, grammar, and spacing.  Sheesh, tired brain. Get it together.)

If you know me in reals, you know that I don't always have a filter.  I try, but man do I fail.

Kevin and I went to breakfast while in Canada.  We went to the unfortunately named White Spot, which is the Canada version of Denny's.  I know I've been there before but I was so tired and this was the morning after catching fire.

The waitress kept referring to smashbrown potatoes  It wasn't just smashbrowns but Smashbrown Potatoes.  It was just a little too precious for me.  When it was my time to order, she offered the variety of sides, including Smashbrown Potatoes.

"What are those, even?" I asked.

She gestured to a photo in the menu, I looked and said "Oh. Tater tots. No thanks."

Kevin rarely reacts to my mouth but he actually kind of laughed in a burst then bit it back.

"Sorry, I've had little sleep."  I so earned the ugly American moniker that morning. But at least I apologized like a proper Canadian.

The day before I had met a woman who was helping coordinate the race.  She asked where we lived and I said the town.  Then I followed with "Yeah, we're Americans.  Sorry about that."   She laughed and I continued "Two years ago we wouldn't feel the need to apologize but now.  Just accept our apologies. We're a mess."

I made the assumption she would get the joke. There are, believe it or not, supporters of the current administration up there.  But I'm to the Can't Care part of this regime.  Come at me, bro.

I was just sent a link to a video of the race we were just completed.  We were interviewed at one point and it was conducted as a surprise.  During it, all I could do was laugh.  Kevin was a little stilted but he did okay.  I really wondered how it turned out and it's not terrible.  It's not great either.  I'm just trying not to say something stupid and sitting there smiling like a loon.

The backstory of this not-saying-anything thing (which is totally unlike me) is that our friend who Kevin crews for is notoriously awkward on camera. And in real if you don't know him. So.wonderfully.awkward.

When he does interviews, he's like Ricky Bobby on Talladega Nights.  (please click the link)  This is also what I was thinking of as we were being asked questions while being filmed.

Social awkward.  It's just what I do.

28 August 2019

Blanket Fort

The new school term for my work has begun.  Because reasons, it has started in confusion.

Grant funding took an inordinate amount of time so everything is beginning late.  AND, programs have been increased and/or changed.  But timelines haven't been adjusted accommodate said changes. (yea! state and federal agencies!

One of my go-to sayings is How do you eat an elephant? One bite at time.  Well, apparently we're just eating the whole dogdamned elephant.

I was supposed to increase my working hours this month.  Right now I work 30 hours a week, five days a week.  They wanted 40 hours this school term.  I politely yet super firmly said "NO".  Like, a lot NO.  We then negotiated to 35 hours a week and flex-time.  Meaning if I didn't have 35 hours worth of work, I didn't have to work it.  I would work no less than 30 hours though.

And I think they forgot. It could have been trimmed in the budgeting negotiations but the surprised expression I saw when I asked about a new schedule tells me it's probably in the forgot category.  And I am COMPLETELY fine with that.

It's ridiculous but the thought of being there five extra hours was spinning me out. It's an hour a day is all and would probably hardly be noticed.  Yet, I was tantruming.  AND YES, I acknowledge my privilege.  I am lucky/blessed/whatever for sure.  Everybody has their redlines and this is mine. It took me a long time to figure it out and now here we are.

AND THEN, my workspace is moving and I will have an office. Hooray.  Except that the date and location of said office keeps getting moved.  I received notification on Monday that it would be Friday but now I'm on hold because I don't have a desk in the new space.  And the new space hasn't been confirmed yet.

I think I will work on the floor next week.  I think I'm going to go to wally world and buy a $20 picnic table and make it work.  Or a tent. I bet those are on sale right now.  Oh, a blanket fort!  Remember that Community episode where they turned the whole campus into a blanket fort? Aha, now I have a plan.

Yeah, I might be a little tired...why do you ask?


Normally, I would be receiving truckloads of forms and requests by now.   Instead, I've been monitoring the same list off and on all day long for days.  This is not only boring but giving me the agita about what September is going to look like.

So, pending tsunami of paperwork, working on the floor, and maybe or maybe not in the same place or somewhere else entirely.  What's to worry about?

Where's my blanket?

25 August 2019

It Was Only Your Head

So a thing happened while racing.  The racecar has had a gremlin that presents itself as a cough.
Now this seems rather benign, but when it happens a little thing called fire happens.  Compare it to like a Bunsen burner flame that is usually easily extinguished.

Usually you just smother it with a rag and move on with your life. It's not fun and it's not something we enjoy obviously. Because: fire.

Except for this weekend we had a bit more then a Bunsen burner flame.

When I heard it cough, I lifted the hood to smother it. But we had an actual fire.
And as sometimes happens, when you give a fire oxygen; it tends to WHOOSH. That is until whatever fuel source is being provided burns out.
In this case fuel. And fumes.  So WHOOOSH.

I lowered the hood and turned away but it washed past me all the same.  I have expected my glasses to be warped but nope.  And I always make the joke about having "safety" glasses and in this instance, it was true.

So once the flashover stopped I smothered the flame and closed the hood. I had to close two fasteners so the car could move. Of course my hands were shaking a little bit so this wasn't easy task. Kevin motioned to just calm down, not a big deal.

Well, not a big deal to him because he didn't see what just happened because the hood was blocking his view. This is for the better.

He got out of the car and was reassuring, yet frustrated that there was a fire. He said something and I gestured to my hand, which had gotten a flash burn. "My hand hurts. Just a minute."
I started  to explain what happened when he took a good look at me.

This is where he exclaims "Your hair is on fire!" Then corrects himself to say somewhat less jarringly "Your hair is BURNT."   And now he melts down a little.  I told him that it was just my hair and my hand. I was fine and not freaked out.  This is a little bit of a lie but this is what you do when someone is starting to melt down.  

I mean: fire, fire in the racecar, and then wife on fire. It's a lot to take in.

I got my brush and started to work it through my hair. Along my right temple was singed in some places and straight up burnt in others.  Did you know that hair frizzes when it's burnt?  Yeah, it's not a good look.  My bangs were singed on one side and burnt on the other. And the ends of my hair were singed.  This is all I can see in a tiny makeup mirror because there aren't mirrors at the track. 

Again, not a good look. Not a good smell For Real though.  So I'm running a brush through my hair and watching it fall to the ground and come out on the brush.  I'm trying not to freak out and Kevin turned away.  I told him to just walk away until I get it all figured out.

More than what I wanted came out on the brush and my clothing.  I was kind of anticipating the worse until I got cleaned up enough to go sit in the truck and really take a look.  Then I pulled it back and just forgot about it.

Late that night I double conditioned my hair at the hotel then soaked it again in the morning.  We came home the next night and seeing it in an actual mirror, it's not great.  It's not terrible and could be so much worse. I didn't have energy for my hair at midnight but the next morning I treated it again.  I believe there is not much that can be done but time.

I can probably google it.  Then I was thinking about what a phone call that would be to the stylist. "So, I caught fire and..."

All in all, it's not that bad.  It's not noticeable, unless you really look.  It looks like I'm having a bad hair day, really.  I am super lucky.  My index finger is a little tender but everything else is unscathed.  Well, that's not true.  My eyelashes on one eye are...melted?  I don't know how to explain it.  They're there but they're like blunted.  Burnt, I guess is the word I need to use here.

I DON'T KNOW HOW I got out with just cosmetic damages but thank you to whatever racecar deity that was watching.  Even my favorite sweatshirt was unscathed.  If that had been burnt, then I would have been pissed.  

Now I have this to lord over Kevin for the rest of our lives. "Remember when I caught on fire for you?"  I did mention it once and he said "Wait, no. It was ONLY your head."  I have to admit that I laughed out loud.  

Because if you don't laugh, then what's the point?  It's only hair.  

And more importantly: racecar was unscathed. And yes, gremlin was booted from the car so it's not happening again.  Despite the hair, we had a successful weekend and that's more important in the long run.  It was only my head.

(Swistle: BREATHE. BREATHE.  It's FINE.  It won't happen again. BREATHE)

23 August 2019

Cast of Characters - an update

Cast of Characters

I haven't done this recently...like maybe ever?  If you've read for a while, you probably have a decent grasp of the Who's Who in my life.  If not, then there's No Way that it's not confusing.  I live here and I get confused.

Everyone has a pseudonym as this bloggity is semi-anonymous.

My name is Surely but was originally Firegirl.  It morphed as times changed and now I feel like a Surely.  It's from a play on words: Surely you Jest.  (or from the movie Airplane, either one you prefer)  It's also an homage to my aunt who passed when I was a baby.  I'm told that I'm just like her.

My husband is Kevin.  He was originally referred to as the Mad Genius, which he is.  But it was cumbersome so Kevin it is.  Kevin is actually a family name.

Kevin's family "lives" with us.  His parents live in a tiny home feet away from our house. I usually refer to them as f-i-l and m-i-l.   His brother and wife lives a few more feet away from our house and I usually refer to him as The Brother.  He and I don't see eye-to-eye at all. So, that's cozy.

The Nephew is The Brother's son. He is like a son to us and is one of a handful of people I would die for.  To use his words: he is a grown-ass adult. He is engaged/common law married,  and has six kids, from late teens to three.  C1, C2, The Littles - triplets so Boy Little 1 and 2 and Girl Little.  Sweet Baby is the youngest. That moniker no longer fits but I'm still using it. Trust me that this would so much more confusing if I used real names.  Sweet Baby is actually #5, as in Senior, Junior, III, IV, and V.

The Niece is The Nephew's sister.  Gregory, our teen LGBTQ boy, is her son.

I have two brothers whom I rarely refer to so it's a little more clear when I'm talking about them.  I was raised by wolves so the family dynamic is challenging.  I call my mom The Mom because of the imperious attitude that arrived shortly after my dad died.  And yeah: Dead Dad.

One of the brothers has two, grown daughters, one of whom has a son named after my dad. I think I'm going to begin calling the younger niece Mini Me because holy buckets, she really is.

We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest (PNW) and are honorary Canadians, as designated by our Canadian friends.  Actually, Kevin is only one generation removed from Canadian citizenship. We've been told we have slight Canadian accents, not that we'd ever notice.

So there you go.  A map of who's who in this crazy bloggity and a little bloggity history.  May this make is slightly less confusing.

21 August 2019

She Keeps Us Alive

It has been well documented that I'm not a cooker.  I never really learned beyond 8th grade home-ec and trial and error.  I don't enjoy it, I don't have the attention span for it, and I really don't have the talent for it.

It could be said that this issue traces back to lack of parenting.  "Didn't your mom cook?" is something I've heard a lot.  The answer is yes and she did okay.  She's not a great cook.  Thanksgiving is usually kind of a sideshow.  She puts raisins in her stuffing, that's all I have to say about that.

I do remember that she tried to teach me once.  I was doing homework and she insisted that I come learn how to brown hamburger.  I did it but made a fuss about it. While I don't recall exactly, I'm certain that my mom sent me away in frustration.

When I was married to Satan, there was a lot of take-out and breakfast for dinner.  I could make meatloaf and spaghetti and breakfast.  I had to learn more once Kevin and I were together but it was marginally better.

His family is chock full of cooks. Everyone cooks, except Kevin.  So, once again we are the outliers. (Hello, both youngest children)  Over time, I watched and learned mostly from them.  I think Kev and I did a list once and I can make 10 solid things. Solid meaning that I don't usually totally screw it up.

For the longest time there was instructions for take-and-bake pizza on our fridge that Kevin had written as the last step "DO NOT GO INTO THE OTHER ROOM AND DO LAUNDRY." Because: true story.  There were smoke alarms.

Kevin calls every night to tell me he's on his way home.  Every time he'll ask what's for dinner and I rarely have a good answer.  Today he offered to bring home my favorite pizza and I declined because "It's Taco Tuesday and that's like the only meal I look forward to."  

"Me too" he wistfully responds.

Then, helpfully, he says "No, wait.  Taco salad.  I like that.  Oh, and mexican car crash."

"So, basically, anything taco related and we're good.  All tacos, all the time."

I told him that I had read a recipe that was basically Taco Mac and Cheese.  He paused for a minute and said "Actually, that sounds pretty good too."  Unfortunately we're not eating pasta right now so he'll have to wait for that.

And that's the other thing: we are avoiding pasta right now. We don't eat red meat. Kevin says he'd like to be a vegetarian "But...vegetables..."  So, to be fair to me: not a ton of material to work with. We don't do processed foods because the Grave's disease does.not.enjoy. (fun fact)  (oh, Kevin has Grave's Disease. I realized that might not be common knowledge)

I actually just made a list of things I can cook.  I broke it down into five categories: tacos, pasta, salmon, chicken, and hamburger.  There are also two uncategorized items that we don't have often: fish and chips and what I call "total crap dinner" becuase that's what it is. Mac and cheese, baked beans, hotdogs, a vegetable, and sometimes fries.  Total crap dinner.

Kevin once accurately described my cooking as "She keeps us alive" and I had to laugh.  It's just so APT.  There's nothing glamorous or fancy about our dinners.  There is always a vegetable and a fruit so at least it glances in the direction of the daily minimum requirements; even if it doesn't make direct eye contact.

19 August 2019

Bowl Full of Dreams

I came into my office with the intention of writing. I was going to write myself out of this mood that I'm in.  Now an hour later and I've written...these sentences.

What have I done instead?  Cancelled a hotel reservation and made a different one, looked for a photograph that I can't find, fished out three picture frames for a different project, ordered a car part for Kevin, and started washing the dog bedding.  Oh and my favorite Doctor Who episode is playing and I can't make myself turn it off even though it's on the DVR.

Saturday we had a birthday dinner for my niece. As much as I don't want to go to family events, I usually always come away happy to have spent time with the kids. (yes: DUH) The Birthday girl is 28 years old this year and that is simply not possible.  I sat with her "baby sister", who is 24 years old and just like me.  It's a little disconcerting.  A mini me is just both great and terrifying.

We were at a Chinese place and my fortune was one of the best I've ever gotten:

Mine is actually the lower one but I think Kevin's applies too

I keep our fortunes.  I don't know why really.  They're in a china bowl and all mixed together so I don't know which are Kevin's and which are mine or even when we got them.  I just think it's fun to have them.  

If you look closer, there are also coins in there.   When I bought a second hand rolling duffle bag for Kevin, he found change in the pockets.  They're Lira, I think.  Kevin kept telling his travel buddy "I've got magic coins!" which made me laugh.  I was trying to figure out what to do with them when I realized I can put the magic coins in with the fortunes.

The moral of this story is that I am apparently still a little girl who believes in wishes and dreams. 

Or a hoarder.  

17 August 2019

Lawn Chairs and Stars

One of Kevin's all-time favorite movies is Tin Cup with Kevn Costner.  There is a part where the character is struggling and describes his movement as "like an unfolding lawn chair."

We've referred to that line a few times over the years, usually in reference to the racecar.
Everything feels janky and out of sync. Nothing seems to go smoothly. And/or things are just...off.

Kevin had to go to work this morning for a special project so I was able to sleep in for the first time in a bit.  I really needed it, not just the sleep but the rest; if you understand what I'm saying.  I needed to turn my brain off and do nothing for an extended period of time.

I didn't get up until almost 9:30, which is late even for me.  It just shows how much I needed it.  Even now though in the late afternoon, I feel like I could lay down to nap.  The plan was to have a few more hours to just be.

As a result of sleeping in, my self-imagined timetable is behind. Now Kevin was on his way home a little earlier than planned.  I hadn't showered, I hadn't taken Lucy to get treats and me coffee, and I hadn't even made eye-contact with overdue chores.

Firstly, Kevin doesn't care about my chores. He doesn't notice.  It's 100% self-imposed pressure.  As we learned from the taking a week to notice the mud room being painted experience, he's not the most observant guy who ever lived.  I could totally take advantage of this, if I were wired completely differently.

Anyway, I showered super fast, apologized to Lucy a thousand times, hastily made the bed and started a load of laundry before Kevin called to pick me up.  (we had plans with a friend to add to it)  Then we were gone for most of the day.  And we still have a birthday dinner later.  It's just one of those weekends/weeks/years.

Here's what is happening: we're in the most expensive part of the year, apart from the holidays.  The parents seem to be racing each other to the home/eternity, Kevin's brother is stressing him out, my work is starting to stress me out.  It's one of those times where everything feels unsettled.  Everything is unfinished.

We are an unfolding lawn chair.  

I used to work for a person who literally and actually went crazy while I worked for her.  She had a calendar that was created for her that used numerology and hocus pocus.  I remember it would be a tough day and she'd look at the calendar.  If it had a star, it meant that it was going to be a challenging day.  I feel like, right now, all the days have stars.

So, shiny side: chores are almost finished. I get to sleep in tomorrow. Annnnddd...that's about it.  The rest of it is up to time and out of my control. Not my favorite state of things.

I need to remember that fifteen minutes peace under the actual stars a few days ago.  And sit in said lawn chair.

13 August 2019

When You See A Falling Star

Right now I'm just stupid tired.  It's a self-inflicted wound really.  I wanted to see the stars.

The Perseid Meteor shower was last night and for once it was visible here in the beautiful PNW. Usually it is cloudy so it's not worth trying to see.  But this time it was mostly clear with a little bit of moon.

The best time to view, the interwebs said, was between 10:00 p.m. and dawn.  10:00 was definitely doable, until I read the fine print and it said that after midnight was best for folks living so far north.  I foolishly thought "Oh, I can do that."   On a MONDAY.  Of course I can. Piece of cake.

So, yeah, I totally fell asleep.  I woke up about 12:45 am and laid there, questioning my decision making skills.  At 12:45 am, I'm so not a reasonable human being or even human really.  I grumpily considered just going back to sleep because that's what a reasonable human being would do.

I got up.  Because of course I did.

I snuck out of our room undetected and down the hall.  I was hoping that Lucy wouldn't alert and she didn't.  I'm dressed in shorts and a t-shirt because I can't think when it's that time of night. (I didn't think to put out real clothes when I went to bed. Next time!)  I did at least go get a hoodie off the coat rack but no shoes. Who needs shoes?

Like a reverse burglar, I slid the deadbolt open, silently opened the door and realized I forgot about the screen door. It's metal so there's zero hope of being quiet.  I popped it open, froze until I knew no one awoke, then remembered that I could just slide the latch so it stayed open.  So far so good.  No waking up the house.

As I'm doing this, a flickering caught my eye and I watched a star/meteor fall to the north.  It was super bright and felt like a scene from a Disney movie.  And then...nothing.  But at least I felt a little vindication for standing outside at 1:00  in the morning.

This is where I say that we learned there is a bear on the property yesterday.  A black bear.  In our lower property so tens of feet away from our house.  So wandering around at this time of morning, not my best idea on any level.  However, our deck has gates because puppy so I was "safe". Again: I make such good choices.

It's so quiet at that time.  No birds, no dogs, no traffic, no family making noise.  Just blessed, beautiful quiet. I could stand in the middle of the deck in absolute peace.  Peace so rarely experienced.  That I will remember forever.

The article I read suggested to lay back in a deck chair to watch. I laughed OUT LOUD at that because Kevin would For Certain find me sleeping outside at 5:00 in the morning when the alarm went off.  Instead, I swiveled my head at a 45 degree angle, which is super good for your body in case you're wondering.

But it paid off when two more meteors streaked across the sky.  I don't care how many times I've seen it, it's still amazing.  I tried to get photos but it's the middle of the night so this is the best I captured.
Tree line to the west, lit by the moon. One of the dippers at the top, maybe probably

My redneck education didn't teach astronomy but I loved someone back-in-the-day who tried to teach me where things were in the sky.  (And that there was a rabbit on the moon, which I confess I still can't see.)  I tried to remember what they said and I am pretty sure I found the dippers.  And the North Star but that one is easy.  The moon stayed behind the trees so no quest to see the rabbit.

I watched for about a half an hour then I was awake enough to realize how silly this was. Also clouds were starting to roll in and Lucy realized that someone was up and I could hear her begin to whine.  I reluctantly went back inside before she started making a ruckus.

By now I'm wide awake so I played with the photos until I could fall back asleep...2:30 am. The alarm goes off in about two hours so I did the completely rational "Should I just stay up at this point?" debate.  I did not.

I mentioned to a coworker that I was tired because I watched the stars.  She looked at me, paused, then...blink...blink...blink.  "NERD"  she says.  "I didn't know you were such a nerd."  Made me laugh.  Gotta own that one.

It was completely worth it.  A moment's peace, a beautiful sky, and time to remember, and to be grateful and wonder.

                                          Image result for peace of the night sky quote

Pink Hair, Don't Care

The kids stopped by for a visit today.  Kid's being Niece, Nephew and their son Gregory (pseudonym because OMG there are so many of them)

It's just so nice to have grown-up conversations and just hang.  I say this to folks with teens: Wait for it.  I still remember wanting to murder them when they were younger but now they're someone I am proud to hang out with.

Gregory went to his first Pride a few weekends ago.  His mom posted photos and I was surprised yet pleased to see Gregory as he probably feels the most comfortable.  His hair is magenta pink, worn down, he had full face makeup, and just looked so happy and relaxed.  He makes for a super cute girl.

I am unsure if he's going to identify as non-binary or transgender.  I think he's not sure quite yet. He's mid-teens so he has time to figure it all out.  I'm fine either way.  Healthy and happy is all I want for those kids.

His grandparents, however, are not going to be so understanding.  This frustrates me to no end and makes me want to be EXTRA open to compensate.  The other kids (adult and kids) don't care, I don't think they even notice really.  He's just Gregory.  I think the great grandparents are fine too, they might not understand really but it would never occur to them to be judgy about it.

Niece was telling me how Gregory has found his tribe through the homeschool co-op that they're part of.  She kind of apologetically, at first, explained how it's the "weirdos" and I stopped her. "He's finding his people, he's building his tribe.  IT'S GOOD."  I believe she wasn't sure what my reaction would be.  Well, my reaction is "Don't Care."  Healthy and happy, that is all I want.

During the conversation today, it was mentioned that one of his friends is transitioning.  Niece expressed concern ONLY about medical/pharmaceutical intervention prior to completing puberty.  To which I whole-heartedly agree.  Let the body finish growing, then work on it.

But I noticed that when she spoke she would look at Gregory or being emphatic toward him.  This leads me to believe that there has been discussions of who he wants to be when he grows up. Again, don't care. Healthy and happy.

11 August 2019

Three for the Road

I'm tired, it's muggy, and I can't dogdamned breathe so here's three funny stories to share:

The other day while racing, Nephew and I were on the racetrack waiting for Kevin.  There's usually a lot going on up there and being aware is important.  However, as we're standing there, I spotted a Dodge truck pulling out of the racetrack. "DODGE!!" I yell at the Nephew.

The expression on his face was priceless, absolutely incredulous mixed in with "Are you effing Kidding Me Right Now?"  I started laughing "Rule Number 3 of Dodge: You're Never Not Playing."

I should have gotten extra points for that, for sure.

As often happens, I'm not patient with my hair.  I have resigned myself to kind of letting it go where it may.  Cowlicks are just a thing.  The other morning as we were readying to leave, Kevin just looked at me and said "You're hair...looks...uncomfortable."

I actually stopped what I was doing...."Un.comfort.able?"  What the actual hell does that mean, even.  I looked and yeah, it was a little out of control.  I still don't know that uncomfortable was the word but it made me laugh.
Image result for chandler bing flock of seagulls hair

Kevin was helping one of our friends on the racetrack.  This friend is known to have a short attention span and we make jokes about it endlessly.  So, it was no surprise when he just about hit Kevin with his car.  I mean, it wasn't that bad but it was definitely a close call.

So afterward, Kevin approaches our friend, calm as can be, friendly even.
"You know, Harry, when you wanted me to help you out there.  And I did.  Because that's what friends do: they help. I'm always willing to help and I believe I did.  Because that's what friends do."

Still totally calm, friendly, thoughtful even; he continues: "What they don't do though is RUN A MOTHER EFFER OVER!!" he exclaims.

I was laughing so hard that I was crying.

And there you go...three things that at least one made you laugh.

09 August 2019

Hitting the Pipe

I fear that Karma has visited me.  I mean, it was bound to happen.   One of my favorite things to say is "Sometimes Karma is instant." So, really, the clock was ticking.

The bronchitis/pneumonia is gone. Mostly.  I think it left asthma behind to keep an eye on me though.  I still can have a coughing fit occasionally (errr, daily, maybe, probably) and now something that I eventually figured out was an asthma attack has happened. Umm, twice.

The first time I was by myself and I was all "Huh, well, that was weird."  And moved on with my life.  Because I am adult who makes good decisions.

The second time I was at work and my coworker commented that I wasn't doing well.  Then she's like "No, really."  Finally followed up with "WHERE.IS.YOUR.INHALER.USE.IT.NOW"

I'm all "It's *cough* fine *wheeze* Calm down."

And this is where I tell you she's Latina and not to be effed with. The beatdown was pending. "Gurrrl..." she says.  Alright! Jeez.   Then she continued to talk to me, laughing that I can't respond.  Yeah, karma.

Then there's the time it started at the racetrack (totally healthy environment, no worries) and Kevin dead-eyed me in a similar fashion:

When they prescribed it, the gave me a chamber to go with it because it's more effective.  The problem with the chamber is that it's unwieldy.  And it looks weird.  I don't like it so much so I stopped using it now that I'm not sick.

I had to do it at work so I sat in my truck and did it.  I realized afterward that there was a non-coworker in the car next to me.  Nice.  I mentioned it to my work partner that "I was hitting the pipe in the parking lot but didn't notice someone parked next to me. It's okay, I told her I work for HeadStart."

At first, she didn't catch that I was kidding.  It was glorious.

My point being is that for every time I've been annoyed with the mother-in-law for not using or remembering her oxygen, I have earned an inhaler.

07 August 2019

Not Down with the Cracking

Every once in a while the family will have something for dinner that we don't like.  Steaks, mostly but there have been other things.

Because codependency, they always invite us even though they know it's something we don't eat. Even though they know that Kevin will feel obligated to attend.  It's always phrased as "I know you don't like this but..." and followed with "We can make/made you something else"  So now we're committed because the King of PassiveAgreevia has let us know that they went out of their way to buy us different food with a dash of "You're so picky."

Anyway...(I am so over his brother right now. I can't even)

A few weekends ago they decided that they were going to have a seafood boil.  If you don't know what it is: click here.  Their version had crab, "steamer" clams, prawns, baby potatoes, and sausage.

One of their favorite restaurants is in Seattle and this is the main item on the menu.  We have always been "Hard Pass" on this restaurant.  It is, however, topped by a steak restaurant that carries different kinds of steak and meat cuts around like a traveling buffet.  I am not a germaphobe but dude, how is this a thing?

Anyway, times two.

Kevin, of course, said yes.  Fortunately the kids were here so that lessened my annoyance.

We sat outside at the picnic table and they dumped the pot out onto three trays.  Kevin was immediately all "NOPE". He is not a big seafood fan and he has a thing about his food not looking like the animals/crustaceans that they were.

"Well, you can eat the potatoes and the sausage." his brother says. Then he took the bag of spices out of the pile and I swear I saw Kevin gag.  "What...what was THAT?" he asked.

Not to be ungrateful but I/we have said that I don't eat red meat anymore.  Neither of us eat crab and I find the process annoying. Not that I'm annoyed but that a person in this day and age has to fight so hard for their food.

And his brother invariably will say "Why don't you try...?" or "You've had....before."  Which puts us in a defensive space and have to explain for the one billionth time that he/I/we don't want to.  We're grown ass adults, we know what we like to eat.  It just happens to be mostly opposite of everything they eat so, you know, we're the weird ones.

So, they made us the unhealthy salmon and potato salad.  Yep, allergic to eggs and mayonnaise so, super fun.  There was bread though, that was good.  Kevin, bless his heart, just said - and loudly for the people in the back - "Just eat what you can."

PAUSE:  I am not precious about allergies.  I rarely mention it unless forced to.  I can order in restaurants just fine.  Nowhere else in the universe is this a Thing.  Sigh. Okay, clarification made. Not a fragile blossom.


Getting past the whole we don't eat this food thing.  Neither of us are big sensory people, meaning that we're sensitive to lots of different things. I've talked about this before.  Usually I'm okay, I can roll with it.  But this style of food and presentation and eating had me all spun out.

I mean c'mon. Mixed foods, open air, everyone digging through it, seafood smell, listening & watching crabs and clams being cracked open and disemboweled.  Just no.  Even I was surprised at how spun out I was and I LIVE in my brain.  I can only imagine how Kevin was dealing.

It was one of the most unpleasant meals I've ever endured.  And I have a list of those.  The only shiny side is we taught Sweet baby how to crack open crabs, then potatoes and then carrots. "I want to do it another" he says.

05 August 2019

But I Do When...

Say what you want about the climate crisis, it's a thing and this weekend proved it.

We were in Canada this weekend for an annual event that we attend for the last elebenty years.  I don't necessarily enjoy it because it's ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS...did I say ALWAYS?... hot.

Yeah, it was 100 degrees on Sunday. (35 celsius)  100 degrees.  It was one of the hottest temps recorded at the track. One HUNDRED degrees.

It's this kind of temperature where us PNW folks just cease to function.  Not only is it hot, it's humid.  We are not designed, nor prepared, for this kind of heat.

We brought our big oscillating fan and a ton of water.  I stayed in the trailer because even though it's a big metal box, it was shady and we could create a draft.  (and it's away from the brother in law)  It was still just this close, if not actually, unbearably miserable.

And then we had to go race, the whole reason we were there.  In the staging lanes, where we wait was in the direct sun.  Holy mother of dog.  Then the surface temp of the track where I was standing was 127 degrees and climbing.  Kevin is in a 5 layer THICK firesuit, helmet, gloves, collar and boots.  And inside the racecar.

We make excellent choices.

So here's the thing.  I never wear shorts beyond our house.  I am just not comfortable.  I am so pale I'm nearly clear.  My legs have scars from accidents and allergies.  It's just not a thing I do. It's not a good look.

But I do when it's 100 dogdamned degrees.

I also never wear shoes without socks (I have sensory issues. I'm the kid who would fuss because my sock was wrong)  But I do when it's 100 dogdamned degrees. (sandals aren't allowed on the track, shoes only.  Technically I was supposed to have long pants too)

I rarely wear sunblock (I KNOW) But I had multiple applications of 50 SPF sunblock and I still burned. The fact that I'm just not a pile of ashes is remarkable.

I rarely wear a pony tail and I'd just had a haircut so it wasn't super long. But I do when it's 100 dogdamned degrees.  I was the epitome of Hot Mess this weekend.  But I was definitely not the worst case scenario. So I had that going for me.

I anticipated being dehydrated and a lovely shade of lobster today but it's not bad actually. Now I can hardly wait for my scalp to peel.  Because that's a good look.

Now I have to wait for this memory to fade before this time next year and we do it again.

03 August 2019

Wait, What? A RECIPE?

One of Kevin's all time favorite meals is Car Crash.  It's one of the first things I learned how to make back when I was married to Satan.  It's super easy and super unhealthy.

1 bag of tater tots
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 bag of frozen corn
1 lb-ish of ground beef/turkey
Shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella or both)

Bake the tots
Brown the meat
Mix the soup, corn and meat together
Layer tots, meat mix, tots
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
Add shredded cheese on  top the last five minutes

So, yeah.  Heart Attack Casserole.

I've been trying to find other things that I can cook and that he will eat.  I stumbled across something called a Mexican Bake.  I call it Mexican Car Crash.  Kevin loves it more than the actual car crash.
It's very similar and marginally better for you.

1 bag tater tots
1 can of refried beans
1  can diced tomatoes (for those of us who don't cook)
1/2 bag frozen corn
Sliced olives to taste  (I hate them)
Onions - I use freeze dried because Kevin doesn't like onions
1 lb-ish of ground beef/turkey
Taco seasoning for the meat
Shredded cheese

Bake tots
Brown the meat and add taco seasoning
Mix the taco meat, olives, tomatoes, and corn.
Layer bottom of baking dish with refried beans
Add meat mixture
Add tater tots
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-ish minutes
Add cheese on top for the last five minutes.

Then we add salsa or taco sauce or ranch to taste.  More cheese, because cheese.

So, there.  Something you would never expect to see on the bloggity.  But we're going to be gone all weekend and I didn't have content ready.  :)

01 August 2019

What's a Little Yard Work?

You know those questionnaires or memes on the social media that ask if you'd rather have a cook or a housecleaner?  Well, I'd rather have a cook all.day.long.  Secondly and more realistically, I would like to have a landscaper.  I enjoy my gardening but there are things that I can't do.  Paired with the mowing and weed-whacking, it's one of those things that can easily get away from a person.

Like when you have pneumonia for over a month.  It took a good chunk of Saturday to pull weeds, trim bushes, and rake topsoil and beauty bark.  And then water everything.

And this situation isn't going to get any easier as we age.

Unbeknownst to me, Kevin was having this thought also.  His dad used to take care of most of the landscaping but he's doing less and less every day.  Kevin won't let me mow the yard. It's a thing for him and not a hill I'm willing to die on.  (Before you get your torches, this is the guy who I work equally on the racecar with.  This is the guy who has four women on his staff in a male-dominated industry.  He's not sexist, he just doesn't want his wife doing that kind of labor.  Yes, I am a pretty, pretty princess.  (NOPE) )

I was 23 years old when we bought this property and Kevin was 28.  Everyone told us we were crazy for moving so far out into the country.  We didn't care though.  We were ready to be away from everyone, a novel concept to most everyone.  We loved being in the country, away from all the noise.  What's a little yard work?

We were young and dumb.  We had all.the.energy. and all the want to.  Skip ahead thirty years and we're not young, as much as it pains me to say.  We don't have the energy. We really don't have the want to anymore. But things still need doing. Lawns need mowed, trees need trimmed, acres need weed-whacked.

The kids did the same thing we did a few years ago and this time we were the people that were all "What.are.you.doing?"   However, they crowd-sourced information about how to be prepared.  They barter and ask for help from their friends.  They're homesteading because they know in the long run, that will make it easier for them.  (big garden, water storage, chickens, sustainability)  They went about it more thoughtfully than we did.  But they're going to get old someday too.


Kevin hired a landscaper to help.  It's a relief not to have to think about it but I find myself having some guilt about it.  It just feels privileged. I mean, we are capable. Just less so than before.  And we have other priorities now. But I still feel badly even though it really is a relief.

Now we don't have to feel guilty when things get overgrown because they won't, we don't have to worry about Kevin's dad trying to do it while we're at work and can't stop him, Kevin doesn't have to do it after working long days in the heat, and the landscaper does 100% better job than any of us.

Now to work on that having a cook thing...