30 October 2019

A Walk in the Forest

This is technically a repost.  However, it was written when I was first learning how to properly write the bloggity so let's just say it's a new and improved version.  It was originally written in 2010 and happened more than a few years prior.

I am not a huge Halloween fan. It's just not my thing. I don't usually dress up even when I worked with children.  I like happy decorations instead of scary ones.  The same Christmas decorating rules applies to this holiday: no decorations bigger than me.  Not a fan of horror movies either, I just don't need that darkness in my head. It's dark and twisty enough in there.

As a kid...about ten? twelve, maybe?  my brother took me to a haunted house that was in an old Craftsman house that was being reno'd.  The guys who did it were legit movie set people and it was AMAZING.  It was just scary enough to not give you nightmares and PTSD.

So then, I went with friends to a haunted house - AND I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE - on an old mental hospital campus.  As you assume: SCARY AS F*&K.  And that ended my haunted houses career.

Years ago, there used to be a haunted attraction in my hometown called The Haunted Forest. It was in a city park, up on a hill that had a trail winding through the trees.  It was very popular at the time; the line was literally hours long on the regular.

This is also where I say that I was a few years removed from the whole former husband thing but it was very much still in my head.  Kevin and I talked about it before we even went; the odds of seeing him were slim and what would happen if we did. 

As you stood waiting, you could hear the screams and shrieks of people as they went through the forest. Then to add to the ambiance, they also played one of those spooky Halloween sounds album over loudspeakers.  So, to recap: sketchy park in the woods, dark a.f. and scary audio ambiance.

Luckily for me, this was before Blair Witch Project. If it were after BWP, there would be no chance in hell that I would walk through it.  That movie permanently scarred me, I think.  But to be fair: we watched the movie in at our house - in the middle of the woods - with the lights turned off.  We continually make good decisions.

Anyway, it was Kevin and I and Kevin's best friend and whoever he was dating then.  We took the nephew and one of his friends when he was preteen? teen?  There were plenty of sassing and sarcasm bantered back and forth while we waited.  Nervous bravado, if you will

Now, I'm not really scared or spooked easily but they really worked on the whole atmosphere in this setting. Dark, woods, scary noises, the adrenaline of everyone feeding off one another. This is one of those the unknown is worse than the known situations.

We begin walking through. It begins with mostly visual stuff, nothing terrible. But as you get deeper into the Forest, it gets darker and the path isn't as clear. You're literally kind of stumbling along.  It's October in the Pacific Northwest so it's cold, damp, and probably a little foggy.

Now some genius (I mean that sincerely) thought of using an actual chain saw. They took off the chain so there was no danger but the SOUND.  Super unsettling. 

Then they used strobe lights which are, of course, disorienting. My vision doesn't compensate for strobe lights so at this point I was dependent upon Kevin to move during that part. A trust exercise, if you will.

We're nearly to the end and there are zombies wandering in the woods. You can see them but they're not really near you.  I think that was way more creepy than if they actually came near.


A man comes out of the woods, slightly behind me. He approaches me and takes my arm.
I hear "Come with me" in a quiet voice near my ear.

All I could think of was:


Just as I was getting ready to freak the hell out and start throwing punches, the guy stepped back and literally fell on the ground laughing.

It was my friend Brad. Yeah, if he wasn't such a great guy, I would so hate him.  Oh.My.GOD.

Kevin wasn't in on the plan so he got IMMENSE ENJOYMENT.

And I think that's the last haunted house/Halloween thing we did. Go figure.

26 October 2019

There is No Longer a Straight Line

The other day I was telling my best friend a story and we had to stop because more clarification was needed before I could proceed.

That's when I had the realization that nothing in my life is just a straight line.  Like the dinner for six...teen post, it's never just one thing.  Here's an example:

There was a break-in down the road.  Kevin decided that we needed to put a deadbolt on our shop door.  This is way, super long overdue, I know.

So we bought a new deadbolt and door handle set.  Kevin is not a carpenter, by his own description.  He can do stuff but he struggles a little bit.  Ask him to fix most anything mechanical and he's all over it.  Carpentry is not his thing.

His dad, however, is a carpenter.  Well, WAS a carpenter.  He and Kevin built our huge deck, our back stairs, all the fencing, and our shop.

But those days have passed and we keep forgetting that.  Because the first part of this story is the one about how his dad gave himself a stroke by taking the wrong medicine and nearly killing himself.

Kevin's dad came over to start the project while I was working in the garden.  I could kind of hear the conversation so I paused when I heard tone from Kevin.  "Dad. There is a template.  Just wait and I will help." During this, Kevin's phone rang and he answered.  One of his guys from work was in the neighborhood and wanted to come see the racecar.  Not great timing but sure.  Fifteen minutes later and they were here.

Kevin's dad continued to work on the door.  I'm certain that Kevin asked him to wait until after his guests left but his dad isn't known to listen.

Two hours later, they leave and Kevin goes back out to the shop.  His dad is still working on the door.  It's a fifteen minute job, usually. It should have required only one hole.

AN HOUR LATER, he returns and his hair is on fire. Figuratively. You know, not like mine actually was.  "You won't believe it..." and he's muttering.

Somehow, someway, I don't even know how, he drilled two holes for the deadbolt and they were uneven.  Like the door might be RUINED uneven.  There should be ONE HOLE.

And of course, he has no idea how that happened.  It just magically, awfully, happened.

So, I told Kevin to just make sure that the door can close and we'll go buy a door in the morning.  Choose your battles.  But this is where we're both very much alike: we have to win.  Back outside he went once the feeling of wanting to strangle his dad passed. Mostly.

And he fixed it.  We didn't have to buy a new door.

This brings me back to the There's No Straight Line realization.  I will begin to tell a story about the family then have to pause, tell a backstory, then continue with the original story.

And just the mere fact that nothing is ever easy anymore.  There is no only one thing. There is no straight line.

24 October 2019

Why Coffee is Important

I was listening to SiriusXM The Highway on the way to work the other day and they were discussing the need for more personal interaction these days.  Everyone is in their own headspace or on their phones or wearing earbuds.

One example they gave was to say something different each day to the service workers in your life who you see on the daily. Their example was the SiriusXM security guard but they mentioned the barista or fast food worker or whatever.

So, I thought about that. I'm usually friendly with service workers because I know that job is mostly not fun and is absolutely not one I could ever do.  Also, I've noticed that they often look surprised when someone is pleasant and that breaks my heart a little.

On this day, I went through the starbucks drive-through.  They seem to alternate their staff so it's rarely the same person who takes your order. There isn't an opportunity to get to know them, really. It's the one flaw of going there versus a local place. (starbucks is right next to my work, in case you're wondering)  This morning though the barista was particularly chatty and friendly.  Then it happened again a few days later.

Another day the battery died in my truck so I had to drive Kevin's big truck.  Not a bad thing all in all, but it made me late.  Even with that, I stopped to get a coffee at my favorite stand.  The logic being is that a treat would hopefully curb a potential bad start to the day.

They recognized the truck as Kevin's so they were surprised that it was me.  I explained that my battery was dead so I get to drive the cool truck.

When they brought me my coffee, they also gave me a gift: a $10 customer appreciation gift card.  How cool is that!?!  Well, even a little more cool.  See the hashtag?  #youareloved.  It was in honor of Suicide Prevention Day and included a little list of happy, easy pay-it-forward things a person could do. A treat, a gift, motivation.  That's a lot love from a coffee stand.

I could make a joke about Did I look suicidal, but no.  Everyone been in the dark place and you can't always tell.  So it IS sometimes something little like this that can make the difference.

But we're not done yet.  If you're feeling a little resentful of Kevin for catching me on fire, know that every Saturday and Sunday he takes Lucy to our friend's coffee stand and gets us coffee. Every. Weekend.  Often before I'm even out of bed.

Today was no exception.  Our friend was actually working today so she sent a greeting on my coffee:

This is why coffee is important.  More over, it's why it's important to put the good out there, even when you have a dead battery.

22 October 2019

Dinner for Twelve...and a surprise

This weekend was FULL of family.  We started out with the Dinner for Sixteen and ended up with Dinner for Twelve.  And a surprise.

It is one of my nephew's sixth birthday this month.  He is my dad & brother's namesake.  He's had a very big Fall with Kindergarten, turning six, and playing soccer.

We finished dinner at a restaurant and he opened all of his presents.  Once we got everything cleaned up, I noticed that my niece's boyfriend was whispering to Frankie (new pseudonym) Then next thing we know, he was skirting the table and saying something to everyone.  Then he returned and crawled onto his mama's lap.

Joshua raised his voice to get everyone's attention and to all of our surprise: asked Niece to marry him.  It was very well done and so thoughtful.  He started with Frankie, reminding him about how he could be his forever daddy and they could be a forever family but the only way is if he marries Mommy.  He then asked if that would be okay and Frankie said yes.  (this is where the tears begin)

Then he knelt, in the middle of a busy restaurant and proposed.  There were gasps of excitement and cheers all around not only from us but from the other guests.  It was just so great. Hallmark Movie great. Other than my own, I've only been lucky enough to witness one other proposal. (and it is epic. I will tell that story another day)

To add to the already sweet moment, this is where I mention that Josh is going to adopt Frankie soon AND he is taking my niece's surname, guaranteeing that my family surname will continue.  Otherwise, it would end with the nieces as I nor my brother had kids so the name would stop with them. (Frankie carries his bio dad's name right now)

Also, this niece made the exact mistake that I did by marrying the super way wrong man at a young age.

This culminates a hard-fought battle that she has been waging to return to a normal life.

Forever Family, featuring their grandma

21 October 2019

Dinner for Six...teen

Dinner with six kids...well, dinner with this family ...is chaos on the best day.  We got together for C2's SIXTEENTH birthday.  16!!  AND there was sixteen people there.

We got there first, along with the b-i-l & s-i-l and my niece's weird sister and her family.  They seated us and we did the weird do-si-do that happens every.single.time we go out to eat.  It's like they (b-i-l and s-i-l) forget how to person.  JUST SIT THE EFF DOWN and the rest will figure it out.

The kids arrived just as we got settled.  The teens sat to the left of us, at their own table.  The baby came and sat with me. (hooray! and not with the grandparents, ha!)  with Nephew across from me and Niece to the right of him with her weird sister and family.

So, I have to break this down by person:

C1..the eldest who will be eighteen in three months... announced that he got fired from his fast food job. Like matter of fact, no big deal.  His uncle and grandpa was all "Wait, WUT"  It turns out that he had been acting like a teenager and the manager had no time for that.  So: fair enough.  Consequences are good.

Then his dad announces that C1 ALSO got a speeding ticket and hid it from everyone. They got the notification just as they were leaving for dinner about a pending court appearance if he doesn't pay it.  Banner day for him.

C2 is the age where he is embarrassed by his loud, large family. I, for one, 100% get it.  We are A LOT. Then the wait staff started singing happy birthday somewhere in the restaurant.  The boy went pale  "Please don't." he says in a quiet desperate voice. It's adorable that he thinks he's getting away quietly.

"How does everyone KNOW?" he asks.  "Well, bud, in this family there are no secrets, like ever. We spill all the tea."   At first he looked surprised that I knew that phrase, then he just laughed and shook his head.  And Yes, we did completely embarrass him by singing, clapping, pounding the table, and videoing the whole thing. Plus social media posts.

Sweet Baby sat with me.  There was one of those computer kiosk things on the table where you can order or pay or play games and someone turned on games for him. He asked for help, so we looked through the apps and he choose a comic book app.  We scrolled through it but he was uninterested, rightfully so.  We exited out of it then chose something else. Then he got his Three Year Old on because we weren't finding what he was wanting.  He said something like DON'T and showed a little attitude.  "Oh, no sir" I said "We're not having that. You CAN say "No thank you."  He quietly said no thank you and we moved onto something else. He was playing a game and I was talking to Nephew when he started getting frustrated again.  "Whoa, wait buddy." and I fixed what I thought was wrong. He said something and I didn't hear him.  "What did you say? I'm sorry but I didn't hear you."

With a glint of sarcasm in his eyes and a devil smile "No.Thank.You." he says.

He's definitely Nephew's son.  Nearly four years old and has picked up the art of sarcasm.

Niece's sister is just an odd duck.  She comes in and out of our lives very randomly.  In fact, she has had a whole baby since we last saw her.  The baby is about a year old now and thinks I'm the funniest person she has ever met. I kept playing I'm-gonna-get-you by pretending my hand was a spider and she was cracking up laughing. After dinner, she toddled across the banquet bench and hugged me then stayed there. I have that invisible sign that only babies and kids can see that says "She's cool, she'll keep you safe."

Because what I didn't realize is that while we were playing, was that the sister was drinking.  Her husband/person just sat silently at the end of the table. I don't even know his name, now that I think about it.  Not that I blame him. I've sat through  plenty of family dinners with not much to say.

Like this story wasn't confusing enough, the next character is Jackson. He is Niece's brother and is the same age as C1.  It's a long story but know that Niece and her sister have had custody of him for the last four years.  He became another nephew in the family. Having been raised literally feral, he's always been withdrawn.  Last night he was, dare-I-say, personable.  It was amazing to see but added just another level of weird to evening.

I love spending time with Nephew's wife because we are both outsiders. You can usually count on the one of the first sentences of any conversation containing "OMG, can you believe..."  I liken it to a mini-therapy session as we both process what it's like to have the b-i-l in our lives.  I know that I have it difficult but at least he's not my father-in-law.

The rest of the kids mostly stayed at their table and were teenagers; phones out, barely audible, occasional eye-contact.  The boy triplets are at that awkward, don't know how to communicate yet on an adult level but really want to stage.  They went from being preteens to nearly the same size of their brothers in a minute.  Girl triplet remains the same, quiet sweet girl who is happiest just kicking it with her brothers.

Kevin's parents did not attend this dinner.  She's not able to leave the house much anymore and is no longer really eating.  I think the day of them attending these kind of events has come to pass and I say that with relief.  It's crazypants enough without adding two elderly folks into the mix.

So, when you think "I'd love to be a part of a big family" read this again.  While it can be wonderful, nine times out of ten: it's chaos.

19 October 2019

Scenes from a Marriage - The Haircut

Kevin is going to get his haircut right now.  Normally I go with him but lately I haven't.  Call it conflict avoidance.

Like I've talked about in the past, our friend who cuts our hair scalped me, gave me Moe bangs.  After it happened twice, I finally started going elsewhere to get my hair cut.

It seems like every time that Kevin goes to get his hair cut, I am having a bad hair day.  I mean, not any day is particularly great with my hair.  But it usually is specifically out of control, it seems, when I see her.

I mentioned this today because OMG my hair today.  First, it's static-y.  Second, it's growing back so it's all "pffft" every where.  Third, I have no patience this morning.

I mentioned this to Kevin, who disagreed.  He thought it looked good.  Like, sincerely.  Not comfortingly.

Then he acknowledged that sometimes it is kind of a hot mess.  Then he went to explain how on one side it's kind of out of control compared to the other side.

"Because it is GROWING BACK."

"But, I mean..."

"Because there's NO HAIR THERE."

"It was ONE FIRE."  he finally says.

I laughed but said "You know, pal, you are blessed with the ONLY wife who wouldn't freak about it."

A few minutes later, I am writing a check for his haircut. (yes, there are many things wrong in that sentence)  I casually mentioned that it's only $25 for our friend to cut my hair.  But it's $45 for the stylist to cut it.

He was agape.

I explained that this is the difference between having Moe bangs or looking okay in polite society.

"But...45 DOLLARS..."  he says as he's going out the door to leave.

"I can do that with one turn of the key on the racecar..."

18 October 2019

Just Call Me Chief

I'm at risk of being a meme here, the one that goes like:

No One:

Literally No One:

Me: So let me tell you about the racecar.

I'm also at risk of being a meme when I explain that this idea came from a friend asking about racing.  No, really, a friend.  They did!  I swear.  I was asked the other day what I actually DO when we go racing.  This isn't the first time I've gotten that question.  But at least this time, it wasn't condescending. (yeah, it happens. Not as often as it used to be)

There are many things, some of them very little but important.  I will start at the beginning.

I help load the trailer, which is a lot of work.  I hate helping load the racecar.  It takes visual acumen that I don't have.  Luckily for me, the family can help hook the truck up and load the racecar most times.

Once we're at the track, pits have to be set up. Think of this like camping.  We have a giant mat that goes on the ground so that goes first.  Then canopies that go the length of  the car trailer.  Unloading the racecar is easier than loading it for me so that's usually next.  Then the tools of the weekend: a big fan, air tank, generator, and worktable.

That's just outside of the trailer.

Inside, I set up the office.  If you know me in reals, it will be of zero surprise to you that it's highly organized and every need met.  Everything is labelled.  To be fair, Kevin is more OCD than me.

We have a laptop for the racecar that we download and manage data from after each race.  We have a log book to keep track of said data, and we use our phones for different data gathering (weather, altitude) and social media.  I set up an actual desk with everything we need, including chairs that don't leave the trailer.  Yes, we are that specific.  (And they're really nice chairs.)

  Breaking down is the reverse, of course, but there is some continual tear in the time/space continuum that makes it take twice as long. Unless it's raining, then our organization skills are out the window.

Once it's time to go racing, my job is to listen for the call because Kevin doesn't have that kind of attention span.  I don't either but we usually figure it out.  Once we're on standby, it's time to make sure that the car is safe and ready to go.  Fuel, proper amount of air in the tires, parachute ready, and everything fastened.  Kevin has to get in what I call his jammies, otherwise known as his firesuit.

Then once we're "in the lanes", which is exactly as it sounds, it's time to buckle Kevin in.  This is sometimes like wrestling a toddler because he tends to wait until he has to hurry. This makes me grit my teeth every.time.

I posted a photo a bit ago of him sitting in the car so you see the fire suit, the helmet, the c-collar, the gloves, the boots.  Next are the belts, which are five-point, not unlike a car seat - continuing with the toddlerness.  Then the window net which covers the driver's window.  One last check of the car and now it gets fun.

I will attempt to keep the racecar nerdery to a low level.  I am on the track before Kevin.  The reason is that I find a pathway for him to put his car onto.  This is not easy or obvious, like it might sound.  It actually requires a person to walk and see where the path is stickiest.  (think spilled jam on the floor that's been there a minute)

Then I pull him through and out of the water, which is a puddle  provided to help the tires spin.  The tires spin to make them hot and sticky.  So when it's time to go, all the power can be applied without the tires spinning.  Think flypaper.  When he rolls out toward me, we guesstimate that he's doing about 25 mph.  So: trust exercise.

I make sure he is squared up, which is exactly how it sounds, then I step back and video his pass.  I'm standing less than ten feet from the car at that point, one of my favorite places to be.  For the math/physics nerds: He travels the quarter mile (1320 feet) in 8.84 SECONDS and is doing 150 mph.  He travels the initial sixty-feet, from dead standstill to about 75 mph, in 1.22 seconds.

I am not a big cheerer or screamer.  If we do something cool, I'm usually pretty low-key. At most a fist bump to the Nephew.  This being said, there is a video where you can hear me say "There you go!" and giggle a little - to quote the Nephew "evilly".  I just feel like it's poor sportsmanship.  There are exceptions, of course, like setting a record or winning a championship.  Also, we're in Canada, the country of low-key.

Once we return to the trailer, the fan is put onto the engine, the hood removed, and anything that needs addressing gets worked on.  I know how to do stuff with the carburetor, gap spark plugs, and  some basic mechanical  tasks.  It has a parachute and that is my least favorite thing to do.  It's like folding a giant flag that's being held in by a giant spring.

This is where I get to get my Nerd on. We have a data acquisition system on the car that records data on a large SD card.  I run it through a program on the laptop so we can see what's happening with the car.  It will tell us if there is a problem or where any adjustments can be made.

It can also tell you nerdy stuff like the car pulls 2.12 G's at the hit of the throttle.  This is more than what you feel upon takeoff when you're in an airplane.  Yeah, it's ridiculous.

Then I log, with Kevin's help, all the information.  I document other information like the weather then update his social media.  All of this takes twice as long as the actual race.  I load the video onto the laptop because not only is it cool, we can gather information from that as well.

Last weekend I was actually REQUESTED to video a friend's car. I was surprised at how happy I was to do just that. And that he thought enough of my skill to ask.  Kevin also asked me to watch and video someone who shall remain nameless BROTHER  who is the only person who ever treats me like a girl at the racetrack.  "You can tell me better what's going on than he can" Kevin whispers.  Ha!

We have a friend who lives in the midwest who has helped us tune the car for the past five years or so. I message him information and he'll give suggestions or encouragement.  He's started calling me Crew Chief and it makes me laugh.  He treats me as a peer and I'll always love him for that.

I use our social media as a way to not only to update everyone but to let our engine builder, manufacturers/sponsors know of our progress.  Kevin feels awkward about it because he worries about bothering people or humblebragging but we've had some really good feedback and payoff by doing it.  Sorry not sorry for friends in real life. (hahaha)

So, it's not necessarily a relaxing weekend.  It's a job. Wrangling Kevin can be the most challenging sometimes.

16 October 2019

Thousands of Words

This post started as the What Color to Paint the bedroom one then morphed into something completely different.  There is just SO MUCH TO DISCUSS in the photos I have of my bedroom 

For the longest time, I shared a bedroom with my brother.  I mean...probably later than should have happened. Eight or nine years old?  Then AND I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE my dad's solution was to get a sketchy camper and attach it to the house. With the door entering into my room, with a poorly-constructed plywood hallway.  That was my brother's bedroom for about a year. If I remember correctly it didn't have power or heat.  A clearly well-thought out plan.

A person forgets sh*t like this happened. Probably for good reasons.

So, now here is the only mine, teenage version of my room.  The walls are bright yellow with primary green carpet because just a few years prior to this photo I wanted walls like the sun and carpet like the grass. (I can't decide if that's charming or a metaphorical sign)

Prior to this, it was primered wallboard and old linoleum and carpet samples.  What better evidence of growing up poor and unparented.

Okay, so much to unpack here.  Like those paragraphs weren't enough.

The beer sign was stolen from a racetrack in Alberta Canada by a boyfriend.  The Marlboro and Longneck posters I just thought were cool. They weren't stolen...I think. I didn't smoke but I did drink.

I have a pillow case exactly like the one on the bed. I just realized that.

The hat on the bedpost was from the same boyfriend as the poster.

I'm ignoring the existence of the RATT calendar.

Stuffies and tchotchkes everywhere. Good lordt.  The OCD lining them along the wall makes me laugh.

Stuffies: the creepy pillow creature in the corner was a do-it-yourself stuffie from my grandma. Oscar was because I loved Sesame Street. Odie because he was A.D.D. just like me.  The hugging dogs was from the same boyfriend as the hat and the sign.  I didn't realize the lack of closure there until I really looked at this photo.  We had been broken up almost a year, I think.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS.  Prehistoric google.

The bedding was my brothers.  I took it after he moved out at age 17.  It replaced a knock-off, highly flammable, Holly Hobby-ish bedding set.

You can barely see it but there's a No Parking sign above the window.  Because my brother accidentally rolled a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda convertible into my bedroom.  I was reading on the bed when it happened and moved just in time.  (see? you think I'm joking about traumatic childhood.  Oh No, I am so not)

Here you can see the damaged wall behind me on the right.  Dude was just a friend, despite appearances. He was lost to time and a psycho ex-husband.  He saved my life once, literally.

My GOD with the beer posters.  So much redneck and no parenting.  I was SEVENTEEN f.f.s.

The requisite 1980's boombox on the dresser.  I had it until just a few years ago.  It was the BEST.  I wish I knew what cassette was in there.  AND: CASSETTE!!!

If you know me in reals now, you might be surprised by the OMG CLUTTER.  I call it being a teenager with unaddressed A.D.D.

Television with non-parental controlled cable channels.  Because: of course.

Mountain Dew in a glass bottle.

Pictures everywhere.  At least that hasn't changed.

What you can't see is I had books everywhere. Teen fiction, adult fiction, text books, the previously mentioned encyclopedias. There's probably a royal blue backpack full of textbooks and homework on the floor.

Unless friends have photos that I don't know about, these are the only photos of me from that time period, other than school portraits.  Funny/strange at just how many stories these photos tell.  Unfinished relationships, an ex-husband, rocky childhood, learning disabilities/mental health.  It surprised even me, looking at them.  And I was there.

What stories would childhood candid photos tell about you?

12 October 2019

No Chintz Up In Here

Kevin leaves for Vegas in about a month and will be gone about a week.  Historically, I choose a project to do while he's gone.  The past few years has been painting the master bath and the kitchen.  When he was gone in July, it was the laundry room.

Now there are only two places that need painting in the house: the bedroom and the hallway.

Here's the problem with the hallway:

the opposite wall also has many, many photos

That is a LOT of nails. A friend just said "Make it a mural" and that's probably what I'm going to do. There's always more photos to frame and hang.  It's a big family.  There's no paint to see if I do that.

But if I did lose my mind and decide to paint, then it's the question that always needs answering: what color?  The mocha color or the not white color?  Really, though, it would take a weekend to just take down the frames and take out the nails.  Let alone put everything back.

So then that leaves the bedroom.  Last summer I was going to paint the one wall (with windows) the mocha color then I couldn't decide so that was my decision. I just didn't.

The room is big with tall ceilings. It really is a two-person job, which makes my rebel inner self want to do it.  Because tall ladders when I'm alone for a week is a good idea. (to be fair, I'm not alone because the parents but it would take them a while to notice, no doubt)

While looking at the room and wondering, I had the realization that the quilt on our bed is similar to the bedspread on my childhood bed. Well, not childhood but teen-hood. (why, hello, Freud)

Now, here is the clause before you look. (you've already looked, haven't you?)
I grew up poor and unparented. The bedspread is actually from my brother's room, and it was the late 1980's.

There's just a lot to unpack in this photo:

Actually, this photo should just have it's own post

Other than the early 90's country blue/hunter green phase, I've always liked earth tones, it seems.  Also, I just couldn't ever ask a grown-ass-man to sleep in floral/chintz/frilly bedding.  Not that Kevin cares, he just wants warm and soft.  But I also do not enjoy floral/chintz/frilly bedding. OBVIOUSLY.

So, it will probably not be either room. I'll have to find a different project to work on that week. Monica's closet has reached crisis level again so maybe that will be it.  Also, that archaeological dig could possible produce some of the items in the above photo.

But I do have two cans of paint in the closet and brushes in the freezer...

10 October 2019

Just Take A Beat

I could feel it coming and hoped to avoid it.  The crash.  You know: the crash when things are busy and crazy and your head is full?  Last time I had this feeling, I ended up with pneumonia. (not recommended)  So I've already crossed that off my list of things to do.   

As discussed ad nauseam here, the in-laws are just So Much. This week's disaster was that their pill packs had drawn moisture and were ruined.  After an email and a phone call to the company (who was wonderful, btw) it was discovered that they were pills over 90 days old.   Because: reasons. (not the company's fault at all)

Then my work has just been ceaseless this term.  Instead of getting to the top of the mountain and coasting down, there's just another mountain.  Thank dog for my office where I can close the door, play inappropriate-for-work music, and get it done.

Meanwhile, I kept putting off going to the chiropractor, until I couldn't.  The issue with going to the chiropractor is it's in my old work city so it's not convenient.  So here was my opportunity:

I took the morning off so I could sleep in and go.  Well, sleep in until Kevin called three times because he knew I was home.  (Mostly valid reasons but we still want to kick him)

I drove north, which is so much more pretty than the drive south; especially in the Fall with the changing leaves.

I got coffee at my old favorite coffee stand

I had every joint I own relocated.

While in town, I thought about stopping to see a friend for a minute.  Then as nice as that sounds, I kind of just needed Quiet more.

Instead, I took the scenic route through town and to work.  It runs along the bay/Salish Sea/ocean from one county to another.  (Chuckanut Drive)  I took a ton of photos, pulled off and breathed a few times, and just relaxed.

The nice part of this drive is that there isn't always cell phone service.  A person doesn't realize how exhausting it can be to HAVE to have your phone with you 24/7.

Now I have a relatively easy day at work and because of flex time I don't have to make up the hours. I left a few minutes early and spent time with my bff. I feel exponentially better than yesterday, just by taking some time.

The point of this is that as trite as it sounds: self care is a thing.  A necessary thing.  I read not long ago how self care is a privileged thing, as in not something that everyone can do.  I understand that not everyone can afford to take time off, or buy a coffee, or whatever.

But you can take a moment to just breathe.  Take the long way home.  Play your favorite music. Just take a beat.

08 October 2019

The facebook Is Broken

I've mentioned a few times in my posts/rants about Kevin's mom saying that "Facebook is broken"
Here's what I mean when I say that.

Years ago she wanted a computer.  We were super skeptical about her being able to manage something like that and voiced our concerns.  She said that she wanted it so she can see what we saw on the facebook.  She was feeling left out because every time we said "We saw on facebook that..." she had no idea what we were talking about.

Because, to her, it was some magical place where there are photos and conversations and happiness all around. (hahahahah NO)

So for Christmas the f-i-l gave her a tablet, a really expensive tablet.  A good compromise for sure.  And surprisingly she mostly took to it easily. 

I am the IT person for all.the.compound.  All of this now landed on my lap.  Luckily I had a heads up so I had already created an email account and a facebook account for her.   Woo, she thought this was some next level Wizardry, I'm telling you. 

We taught her how to read her email and respond.  For about five minutes that lasted.  There are just too many steps for her poor brain to process.

She can play games on there and became a master at Candy Crush.  If you've been reading a while, you will remember that she was playing candy crush mere feet away from the delivery of Sweet Baby into this world.  (she was becoming agitated and it focuses her) 

But with that, she also randomly installs other games because she doesn't understand the concept of pop-up ads.  We have no financial information tied into anything so there is no risk of her spending hundreds of dollars on game tokens.  Although if anyone can manage it, it would be her.

Then she'll randomly  mention that her computer isn't working very well. (translation: it's slow)   I'll look and she'll have ten games installed and ALL of them playing in the background.  She, of course, DID NOT do that and she will die on that hill, thank you very much.

Sometimes she will say that her tablet is broken.  She usually saves this nugget of information for, like, 8:00 at night when we're settled in for the night.  I mean, I know, they're steps away but STILL.  They talk to Kevin multiple times a day and it never comes up.

I'm trying to make this the short version and I can only come up with a list:
We pay for their internet.  They have their own wi-fi unit.
The Brother hooked her up to his internet because Verizon was having issues. (and control issues, but whatevs)
It was worse.
I disconnected it.
It reconnects/gets reconnected/I don't know WTAF
I reconnect to their unit and MAGIC.
(hughesnet won't let you uninstall, in case you're wondering)

This will often prompt me to also uninstall all.the.games.that.ever.were. and close all the internet tabs that she has open because reasons.  She says she only goes on the facebook and her games so I have yet to figure out how the internet is opened.  OneTHOUSANDTIMES.  Again, she didn't DO IT and that is all we have to say about that.

Which brings us to the original statement: the facebook is broken.

Every once in a while she will mention that facebook doesn't work.  "What doesn't work?" we'll ask while squinting and sighing.  Often the response is "I can only see my pictures"

She goes on her profile because she likes looking at the photos she has.  Except two things: she doesn't go to the albums, she just scrolls her profile.  Then she forgets she's on her own profile and gets annoyed that she doesn't see anything else.

Which brings us to her news feed.  Every once in a while she will mention that she's not seeing anything and this time it's not because she's stuck on her own profile.  It's much worse. 

Kind of like the no conception of pop-up ads, she will click on all.the.things. Then I have to go Unlike stuff like Cute Cats from Norway or How to Save Money Using Your Mind or Bikers for Small Dogs.  She has liked topics that I can't even know how she FOUND them. 

Or WORSE: she'll randomly friend people.  She friended one of our drag racing friends from Canada. (bless his heart, he accepted)  A random guy in the midwest.  A woman that she "thought looked like a friend of mine"  This terrifies me but I can only control so much.

I have to go through her friend list and unfriend people or hide people (from the family usually) that post things that would upset her. 

Then while I'm deep-diving on her facebook, I will hide certain  topics and  "news" sources.  She is not always able to understand...or discern...whether something is true or even possible of being true.  Her sister-in-law is a Commander BabyFingers supporter and loves his propaganda machine so I have to be diligent to not let that stuff leak through. 

Because she will FRET.  She will think that something is true and worry about it.  Then she'll tell us and we have to walk it back and find where she got the idea.  It's really a shame that it's happening and that folks of her demographic are being taken advantage of. BUT that's a different topic.

Finally, notifications.  At any given time, you can look at her facebook and see that she has no less than tens of notifications.  She never clicks on them, despite us explaining it endlessly AND writing it down. 

Then she'll mention that someone didn't answer her or she hasn't heard from someone.  We'll tell her to look at her notifications and This Is Brand New Information to her.  *sigh*  And sure enough: there will be responses, comments, tags waiting for her in facebook notification purgatory. 

For awhile she could manage the messaging app but I think even that has faded.  She gets texting and messaging mixed up pretty easily.

Oh! AND...

She has the big tablet that is expensive.  She managed to disable the touch screen and I have NO IDEA how.  But she uses a stylist so not a big deal. 
Then she wanted a smaller one to carry with her.  So they got a note.  She handles this one pretty well.
AND THEN, she wanted a smart phone.  Like a pre-teen she wished for a smart phone.  We were firm: No.  Too many devices, too hard to manage, we just bought her a new flip phone that wasn't paid for yet.

AND THE BROTHER bought her one because they "upgraded their plan". 

And guess who got to set it up?  Yep: ME.  SUPER.

As predicted, it's been a goat rodeo.  *I* can't keep track of three devices and now she's trying to.  So we suggested to maybe just have one device to simplify the whole thing.  Well, no, because:
"I use this one until the battery is dead, then I switch to the other one while it charges." etc.


To be fair, she is chair-bound mostly but OMG, all the same.

You know that meme about not being irritated with your mom while teaching her computers, because she taught you how to use a spoon?  Yeah, EFF THAT.  It is not remotely on the same level.  I think we weren't blessed with kids because the universe knew we'd be raising parents. 

Because the facebook is broken...

05 October 2019

At Least It Looks Productive...

It's five o'clock and one of those days that feel like I've done nothing.  But I have. It's just that the A.D.D. is, like, super extra full strength today.  I write about this so people can perhaps understand and/or get a glimpse of what this looks like.  It may seem like productivity, if you don't look closely.

Kevin is loading up the racecar because we've got a grudge race tomorrow.  One of our friends challenged us so we're going for one last blast.  Now I'm trying to get my chores done in double-time because we'll be gone all day tomorrow.

Earlier today I "washed" my truck and Kevin's truck.  "Washed" because we both forgot we were out of car wash and because ADD is OMG.  I also vacuumed and wiped down both interiors.  Now I am realizing that I've forgotten to do the windows because ADD said go do something else.  Like the chores I started this morning.

Exhibit A:
Kitchen...paperwork on the left counter is for an email I was supposed to send this morning for my in-laws.  The broom is because I still need to sweep and mop, also this morning.  The sweatshirt is wet from the car washing so of course it's on the counter.  The drawer is open because I needed the scissors, which I am certain are now on the dining table.  (yes)  The watering can is out because I used it to rinse the shower door and remembered that the plants needed watering. (still) The sneakers are from lunchtime when I was making lunch and didn't want shoes on.  The water bottle is one of two open in the house, both mine.  The lunchbag is drying because I spilled yogurt in it yesterday.

Exhibit B:

Unmade bed which NEVER happens because OCD and puppy.  But I was going to change the sheets.  BUT FIRST I had to do laundry.  Now laundry needs folding and put away (on the chair, just out of the frame) before I can change sheets.

What you can't see is the clothing on the chair, or the new socks that need taken out of the packaging and put away or that the bathroom rugs are still up because I was going to mop.  And the empty bathroom cleaner on the buffet behind me, because...reasons...

And that the bedroom is playing different music than the rest of the house.

And the oven is on because dinner has to get started but first...

So, of course, I am sitting down at the laptop to dash this off because I don't have finished content to post tomorrow.  And now the washer just sung to me that it's finished.

I have talked about using strategies for when the A.D.D. is like this.  But like depression, sometimes those strategies just don't work.  Sometimes the A.D.D. just points and laughs.  Instead, I'm going to lean into it.

AND, AND, AND...today was going to be a whatever day because I was going to do my chores tomorrow.  And then the universe laughed.

Off I go...to use my A.D.D. powers for good.

Update: floors are done, laundry has been handled. Vacuuming remains undone.  Now we're making dinner.  You'll notice the watering can still out but on a different counter. (at least it's next to the sink)  Kevin has added a water bottle.  My debit card is out because we have to tell the credit union that we're going into Canada.  And the dishwasher needs emptying still. (I forgot)

04 October 2019

Skipping Increments

About two years ago Kevin set a goal for himself and the racecar.  He is the kind of human that needs a goal or it's just not fun for him. He is goal oriented and I am just not. This goal was different than anything he had done before so there was a big learning curve.

Last year we were inches from achieving that goal. Then his dad had his stroke and that was it for the year.  We were LITERALLY less than ten seconds from achieving it.  But it wasn't meant to be.

So, we reset the goal.  It would happen this summer no matter what.

And then WinterSpring happened and we didn't get to go racing until the end of what was called Juneuary here.  But we achieved the goal.  All the land was happy.

Now we had a new goal.  I'll put it like this: we wanted to hit increments.  .98, .97, .96  A more refined goal.

Then August was HAWT AF and Kevin caught me on fire, making it not a reasonable goal. But we persevered.

We hit that goal.

Now what?

A new goal, of course.

This was a more difficult goal, it would require the planets aligning. It would require near perfection.  We were hopeful, yet skeptical that it could be done. This was not an easily achievable goal.

Planets aligned.  We walked right past that goal to an unimaginable personal best.  All that waiting and Kevin's hard work paid off.

Without getting all racecar-y, by accident we're one of the fastest/quickest cars of our type of car in the nation.  In.The.Nation.

We met the goal without even thinking about that At All.  But if you know me IRL, you know that social media has been all racecar, all the time recently.  It's gained us some attention.  We didn't even consider that result until someone who is in that business AND much smarter than us said "You know that you're it, right?"  And then someone else confirmed it.  MINDBLOWN.

And to be humblebragging: it is pretty effing cool.

Kevin is not arrogant. In fact it's like pulling teeth for him to take any credit.  I am also that way so it's not all "LOOK AT US. LOOK."  In fact, nothing would make him more uncomfortable.

When we do well at the track, you will never hear me cheer or dance or celebrate.  The most you'll see is a fist bump to the Nephew and a smile.  It just feels like poor sportsmanship TO ME.

So when he ran his best time ever, I cheered.  I didn't for one moment expect it to happen and I was cheering before I even realized what happened.  I spun around to see our best friend standing here and he hugged me.  Other friends were there and cheered as well.  Definitely in the Top Ten of Moments.

When I met Kevin a few minutes later, he hadn't looked at his slip.  HE DIDN'T KNOW.  I yelled/ said "LOOK!!!"

He sat there in stunned silence.  He looked away then looked at it again.  "What does it say?" he asked  "Does that say 8.88?"  He was absolutely speechless.

Finally he looked up at me and he was teary, which undid me a little.  It was a big moment, for sure.  (Ranking up there with racing on the national stage in Vegas and me happy-crying ON the racetrack with the Nephew)  He pulled himself together then celebrated with his friends.  I think a little part of him is still in disbelief.

And of course, he's thinking about next year's goal.  Of course.

So, all that time, money, fight, and delays and catching me on fire finally resulted in joy.  It was worth the burnt hair. Kinda.

01 October 2019

How Not to Hotel

When we race in Canada, we are not allowed to leave our car, etc. at the track and drive home.  It's one of those Intent of the Law versus Enforcement of the Law but it only takes one grouchy border guard to ruin our life.

So, we have to get a hotel room when we're racing.  A person can camp at the track because there is power if you don't have a generator (we do) bathrooms if you don't have a camper (we don't) and even showers.

For a while we did have a camper and I loved it.  Then we sold it because reasons...I don't even remember now. Oh, yes, I do.  We didn't have room for it with Kevin's parents house being built next door. We do have the enclosed car trailer and we have slept in it from time to time.

This is the ONE TIME that I will say that "I Am 50" and camping at the racetrack is no longer an option.  I haven't been on this earth this long to have to kinda sorta camp in our racecar trailer.

So, hotel it is.

Sometimes it's difficult to book a hotel room because weather is a thing and so are cancellation policies.  Every single time this summer I've had to find a different hotel than before because they've been booked.

One hotel is actually less than five minutes from the track and guess what hotel is almost always booked.  Yeah.  There is another hotel nearby that we stayed but it got a little sketchy and we stopped.

Now I'm not a Motel 6 kind of person, nor am I a Waldorf Astoria kind of person.  A happy medium where our stuff won't get stolen, we won't be murdered or bring home infestation, is all I ask.

The first hotel of the summer turned out to be an extended stay hotel and it was the nicest hotel we have EVER stayed in.  It was a suite and was beautiful.  If we'd known it was so nice, we would have left earlier from the track to enjoy it more.

Then that one wasn't available the next time. (and frankly, not in our budget again)  This one was nice but average.  Nothing to be excited about.

And that one wasn't available this last time, nor the one close by, nor the expensive one.

I booked another one, on the outskirts of the adjoining town so not conveniently located really.  It was a chain hotel so I wasn't terribly worried about it.  Your standard issue hotel.

The past two times it was just Kevin and I. Thank you sweet tiny baby jesus.  Sadly, this time the family was with us.  As you may have guessed, his brother and s-i-l are super fussy about hotels.  I just can't even with them.  Trust me.

So, of course there are issues.  Mostly issues created by their attitude.  The rooms were paid for already so they just needed a credit card to secure the room in case we trashed it. For this hotel it was only $50 (shoulda given me a hint there).  But of course his brother fusses about it.

Luckily, Karma was instant this time.  We were in the "main" part of the hotel and they were not.  They were in the other building, in the older part of the hotel, across the parking lot.  You would have thought that a sherpa was required to guide them to their room. Yes, I laughed.

We got our room and it wasn't bad. Pretty standard.  Then Kevin noticed the floor.  It was tile.  Tile all through the room.  Weird, very HGTV.  Not a single rug or carpeted section. I didn't particularly care for it but it wasn't something I was worried about.  Kevin was in Camp Don't Like It.  I'm sure in theory it's cleaner than carpet but it didn't feel like that.

Then the what-felt-like-a-Dollar-Store remote for the television didn't work. I found the buttons on the side of the television to power it on and change the channels.  Like in the prehistoric ages.  It wasn't worth it to phone for a new remote to me.  And also like the prehistoric ages, I believe they must have a giant antenna on the roof because the channels were few and fuzzy.  Clearly not cable.

But the wifi was free and good.

Kevin went and showered.  He took a little longer than usual but I wasn't really thinking about it.  He came out a little frustrated and said "The shower has zero water pressure. I have more pressure when I pee."  (graphic, but funny)

He went to bed and watched the one channel that I found while I showered.

He was not exaggerating even a little bit about the water pressure.  Nothing to be done about it so I just tried to power through it.  But I kept losing my balance in the shower.  This is not a usual thing so I was getting concerned.

All hotel tubs are small and not meant for baths and this one was no exception.  EXCEPT this one was concave, like a little trough.  That's why I kept losing my balance, because I was standing/straddling a trough.  Still I persevere, I just kept telling myself  "This is giving you a good story to tell."

I forgot to refill the travel shampoo and conditioner after the whole Catching My Hair On Fire episode so I used the hotel soaps.  Dude, they were thimble sized.  At this point, I am stupid tired and I'm just laughing.  "Look at me, I'm a giant. I can crush this regular sized bottle. Hahaha"  Here is a photo because I brought them home.  It's next to a Pringle chip for juxtaposition.

And they smelled like Citronella.  Not citrus, as labelled, but Citronella.  A smell that I actually hate. Haattteee it.  Perfect.  It's like the hotel had a list of how not to hotel.

At this point, if the towels here washcloth sized, I would not have been surprised.  Strangely, they were not.  They were narrow, like hotel towels usually are, but they were longer than usual.  So I got that going for me.

Off to bed I went.  Kevin is nearly asleep but awake enough to complain about the one television channel.  I shut off the television, like a caveman, and turned on the music app on my phone.

Now I feel like Goldilocks.  The bed was So SOFT.  Like weirdly soft.  Hotel beds are usually firm and sturdy.  This bed felt like what one imagines sleeping on a cloud would feel like.  Not bad, not great, just soft. S.O.F.T.

But the pillows.  The pillows were, no exaggeration, about six inches thick and firm. It's like they knew the bed was too soft so they tried to offset it with brick pillows.  Kevin went right to sleep because he does that.  It took me a little bit before I finally just moved the pillows out of the way and went to sleep.  Only to be awakened sometime during the night by Kevin hucking pillows off the bed.  Again, for reasons beyond me, I am not grumpy.  It's like two in the morning and I'm laughing.

We got up early and left.  We were both prepared for the litany of complaints from the brother and s-i-l.  And they had them, like they always do. (and this is where I say that they NEVER book their own rooms because "I'm already booking a room so can I just do theirs too.")

Their complaints were similar AND they did comment resentfully that they were in the older part of the hotel (I did not do the "karma" cough. I want a treat.)  And then they upped the ante with "Our room smelled."  Followed with "But I put my CPAP on and didn't notice it anymore." from the Brother.  Which was kind of supposed to be a joke if you ignore that his wife still had to deal with whatever smell they had.  This part of the story is a perfect synopsis of him as a person.

Now we know not to stay at that hotel again.  We'll probably try the Crackhead Inn again before we go back.  I did get a "Review your stay!" email and I did.  I wish I would have thought ahead and just provided the link to this post.  Maybe I can do another review...