31 January 2020

Do No Be Fooled by the Kicky Boots

Tuesday night I had food poisoning, so that's super fun.

Kevin came out unscathed so it wasn't something I prepared, which is a tiny miracle. I believe that it was ranch dressing, because that is the only thing that I ate differently from Kevin at dinner.  It was a new bottle but the cap was weirdly cross-threaded.  The seal was still intact but who knows.

Or it could be an allergic reaction to it because why wouldn't it be?  The symptoms can be similar if it's a really bad reaction.

Anyway, I was up from about midnight to about 1:30 am. To add to the fun, I had to go with Kevin to pick up his truck at 5:30 in the morning, about 25 minutes from our house.  I got up, put on track pants and a hoodie and we left.  I was nearly asymptomatic, just a lingering stomach ache and super tired.

After dropping him off, I returned home and back to bed.  My  alarm would give me about an hour's sleep but I texted work to say I'd be later.   Two hours of sleep would surely help.  And I hadn't thrown up the coffee Kevin bought me so that was also progress.

Once awake again, the impulse was to just put on a hoodie and bunker down in my office once at work was strong.  But of the few things I remember being taught by my mom was "Dress up when you don't feel good" The theory is because you look good, you will feel good. Very 1950's etiquette.

So I pulled on a nice shirt, pants, jacket and my kicky boots.  I don't know that I felt better but I looked good.  You couldn't tell that I'd been sick overnight so that was a bonus.  Plus the real beauty of this is that it's still yoga pants and baggy shirt, just with nice boots and jacket. 

By the end of the day I was 95%.  If I had just gone to work scrubby, would I have felt any differently? I don't know but let's assume that it worked.

Now it's Friday.  There is no direct service on Friday so everyone leans into the casual Friday thing.  I was getting dressed in a hoodie when I realized I had an advocate meeting this morning AND that I was speaking at it.

Son of a biscuit eating dog.  Who has meetings on Friday. Schools do.

Off came the hoodie but my mind was still all "But it's FRIDAY!!!!" 

I put on the outfit I wore to Kevin's work party but wore a more casual jacket. I grabbed my converse to wear later. And I wondered how I became this person again. 

I will never get used to deference.  Meaning that I am "someone" when attending meetings like this.  I just want to laugh and say "All y'all don't even know! An hour ago I was having a tantrum about wearing my hoodie and converse. Do not be fooled by the kicky boots!!!"

29 January 2020

Remote Possibility

My mother-in-law phoned yesterday after I got home.  I always answer these calls cheerfully and also with trepidation.  It really doesn't matter how I answer the call though, because she without fail says "Were you sleeping?"

I will admit I am a sleepy girl sometimes but this is a thirty years long thing.  I know it's going to be one of those "You're gonna miss this" things eventually but it still makes me sigh and eyeroll.


The day's issue is that their television/satellite remote isn't working. Well, both of them. Both of them aren't working.

"What's "not working"?" I ask.

"It won't change channels or do anything"

Because I've learned to ask the stupid questions: "Did you, by chance, change the batteries?"

"Yes, in both but they don't work."

She continues: "If you order them, we'll pay for them."


The odds of BOTH remotes going bad is ...wait for it...remote.  I mean, their remotes are newer than ours because we paid for their satellite installation and service a few years ago.

There's probably more to the story.  My guess is that something is switched off, or the dog I hate chewed one, or something simple like that.  Instead I say "Okay, I will look into it." because I'm choosing my battles nowadays.

I started to look up the issue on the interwebs then something happened to distract me. Go figure.
About an hour later, she phones again.

"You don't have to order a remote. I fixed it."

Oh gawd.

"Umm, how did you fix it?" I cringingly ask.

"I just sprayed some WD-40 on it."


"You did what, now?"

"I sprayed some WD-40 on it and now they both work."

So, I'll be ordering remotes today.  Because you know what electronics enjoy?  NOT SOLVENT.

28 January 2020

Just A Quiet Sunday Drive

I mentioned a small adventure in yesterday's bloggity post.  This is filed under the category that this would only happen to us.

Kevin was working on his racecar with his friend, who was doing welding that Kevin isn't able to do himself. He's been waiting a while for this friend to make an appearance and he was finally here. So of course, he gets interrupted.

The truck is back in the shop, again, and that's a whole other story to tell.  Remember our mechanic is Kevin's childhood best friend.  We were just at the shop the night before.

Well, mechanic phones and Kevin thinks it's about our truck.  No, it's the mechanic's daughter.  She is a delivery driver (for a large delivery service that will remain nameless)  and was stuck on a backroad near our house. Would Kevin be able to help?

Of course Kevin said yes, because "He would never tell me no, if I needed something."  Then he came into the house and asked if I wanted to go along.  HELL YEAH.

I put on grubby shoes and an old hoodie and off we went.

She was stuck on a goat trail of a road about two miles from our house.  Super narrow, muddy, windy and going uphill further into the foothills than we already are.

Randomly Kevin announces "You are never having a job like this."

Umm, okay?  It wasn't on my list but good to know.

What he meant was traveling these back roads alone, in an unincorporated part of a rural county.  I have to admit even I, Girls Can Do Anything, was in agreement.  It's dumb to send women alone to these remote places, on multiple safety levels.

We finally get there and she isn't just stuck but S.T.U.C.K.  Her truck "slid off the shoulder" and the back tire was buried so deep in mud, the bumper was also buried in the mud.

I didn't take photos because I didn't want the liability if something went wrong. Just imagine big delivery truck and the back quarter of the truck is buried in mud. On a mountain.

Kevin's truck - nor the mechanic's truck - could get past her to pull her up and out.  Because it can't possibly happen the easiest and safest way.

Luckily, both guys have all the stuff for pulling out trucks, like back-in-the-day when we all went four-wheeling on the regular.

This is where I describe the daughter and unfortunately, also her mom.  They are...how shall I say this?...dumb as bricks.  The daughter is very pretty but as soon as she speaks you are all "Oh, no, sweetie. Stop talking."  And her volume button is broken, everything is at a soothing shout level.  Even Kevin who is going deaf, was all "Damn, girl."

This is how I end up traipsing through the woods to help wrap a strap around an old-growth tree and stomping down saplings so nothing is in the way and/or possible projectiles.  "Look at you, Mountain Girl" Kevin says.  It's like he completely forgotten how much I loved four-wheeling.  And no one else who wasn't a guy was HELPING

Also, dumb as bricks pair was busy talking about I don't even know what.  It turns into the sound of Charlie Brown's teacher after a while for me.  But what choice was there but to help, even though I am not the one with a truck in the ditch.

Everything is put together and Kevin starts to pull with his truck.  It starts to move, slides and then comes to an abrupt stop.  Because she got scared and hit the brakes.  Sigh.  If you're ever in this situation: you watch the spotter and you do not stop unless they tell you. Momentum is a thing.

Out she comes from the driver's seat and in goes her dad.  We should have started this way but whatever.

Then the strap breaks. The strap was probably 35 years old so it had served it's time.  Kevin got his Boy Scout on, tied it in a knot and tried again.  Unfortunately, the truck then came out but slid into the mud on the other side of the road. PERFECT.

Kevin's now muttering about how he just washed his truck yesterday.  This is making me laugh, which is - as you may have guessed - not helpful.

Oh, and it took two times to get Dumb As Bricks to get out of the way of the cable. Both guys told them and they were talking and didn't hear, maybe?   I didn't even try to tell them/help. I just literally walked away as one of them was talking to me and got into the truck.  For those of you who are not redneck: it's so if the cable snaps, you get to keep your head.  Pretty basic safety stuff.

I was the spotter for Kevin while he was watching what was happening behind him.  Again: I forgot how much I loved this back-in-the-day.

Finally after a bit of manuevering, the boys get the truck out.  Her dad backs it down the road, turns it around, and we were able to leave. It took about an hour all said and done. Once we got rolling, Kevin wasted no time.  "I'm not stopping if she gets stuck again. She can live in that truck."  Not true, but funny all the same.

And that's how we spent our Sunday afternoon.

This was on the way back down the foothill.
Kevin was not interested in stopping for photography, so: blurry.

27 January 2020

You Didn't Eff It Up - Another Success Story

Because the breakfast burritos were semi-successful, Kevin wondered if I could make enchiladas.  Seems a high bar for me but that's what the internet is for.

I researched and added ingredients to my weekly shopping list.  I decided to do it on Sunday because those seem to be the most low-key days.  Other than fishing a Fed-Ex truck out of a precarious ditch, it was a low-key day. (more on that in another post)

And now it is Sunday. First I emailed Swistle that an adventure was afoot.

Secondly, music: Alexa, play 80's on 8

Next: new laptop set on the counter to record my progress for your entertainment and refer to the painfully simple recipe multiple times

Kevin out of the house

Start with browning the burger...exactly my skill level. This is a good start.

Ignoring that the baby is next door and I want to go play. Also: irritating that the fam doesn't let me know when he's here.  (jealousy? pettiness? on their behalf, why yes)

PAUSE. Kevin needed something in the shop so there's one more distraction. 

Back...I've looked at two recipes, multiple  times. Thank dog for the new laptop.  Anyway, recipes. One is more Americanized, the other more traditional. Because I don't necessarily know what I'm doing, I'm doing a mixture of both.  What can possibly go wrong?

Kevin just asked if I was excited and/or confident?  I laughed nervously and asked him "Have you met me?"  He says "What can go wrong? Because: Mexican food.  It's all the same ingredients, just in different shapes."   He's not wrong. lol

Upon assembly, I snapchatted Swistle and she responded "Looks good so far"

It really is pretty simple.  I need to calm down about this.

Now I have a jar of salsa con queso that I don't know what I'm going to do with.  I bought ingredients for both versions so I also have corn street-taco size tortillas.
Guess they just leave the door open for more cooking adventures.  Because anything is possible right now.

This is also where I say that I work with Latina women. I should have just asked them.  But I didn't have time on Friday.  I'll ask them after I know how this ends. And am feeling strong enough for the large amounts of (earned) mocking prior to the advice.


Kevin has declared "You didn't eff them up. They're really good" and AGAIN with the incorrect opinion that there was too much cheese.  Who did I marry?

I made three enchiladas in one medium sized baking dish.  Next time I think I will only make two.  Also, I would use less taco seasoning in the ground turkey. (it was a little salty)

Also, Kevin wondered about beans in addition to the meat, when I mentioned the vegetarian version. At what point does it just become a burrito?  Are there rules anymore?

Update: Kevin remains wrong in his opinion of cheese.

I mostly stuck with the traditional recipe and am glad for it:
white flour tortillas
ground turkey
enchilada sauce
shredded cheese (Just the right amount, KEVIN)
Salsa (or enchilada sauce...the salsa goes on the bottom of the baking dish)

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350.  

Easy Peasy.

I snapchatted Swistle at the end of dinner, after leaving her on a cliffhanger.  I typed what Kevin said, verbatim.  He blanches: "No, you didn't.  She's going to think I'm a...heathen."  Dude, she already knows.

So.  One more successful cooking endeavor.

26 January 2020

Trading Old for New

Well, I finally did it.  I bought myself a new laptop.  I never ever make large purchase for myself, and well, not even usually small ones, if I'm being honest.  It took me months to buy a $100 microwave and I only did it because Kevin gave ours away.

My trusty - at least ten years old - laptop is on hospice. It unexpectedly shut down the other day and the fan is making death throes noises.  The key board gets hot.  It's slow af, the memory is full, and finally, as if that isn't enough, it runs Vista.  For those of you who aren't Nerds, this is about four operating systems old.  An elderly dinosaur in the computer world.

Even with all of that, I am in mourning.  I love that laptop. Out of all the ones I've owned/used, it was my favorite. Like an old hoodie, it was just...comfortable.  It was probably my first big girl laptop that was from my job at the YW.  It's not just the computer, it's what it represents. 

So, yes, I attach myself to unusual things.

I was planning on buying a new laptop with our income tax, which won't be for about a month.  In the meanwhile, I was snooping around to see what I wanted.  There is a laptop in my amazon account right now that seemed to be my destiny.  IT'S PURPLE. 

Yet yesterday when I was looking around, I found one at Office Depot of all places.  I remember a long time ago that a bookkeeper I used to know said they are a good place to look for laptops.  They're kind of like Macy's, when they have sales: it's a SALE.

I bought a $500 laptop for $325.  It was on sale AND there was a coupon for signing up for emails/account.  Otherwise, I was looking at about $400 for a lesser laptop. 

It's a Lenovo, the same as my beloved.  It's 17.3" screen and has a medium sized processor and memory.  It's perfect for me. The big screen is incredible and so much easier for my failing eyesight. Set up was easy peasy, it's already hooked into my old printer and wireless mouse, and the transition is complete. 

The dinosaur is still plugged in, next to it.  I just can't quit it yet.  To be fair to my anthropomorphizing a laptop, I still have some stuff to be transferred. After that, it may just sit on my desk as tribute or a reminder. Like an old clock or book.

I ordered it online, to be picked up in an hour.  Unfortunately, it was late in the day so I couldn't just go get it myself and not drive in the dark.  I dithered over waiting until the refund arrived but this was such a good deal.

And, this is where I say that Kevin just sold $350 worth of racecar parts in the morning, with the intention of putting the money toward another project. 

I asked him if he minded if I spent that $350 and while I'm asking: would he please take me to go pick it up. With a cute smile, of course.

"Well, you never ask for anything so of course." was his answer. Then he bought us burgers to-go so we could get right home and I could play with my new toy and not have to worry about dinner.  All of the winning.

Now I will be spending time today playing with my new toy. Gone are my excuses for not writing.  Well, let's not go crazy. 

22 January 2020

How to Become a Ghost - updated

A question that arose last year was "How did you disappear?"  Because
I won that hide and seek game, back in the day.   In a small town where everyone knows everyone and their second cousin, it is difficult.  But possible.
I was thinking about that question and realized that it might be helpful to share; just in case someone ever finds themselves in that kind of situation.  I really had to think about it because it's been a million years.  Essentially it boils down to: you have to change everything. 

Let's begin at the beginning:

The lawyer's advice was to move out of town.  When that wasn't an acceptable option, he plainly said "Then you have to disappear."  He meant: change friends, drop your family, change your job, move.  Cast off anything that connected you to you.

But here's the things you don't think about:

Job: I did eventually change jobs because the stress of it all made it not my choice.  I eventually started working in a different county and that effectively made me into a ghost.

Grocery shopping.  You have to change stores or change your shopping habits.  I used to go later at night, for example.  I changed stores and changed the times that I went.  I figured out how to go in lesser-used entrances of stores. Think of entering via the garden center or whatever.

Shopping in general: go at weird hours, go with someone. There is split thinking about parking: park close so a person can come and go quickly or park in the back and walk.  That way if someone was coming in or out, you weren't easily spotted and you can be aware of people coming and going. 

Favorite restaurants are also a no-go. Because people remember where your favorite pizza place is.  Bars, if that's your thing, are a hard pass.  Legal paperwork often prevents you from being in establishments with alcohol.

Church.  I wasn't going at the time but it was definitely not a place I could ever go again.

Driving: know that you're not going into certain neighborhoods anymore.  I didn't go to friends houses, or even to my family for a long while.  Change your route home or to work, or both.  It wasn't a possibility for me but change cars.  Have someone else drive.

Clothing: Don't wear your favorite coat, because everyone knows it.

Events:  Fairs, festivals, shows, those are off the Things to Do list also.  I became a little bit of a hermit for about a year.

I cut my hair.  Some of it was stress and some of it was making a change.

I didn't answer the phone anymore.  This was the time of landlines and answering machines. No caller ID or cell phones.  To be honest, screening calls is still a habit.

I didn't order take-out or delivery with my name.  I didn't pick up items in stores under my name.

I nearly changed my surname to a new name.  As it was, my former husband tried to prevent me from using my maiden name.  So it was written into the divorce paperwork specifically that I would not retain his surname.  Even though it didn't need to be, because my lawyer had a sense of humor and really enjoyed outsmarting him.

Even with those changes, I was still around.  I was still found.  Someone will always talk.  I had to learn that friends weren't always friends. They were sometimes just spies.

And, this was before the internet, social media, and cell phones. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to do this in these times.

My take-away is that you have to do what works for you.  I was "lucky" in that I was absorbed into a completely different life and eventually was able to completely disappear.  I recognize that not everyone is so lucky.

20 January 2020

Despite the Broken Shoe Lace

I have today off and it's probably the first time ever that I've resented a long weekend.  After having winter break and unexpected snow days/delays, I am more than ready to be back on a regular schedule.

And, please, remind me of this feeling in a few weeks.

To fend off said unreasonableness, I made a plan to do all those errands that just don't ever get completed during the work week.  Donations, returns, forgotten items at the grocery store.

I slept in, took Lucy to get treats at the coffee stand, then returned to load up the truck.  And yes, there are still inches of snow on the ground here. We are not talking about that right now.

And then I busted a shoelace.  Legend has it that it's bad luck and omen.  I sighed and changed sneakers, deciding to risk it.  Then I just heard on the radio that today is considered the Saddest Day of the Year.  I'm really tempting fate today.

I took recycling that was super overdue because of the snow.  I had my few minutes of therapy by throwing glass bottles into the bin.  Breaking glass is so soothing to me.

I returned the slippers my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas.  I didn't have the receipt because I just didn't have it in me to deal with retrieving it from them.  I knew by doing so that the amount of cash returned would be less AND be restricted to use in the store.  I just didn't care.  It turned out to be $3.99, which just made me giggle.  The cashier and manager were prepared for me to be grouchy about it but I wasn't.  I just made $3.99.

I wandered the store and remembered that I needed lip balm.  BFF K gave me a blue balm years ago and I loved it. By dumb luck, I found it.  $3.49.  Now I have fifty cents left to spend.  I then remembered that there was a frame that I admired during Christmas shopping.  $9.99 so $9.50-ish once tax is applied.  WIN.  I was returning something at another store so I was still in the green.

There is a certain population who shops at this drug store.  I watched a woman buy five travel sized bottles of tequila and thought "She's just trying to get through the day."  Then an elderly woman in green velour pants, green fringe vest, and bright red shirt and cowboy boots walked in the door.  She asked a gentleman who was leaving if he worked here.  He was friendly and it turns out he's an advocate for folks in crisis.  He knew his population, for sure, and knew he was talking to one of them.  He spoke to her for a few minutes then she came back into the store.

"WHERE'S THE MANAGER?" she announces loudly.  There was no question there.  The manager was helping me, he remained silent, and I'm all "Oh, dude, I'm sorry."  He was all "What?" and I said "Wait for it." and sure enough she approached him while completely ignoring me.

Here's a thing to know about crazy people: they use way too much detail when they want something. They tend to inflate their own importance and the issue they are currently having. The trick is passive-response. "Okay" is confirmation of listening, not of agreement. Often they will spin themselves out and wander away when they realize they're not getting anywhere with you.  I'm trying to not engage Social Services Hat while listening to her.

This woman started telling him about how she owns a Private Non-Profit Organization and their credit card was stolen and used in *DRUGSTORE NAME* in Las Vegas.  She has made a police report and "has a number" and has called the bank.  "You need to call the *DRUGSTORE* in Las Vegas and then call the Las Vegas Police to make sure this is HANDLED."

It is taking EVERYTHING in me not to ask her why she thinks he needs to do this.  But I kept my gaze down and concentrated on not laughing instead.  He politely asked her to wait a minute and she wandered off.
"Okay, I am not sure why YOU have to phone anyone" I say.  He laughed and said "I am wondering about that too. I don't think she is going to be happy with me."
"She's not going to be happy with anyone so there's that.  I almost want to stay and see how this plays out."
"You're welcome to stop by later and I'll tell you how it goes." and laughs in camaraderie.

Instead I headed out of the store.  Now there is a car  blocking the lot and the advocate guy from the store is talking to the woman who bought the travel size tequila. I wanted to fist bump him for putting himself out there to help people.  Instead I just got out of there.  My level of people in crisis has been met in one trip.

Three more uneventful stops...grocery store, Home Depot to return something, and Goodwill to drop off the WORLD'S LOUDEST DAWGDAMN VACUUM that Kevin's parents gave us.

Then I went to the hospital to drop off two big bags of magazines that I finally got through over the snow days. (Donate your magazines and books to the hospital. They are very much appreciated)

As I'm gathering up everything, a courier walks by my truck then pauses.  I was kind of prepared to hear a comment for parking in the loading zone.  Instead, he says:

"So my idea is mirrored sunglasses that allow you to keep your eyes open and still avoid the Weeping Angels."

At first I was puzzled then realized it was a Doctor Who reference.  He saw the TARDIS and Dalek decals on the window.  It made me laugh and appreciate the Whovian Universe.

Then I returned home, satisfied that I had finished all those errands, survived people in crisis, and met a fellow Whovian, and brought home a gift that I really wanted.  Now I'm finishing chores so I'm prepared for the long/short workweek.

I will worry about the broken shoelace another day.

Today, Do Something Small

19 January 2020

Jeans - The Real Debate

There was a debate at work the other day that I missed and I am so bummed about it.  So I'll bring it up here.

How is your closet organized?  Is it by season? by style? by color? Not at all?

And controversial sub-topic: do you hang jeans or fold them and put them in the drawer?

THIS! is what is important to debate about.

I have tried a few organizational ways. I've tried by season but that doesn't seem to work for me very well. Some of it is that I live in the beautiful PNW so it's not uncommon for three different seasons to appear in one day.

Whereas organizing by style is just...silly.  How does that work, even.  My brain cannot with that.

As you may have guessed, the closet is organized by color.  It just makes my brain happy.  Granted, there aren't many needed color groups but it's by color all the same.

Jeans...of which I have very few pairs of now...are folded and in the dresser.  I was always under the impression that jeans were too heavy to be hung.  Maybe it's because I've always had old houses/furniture? Otherwise, I don't know why I think that. #UrbanLegend

Pants...that aren't track or yoga...are hung.  AND by color, which is easy because Black.

According to popular internet meme, I am also supposed to have "the chair" where clothing piles up. To that, I respond: ahahahahahahahahahaNO.  There is a chair in our closet where clothing will sometimes temporarily live but NO.  It's more there because I don't have storage for it.

So I put this topic forth for raging debate.

Kevin on the left, shared in the middle, and mine on the right

18 January 2020

Preach, Pal.

Dude, I am cranky.  I am rarely cranky. Sarcastic and smartassy, always but rarely cranky.
We are on day eleventy of snowapocalypse.  We thought it was done then awoke to an additional six inches of snow yesterday.  While pretty, I am also pretty over it.

I can around in it fine, mostly.  Our driveway and road is sketchy and will be until July 5th.  The main road is usually okay as they inconsistently plow it (it is not populated and crosses county borders) But the walkways and stuff are all either ice or a slushy mess.

Someone who lives in this house that isn't me or Lucy, keeps wearing shoes in the house; which on regular day is totally fine.  But you know what I hate? wet socks.  Who has wet socks not once but twice today, I do.

Work has been closed or late start all week, to add to the already challenging school year.  AND THEN it's a long weekend.  I don't think ever in my life resented a long weekend but I am that girl right now.  What is happening to me?  This is not cool.

That brings us to yesterday.

Kevin's dad had to go to the doctor because he was having kidney pain. They actually kind of planned ahead and asked to use Kevin's truck. This makes me super anxious but Kevin was okay with it.  We made a point of digging out the big truck and making pathways so everyone had a vehicle and could move around in one-foot of snow.  (they have a van that doesn't do well in the snow and is under one foot of it currently)

And then it snowed six more inches overnight.  FML.  Kevin's alarm goes off at 5:08 am.  His phone rings before the alarm went off, which usually means the ambulance is on it's way.  So, that's a pleasant way to awaken.

His dad is worried that it has snowed and he can't drive in it. This is where I say that of course our number is the first number that they call. (side-eye to the b-i-l).  I already knew I had late start but Kevin flipped into problem-solving mode. "I'll just take the day off" he says, resigned.  "OR someone next door can take him"  Kevin flatly said no.

He phoned his guys and got everyone going in the proper direction then phoned his dad to tell him that he would take them.  His dad melts down because he doesn't want Kevin to lose work. Sweet of him but what did he think was going to happen?

You think it's done, but it's so not.

I have to go to work but I had already figured out that I need to call out so they can take my truck instead of the other two.  Kevin insists that I go to work and they'll just take the big truck.  In his state, he is determined that he can get both parents in his big truck.

That incredulousness you just felt?  YEAH.  The next few minutes did not go well.  I had to let it go but not before saying "How bad are you going to feel when you have to call the ambulance?"

Lesson from this: Sometimes you have to choose your battles.  Most of the time, it's with the parents but sometimes it's between you and your person.  It also falls into the One Crazy Person at a Time category.

So, I got ready for work and he went next door.

By the time he got over there, his mother had decided she wasn't up to going.  That pretty much takes care of everything.  I can go to work, Kevin can take either of the trucks, and the time that his mother is spent alone is minimal.

Apparently, the in-laws had decided that the kidney pain was cancer.  It couldn't possibly be anything else. Now, to be fair, nearly every single person in the family has died from cancer. However, why are we going to the dark place as a first choice?  I just can't with this...moving on...

It's a back strain from caring for his mother.  Not cancer.

To alleviate the back pain, he has to sit while doing her feedings for her G-tube.  This meant reconfiguring their living room so he doesn't have to stoop or kneel.  AND we are still not making eye-contact with the fact that they need in-home care. No, whatever you just thought, No. It won't work and believe me we have tried EVERYTHING.

LUCKILY Kevin was the one who helped manage making the living room more accessible.  His dad had gone next door to check on a neighbor so it was just he and his mom. I tend to be too direct in these situations and his brother tends to be too passive so that's why I say "Luckily" and why I wasn't the one helping.  That and I was at work.

I understand not wanting to change things in your living space. I understand not wanting to give things away.  But it's not a choice and this is where it fell apart a little bit.  His mom argued with Kevin and tried the "You don't listen to me" tact, which makes me want to swing.  "You don't listen to me" is code for "You're not doing what I want."

Kevin - who has more than earned a Full Access Pass to wherever we go after this life - persevered and now there are accommodations in their tiny living room for the G-tube equipment.  Shouldn't have this already been done, like, months ago? Of course.

So, shiny side: I now own a Tiffany lamp, which I have coveted for years.  Unfortunately I now also own a side table that I don't want and bonus: don't have room for.  Well, give it away, you just very reasonably thought.

It's a mate to a table we already have and it's an "heirloom" that she wants to stay in the family.
Because of course.

If I give it away, I have to replace the table in our mudroom where our keys and stuff sit.  Not a big problem but it's not like I want to go anywhere right now to shop for a table.  And it's Just One More Thing.  Next step is to take photos of the tables, text it to the nephew and niece, wait for a reply and then oh wait, SNOW so no one can come get them right now anyway.

AND a random cousin wants them if no one else wants them, she says.  A random cousin who doesn't participate in our family at all and I'm not sure how the mother even knows this.  She said something similar about giving away her Christmas decorations and my f-i-l was a little "What?"  I  believe she THINKS that this cousin wants them, not that there was an Actual Conversation about it.  So, here it sits in my office, awaiting its fate.

To callback to a previous bloggity post: there just isn't a straight line to anything anymore.  Even Kevin sighed the that morning "Nothing is easy anymore."  YEAH BUDDY. PREACH.

15 January 2020

Snow Hostage Situation Day Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 January 2020

Sketchy Start to the New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I got some fantastic photos out of it.

12 January 2020

"They're not Gross" - A Success Story

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Added cheese.  Because: CHEESE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 January 2020

Pardon the Interruption

Oh hai.

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

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

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

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

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

Stay cozy, friends.

03 January 2020

It Smells Like Onions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*blink* *blink*

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

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

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


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

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

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

Because my tank is full.  Actually and metaphorically.

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

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