31 May 2020

The World is On Fire

 And I have no words

26 May 2020

You Can Do Yukky Things

The Rule at our house is there are Kevin's jobs and My Jobs.  My jobs are the Inside Stuff, what Kevin calls "women's work" because he knows it hits a nerve with people.  His are decidedly less fun and definitely more work; Outside Stuff: lawn mowing, drain cleaning, repairs, car maintenance, etc.

While sometimes it's unevenly distributed, it really isn't when it's him on a ladder, in the dark and pouring rain because we live in the PNW and the drains are clogged with leaves.  I will take having laundry to do over that any day.

One of the tasks that crosses the boundary are sink drains.  I do the treatments because Science! But when they're actually clogged, it's his gig.  And he hates it.  HATES it.  Fusses about it. Avoids it like it's going to magically disappear.

Well, after this long weekend AND a requested reminder note, the sink remained slow draining.  And I am left to my own devices.

Eff this, I think, I've got the university of youtube and google. I can work on a racecar. I can do this.

So, after my "work" day was completed, I gathered the tools I've seen Kevin use, my phone, and the most important tool: my stubbornness.

A few things:
I am mostly a minimalist so there isn't stuff under the sink.  RECOMMEND.
Kevin installed a quick disconnect for this very task.
This is one of those tasks that it helps being small.
You can learn anything from the internet.

Five minutes at the most and I took it apart pretty easily.  While doing so, I thought "I should write this down"  because I know who I am.  Just as quickly though, I thought "Nah, it's fine." (this is what we call foreshadowing)

It was gross, for sure.  But I've worked with young children nearly my whole adult life, it takes a bit for me to tap out. (vomit will make me tap out. Every.Time.)  This wasn't to that level.  It does, however, make me want to treat the drains more often.  If you are the tiniest bit squeamish, this task is not for you.  I just told myself that if I can watch countless Bones episodes, I can deal with this guckiness.

I cleaned everything up and began to reassemble the drain.  Feeling triumphant a little too soon, I took a photo and sent it to my friend to show my handiness.  Then finished up.  Only to find a small washer sitting on the cabinet floor once everything was re-assembled.  

Son of a biscuit eating dog.  Sometimes karma is instant. The gods don't like arrogance, I always say.

And then Kevin phones.  Because of course he does.  Kevin is not aware that this project is underway because he will be displeased that I am doing something "gross".  (bless his heart, he means well)

Nearly twenty minutes later, we finally disconnect. (the guy who helps with the racecar had phoned him and he was telling me what was learned)  While listening to him, I figured out where the washer belonged but couldn't replace it while on the phone.  I couldn't put the phone on speaker because he would hear the reassembly noise.  So I'm sitting cross-legged on the bathroom floor regretting ever starting this project.

Finally we disconnected and I realized how late it had gotten.  He was due to leave work soon so if this went sideways, I was out of time.  But I disassembled the piece where the washer belonged and put it back together WITH the washer this time.  Out of all the things, this was the most difficult because it requires hand-eye coordination that I don't always possess. And patience, which had certainly waned at this point.

Finally, I turned on the water again and tah dah! No leaks! And it was draining!  Success!  For real, this time.  Feeling sheepish, I sent one more message to my friend.  "This will be funny in a minute" I tell them.

I cleaned everything up, put Kevin's tools away and left no trace behind. Now we wait.  I would imagine he'll notice when he brushes his teeth but you know, it took him a week to notice a newly painted mud room so we'll see.

There are a few morals of the story: You can learn anything from the internet.  Girls should know how to do the yukky stuff too.  As always with me: Pay Attention.

24 May 2020

Grocery Store Lottery

The grocery shopping adventure continues with the parents.  This time it began as a mistake I made but ended up being The Same Story Over and Over Until We Die.

When scheduling pick-up times was difficult, I would schedule a spot for the parents and just throw random stuff in their cart to hold the pickup time.  Once I did this and it went well because the m-i-l forgot - again - to give me a list and thought that it would just magically happen.  I already had an order pending so I added to it and hooray, I am the hero.

Until I am not.  Out of habit, I scheduled them a pick-up for...oh, today.  And forgot to tell them. Somewhere between sitting here in my office to telling Kevin, I forgot.  I realized this at about 11:30 last night when it was too late to do anything.  I filed this under: Karma/ A good problem to have.

Then Kevin let me sleep in really late so by the time I woke up and my brain turned on all the way, it was time for the parents grocery pick-up.  I sheepishly went out and explained to Kevin what had happened.  He was a little sighy-eyerolly but also figured this was a good problem to have.  

He went next door and explained what happened.  His mother says and I quote: "Oh good, because I have a list but have been waiting for Surely to call to do the order. But she has already done it."

Deep sigh.

Kevin explained for the eleventyth time that we need the list THEN I make the order.  And that if she NEEDS something, she needs to let me know.   As always, this is Brand New Information. 

So Kevin brings over the actual list and I sat down to compare with the order that they were going to pick up.  Out of twelve items, I had four of them.  You know, that's not too bad.  Also, the lists are not consistent.  Sometimes it's regular, staple kind of stuff and today it was stuff like raisins and canned chicken.  

Today's list, it could be said, was not a Need kind of a list but a Want kind of a list.  (Yes, tiny bit judgy.)
Here are some examples:

"Flat noodles"...I know I should know this but my tired brain wouldn't bring it forward. So I'm googling "flat noodles" and I swear there was tone in the search results. As in: it's Fettuccini, you dumb ass.

"Vanilla (real)"  So, I am not a cooker or a baker so I always buy on the cheap when it's ingredients like these.  Vanilla is something that I buy every once in a great while, less now that I don't do so much dairy.  ANYWAY, Dude. It is expensive. Is it made from kitten tears because damn.

"Salt"...no brand, no amount. Just all.the.salt.  Also: I get scooby snacks for knowing that there are different kinds of salt.

Now tomorrow they will go into town and pick-up their "real" groceries and I will schedule a new order for next week.  Kevin will explain again that she needs to make a list before I place the order or she's going to get a smorgasbord of items.  Like that game show: Supermarket Sweep.

Now you might be thinking that this whole thing could be avoided by walking over there and/or calling to get her list and/or reminding her. Oh, if it were only that simple. The problem is it spins her out immediately.  She thinks she has to have a list RIGHT THIS SECOND OR PEOPLE WILL DIE.  There is no medium speed with her, just "normal" to full-out anxiety ridden.  So, unfortunately, it's on us to just work within the parameters we have.  

To be fair, it was going okay until I forgot to tell them when their appointment was.  

21 May 2020

Third Rock from the Sun

I grew up on a lake so for me there was always an ongoing search  for the perfect rock, It could be an agate or a skipping rock, or the urban legend Wish Rock. A Wish Rock has a white line that goes through/around it entirely.

I could never make a wish and throw them though

Often I would find rocks in the water, bring them into the house then discover that once they were dry or not being defracted by water, they weren't as beautiful as first thought.  If that isn't a metaphor for life, nothing is.  

The rocks I bring home are everywhere.  There is a grouping on my kitchen window sill, they are on my bookcases, at my office, in my truck.  I have found most of them and some of them have been gifts.

Right now, I go into my work office weekly.  Yesterday I was trying to remember what I needed to bring home when I spotted some of my rocks on my desk.  There's a pure white one from West Beach, there's a purple one that I picked up while visiting a friend, and a few others.  The problem with this whole rock thing is that sometimes I forget where I got them, just that I loved them.

Yesterday I picked up one of my most favorite rocks ever.  I chose it because it was a black rock that stood out from newly spread gravel.  It was flat on one side, the side that was showing.  I cleaned it up once I returned home, then left it on my desk.  It's home to be determined at a later date.

This morning I took a good look at it again.  It looks like a little planet.  

I think this one will stay on my desk here at home where I can see it all the time.  Not only is it a cool rock, I picked it up while feeling happy, a feeling that just doesn't come easy in these End Times.

20 May 2020

Fairy Shop

One of the pages on social media that I follow is For Reading Addicts.  It's one of my favorites because it ranges from memes to book recommendations to folks searching for a book they read twenty years ago to posts like the below.

My paternal grandmother was my favorite person as a child and sadly, she passed when I was five.  She gave me books and made me scrapbooks that I adored.  I had one book that was really old (not just by a preschooler standard, but legit old) that kept falling apart.  The binding had been glued and taped many times but the clumsy hands of a small child would quickly undo any repairs.  I can still feel and smell that book.

So, yesterday I was scrolling through the social media and the page posted this poem.  Suddenly I'm a small child and remembered this poem transporting me to the fairy land.  It's things like these that shaped my overactive imagination, in the best way.

18 May 2020

Being Green - Ask Me, Like 3 Things...

From the It's Not Easy Being Green post, Swistle and GiGi asked:


Tell me more about using shampoo to clean the shower...does it help with the scum on the glass?

Yes, shampoo keeps the glass shower door clean.  It was explained to me as "What is shampoo but a degreaser?"  If it has built up because I haven't kept up with it, I will use Kaboom, which for a ridiculous name works really well.  

When I notice the drain slowing in our bathroom....Wait...we have two sinks and I have to admit here that we both use the same sink.  When we designed our bathroom, we thought two sinks and the garden tub was everything.  Now I think I'd use the real estate for something else.  The point being is one of us should us the other sink and then this wouldn't happen as quickly.  Nah, that's too easy of a solution.


When the sink starts to slow, I do the Sink Volcano.  Half a cup of baking soda and a quart...pint?  which one is bigger? of vinegar.  Let it sit for about an hour then pour boiling water down the drain.  

But when I ignore it because that's what reasonable adults do (they don't)  I boil a stock pot full of water, a little bit of Dawn soap and a shake of baking soda.  (Super precise measurements. I should be a chemist)
It has taken as little as two pots and as many as eight.  Depending on my level of neglect.

Years ago a plumber taught me to watch the water drain down the drain. You want to see a whirlpool because it shows there is vacuum.  Once you figure out what's normal, then you can notice when it starts to shrink/slow or disappears.

Maybe twice I might have managed to get permanent marker (not sharpie) on the countertop.  Baking soda and dawn soap took it right up without dulling the surface.

Kevin has one of those igloo lunch boxes and it gets pretty grubby.  Dawn and baking soda paste will clean it up to nearly new. 

It has also taken stains out of favorite hoodies and work clothes.  

Kevin says that Baking Soda could cure cancer.  I'm starting to think that vinegar could be it's sidekick.

What began this whole thing with me is realizing just how many chemicals are being used on the regular.  We have a well and a septic so it's been something I've thought about and now I'm trying to continue applying it to all.of.the.things.

Also, it occurred to me that for centuries natural cleaning products have existed. While I'm not going as far as using lye and cleaning our clothes on creek rocks, I am interested in finding ways to not add any more chemicals into our lives.

AND, realizing that sometimes there is a need for something more powerful.  It's about moderation.

16 May 2020

Sorry, Not Sorry - Another Rosie Story

Kevin just gave himself a haircut in the bathroom. As he was vacuuming up the mess with the shop vac, he commented that it was the robot's job.

So, I grabbed my phone, woke up Rosie and asked Kevin to watch.  

It beeps when it starts so he was all "What is that?"

Then it came out from under the bed.  

"You put it under the bed?" with a tinge of panic.

I'm already laughing.

"If that Mother*effer comes out during the night, I will STOMP IT OUT."  His voice rising in a panicky kind of way.

Again, I am bent over, crying laughing.  "I control it with my phone. So the moral of the story is: Don't Make Me Mad."

"No, seriously. I will stomp the bitch out."  He's laughing now...a little...as he's watching it circle the room.

This visual is going to be funny for a very long time.  And now we know Kevin's kryptonite: A.I.

Right now while he's in the shower, Rosie is happily zooming around, cleaning up his mess.

It's Not Easy Being Green - An Update

With the End Times happening, I've thought a little more than usual about using stuff, reusing what I can, and recycling.  It occurred to me that I hadn't updated my Being Green Quest for a while.

Here's where we are:

I just spent about thirty minutes consolidating nearly-empty shampoo and conditioner containers into one.  I use pantene products and it's amazing how much is left behind in an "empty" container.  It requires patience and attention span that I don't normally possess but today was the day.  Then I recycle the empty containers and try not to think about how many I threw away, not knowing they were recyclable. 

Plastic bags for Kevin's lunch is...better.  I think that's just going to be a little bit of a fail for me.  I do use snack bags instead of sandwich bags.  So, that's....less.  The higher-end grocery store had really nice sandwich sized tupperware style boxes. I bought one and used it without mentioning it to Kevin. (he's not a fan of change)  

It was like a week later when I finally asked. To my surprise, he was all "I love it!"  So I bought another one.  He eats lunch on the go so it's a challenge to find those kinds of things that will work for him.  I mention the ones from the higher-end grocery store because they seal so well. Versus the dollar-store ones that you see.  It's one of those things that feels like it's worth spending more.

I can't remember the last bottled water I bought.  As someone who used to drink Coke like it was going out of business, it's weird that now you will almost always see me with a water bottle instead.

Then I started thinking about cleaners.  I started using vinegar to clean our engineered floors.  Kevin is not a fan because of the smell.  I am a fan because it works well and there is no residue that other cleaners leave behind.  

Marketers will convince us that we need a specific cleaner for every single surface.  I'm trying to dial that back a bit.  I have had zero success with glass cleaner alternatives so I use Sprayway, which works so well.  Meaning it's probably horrible.  (don't tell me)

I'm starting to look into the organic cleaners and right now, use Simple Green as an all purpose cleaner.  I rarely - until the End Times - used the disinfectant wipes.  They just end up as landfill so I have to squash my guilt when I'm disinfecting door knobs and the such.

I've mentioned before that the contractor who built this house said to use shampoo to clean your fiberglass shower and tubs.  I do that regularly then use something a little more industrial monthly, otherwise there is a grunge thing that happens.

Baking soda and Dawn soap is MAGIC on many things.  MAGIC.  Scratches on your white ceramic sink?  Stains?  Slow drains?  FIXES them.  See also: grungy shower floor.

I have the tendency to be heavy-handed with products. I think it's an attention span thing and frankly, lack of parenting showing me how to do things.  The point being: there are dosages? is that the word?  Uses doesn't seem correct.  Whatever.  My point: there are actual instructions on things.  Also, I tend to use less than recommended, with the same results.

In the garden, I don't use chemicals at all.  Kevin will use weedkiller if I don't pay attention.  He's trying to be helpful so I can only throw small rocks at him.  Right now I'm just using manpower to get rid of the weeds.  I'm hearing that vinegar will help but I haven't tried that just yet.  

For our groceries, I use reusable bags.  Now with the End Times and grocery pickup, I have to remember to designate "Paper bags, please" on my order.  Otherwise, we get an eleventy-dozen plastic bags for one grocery order.  When I got stuck with them before, I would just collect them then drop them off in the recycle bin at the store.  Now I have a childhood friend on the facebook who posts when the food banks need bags.  I drop them off at her office and everyone is a winner.  So, check that out with your local food banks.

Years ago, a client at my old work gave me a huge stack of scratch paper made from paper grocery bags.  They are surprisingly handy.  So, if you're bored at home like the most of us now, there's a simple project to contemplate.

15 May 2020

Go Home, Rosie

Okay, one more Rosie post.  I promise, I'll stop...eventually.

I am having difficulty figuring out where Rosie lives.  When I unpacked her, I set her up next to the dining table.  It's a good location for doing the work but it's also next to one of Lucy's beds.  And I can see her.  Clutter is not my friend so my brain triggers when I notice something different.  Also, again: live in a small house so space is valuable.

"Find Rosie a New Home" has been on my To-do list for over a week.  I tried setting her up in the laundry room but in all of that room, there is only one available outlet.  Kevin worried that she couldn't work as efficiently from there.  "She might not be able to find her home." he says.

Remember we inherited that little end table that I was snotty about?  Well, we did and it's STILL HERE. It's uncomfortably placed in the corner where Lucy's toy basket is.  I was thinking I could put Rosie there.  But it's next to Lucy's toy basket.  And, I would have to disassemble a bookshelf just to plug in her house.

Then I though that I could put her here in my office.  Outlets are again, a thing.  Every outlet is behind a bookcase.  Sigh.  Also, guess where Lucy's crate is?  In my office.  I would fear for an all-house war in the middle of the night if I move Rosie in here.

So...this leaves the master bathroom or the common folk bathroom.  Neither of which seem appropriate for an electronical thing. And outlets are a thing.  (if we ever move to another house, I swear to dawg I am having outlets installed every four feet on every wall)

Today though, I think I figured it out.  I had imagined putting her in the master closet but worried about accidentally kicking her or dropping shoes on her.  And I would have to thread the cord under the door because there are no outlets in the closet.  So, doable but not the perfect solution.

I asked Rosie to vacuum this morning and as she happily went about her business, she made her way into our bedroom.  As mentioned, she vacuums under the bed, which makes me much happier than it should.  That's when it hit me:  under the bed.  There is an outlet, she is hidden, we won't trip on her.  Perfect.  I just can't tell Kevin because he'll worry about the Robot Revolution in the middle of the night.  (hey, he has a wife that can't sleep if the closet door is open so we all have our things)

This is where I tell you that Rosie had been living temporarily in the kitchen.  There's a tiny little counter/alcove thing next to the refrigerator.  I had moved her there, didn't like it, then became frustrated and never moved her.  Even when Kevin asked twice where I was going to move her.

Kevin feeds Lucy when I am setting the table for dinner.  They play a little catch game and have a routine every night.  Well, during said catch game, one of them bumped Rosie.  She awoke and MOVED.  Now I didn't have her turned on so even I was a little "What.is.happening."  She left her home, went about a foot then spun around. Clearly looking for whatever disturbed her rest.

Kevin and Lucy both lost their sh*t.  Kevin actually told her to "Go Home" while Lucy barked and went up onto the couch.

Meanwhile, I'm leaning on the kitchen island, CRYING LAUGHING.  Can't Breathe laughing.  I mean seriously, they lost their sh*t. 

"NOW WILL YOU MOVE HER, PLEASE?"  Kevin asked when he calmed down and I finally stopped laughing.

So, when she's done working today I will relocate her to what will hopefully be her permanent home.  And we'll keep track how long it takes Kevin to notice where she's living.

13 May 2020

What's In Your Wallet

Kevin's brother has been mentioned here a few times.  I'm going to sum it up as he is difficult at best.  Then I'm going to provide the following examples and let the jury decide.

His brother is known to spend ridiculous amounts of money on ridiculous things.  A new golf cart, including custom tires and wheels and upholstery, and stereo is the most recent example.  He doesn't golf and it's for use for the racecar.  The racecar that only gets used about three times a summer.  AND he fusses about putting in his truck and wants Kevin to haul it for him instead.  

For a while, whenever he would order something for his racecar, he would order one for Kevin too.  Then he would say "Oh, just pay me whenever."  This may seem generous but know that "whenever" would get mentioned a few times before we could/would pay him.  As in "When I bought us those..."  "You have those things now so..." And this would be said to friends, family, Kevin, as a gentle reminder that a) he was cool and bought that for him and 2) he hadn't been repaid.

I rarely lose my temper.  RARELY.  Of the handful of times that it has occurred, it has been something like this that he has done.  

Once he did something like the above and we didn't have the money to fund it.  I mean, super really didn't have the money.  If I remember correctly, it was when Kevin was sick and I wasn't working.  The money wasn't there, at all.  It felt like it was a "kindness" soaked in loan-sharkery.  I told Kevin that he needed to understand that if he ever did it again, it would be considered a gift because I wasn't paying him.  One would think that would stop it.  It didn't.

But the best worst example was his birthday.  He chose to go to hibachi-style Japanese food for his birthday, as is his right. The place we went to was EXPENSIVE.  And this was known.   His birthday is in January when EVERYONE is poor. So, maybe a little awareness is needed but whatever.  

Kevin in all his generosity told him (without me knowing) that he would buy his brother's dinner as a present.  Not thinking that it would expensive or let's just say not thinking.  I was annoyed and told Kevin to next time, just check in with me first.  I mean it's after Christmas, one of our vehicles was in the mechanic shop, and we were what I refer to as dirt-floor-poor at that point.  


Filet.Mignon.AND.Lobster.AND. Sushi.

There were two schools of thought: 
It was his birthday so he got to order what he wanted.  
Recognize that it was a very expensive meal someone else was buying for you and perhaps dial it back.

I couldn't fix-my-face when he ordered and Kevin was quietly begging me to not react.  Too late. I can't always control my face.  

So then the brother half-heartedly offers "Oh, I'll pay for it. don't worry."  Followed with "Well, I'll pay for the drinks and the sushi..." over Kevin's objections.

Now it's become a pride issue with Kevin, which the brother knew it would be.  Hi, Captain Manipulative, Happy Birthday.

(My blood pressure is rising now and it's been YEARS since this happened.)

We paid after all and I ended up using a credit card that we were keeping for emergencies.  Crossing my fingers that the mechanic bill wasn't too big or that nothing else went wrong that would precipitate us needing those funds.

So...there's the history. 

This summer we were scheduled to go to a race and he had ordered the tickets.  We paid him as soon as the tickets were ordered, because it's a thing now.  With the pandemic, the event was cancelled and he let Kevin know that the money had already been refunded to his account.

*drum roll, please*

He says And I Quote:  "I don't know how I'm going to get the cash to you because it's so hard to go to the bank RIGHT NOW."

Wait...like, seriously: WHAT

Kevin told me this on the phone to avoid the incoming debris from the explosion of my head.  "Umm, no it's NOT.  It's not different than before. BECAUSE THERE ARE CASH MACHINES EVERYWHERE."  *gesturing all around me*

Then he also wondered if he could have the sister-in-law just write us a check.

Because then *I* would have to go to the bank and not him.  And it's 1995.

I told Kevin that I wasn't that worried about it and that they needed to figure out how to get us cash.  S-i-l is home because of the pandemic and they are NOT hurting for money.  It's not an unreasonable expectation. As we've established, were roles reversed, the same expectation would be applied to us.

He told his brother that and then the brother helpfully explained that I could just download an app on my phone and not have to go to the bank.  Okay...yes, I could.  But I don't have banking apps on my phone on purpose.  And, again, how did this become MY Problem to solve?  Dude. Seriously. 

Well, I noticed a chunk of cash in a change bowl this morning so apparently he managed to figure it out somehow.  It's one of those topics that Kevin and I won't discuss because there are no winners, only losers and annoyance.  

This is where I tell you that dude ALWAYS has at least $500 in cash in his wallet at any given time.  It is A Thing with him and is widely known.  The refund was significantly less than that amount.  But, you know, going to the bank is just really too hard.

10 May 2020

Tell Your Dog I Said Hi

Last night we had a date night that included dinner at a drive-in.  Once our food arrived at the truck, we backed up to the back of the parking lot away from the other cars.  Then we threw open the doors and ate.  I usually hate eating in a vehicle but this was kind of fun.

It turns out that this drive-in will give your doggo a hamburger patty if they are with you.  So there were lots of doggos there.  Kevin and I kept pointing them out to one another as they came and went.  Lucy wasn't with us because she's a menace in the car (she's "protecting" us) and I can't reconcile eating in the car with the dog in the car.  No judgement, I just can't.  (before you yell at us, we brought home french fries for her. We're not monsters.)

We were in my truck and on the back window is my "Tell Your Dog I Said Hi" decal.  If you don't know about these decals, please click here: We Rate Dogs.  I have the decals on the trucks and I have a sweatshirt too.  I love the We Rate Dogs social media accounts so much, they are probably my favorite so please follow them.

About halfway home while on the freeway, a SUV slowed beside us.  Kevin noticed because he was driving but I only noticed as they were past us.  He looked over to see a woman holding their small dog up to the window.  You guys, she was waving the dog's paw at us.  

I mean, seriously, how sweet and silly is that?

Just a bunch of silliness, really when everything feels like the End Times

For the Not Mom's

This is "Not My Day" or "Happy You're Not A Mom Day" for me.  So a few years ago I wrote this.  In light of the End Times and In A Box, I am posting it again this year

Having been raised by wolves, as I've regularly described my childhood, other women stepped up to make sure that I was parented when my parents couldn't or didn't know any better.

As a very young kid, it was my mom's best friend.  As I was a trauma birth, she was the one who cared for me the first month plus of my life.  In fact, she made sure I was taken care of the first part of my young life. She sees me as the daughter she never had.

My paternal grandma helped too while she was alive.  She died when I was five, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed.

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years.

Mostly I remember my high school best friend's moms.  At sixteen/seventeen, I was working, going to school, paying bills, and driving.  I was an adult mostly but I still felt their watchful eyes on me. They made sure I got home, school, or to work on time, had what I needed, fed me, answered my questions.  Parented me when I needed it.

So, today I'm giving a shout out to those moms who take care of kids who aren't theirs.  Not just the foster moms or the step moms.  The moms who just take in the friends of your kids without a thought.  You might not think they notice but they do.  You  may think it's nothing or a little thing but it's not.

I appreciate every meal, every hug, every correction, every thing they did to step up and fill the gaps. 

09 May 2020

Rosie, You're Alright

Ever since Rosie joined our household, the Jackson Browne song has been stuck in my head. Luckily for me, it's one of my favorite songs of his.  (Rosie)  

Right now she is happily banging around the front room while listening to Jack Johnson.  If I were more clever, I would have played Jackson Browne on the Alexa.  Let's just pretend that I did.

Lucy, on the other hand, Not A Fan.  I mean, she's not Scared - Scared of it but like Scared-Nervous/Annoyed.  Right now she's guarding me while I write this until she decides she can safely pass Rosie to go outside to bark her displeasure.

The one thing that I didn't know was that in order to keep Rosie from entering rooms - other than a door - a wizard was required.  There is a little electronical box that will keep her from entering the kitchen.  I call it the Wizard, because You Shall Not Pass.  Kevin just calls it creepy.  

It seems a little silly but for $45 I don't have to make a barricade to keep Rosie from getting stuck under the bar stools or on the kitchen rug.  It also settles the beef she has with the entryway rug in the mudroom.  As I pointed out to Kevin, because Rosie was on sale even the purchase of the Wizard is still under budget. 

This whole AI thing is unsettling him a little bit, which I admit makes me giggle.  I guess the difference is that I grew up with the Jetsons so this is legit a dream come true.  Meanwhile, he is wondering if she's going to coordinate efforts with Alexa to overthrow the house during the night.  AND I am the nerd with the overactive imagination.

It is a silly thing but having Rosie join our house is one of the best things that I've done.  It's not like vacuuming is particularly difficult or that we live in a giant house.  (it's small, actually just 1200 square feet)  Also, I'm home all.day.every.day now so it really is silly.  But it's one less thing to think about.  Actually, I am able to multitask MORE.  I wouldn't be able to sit and write AND vacuum so that's just a win right there.

Also, I get alerts like this, which are priceless:

This was during one of her disagreements with the entryway rug. 
I think it was more of a metaphorical cliff

08 May 2020

In A Box

So...I just can't...this year can just ... sigh...

I got a text from my eldest brother today and that is really unusual so I knew something was wrong.  Not someone died level of wrong, but wrong.   Well, it's because my mother was involved in a scam and lost money.  He had to intervene and it is A Thing.

Because it's texting and no one uses phones for phones anymore AND he was in the midwest for work, details were sketchy.
Other than "And she's embarrassed and doesn't want to talk about it.  That will be a fun conversation when I get back."
Yeah buddy.

I told Kevin about it and he was full of questions I didn't have the answers too so I texted my sister-in-law. (whom I adore and do not understand why she chose this family on purpose but I digress)

After the initial WTAF and I KNOW RIGHT texts, I just phoned her.

It's so bad. SO. BAD.

They recovered $8,000 today.  $8,000.  EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS

She lost...take a breath...take a drink...sit down...$10,000.  TEN.

She fell for the Grandma I'm in Jail and Need Bail scam.  She thought one of the nieces was in jail IN FLORIDA and needed bail money.  This is so unlikely that I just can't understand how she fell for it.  I mean, seriously unlikely.  

No, wait. It gets worse.

She didn't phone anyone. Not my brother, my s-i-l, either of the nieces, ANYONE. My sister-in-law works for the POLICE DEPARTMENT.  At some point in the beginning of this whole mess, my mom phoned the niece who was in "jail" BUT hung up on her.  Niece checked with her sister and s-i-l to see if anyone had heard from her grandma.  When the answer was no, Niece phoned back and apparently her grandma was all Hi, hey, what's up. Like nothing was wrong.  I mean...what? 

Instead of telling anyone, she went to the bank...during the pandemic and really shouldn't be driving anymore...and withdrew TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS CASH.  She then drove to Fedex and sent it in a BOX, next-day-air to fucking Florida.

Then the next day - maybe a day later, she went to a different branch of her bank in another town, withdrew $8,000, boxed it up and took it to FEDEX to send it again.   

Then the timeline gets a little fuzzy.  I believe it was with this second withdrawal, the bank manager alerted my brother that she was making huge withdrawals and something was wrong.   

He phoned her and she said it was for my other brother (who is a legit hermit miser) because he needed a tractor.  WUT.
This is so implausible and such a bad lie.  But my brother was reportedly "Umm, oh, okay..."  

My niece...the one not in "jail" is a commercial banker.  My brother phoned her, explained what was happening, and she left work to go investigate. (she works at a different bank)  

At one point in this whole mess, Niece phoned her grandma who then became angry with her and told her "Why are you calling me? They got a hold of you too" and yelled at her.  Niece went out to the house to find that my mom wasn't there.  This is where Niece phoned the bank(s) and learned that she had just been there and was headed to Fedex.  

Niece tried to catch her there while my brother phoned them and begged them not to send the box. They said they couldn't do anything, it had already been processed and he wasn't the Sender.  Brother called my sister-in-law then she coordinated with the police chief and the sheriff's office to have Fedex return the box into their custody.

At the second branch location, the teller explained that she was blunt and abrupt with the mother, telling her that it was a scam but my mom would hear nothing of it. When she is in, what I call, That Mood, she is not to be messed with.  (funny story: we think that teller is actually Kevin's cousin.  Because: small town. Oh, and that branch is literally One Block from the Police Department, where my s-i-l works)

So, she's completely lost $10,000.  There is nothing that can be done.  Because in this state, she did this completely on her own and there is no provable fraud or law against it. IF she had sent a check or cashier's check or used her credit card, then it would be illegal.  Instead, she's out $10,000.  (Kevin's comment was "How in the @#$# does she have such easy access to almost $20,000!?!?")

Her accounts are frozen and Niece will be helping her with bills, etc. until my brother returns IN A WEEK.  I am staying out of it.  I will help if asked but I don't have it in me to wade into those waters. 

While comparing notes with my sister-in-law, it turns out that the dementia the mom says she doesn't have is more advanced than either of us thought.  She says that the house is a mess and there are papers strewn about, clothing left in the laundry, her bed unmade, etc. If you knew my mother, you would be AGHAST because for all her flaws, her house was always spotless.  
We talked about how the Christmas tree was up but she didn't decorate it at all.  I told her about my conversation with her when she talked lovingly and nostalgically about my dad and that's just not a thing.  How she'll tell the same story about my aunt who does have dementia, every time we talk and sometimes more than once in one phone call.  Then there's the whole new "Don't Tell Anyone" behavior that is happening.  (remember the ambulance ride?)

My sister-in-law is exhausted and worried and sees what's coming for her and my brother in the future.  She's pragmatic though and a lot like me.  At one point she said about my mother "Don't test me, lady. I will take you out.  And the brother apparently now has a tractor."  It took me like three beats to get the joke then I nearly cried laughing.

Okay. Cleansing breath.

Simply: there is nothing to be done.  The damage is done.  We can only wait and monitor my mom, much like we do with Kevin's parents, and hope that nothing truly terrible happens. Other than the $10,000.

Raising parents is not for the weak.  I know I keep saying it but Look at This Mess.

05 May 2020

Why We Can't Just Go Back to Normal Yet - A Rant

The Stay Home Order for Washington State was extended until into June.  Unlike before, I am not focused on or even aware of the exact expiration date this time.  It feels like it is going to get extended again and I just can't get invested again. 

So, of course, up pops status updates and memes about how our governor is terrible, doesn't know what he's doing, "Why can't we go back to normal" tantrums, etc. 

*exasperated sigh*  *pushing up my sleeves*  *removing my earrings*

Firstly, our state is part of a Western States Pact that agrees on the steps moving forward so we're not doing this All Over Again in the Fall. (hopefully) So that's FOUR STATES leaders whom all agreed on a plan built from information and caution.  Thank you Oregon, California, Colorado and Nevada for helping keep us humans alive.

(Read in sarcasm font)  I just love  how people are just So Much smarter than a person who has experts in the field telling them what to do.  How much smarter the person is who only listens to one source of "news" than oh, anyone else.  How much smarter than most of the world's leaders who are doing the exact same thing.  How nice it must be to not be scared that one of our loved ones is going to become ill or worse.

I mentioned to Swistle that I feel like I should wear a sign or a t-shirt that says "I'm wearing mask to protect me, my husband AND my elderly parents"  or "I have asthma, not the Plague."

Then I was thinking about this whole thing and made a list. I know: you're shocked that I made a list.

I have asthma  (because I ignored a cold and didn't go to the doctor in time. So I am Exhibit A of Consequences, actually)
Kevin has an auto-immune disease
Kevin's parents are elderly and medically fragile
My mom is elderly and now also medically fragile
The Nephew has an auto-immune disease
One of the triplets has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
TWO of my best friends have children who are immune-compromised (one kid, one adult)
One of Kevin's best friends is on the list for a kidney transplant because of an auto-immune disease

These people are Why We Just Can't Go Back to Normal. 

Because no haircut, or dinner, or birthday party is worth killing one of them. 

Or if there is a person who disagrees: You choose which on that list you would like to die. Actually, choose a few because that's HOW THIS WORKS.

Now, to offset the rant:
A shout-out to Ang for offering to make and send me a mask. That is just so kind and thoughtful and I love you for it.

Another shout out to BFF K for sending me a mask as a surprise and making me think that I had ghost shopped on Etsy.  You really are the bestest.

As much as this post doesn't sound like I believe this, there is good in the world.  I like to think that the good shouts down the dumb and bad.  And that's why I'm yelling right now. 

Now, wash your hands, wear your mask, stay home as much as you can. Ignore the dumb people.  We can't go back to normal yet.  Yet.

04 May 2020

Play It Loud or Don't Bother

This morning I kind of unexpectedly had to go get new tires on my truck.  I say "kind of" because I knew it was coming then it turned into "Well, that escalated quickly" this morning.  Kevin nor I are ones to waste time once a decision is made so this found me on the road at 9:00 this morning to the tire shop.

So...a few things because this is how my brain works:

It felt good to be out and about "first" thing in the morning.
It was nice to see my friend who owns the coffee stand.  It doesn't pass my notice that coffee stands are considered essential in Washington State.
It was nice for it to be easy to just go to the tire shop and not have to worry about work or the parents.

The tire shop is So Nice.  The guys never treat me like a girl and they were super accommodating for the whole social distancing thing. (wait in your car, curbside service, pull your own car in and out)
The shop was playing the best playlist. So best that I posted on the social media about it.  (Tom Petty, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller Band, Queen)  And it was loud. Loved it.  A friend posted on the social media how "our music" is now considered appropriate for grocery stores, which is painfully true. 

But enough waxing rhapsodic about a tire shop.  Commence waxing rhapsodic about something else:

This morning I realized that I hadn't listened to an album in a long time. (yes, I am 70-years-old: album)  As I left the coffee stand, I brought it up on my music app and set it playing.  Then while driving, I was trying to remember how I came to know this band and how I even got the CD.  It's a Canadian band after all, not easily accessible back then.

Then I remembered that way back when we were cool, Kevin won a set of tires for the racecar.  I had to go into Canada to pick them up during the workweek. 

A few things with that thought: I miss my Canadian friends.  The border is still and will remain closed until further notice. I miss those times when we spent nearly equal time "up there" as we did at home.  I kind of miss being cool.

When I went up to Whalley to get the tires, I stopped on the way home at a RECORD STORE to buy the CD.  I'll let that sink in, because: RECORD STORE and CD.  I remember that I also bought two other Canadian band CD's because I COULD.  (Blue October and Honeymoon Suite. Hello 1990's Canada)  Then I played the coveted CDs on the way home. 

Because this was before Amazon.  This was before smart phones and music apps.  This was dancing on the record it from the radio because it's not available in the states kind of thing.

Returning back to real time: As I waited for my truck to be finished, I am texting coworkers and Kevin, I'm sending snaps to a friend, I'm messaging another friend on the facebook.  I'm NOT humble-bragging by saying "Look how many FRIENDS  I HAVE" but thinking about A Person Used to Just SIT in a Waiting Room.  Just, like, SIT there and wait. 

Instead, I'm checking into work and updating Kevin on the progress and telling a friend about a weird dream I had about them, where we were both high school teachers and how super WEIRD is that?  While listening to the album I bought on a CD in Canada twenty-cough years ago.

I guess what I'm saying is that it feels like the End Times right now and it was soothing to sit back, listen to music, and remember how life used to be. 

This is what it's like in my head 24/7.  Jump in, the water is warm.  And it plays good music.

54*40  Casual Viewing.  Play it loud or don't bother. LOL.

01 May 2020

Q-Time Update

No, Rosie the Robot did not overthrow our house, in case you're wondering.  I just took some days away from the regular interwebs.

The Stay Home order was due to be lifted next Tuesday but now it's been postponed, most likely until into the month of June.  I waver between I Am Never Leaving The House Again in a sad way and I Am Never Leaving The House Again in a contented sigh way.

I've noticed a pattern of one difficult day every week or so and I have just leaned into it.  I tried the whole keep a schedule, try to work, etc. but nothing was working so I decided to listen to the universe.  Tagging into Swistle's post, I too have had weird dreams and sleep patterns lately. 

On these nothing days - as I have taken to calling them - I take my coffee, my blankie, and Lucy and bunker down on the couch. One of my BFF's has me addicted to watching Home Town on HGTV and I've found that's a nice way to while away time.  I just try not to make it a habit because that would be So Easy for me.

I've seen the Quarantine status update passing through my timeline that says "I'm posing this so I don't forget."  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I mean, I think it would be upsetting to have something like that pop on your timeline if you end up losing someone. I understand it's meant to remind us once we are out of the End Times but I am unsure if that will be appreciated by our future selves.

Instead, I'll just mark my time and thoughts here. Meanwhile an update on stuff and things:

I have a different mask that I bought from Etsy.  It doesn't bother me as much as the scarf but it is still, of course, not my favorite.  Also, it fogs my glasses so that is neat. I keep looking at cute masks on Etsy but haven't bought one. I have to think that I will only need the one I have. Right? Help a girl out here.

The grocery store that I actually go into had that sticky wax paper/wrap over it's card terminals. It can just  be peeled off after someone uses it.  I thought was kind of ingenious, providing that it works as an actual barrier.  I wondered how we could do that here at home with the parents but I haven't gotten past the wondering part.

The in-laws seem to have relaxed into staying home.  I think part of it was just realizing that the only thing really missing is going to the grocery store.  We don't do family dinners, they didn't go visit friends and family before this. It's not like they had a busy social schedule anymore.  The limiting of not watching news all day has improved their moods as well.

Kevin's work has been busier than he has ever seen it in over twenty years.  Even though construction has been limited, the excavation and compost business is booming.  He attributes it to a lot of home improvement projects and landscaping.  And this is with No Contact limitations in place.  (meaning they have to phone ahead, be buzzed through a gate, etc.)

My work is going fine.  I try to work in the mornings but I've found that working little pockets of time throughout the day seems to work better for me.  I have so far avoided the dreaded zoom meetings, but the clock is ticking on that for sure. I remain ambivalent about working from home versus returning to my office in the Fall.  Some days I think it will be good to go back and other days I think I want to do this forever.

We have all found ways to adapt to this strange new work world.  I've met one coworker in a baseball field parking lot and another coworker at our office. It was nice to just connect for a few minutes in person.  Text replies in memes and gifs are the new love language.

I have found that it helps if I make a to-do list every day.  Instead of getting spun out on Not Wanting to do anything or getting hyperfocused on work etc. I can refer to that list and remind myself that there are, indeed, things to do.  OR the reverse, if I start feeling listless I can look at the list and tell myself "No, look: you did these things today."  Even if it was just "Laundry".

This is where I say Thank You Dear Swistle for the Drops in the Bucket theory.  It has saved me many, many times.

I tackled the garden over the past two weekends.  I miss not going to buy plants and I think I'm going to just set that as a goal for next week. It will be my one thing that I do other than picking up groceries. Also, I removed a viney plant that just never thrived but did grow moss beautifully last weekend.  Now I need to replant something in it's place. 

I am back to considering painting our bedroom again. I was planning on using the mocha color that I is in the laundry nook and one wall in the living room.  I like the color and I have it so that's convenient.  Then Kevin declared that "boring" and me "chicken".  Gah. (He's available for motivational speaking, if you're interested)  So now I'm considering a greige or super super light greenish.  And yes, Kevin's comments automatically mean that he's helping paint.

So...sigh...that is what is happening here in Surely's world.  Probably very similar to everyone's world right now. 

How's your Q-time going?  (I read someone refer to the quarantine as that and it felt more friendly than scary)