25 October 2020

It's Been One Week

 Yesterday, Saturday - because time doesn't matter anymore - my mother-in-law phoned.  Apparently she has forgiven my snark from the day before.  Forgotten is more likely the case, either way I'll take it.

"Hi honey, you said to tell you when this happens and well, the internet is broken."

I've been using these meme as a response to my job partner the last week and it applies here:

I was just there...less than 24 hours ago. Granted, the snark level was high but still.  And Kevin has been there a bunch of times over the past 24 hours.  Okay, *shrugging of shoulders*  I asked her to phone and she phoned.  Take the win.

Masked up and went outside.  Kevin was coming from the racecar trailer to the shop.  "Where you going?" he asked, pausing in his steps "Next door. The internet is broken."  

"Good luck with that." and I swear to dawg hurried his steps to get into the shop.  Thanks, bud.

I opened the door and walked into the parents house. It's Fall so it's raining or wet 24/7 now.  No more I.T. on the deck unless I just want gawd to call me home.

My f-i-l is on the phone and the television is on loud-ish.  PERFECT.  My m-i-l confidently hands me her tablet and says  "You need to push that button you push on it so the internet works."  I had to bite back a laugh.  Where is my I.T. Wizard hat?  And if you know this, why am I here.  *deep breath*

I took the tablet and stood behind the table, well away from the both of them.  Opened the internet settings on the tablet and their wifi isn't showing.  I turned around and picked up their wifi and it's OFF. I'm literally counting to ten in my head as I turn it back on. THEY KNOW TO CHECK IT FIRST THING.  

While counting, I cue into the phone conversation and then my f-i-l hangs up. "They're not sending her home today but Monday because they have to get hospice set up."  Hmmm, wut?  I quickly realized that it's Kevin's aunt/f-i-l's sister.  Whom I didn't know was in the hospital. 

She was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year and that's all we know. That's the total information my f-i-l is able to provide.  She lives two hours away, south of Seattle, so visiting her isn't an option even when there's not a pandemic.  Obviously, we are not close with the cousins in this branch of the family.

Anyway, as the wifi reboots, I'm kind of waiting for elaboration from my f-i-l. because I'm, like, standing right there and he's, you know, audible.  Silence.  I glance at my m-i-l and nothing.  Okay, then.  I guess it's a need to know basis and I don't need to know.  I like the aunt but she's one of those women who got mean as she got older so I'm a little "meh" about it. (fast forward a few minutes: Kevin is also unaware of this development. So communication is right on track)

The wifi comes on, I reconnect her tablet, and reboot it.  When it's ready, I hand it back to her.  She's very pleased and asked what was wrong.  "Your wifi was turned off."  She is puzzled about this, AS AM I.  "Well, how did that happen?" she muses.

Then I remembered, a week and two days ago we lost power.  I bet that it never rebooted after that.  Which means, doing the math, "the internet was broken" for seven or eight days.  I mentioned this to her and she - I SWEAR TO GAWD - says:  "Sometimes it takes me a while to notice that it's not working."

That's...that's all I got.  Refer to the Charlie Brown meme above.

23 October 2020

Spam and Chocolate Milk and a Phone

 It's 8:30 in the morning on Friday as I begin this bloggity post. I'm finishing a training I was supposed to do earlier this week. To be honest, I absolutely forgot about it.  Luckily it's online because the End Times but the links expire today so I'm adding a little bit of urgency to my day.

And, yes, I am writing while I'm "training".  I'd like to introduce you to High School Surely.  You'll also know that the radio is playing in the background.  If we could MRI my brain right now, I'm certain it would look like Independence Day.


I set up a grocery order for the parents on Monday, to be picked up on Tuesday.  I didn't hear anything from them about it so I threw the list away and didn't think about it again.

Last night, Kevin mentions that when he phoned his mom to check in, they were going to the grocery store.  Kevin admits that he got a little frustrated and vocal with her. I was in solidarity with him because, like, WHY?  

His mother reports that "We didn't get half of our groceries!" and "They sent the wrong things!"  and "It's happened the last few times!!!"

Well, color me surprised because have they mentioned this to us?  That would be negative, ghost rider.


Kevin wondered if I still had their shopping list.  Luckily, I had just tossed it in the trash after it sat on the counter for a few days.  I fished it back out of the trash and reviewed it.  

His mom reports that they asked for MILK and they sent TWO CHOCOLATE MILKS. The outrage.

Let's go to the list:

Huh, look at that.  Chocolate Milk.  Hot chocolate mix listed right underneath so....deducing...it seems like receiving chocolate milk is a plausible event.

On this list, she wrote "No Sub" which means no substitutions, which is good. But when you write that and I enter that, it means you're not getting what you ordered if it's not available.  Huh.

Yes, they're in their eighties.  Yes, they were poor a large part of their lives, and still have poor eating habits.  It's horrifying sometimes. It's challenging to do these orders sometimes, knowing that there is no food in the food they eat.


I showed Kevin where she had specifically ordered chocolate milk.  "Well, show her tomorrow. Explain that to her."  SUPER.  That's exactly what I hoped to be doing tomorrow.

He then mentioned that she was mad they didn't have SPAM.  (I know, I told you)  I explained that I noticed that staples were starting to get difficult to get again. And that maybe SPAM is a staple?  He just looked at me and deadpanned stated "I will go outside and graze on the lawn before I eat SPAM."  Okay, good tip.

Kevin reiterated that his mother complained that they hadn't gotten "half of their order." the last few times. This is where I remembered that I can search their purchase history.  I went into the office and looked up their account.  Well, look at that.  Melodrama.  Hyperbole.  

To be fair:
They did get SPAM, BUT they got Lite SPAM.  Of which, how is that even a thing?  
They DID have substitutions.  However, Kroger tends to get the next size larger if something isn't available and that is what appears to have happened.  Specifically: laundry detergent and popcorn.
They legit did not get coffee in one of their orders.  Sometimes things just aren't available and I think that's difficult for them to grasp a little bit
The two orders previous to these last two orders were 100% complete.  Hmm, we have a mystery on our hands, Scooby Doo.

When I order, I get texts that there are sometimes substitutions.  Not always but most times. This option is not set up for them because they don't have the app and I don't need that drama in my life.  

The store DOES review your order upon pickup.  You actually have to agree to substitutions.  My guess is that my f-i-l agrees without understanding (my favorite)  and then SURPRISE! Your order is different.

My job today is to walk over and determine what exactly the problem is.  I'm certain this will go well.  *shaking my head*


I have a headache.  I need to start drinking again.  You think you know.  You don't even.

Masked up, list in hand, deep breaths as I walked over there.  I admit I was a little bit spoiling for a fight.

They're both watching television so this is good.  I begin with my father-in-law:  "Do they review your order when you pick it up? They usually tell you when there are changes."

"Yes. They do." he says, a little spiky.  "I don't pay attention so it's probably my fault."  This should make me feel better.  IT DOESN'T.  He just continues to look at me, unblinking.  No apology, no explanation to his wife.  Nothing.


Then I turn my attention to the mother-in-law.  "There's the problem then, you guys have to compare what the list says to what you get."

"But I KNOW what I ordered and I didn't get it."  Tiny bit of snotty and pouting from her.

*taking out my earrings, taking off my watch, ready to throw hands*

I held out the list, gesturing.  The list that also now has blue post-its on it from my grocery order sleuthing.  "This says that you got everything you ordered on the last order except a cleaner"

"I GOT the cleaner!!" she exclaims.  Okay, well there we go.  It was probably from an order a few weeks ago and she thinks it's this order.  Moving on.

I handed her the list and stepped back.  "I didn't order chocolate milk" she says, looking at the list.  

"It says right there: two quarts of chocolate milk. Followed by hot chocolate mix, so I just assumed you were having a party."  trying to lighten the situation, unsuccessfully.  She will not concede. So I'm in it at this point and continue:

"You said you didn't get SPAM.  You did, you just got the Lite SPAM."  

"I ordered TWO CANS."

FML at this point.  I'm literally telling myself to just leave, screaming in my head.

"Okay. Here's the deal: I am going to order exactly what you write down. So you're going to get what you write down, within reason."  "You" I said, turning to my f-i-l "Need to tell her when there are changes."  Neither of them respond.  "I can only do so much, you guys have to figure it out."


We found out this morning that my m-i-l bought a smart phone on the shopping channel.

I just...can't...

Apparently she told the brother that she bought a phone.  The brother told Kevin this morning.  Then during his check-in call with his mother, she tells Kevin that she needed MY help "Sending something back."

Kevin - having zero effs and pulling no punches -  "You mean the phone you ordered without talking to anyone about?"

"It's a really nice phone!" she says.  "I just wanted to try it."

So, sigh. Context:  when she picks up her phone she grabs the power button on the side and can't turn the phone back on to answer it. Kevin has explained to her eleventy times that she needs to pick up the phone from the bottom so she doesn't turn it off.  Kevin knows this tip because he struggled with the same thing when he got his new phone. BUT, to her, this means that the phone is broken and she needs a new one.

She ordered it off the television for $50, she says.  She ordered a cheap pay-as-you go phone that you would find at discount stores, convenience store counters. Upon research because hello hi, it's me, I find that it is $73 plus tax, shipping, and handling or $16 for five months.

This also means her intention was to just pay for her own phone service and not tell anyone.  PLUS keep her other phone because she didn't want to get rid of it. "It's a nice phone!" The phone we just bought her and paid for and pay for the service and internet.  

And: drink.

Back to the discussion with the parents.  I said "Kevin said you have a return you need help with."  

"Yes, it's on the table. Everything is right there."  No elaboration.

I picked up the receipt and saw the return label.  "Okay, this looks easy. I will do it when I go into town."  She says thank you...no elaboration.

Flipping open the flap of the box.  "Oh, it's a cheap phone. I see why you want to send it back."  She gets flustered and I continue "This is the free phone that low-income folks get from the state.  They are a pay-as-you-go phone that is absolute junk.  That's why they can give them away."

She continues to fluster.  I straight up interrupted her, which I normally don't do but I was so beyond over it.  Picking up the box, I said into the ether "I will take this today, it looks easy to return. And we're not talking about why you ordered a phone without talking to anyone."

My f-i-l is mute at this point.  I can see the m-i-l is upset so I joked "Now that I've pissed you off, I'm just going to go..." and chuckled.  

"SURELY"  she exclaims.  If she knew my middle name, I think she would have used it.  I just continued to laugh - because the option was primal screaming - and slid the door closed.

There are just not enough expletives some days.  

22 October 2020

Eliminating the Warm Fuzzies

One of the things that I love about the interwebs is you can learn how to do anything.  I love that I can take my phone, tablet, or laptop WITH me while I'm learning something.  I would have been a more successful student NOW than when I went to school.  Probably. Maybe.  

I've learned how to cook better, clean the sink drains, clean the dishwasher filter, and an eco-friendly way to clean the oven.  (dawnsoap, baking soda, and patience/attention span that I don't possess)  Plus the whole gardening, and painting the interior and exterior of the house.

So, welcome to today's episode of What Did Surely Take Apart?

The dryer lint trap.  Not just taking out the filter and cleaning it but the shield around it. This enabled me to vacuum out the lint trap and vent with the vacuum instead of inefficiently using a dustmop or rag.  

It was more difficult to take this photo than to clean the trap

See the screw inset on the upper left hand?  There's one equidistant on the right side too but my photography skills/patience/lack of height would not allow me to capture it.  Also, the racing stripe looking thing is where the sensor lives. It doesn't come off. Don't try.  (remember this in a minute)

It was surprising how much sand, dirt and rocks were trapped in there.  I forget how grubby Kevin's clothes can be.  And dog hair.  Geez, I could make another dog.  I was disappointed that I didn't find any treasure.  Only one dime.  

This task was relatively easy to do; it just took a screwdriver, attention span and patience.  One of which I have.  

Note: used household tools instead of racecar tools. 
Racecar tool would have been more efficient but: too lazy to go to the shop

However,  I took it apart quite easily and it went back together easily.  I only made one tactical error.  Well, no, two.  

When I took the trap apart, one piece stayed but was movable so I didn't worry about it.  Then while I was cleaning, I noticed two wires on said part.  This gave me pause.  Because it didn't occur to me to unplug the dryer first.  I literally thought "Good thing there's a light in here." Sigh.

LUCKILY, it was "just" wires for the lint sensory.  So, safety tip: Remember to Unplug Electronical Things Before Working on Them.  I so know better but sometimes the a.d.d. gets ahead of me.

The second error was forgetting to push down the lint trap flap before screwing the bracket back into place.  I was feeling satisfied with myself right up until I couldn't put the filter back into the dryer.  I had to loosen two top screws, fix my error, then retighten the screws.  It could have been much worse but was still a little kick to the ego.


So, things to think about:  

Unplugging.  Like, for real though.

Flashlight "even though it's a good thing there's a light in here" (sigh)  

Damp rag if you're sneezy or asthmatic (oh hai) 

Lefty=Loosey, Righty=Tighty is a valuable mnemonic to remember. I don't care how old you are.

I did struggle with the putting screws back in because I had to look back toward my body from inside the dryer to see the holes.  I could start two of the screws manually but not the remaining two because they were inset.  Once they got started, then it was all good. But there was a tiny bit of frustrated cursing.

Also, if your fingers aren't communicating with your brain in situations like this, try closing your eyes to do it. I know, it's counter-intuitive but many times it works.  

Stay tuned for the next episode of What Did Surely Take Apart...

20 October 2020

Yep, Did That.

As I mentioned, I had to travel a little bit last week for work.  It's not a big trip but a fun part of the job.

Because reasons, I had to go into my office before heading out, adding time to my work day.  Despite that, I was in a good mood; happy to be leaving the area for a little while.

Washington State has a main freeway and a few busy highways.  I was on a moderately busy highway that I regularly travel to take Lucy on walkies.  However, I was going significantly farther on this trip. I had a giant coffee to drink, my favorite playlist playing, wearing my new favorite hoodie. All was good in the world.  I was just entering farmland - beyond where I travel usually - when it occurred to me to check my speed.  

And: State Patrolman.

I just laughed.  I really did.  Flipped on my signal as he flipped on his lights.  Changed lanes and pulled over.  Grabbed my license and my insurance card, that I had just put in the truck the night before.

Like when I go through the border, I killed the engine and sat with my hands in sight.  As he approached the window, I handed him my information and simply said "Go ahead and write the ticket. I'm 100% guilty. Not even going to try."

This stunned him.  He looked at me with an expression of puzzlement and humor.  I see this expression a lot in my life.  "Well..." he looks at the documents then back at me.  He flips into his script:  "You were pulled over for speeding...You're being recorded...you were doing X in Y."

I'm still all "Yep, did that."  And he's still looking at me like I've lost my mind.

He recovers "Do you have your registration?"  

I laughed.  "I thought I was being all cool having my ID and forgot that!"  I reached for my glove box then remembered that I'm short and can't reach.  At first, I reached for my seatbelt then realized I needed to slow my roll.  Turned to look at him then unbuckled.  "I forget that I'm small"  Nothing from the officer.  I think he's still trying to determine if I'm under the influence or crazy or both.

After I gave him the registration, he said he'd be back but "it would take a few minutes."  I'm still all "I know."

While he's making sure I'm not wanted in twenty states and writing the ticket, I sneaked my phone and tried to take a photo of my rearview mirrors.  Because rain it wouldn't work and I should at least try not to get arrested so I chose my battles and put it away.

He returned to the truck, handed my information back to me then began the speech.  "I'm writing you a ticket...we all speed...don't do it again..."  I took the ticket, set it on the seat and cheerfully told him "I'll pay it when I get home."  He still just looked baffled as he walked away.

I didn't look at the ticket amount until I got to my destination, an hour later.  It occurred to me that I was SPEEDING, like seriously, and the amount could actually hurt.  Squinting, I glanced at the ticket.  Whew, just the "regular" amount.  Thank you, kind officer.

Now I know this is something that ruins peoples days. I have had that happen too.  But he so rightfully and righteously caught me that nothing can be done but laugh.  And slow down.  Probably.

19 October 2020

Sunday Morning Wake Up Call

 On the weekends I sleep in.  During the work week, I send Kevin out the door at 5:20 am then usually nap for a little while because it's dark now.  But on the weekends, regardless of season, I sleep in. Every weekend, he takes the puppy to get us coffee while I get ready for the day. 

Kevin will usually make sure I'm awake by ten o'clock so that I don't "waste the day" get my clock turned around.   Because he still gets up at ohgawd-thirty, sometimes he'll come back and nap with me.  

So, yesterday my phone rings.   I laid there and ignored it until Kevin said "It's your phone."  I resentfully rolled over and picked it up.  It's my mother-in-law. A few things: a) If Kevin is home, she usually phones him. 2) It's early for her.  (it's early for me) c) It's also the time of her med schedule where she's the most high.  Super. 

"Were you sleeping?"  Every.Single.Time.

This time, even though I was, I said no,  She laughed and says "Well, I just never know with the two of you."  Umm...wut?  Kevin could hear the conversation and laughed - a little embarrassed - and left the room.  I fibbed again, said no, and asked what's up.  

"Well..." she hesitates..."Umm, well, I don't even know what I'm going to say." 

At this point, I've gone to the dark place.  Did my f-i-l die? Is the ambulance on the way? What.is.happening.

"Are you going into town today?"  Okay, not what I was expecting...

I told her that I hadn't planned on ANYTHING yet and "What do you need and I'll go get it."

She hesitates...

Finally, she says "Well, I need Depends..."

Before she can even finish her sentence, I'm all "Done. I'll go into town in a few minutes. NO  problem." 

Of course, she fusses.  "I'm done talking about this. It's done." I tell her.  Fussing continues.  "I'm hanging up now, we're done talking about this."  She finally laughs, clearly embarrassed, and disconnects.  I'm not snarky about it but firm.  She needs something and I'm not going to tell her no or make her feel like she's an inconvenience.

So I got into the shower and Kevin went to get us coffee.  It now makes sense why she called me, specifically.  

Once Kevin returns, he checks in next door and asks if it's a hurry thing or what.  *facepalm*  KEVIN. I think he realized his judgement error pretty quickly though.  

While I was drying my hair, she phoned again and I missed it.  I phoned her back.  More fussing: "I realize you have to go INTO the store so..."


"I said that it's done, you're not to worry about it.  I have a mask, I have plan. Don't.Worry.About.It."  

"Well...okay...I just don't want..."

I interrupted her "What did I say? We're done talking about this. I'm leaving in just a few minutes."

The plan was to go into the only grocery store that I actually go into.  Especially on a Saturday morning.  So, I did and they didn't have the brand she uses.  I phoned her to make sure I could grab the other brand without causing her issues.  "That's fine...but they have to be a size bigger..."

This is me, now turning around in the middle of the store to change sizes.  Then there's me finding that they don't have that size.  In any brand, other than the store brand. FML.  But I'm persevering.  This task is non-negotiable.   Out of the store I go and over to Kroger.  #NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished

I parked in the back, where it's significantly less busy.  They were out of her preferred brand because OF COURSE THEY WERE.  This gave me a nudge to buy extra though.  I grabbed three packs, leaving one on the shelf. I one-hundred-percent felt guilty doing that but there wasn't a limit on purchases.  I just don't want this type of emergency again.

Kevin asked if I was embarrassed and I said no.  I mean, it did feel weird having it in my cart but my ego isn't that fragile.  I did use self checkout because: no people and thus there were no witnesses, lol. So it's all conjecture, really. However, if I had run into an ex or a rival, then I would probably feel compelled to say something.  My ego isn't impervious.

I returned home and Kevin asked if I wanted him to take those over.  I swear he has the memory of a goldfish.  "Kev, I think she'd rather die than have her son deliver diapers to her."  "Oh" he blanched "Yeah, that's right."  Ummm YEAH.

I went over and nonchalantly set them on the table then immediately backed outside. (the table is next to the door, they live in tiny home)  They wanted to know how much money they owed me.  I said no and they balked, as they always do.  I reminded them that my f-i-l took the garbage the other day and Kevin is heating the shop with their propane so we're even.  They thought about that and I slid the door shut, leaving them thinking.

Because it didn't occur to me how expensive they are. I mean, I noticed, but I didn't think about the cost per use (why is there 17 in a pack? WHY?) or how quickly it gets expensive when you buy three packs.  So when a coupon printed, I took it when normally I would throw it in recycling.  This now also cues me to add a pack of diapers to MY shopping list so we don't have to do this again.

But it also made me think: where in the world of Where's Waldo is my sister-in-law?  Did my m-i-l only phone me?  I mean, that's fine.  But did the s-i-l say that she wasn't going into town? (this is totally plausible) AND, while we're pondering, why didn't my father-in-law go to town?  He has for other significantly less important things, why not this?  

AND, AND, AND, they haven't done a grocery order recently so what.is.happening?  

18 October 2020



Image borrowed from the interwebs

15 October 2020

I.T. Support and Anxiety

 The other day I mentioned that I didn't go into work because reasons.  I only go into my actual office once a week so this really isn't a big ask.  I should be able to manage that. But nope. Not last Thursday.

It was a busy week, which is unusual anymore and kind of fun.  By the end of the week, I was all "Whew, thank dog it's Friday" and I haven't had that thought in....counting...seven months.

It's dark in the mornings when Kevin leaves and I'm finding it particularly difficult to stay up and stay awake.  So I've been not fighting it and just going back to sleep.  Probably not my best plan but those five words could be the title of my autobiography.

I did eventually get up and work.  I've been starting my day going straight to my office, with coffee and a treat, and not showering until later.  This is been working, sorta.  I can't do it if I have meetings, of course, and I do notice that I kind of resent having to stop to go shower and make myself human.


Kevin phoned about the parents about 9:30, when I'm trying to get ready to go to work.  His dad was having a procedure that day and my s-i-l was taking care of him.  (I KNOW, right) Because things get lost in the shuffle, I didn't have the timeline of this whole thing.  

It turns out that I was scheduled to be at work while this is happening, leaving the m-i-l home alone.  Sigh.  I WORK TWO HOURS A WEEK, how hard is this?  Kevin apologized and I told him I'd just shorten my work day (lol) and come right back home.  

And then the lights went out.  Now it's a tiny bit of an emergency because they can't be without electricity for a sustained period of time.  I waited, hoping hoping hoping it would come on and it did not.  I phoned the power company and the restoration was scheduled for later in the afternoon.  *bad words*  

I phoned Kevin to let him know and he flipped into Problem Solving Mode. He said he'd just come home. This is particularly ridiculous and I told him that I would just call out for the day.  (which is particularly ridiculous in itself)

Now I'm trying to figure out what I can do.  My hair is wet because no electricity.  My office is useless because no electricity.  Obviously my next step is to go get coffee.  I know, wait for it.  I was nearly all the way there when I realized that they might be out of power too.  I'm  committed at this point and Lucy is not going to tolerate not getting treats.  

Luckily, the power had just turned back on at the coffee stand.  We went back home and tah dah!  power is on at our house too.  I dried my hair so I didn't look homeless and decided I would work anyway.  The power continued to flicker because the universe thinks it's funny.

About an hour after the s-i-l and f-i-l left, my phone rings.  It's the m-i-l.  Deep breath.  Her internet isn't working.  OF COURSE IT ISN'T.   I did remember not to ask how long it had been this time.  I told her I'd be over in a few.

I masked up because I couldn't do I.T. support in the rain.  Like always, she went to get up when I came in.  Sigh. Why?  Her internet sits on the kitchen counter so I could work on it from a safe distance.  She has the CNN on at a reasonable level so that was good.  I reset her internet, checked her connection on the tablet, and left.  I know she always wants me/us to hang out but no.

An hour later, my phone rings again.  

This time she wants to know my shoe size.  "It depends on the shoe. What do you need?"  Well, she ordered slippers.  

Oh, wait.  Remember when I taught her how to shop on the amazon while in the middle of the park?  She can't remember if she saw us that day but she REMEMBERED how to do that. Now we get packages about once a week for her. 

Anyway, slippers.  She bought slippers but they are a tiny bit too small for her.  She wanted to know if I wanted them.  No, because I don't wear slippers and two, she gave me slippers for Christmas.  Instead I said that they probably wouldn't fit.  This is not a lie, they wouldn't.  And I'm not getting into the whole You Can Return Them thing with her. I can barely remember to do it for myself.

Then she said "Oh, happy anniversary."  Ummm....what?   Then I remembered that I posted on the social media the other day (which she can now see because I reset her internet and it was probably down for a few days but whatever) that it was the 30-year anniversary of Kevin's and my first date.  So, I clarified that.

AND THEN, what does she always ask?  Without fail?  "Were you sleeping?"  We've been talking like ten minutes now.  "No, I'm working."  Then she giggles.  I swear to dog, every.single.gdamned.time.

After hanging up, I looked at the time and realized that it had been a few hours since everyone had left so she was feeling anxious.  I texted Kevin "Phone your mother"

So, that's why I didn't go to work on Thursday.  

This is also why I'm considering advocating for continuing to work from home if school ever does re-open.  The other day it was I.T. support and anxiety but in the future, it is going to be more than that.

And I don't hate working from home.  There's that. lol

14 October 2020

More Rock and Roll Adventures

As I am writing this, it is absolutely bucketing down rain.  Welcome to Fall in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Blue sky one day/hour/minute, grey the next.

There's always a switch between summer and fall here.  I say switch and not transition because it feels like, seems like, there is absolutely no in-between with the season change.  Sunny and 70's to Rainy and 50's in, like, a day.

I am continually surprised by this change.  Every year I wait too long to put the deck furniture away.  Some years it doesn't even get put away.  Every year I don't plant bulbs in time or trim plants or do any of those responsible gardener things.  I made a minimal effort this year: some of the bushes are trimmed and the lounge chairs are folded up and leaning against the house.

But this year.  This year after the Ivy Eradication Project, I did actually finish something.  I KNOW, right?

Kevin brought home 700 lbs. more of rock the other day.  He sincerely said that it "wasn't as much as before"  (yeah, it nearly was) and that "the rocks were smaller" (no, they weren't. That's adorable)  But I'm grateful.  Not everyone has access to materials like I do.

I discovered that some folks don't realize that these have to be
placed by HAND, not by shovel.

He brought the rock home on Thursday so I could work on it on Friday.  And take Lucy to for coffee/treats/walkies in his truck instead of mine.  Here's where my brain comes into play.  Because reasons, I did not go to my office on Thursday.  (it's a whole other post, really)

So now I have scheduled for Friday: a big project outside, coffee/treats/walkies with Lucy, work at home and work at my office, AND my regular Friday chores and errands. I shouldn't be in charge of my own life, really.

Well, perhaps you just thought: why don't you do the rocks on Saturday?  Because see the first sentence of this post.  It was scheduled to begin raining on Friday and then seemingly never stop until July 5, 2021.  At least the a.d.d. enjoys racing.

I was going to stay up that morning, I really was. But at 5:30 am when Kevin leaves, it is dark now.  So my body was all "Whelp, going back to sleep."  I woke up at 8:30 when Kevin phoned with a question.  If we're being honest, the question might have been contrived and the purpose of the call was to actually make sure that I wasn't doing exactly what I was doing: Sleeping.

I got up, put on grubby clothes and left my hair in a messy ponytail under the hood of the hoodie.  I swear even Lucy looked at me like "Umm, gurl? are you going outside like that?"  #404PhotoUnavailable

Like before, I am sneaking because I don't want my father-in-law to come "help".  So I'm quietly getting into our new garden shed, taking out our new wheelbarrow, lining it with an old towel, and unloading big rock.  Then I trek it the length of our house plus a bit to where I want to finish my idea.

Remember, I had created that little garden space where the ivy used to was.  Then I bordered it haphazardly with rocks and called it done.  But every time I looked at it, it just looked unfinished.  It looked exactly like what happened: I kind of cobbled a border together with what I had.


Also remember: this is a steep, slippery, clay hill that is now also damp.  SUPER.  

There is music you can put on your ticktockapp posts that goes along the lines of "I'm going to do some sketchy sh*t do dah" to the Zip De Doo Dah song.   I actually found myself singing it as I'm trying to get these rocks up onto the hill.

Anyway...so easily distracted...

I finished the border around the little garden then trailed the rocks down along the ferns and down to the lawn, matching the first rock cascade that I made.  I'm super sad that it's late in the year and I won't get to see it with new growth ferns for MONTHS.  But it already looks better and natural, instead of "oh, had some extra rocks did ya?" 

After I finished that area, I had to return to the other cascade to fill in where rocks had shifted and I had also run out of Want To.  This also required going back up to the top and unloading rock from the road.  The path is now completed, from the road all the way down the hill to the lawn.  Next Spring I will probably add some cheap solar lights 

We waited too long for the landscaper to come out one last time.  I'm going to probably weed-whack a portion of that hill myself while Kevin is at work. (forgiveness vs. permission)  I just want to see what it will look like when it's all cleaned up.  The hesitation is that someone (me, totally me) has allowed Lucy to dig in that hill all summer.  So it's now more treacherous than before.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for next summer's project.  I guess that's what the winter is for.  
I've always wanted a fire pit.  hmmm.

10 October 2020

Do I Smell Burnt Toast?

 Living with me is super fun.  I mean, how much fun can it be to live with a girl with A.D.D.?  Well, I just burnt toast twice, nearly three times.  So, super fun.

Let's go to the photos:

This is not an unusual occurrence. Welcome Burglars, Here's everything I own

Couldn't find the towel, looked everywhere, gave up and got another one
(it's soaking wet because it went through the wash cycle)

Huh.  I don't remember doing that

Clearly was interrupted while repotting plants. Yep, I used a spoon, so this is a two-fer.

I leave the refrigerator or freezer open while I'm cooking because I'm going right back to it. Probably.
I will read the preview of the text, then not open it and not reply.
Shoes will be left where I took them off.  This creates a fun "Where are my shoes" game when I need them.  (under the kitchen island stools currently)
Usually three water bottles in use between the truck and in rooms of the house at any given time.
The radio and the television on simultaneously.

If you're thinking "Wow, there's multiple photos for this post"  It took me months to take them and then remember that I took them And Then post.

Meanwhile, I think I'll leave the toast to the professionals.

08 October 2020

Do You Have Your Eyes?

 As I write this, I'm looking through brand new glasses.  Anyone who has worn glasses for a long time will understand what I'm about to say: 



No. Seriously.  I can see, like, all.the.things.

I waited way too long to get new glasses.  Partially because of The End Times and partially because I just kept dragging my feet.  It's not like it's difficult, separate of the whole Covid thing, or that I hate it.  It's perfectly normal for me; something I've done since I was a baby.

Unfortunately, I require a glasses change every year.  Every year for all of my life, like clockwork.  If I'm being honest, it's actually about every six-to-nine months.  I can usually tell because I begin to bump into things, spill, trip, etc.  Well, more than is usual for me.  

And if we cast our mind back a few weeks: I fell.  I've tripped, stumbled, all of the things that can happen when you don't have adequate eyesight.


Okay, I haven't ranted about my brother-in-law for a minute.  He just got home.  Wanna know how I know?  Because he has his car stereo cranked so loud that while I can't hear the actual SONG, I can hear the *thump* *thump* *thump*   I can hear him through a wall, through a garage and another house and about an acres worth of property.  And over the radio playing throughout my house. He's SIXTY. Hair bands. 'Nuff said. *throwing of hands*


If you remember about a week ago, I found my childhood glasses.  Surprisingly to me, I discovered that I could read really well with them.  I knew that my sight had failed because I HADN'T been reading.  (tech tip for parents: if your kid likes to read then stops? get their eyes tested)  

But I was surprised at how WELL I could see.  I couldn't do anything else with them on because HOLY COKE BOTTLE GLASSES Batman. I could read or be flat on my back, those were my options.  This is disappointing, because as previously mentioned: I really like those glasses, even some forty-cough years later.  However, there are similar frames available on the interwebs.

Now in a zippy twist: I need READING GLASSES because my prescription can't be balanced enough to prevent me from walking into walls AND reading AND being able to safely negotiate the freeway all in one frame. This has been a swift kick to my ego. 

I already have trifocals.  Yep.  Since I'm thirty-years-old.  My ego is not very prominent in most things I think about; but trifocals at 30 was a kick in the shins, for real though.  And now: reading glasses.

Let's count: regular every day glasses, prescription sunglasses, and now reading glasses.  You know those chains grandma's wear to keep their glasses?  I would need THREE OF THEM. At one point I tried "computer glasses" but those were a no for me, dawg.  It wasn't worth the hassle when I could just adjust the screen settings instead.

As if that isn't enough, I have cataracts. (I'm 51 years old, diagnosed last year)   Not enough to do anything about it just yet, other than I can't drive at night.  It hasn't been enough that I've felt compelled to have surgery. 

I'm not afraid of the surgery per se.  I have concern that if something were to happen to one of my eyes, I would then be legally blind.  You see...pun intended because it's fun...my right eye is mostly decorative.  It functions but if I were to have to rely on it solely, it would not be great.

The other thing is that I will develop macular degeneration as it runs strong in my family. The odds are good that treatments and medicine will keep it at bay for longer than would have been for my mom, grandmother and great grandmother. (and all the aunts)  But any sort of trauma to the eye is something I avoid.

So what's my deal?  When I was born, I was deprived of oxygen.  Because it was the sixties and I was raised by wolves, who knows what was effected.  I had very "walk it off, rub some dirt in it" parents. We know now that I have an alphabet soup brain, full of A.D.D. and O.C.D. and learning disabilities and sensory issues.

It was discovered at six-months-old that I had lazy eyes; meaning my eyes were unable to track codependently or independently. (crossed and/or wandered) So at one-year-old, I had my first pair of glasses.  At eighteen months, I had my first eye surgery to correct one eye.  At four, I had the surgery on the second eye. I had eye patches, drops, and all forms of glasses. I don't remember not needing glasses of some sort, like, ever.  

There was a tiny period of time where I could maneuver without them with just a little hinderance. Then while learning how to drive, it was discovered that my depth perception is affected.  Because of my upbringing, I don't know why I didn't know this but it was brand new info.  Seems important but whatevs.  

Suddenly with that information, everything made sense.  That's why I spill when pouring things, that's why I'm clumsy, that's why I couldn't see 3D comics, that's why I got dizzy super easily. (I hated gymnastics SO MUCH in elementary P.E.  This is why, it turns out)   Even with glasses, all of these things still exist, just to a lesser extent.

I tried contacts for a little while and here is the problem with that.  Well, two.  I just don't have the attention span for them.  I literally went into Canada before realizing that I didn't have one lens.  I would forget to take them out or put them in.  It was just not for me.  Then because the universe thinks it's funny, contacts don't provide the control needed to keep my eyes from crossing.  It is difficult to maintain a professional image when your eyes are wandering freely about your head.

And I just felt naked without glasses.  I would equate the feeling to suddenly shaving your head.  

Anyway, now I have new glasses again.  I chose plastic frames because I am just too much for wire frames; even though I keep insisting on trying.  I chose what Kevin calls Naughty Librarian frames this time.  For my sunglasses I chose a frame that I've been coveting for about a year now.  An advocate has them for her regular glasses and I was obsessed. 

Top pair is what I'd hoped for reading glasses and bottom pair are sunglasses

I tried to get similar frames for my reading glasses but the company says they won't work for reading glasses.  Now I've ordered frames like my childhood ones.  I consider this a win and not a disappointment.

Ordering online has been really successful for me. I use zenni optical. I had to send a pair back only once, not anyone's fault, they just wouldn't work with my vision. They were absolutely lovely about it. The only disappointment I have is no immediate gratification.  

If I can, I like to support local businesses but my insurance only pays for 75% of my LENSES and not at all for the frames when ordering local. It's just an expense that I can't justify when I can order multiple pairs online and still not spend my limit.

I do miss having someone help choose frames though. Kevin is useless in helping.  In the past, I have chosen frames that once I received them was all "Meh, not a fan" but I wore them anyway.  It's taken me a while to get in the "Oh, I can have multiple pairs of the same prescription" headspace.  

Right now I have my old glasses in my truck, just in case something goes wrong.  I have an older prescription next to the bed so it doesn't matter if I fall asleep with them on. (and it doesn't matter that they're not strong enough because just watching television)  My point is I've finally reached the old lady point of my life where I have glasses in every room.  And now I'll have reading glasses to add to Things to Keep Track Of.  

                                                    Me at two, going on three years old

06 October 2020

It's Just a Bowl

 Certainly...wait, I missed an opportunity there...starting again:

SURELY, it is because we're living in The End Times and in conjunction with the purging of Monica's Closet but I had this weird tilt/shift deja-vu moment this afternoon.

I was still working in the office here at home and realized I was hungry.  Feeding myself is always a challenge for me because things rarely sound good and I often default to I don't want to fuss with The Making Something.

So, cereal.  I had cereal for lunch.  Honey Nut Cheerios.  This is almost the only cereal that I eat anymore and the main cereal of my life since it was created.  And Coco Puffs, but that's not the point of the story.  

I grabbed my cereal bowl from the cupboard.  Everyone has their own cereal bowl, right?  Kevin's is an old butter bowl from the 1960's.  

Mine is actually one of the few things I have from when I was married to satan.  Yep, kept these two bowls but not the BEST MIXING BOWL I'VE EVER HAD.  

I filled it with cereal and milk, chose a spoon, then started to eat as I walked out of the kitchen.  All of a sudden in my head, I could feel/see 1212 Dean Drive Apt 26 (S.P.A, I think that was the apartment number?)    It was the oddest sensation.

I could envision the window and see my old car, see the brown couch, the melted candles on the sconces (now that's a funny story for another time) and the glass topped dining table that I didn't like.  I could almost smell the apartment.  

There are zero similarities between my home and that apartment.  There are zero similarities between that time period and now.  It was just a bowl and cheerios.  Not even a similar spoon because we had silverware pattern that matched satan's grandmothers.  (random useless details that stick in my head) 

I actually paused in my tracks to ground myself.  Like they say to do in a panic attack: 
  • Look at 5 separate objects. Think about each one for a short while.
  • Listen for 4 distinct sounds. Think about where they came from and what sets them apart.
  • Touch 3 objects. Consider their texture, temperature, and what their uses are.
  • Identify 2 different smells. This could be the smell of your coffee, your soap, or the laundry detergent on your clothes.
  • Name 1 thing you can taste. Notice whatever taste is in your mouth, or try tasting a piece of candy.
I had to remind myself that I was not there.  But it took a few seconds to shake.  All in all, probably was a minute but enough to eff me up a little.  

Then I went back to work and moved on.  I visited a friend for an hour or so then came home and still felt a little funky.  So, I researched it because I'm a NERD.

Deja Vu:
Déjà vu is the feeling that one has lived through the present situation before. The phrase translates literally as "already seen". Although some interpret déjà vu in a paranormal context, mainstream scientific approaches reject the explanation of déjà vu as "precognition" or "prophecy". Wikipedia

I found this link and am fascinated by it.  You have to suspend a little reality so check your skepticism at the door. 9 Things Your Brain is Trying to Tell You   How much do I love the #1 on the list because that's my brain all.the.time.

I'm certain it happened because everything is in turmoil right now.  My memories are all bubbling up because of the closet project.  

Or: I'm a time lord.  

02 October 2020

This Is Why I Keep Things

There are multiple projects happening right now and I know better than to do this to myself.  The clearing of Monica's Closet, the resulting culling of the nostalgia box, and the creation of other projects because I simply opened the door of that closet.

So.  Sigh. *rolling of shoulders*  I did the initial cull of Monica's Closet on Sunday.  This created a full laundry basket and multiple bags of stuff to be donated. But there is an average TWO HOUR WAIT at any of the three second hand stores that I donate to.  TWO HOURS.  Because of the mother $%^ing End Times.

Not to be daunted, I called every second-hand store in two counties and the answers went from Not Accepting Donations to "Schedule a drop-off and the most recent available date is October 30th."  Wut.  Kevin said just take it to the dump and I'm all NO.  While I agree that my time is more valuable than a two-hour wait in the car, there had to be something I can figure out and not add to the landfill.

Today (Thursday? is it Thursday?) (No, now it's Friday but stay with me)   I got up early (for me) and arrived an half-hour early to opening.  I was still the seventh car in line.  Sigh.  I parked, put my seat back, and surfed the ticktock app until it was my turn.  Totally worth the time for me.  I mean, really, I would have spent that time on social media anyway; it was just a matter of location.

After that, I did another cull of the nostalgia box.  I messaged photos of items from when I was married to satan to my friends, just to make them laugh.  I kept very little from that time period and it's rare that I find something that makes me laugh. I feel like I should frame and hang them.  Treat them like a sobriety coin.

I am now going through wedding and funeral programs.  Yep, I keep all.the.things.  I found BFF K's wedding announcements and sent a photo to her.  I found the program of another old friend's wedding and he immediately answered that his wife would like to have it.  I'd forgotten that they lost stuff in a 100-Year flood years ago.  THIS IS WHY I KEEP THINGS.  

I have a large pile of stuff from school, kindergarten through college.  That is tomorrow's project. It is going to generate a LOT of "Why do I have this?" and recycling. 

I have sorted everything else into categories, because of course I have.  They're ready to be put into albums soon, which I bought on sale the other day.  What categories? you wonder.  Well, like above, weddings and funerals, greeting cards, bumper stickers, ticket stubs, notes and letters, newspaper articles.  The list is long.

But there are two newspaper articles from my past that I want and CANNOT FIND.  It's making me teary with frustration.  I've put them somewhere "safe".  

Oh, and I posted the trains on my facebook and a friend answered within in two minutes that he wanted them.  One issue: he's in CANADA and I can't get there right now.  I'm going to be mailing them, which is ridiculous because before the End Times, it's less than an hour away.  Otherwise, two other folks have dibbed them so that's nice. I just want them gone to go to a good home.

So, yeah. There's the update on the Monica Closet adventure.  Mostly happy, a little frustrating.  

And the goal of having just one box of stuff remaining?  Meh. *shrug*  We'll see.  Maybe if I get a larger tote.  lol.