30 November 2020

People's Choice Awards

 So, I have a bunch of unfinished drafts in my folder again.  I'm just going to toss them here, all in one post.

Do you want to hear about

How I fell (again) on the outside stairs (again) and most likely broke my tailbone?  AFTER reminding myself that the stairs were slick and I fell last time?

How when I asked my m-i-l if she wanted me to pick up pizza for her for Monday Night Football (#GoHawks) and she said no because my f-i-l is picking up chicken. BUT she'd like to have it for Tomorrow Night?

How I took Lucy for walkies TWICE in three days in my truck; leaving it in an unholy mess that took an hour to clean? And now it smells like the Stratosphere in Las Vegas?

How Kevin keeps getting spam calls and keeps worrying about it every.single.time EVEN THOUGH I've explained it to him ELEVENTY times that folks seeking legal action don't use automated- sounds like it was recorded on a phonograph - messages to your voicemail.  Oh, and STOP ANSWERING THE DAMN CALLS.  It shows your phone as an active phone and the cycle continues.  Just STAHP, ftlog.

How my mother said "We're going to see how it goes" in response to them having ten people in her tiny house for Thanksgiving?  To which I said "It could turn out that someone gets sick and dies alone in a hospital."

How a few months ago I got hilariously called out on social media by our tuner friend to a national television announcer, as a stalker?  

How I discovered that we needed a new oven by serving half-baked - at best - cornbread, after complaining that the oven didn't work when it burnt another dinner nearly beyond recognition.  No, it wasn't me This TIME.

How I asked our new coffee friend if she had hats (for sale) and she was all "Umm, yeah, I have a cat..."
like I was some kind of weirdo, clairvoyant, cat lady.  Making me laugh until I'm crying and trying to do the ASL sign for hat to clarify, which was not helpful at all.

How the IRS website says that Kevin doesn't exist and the only way to prove it is to send a form with his actual drivers license to them?  I mean, what could possibly go wrong there?  Oh, and there is literally a section that says "Do you REALLY need a new card?  Really?"

And then how I found a $16.42 refund check at the bottom of the desk, underneath the drawers while looking for the social security card?  And that: big surprise, I hoard envelopes.  AND that it occurred to me to look under the drawers at 2:00 in the morning and it took everything in me to resist not getting up to disassemble my desk?  (P.S. it wasn't there either)

Okay, now I feel better.  And the drafts folder is a little lighter. 

22 November 2020

What's In the Box?

Every year, EVERY.YEAR, about this time, we have the same conversation with my in-laws and this year is no exception.  Except, it's earlier.  Every.Year.

"We can't find all of our stuff."

We store their Christmas decorations in Monica's Closet.  It used to be three totes and now it's consolidated into one large tote.  This, I believe, is where the wheels fall off. My mother-in-law remembers when she had a lot of decorations and forgets that two years ago she decided to give stuff away.  Also, that my father-in-law puts things into their pantry/laundry room outbuilding and there they remain lost forever.  

Sidenote: remember years ago I told the story of the young nephews having wedding and Transformer wrapping on their Christmas presents? No? Okay, short story:  I put all of the parents Christmas wrapping behind my office door. They live in a tiny house and it was kept over here until they needed it. I explained it just like that: Your wrapping is behind my office door.  Did that work? Nope.

My f-i-l went into my office, moved a rocking chair, got into Monica's Closet and dug out my big green tote of wrapping paper.  Wrapping paper that had zero Christmas wrapping paper because I store that separately.  Where is that tote now? Still in their outbuilding.  Where is their Christmas wrapping paper? In Monica's Closet. I know this because she is the only person who buys blue or pink Christmas wrapping.

Whew, that was longer than I meant to be. But: context.

This morning my phone rings and it's my m-i-l, looking for a tote that has their lights in it. It's a tote with a cracked lid that she hates, she explains helpfully, every  year.  A tote that I got rid of years ago because of the cracked lid that she hates.  I explain that we don't have it, that we got rid of that tote, and that she consolidated all of her stuff.  No, I'm wrong. It's over here.  *deep breath*

Okay, one more sidenote:  This is where Kevin got to experience the specific crazy-making that is the parents when they are spun out over something simple.  I mean, he's experienced it but not in real time like today.  Usually it's over the phone or after something has happened.  This nonsense usually happens on my watch.

I explained to Kevin that we had our traditional, annual conversation of We Can't Find Our Stuff.  He asked if I knew for sure that we didn't have it.  (Taking no offense because he lives with me.)  I explained that he could blindfold me and I could identify every item in Monica's Closet.  

Also, I am confident because: history shows it. Years ago, they put their interior Christmas lights in a different box and stored it somewhere.  This prompted the "We Can't Find Our Stuff" conversation that resulted in me giving them MY LIGHTS so that the conversation would just stop for the love of all that is holy.  I am one hundred percent certain that THAT BOX is somewhere over there too.  Yes, it is enabling and codependent but I just wanted the lambs to stop screaming, Clarice.

He went next door to talk to the elderly crazy people.  Fifteen minutes later, he returns with his hair on fire.  "Are you SURE?"  Yep.  "Show me"  Okay, you wanna go? Let's go.  

I open Monica's Closet and touch every box, explaining what is inside.  He remains skeptical: "You wouldn't have put their stuff with ours?"  No, I reply, because I'm not CRAZY.  I made the decision to pull out the Christmas boxes even though I had ZERO INTENTION of doing that today.  Now I'M in it.

Open one box: "This is the kitchen stuff.  It's divided up by room because your wife has ISSUES."  Open the next box: "This is my work decorations and some leftover stuff"  Open the next box: "This is everything else"

Yes, three boxes of just decorations. Shush.  You mind your ownself. 

Satisfied, yet not, he heads back over to the asylum. After ten minutes he returns, successful yet annoyed.  "Found it." 

"I know" I replied.  

"It was in the laundry room.  In an unmarked CARDBOARD box on a high shelf"  

Did either of them confess, apologize or explain? Nope.  It is the Great Unsolved Mystery of how that box got out there.  

I asked Kevin "Did you see my wrapping paper tote?"  He asked what it looked like and I explained that it's green, long and narrow.  Yes, it is still in there.  "Do you want me to go get it?"  NOPE.  There is zero stuff in there I want at this point and it's one less thing in Monica's Closet.  And it gives me a little glee that they have something of MINE that they will deny having.

Tune in this time next year for a similar version of "We Can't Find Our Stuff".

21 November 2020

Frock This

 So, it's November 21st.  A week away from Thanksgiving.  And this happened:

What had happened was Kevin was tired of me having a sad.  In an attempt to fix it, he suggested that we buy an artificial Christmas tree this year, instead of waiting to get a real tree in a few weeks.  And I hesitated.

Because I really enjoy having a real tree.  Because I want to support local business.  Because it's November 21st.  

So we bought a tree.

Kevin suggested that I could just leave up the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations and JUST put up the tree.  Wut. Like, No.  It's like he doesn't know me at all.  Now I'm taking down all the decorations to replace them with Santa's workshop.  

Which brings me to Monica's Closet. While it's better than it was a few months ago, it's still not finished.  I had to put the nostalgia project away because reasons and now I still have to put our suitcases away from our quarantine road trip.  And find a picture frame.  And take that bag full of paper to recycling.

I'm stuck in "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" - the Holiday Edition.  I told Kevin that my plan was just to sit on the couch and read today. "Reading isn't going to make you happy" he says.  Well, that's debatable, pal.  Unless "of the will" is attached to reading, or the title is "The Principals of Statistics", reading rarely makes me unhappy.

And in other evidence of it's the End Times: this is the first time in the history of man that Kevin has encouraged decorating for Christmas. AND he put up Christmas lights outside.  I think I hear hoofbeats.

The tree is finished, mostly. (homedepot $159) and nothing else is.  Hallo-Thanksgiving is littered around my office.  But I do have my Christmas cards out now.  Maybe tomorrow I'll finish the frocking. 

Or read.  It can be a Christmas book.

13 November 2020

You Dug Too Far

 I have managed to misplace Kevin's social security card.  I don't lose things.  I especially don't lose legal documents.  This is so on brand for 2020. 

 The reason I discovered this is that his bank card was renewed and we couldn't activate it because the credit union has his social security number incorrect.  Because my alphabet brain wrote it down incorrectly years ago and somehow it just now came to anyone's attention.

The person who was helping me was great.  Because of enhanced financial security, they couldn't tell me anything beyond "You were one digit off on the last four numbers."  I had a guess so I said:

"Let's play a game.  The number could be from 1-9, correct?"  She laughed and said yes. 

I continue: "I have dyslexia and I flip twos and fives, Is it that?"

There was a beat of silence and then laughter. "You are on the right track" she confirms without actually confirming it.  And now his card works.  

However, his social security card remains lost.

Determined that I have it somewhere, probably illogically filed; I pulled out my filing from my desk.  Piece by piece, I have combed through this drawer.  There is now a big stack of paperwork that needs to go to recycling.  

With that, know that I keep everything.  I have the paperwork for all three dogs, dating back to 1991.  I found church programs from our old pastor friend.  Old ID's, voter registrations, and all of Kevin's NHRA licenses.  My old pyrotechnics license and paperwork.  Taxes that go back fifteen years.  Treatment calendar from when Kevin was sick. 

I keep everything.

So, with that I also found this:

Yeah, that was super fun.  Restraining orders, divorce papers, receipts for legal fees.  

When I messaged my friend, they said "You dug too far." Yeah buddy, I did.  Finding that wasn't fun, as one would expect.  It set me back a pace or two.  Hence the sending it to a friend to just process.  

I thought about throwing it away, burning it, burying it in the yard.  But I'm holding on to it.  And I don't know why.  We'll leave that to another day.

So, rolling my shoulders and taking a breath.  Let's step back and look at everything that was in that drawer around that small, yet heavy, file:

Puppy adoption papers, three sets.

Marriage license.

Titles to vehicles and Home Mortgage paperwork.

Warranties and paperwork for appliances, tools, toys, electronical things.  

Medical paperwork, showing broken bones, infections, radiation treatment, miscarriages.

Receipts and itineraries for trips and adventures.

File of nothing but house dreams: paint colors, garden blueprints, torn out catalog pages.

All the files around that small packet of paper show a lifetime worth of goals, setbacks, and victories. What was nearly two years of hell, now eclipsed by 28 years of a whole lotta other sunshine and rain.

Now the drawer is smaller, lighter, and more organized.  My heart and brain took a hit but they'll survive.

And I still can't find his card.

And no, it's not in his wallet.

11 November 2020

Anyone Need A Straw? Anyone?

 So, this is one of those actions that began as good intentions.  And then, in Surely fashion, it just got out of control.

This is my kitchen tools drawer:

What? You don't save every straw ever?  

As I've talked about, I've been intentionally working on my footprint on this earth.  Straws were one of those easy ones to do.  I'll wash and reuse them, keep some in the trucks, and keep a hoard stash.  This worked out really well.  Until it didn't.

I needed a spatula (yes, I know what that is)  and couldn't find it.  It's a mystery as to why. Hmmm.

I fished out all of the kitchen tools and this is what it looks like:

But you see there was once a semblance of organization?  There is a utensil sorter in that drawer.  I get scooby snacks for trying.  Until you see this:

Okay, so the first step is admitting there is a problem.  This probably should have been admitted when the creation of that overfull ziplock bag.  To answer one of your probably many questions: the shoebox is full of kitchen tools that I never use but will need the moment after I've given them away.  This box lives in the pantry, with the "extra" straws.

This is what I actually use.  You can see that they will fit quite nicely into that organizer, once I take out the national supply of straws stored in there.

I've thrown that wooden spoon away.  Gross. 
That drawer is the Bermuda Triangle of kitchen tools
 and straws.

So what had happened was I kept the straws (when I could) while I was still working in an office.  I would cycle them through on the regular. Rinse/wash them in soapy water then run through the dishwasher.  It would be about three uses before I tossed them.

Then Kevin unexpectedly went all Save the Turtles on me and started saving his.  

And then The End Times began and I didn't buy coffees anymore.  Well, less. I bought less coffees. But the supply exceeded the demand. 

The coffee place with the mermaid has the best durable straws.  I use those the mostest.  Another coffee stand uses only black straws and you know my Wednesday Adams's Heart just loves those.  Then you'll notice there are pink straws. Those are not mine and  I wrote about this earlier this year.  (Pink Straws)  I don't know that I'll have the heart to use all of those, like, ever. 

Now when Kevin gets us coffee on the weekends, he tells them we don't need straws. So the hope is eventually I will use these.  Or I am going to need arts and crafts project ideas soon.

09 November 2020

Well, That Didn't Suck

In this week's episode of What Did Surely Take Apart?  We serviced the vacuum cleaners. 

First off: I'm shaving my head and the dog.

Secondly: Hello Inhaler, I love you.

I vacuumed yesterday with the common folk vacuum and noticed it wasn't working very well.  Like a responsible adult, I finished and put it away. I added looking at it to a running to-do list.

When I use the common folk vacuum, I'll usually let Rosie take a pass around the house to catch anything that my A.D.D. addled brain didn't get or that I can't reach.  That was the plan today, at least.

This is one of those I'm Super Fun to Live With events.

I put Rosie on the counter and cleaned out her filter.  This is super easy and self-contained.  I noticed the bar that sweeps had not one, but two fabric softener sheets wrapped around it.  Well, that can't be good, I thought, and began to take the roller apart.

I say again: it's super easy and self contained.  However, when you have a dog AND long hair AND fairly new carpet, things get a little messy.  All of the aforementioned were wrapped around the brushes and the bar.  I am a terrible robot owner.  She had every right to stage an uprising.

About fifteen minutes later, I've gotten most of the hair and stuff removed.  Then I rinsed it in the sink to remove any dust and loosen anything left behind.  Yeah, it wasn't as clean as I thought.  Another fifteen minutes later and I'm finally done.

But I can't put it together yet because the brushes are now wet. 

Well, while I'm in a mood: let's bust out the common folk vacuum.  

I set it on the kitchen island, got the screwdrivers and went to grab my other glasses.  Here enters Kevin into the house, to see an in-process vacuum autopsy being conducted on the counter.

"What....what are you doing?" he asks, a little fearfully.  I explained what I was doing and he thinks for a moment.  

"Do you think it was a good idea to, I don't know, take ALL OF THE VACUUMS apart?"

See?  I'm super fun to live with.  I did not consider that.  I assured him that all was well.  Rosie the Robot is super easy to assemble. I've done it before. Whatevs, Kevin.  I walked away to get my other glasses only to return and he has begun to disassemble the vacuum.

He has the tiniest bit of chauvinism in that he doesn't like me to do "messy" jobs.  To that, my answer depends on how much I want to do the actual job.  Sometimes I acquiesce, sometimes I tell him to kick rocks.

Today was a kick rocks task.  He actually gladly went back outside.  

Vacuums are very straight-forward and simple.  A rolling brush and a belt.  That's it.  It's just unpleasant to clean.  Like with Rosie, I took it apart and cut away the human hair, dog hair, and carpeting.  I also took the swiffer to all the nooks and crannies that it could reach.  I rinsed the cover, which had also accumulated dog hair in the bumper.  

The cover protects the belt (on the left side)

Now I'm back to Rosie, while the cover for the vacuum dries.

During and After

I put her all back together, easy. What does Kevin know, anyway?  I set her to run in the living room, just to make sure.  Returning to the kitchen, I noticed a yellow cog on the counter.  Hmmm, what is that? That looks familiar, I think to myself. 

I've said it before: the gods do not like arrogance.  I had forgotten one of the cogs that turn the brush on Rosie.   Because A.D.D. I had placed the cog on the counter behind me, because reasons, and didn't notice. It fits snugly enough without it that I didn't notice. Well done, me.  I retrieve Rosie, apologize, and return the cog back to it's rightful place.

Now I'm back to reassembling the vacuum.  Kevin had already used the air compressor to blow out the filters, except the HEPA filter "because that one never needs it"  Cue to me, banging it on the counter and making a dusty mess.  Sigh.

Vacuum went back together easy and I put it away. Cross that service off the list for another year.  Rosie zipped around the house without issues, even helping clean up the dust and hair that had now accumulated on the kitchen floor.  

So, add this to your list of things to do when you're bored.  It's easy to do, just dusty.  If you get stuck, there's always YouTube.  Everything is easy to take apart, it's the putting back together part that gets tricky.

Gratuitous Lucy photo.  She is not a fan of Rosie.

07 November 2020


 This morning I woke up to a shift in energy and a text notification.  The shift was the noise of Kevin getting out of his chair to come wake me.  The notification was from Charlotte Clymer and Resistbot notifying me that it's finally done.  

I sat, stunned for a minute, until I grabbed for the remote to turn on the news.  

Then Van Jones is crying and I'm crying.

Then I'm trying to message friends from three different apps, only to get messages from others.  This isn't to say Oh I'm so Popular, but to show how relieved many of us are.  How social media can bring us together in a real way.

Our Canadian friends have reached out, just as relieved as we are.  World leaders and media are expressing support and relief. There is actual dancing in the streets.

We can breathe again. We've been holding our breath since Tuesday. Since November 2016.

Certainly it's not over.  We have two months of possible ongoing disaster.  Still, there is resolution, a way forward. It feels like 2008 again.


03 November 2020

It's Been A Long Week - A Story

I'm trying to decide where to begin this story...it's another parent story so there's a few layers.

I'll start with a listicle:

Brother-in-law's dog has a kidney infection.  I hate this dog.  It's mean to Lucy.

This dog is ill-behaved and not disciplined and has to be babysat by the in-laws during the day.

Parents continue to dare COVID to come get them. F-i-l took their dog to the groomer. The groomer.

As documented, I spun out a little on Monday. This contributed to said spin-out.

Now I heard that the parents had left in the morning, while I was working.  I can hear their van from my office.  I didn't think much about it.  Because: working.

A few hours later, my mother-in-law phones and she is upset.  My f-i-l hadn't returned yet.  Now I'm thinking it's because something is wrong.  Nope, the groomer is taking a long time.  

Let's unpack that: so she's been alone for hours.  He's waiting in the van? For a grooming appointment.  (it's a shih-tzu, it's fine to skip grooming appointments) For hours.  There are so many things wrong here.

No, she's upset because the dog I hate has been stuck in my brother-in-law's house for hours and she is convinced that it will get sick again.  She wants me to go let it out of the house. 


The dog I hate.

In my b-i-l's house.

The dog that is ill-behaved and not trained. (boxer breed)


I expressed hesitation and doubts because of all of the above.  I said: "If something happens to that dog when I let it out, it will 100% be my fault."  She flusters.  "She'll behave.  She'll just run up here to the house."  I'm still saying no and trying to figure out how to solve this at the same time.

She then says that someone is calling her.  I told her to answer it and hung up on her. (a little happily, I admit)   I then phoned Kevin, who doesn't answer.  This isn't unusual because he's busy.  So I waited.

My phone rings and it's Kevin.  I took a guess and asked "Have you talked to your mom in the last five minutes?"  Yes and now he's wound up. Another list is needed:

He also doesn't like the dog 

But he's upset that his mom is upset

He's annoyed/pissed that his dad is at the groomer

He's annoyed/pissed that his brother can't get his sh*t together and take care of his own dog.

He's a tiny bit annoyed/pissed that I didn't want to go down there.  But understands why.

"Please go down there.  If the dog takes off, then so be it.  It's not worth upsetting Mom."

Cue me silently throwing hands, stomping, cursing and eye-rolling.  Meanwhile, passive-aggressively stating "I'll just stop working to go solve this problem."

Put on my shoes and have to tell Lucy she can't go because "I'm going to help that dumb dog who is mean to you.  You get to stay cozy on the bed."  She is not happy. Stand in line, dog.

Walk over there and down the sketchy stairs to their house. No key.  Door is locked. Because why not.

I phoned Kevin and asked him if he knew where the key was.  He did not.  He uses his other phone to phone his dad and I hear:

"Surely is at the house to let out the damn dog.  Where is the key?"

"You don't know....It's in your pocket...You're on your way home now."

He hangs up from his dad and there's a beat of silence.  "Go home. You heard all that."

I'm already walking up the stairs and across the yard.  I didn't even look into the parents window because I could not guarantee not to flip off an eighty-year-old woman.

Later that day I posted a meme on the facebook.  Later that night, I noticed the comment from my m-i-l:

At least I know her internet is working.

Today is the Day

 And it's Election Day.  The day we never thought would arrive.

I voted two weeks ago, which makes this day a little anti-climatic.  Washington has mail-in ballots for all elections so we have it "easy."   I did drive to the county courthouse to directly drop-off our ballots this year though.  No mail and no just dropping them off  at the nearest ballot box.  Nope, went straight to the source this year.

I had planned to fill today with work - which I have PLENTY of after yesterday - and then watch non-election coverage television.  I have a playlist in mind:

How I See It - the documentary from Pete Sousa, President Obama's photographer

Hamilton - because, of course.

The American President - because these past four years have felt like Aaron Sorkin's alternate reality

The West Wing - I have the boxed set and one of the channels has been airing it so it's on the dvr too.

What did I do this morning?  Slept. Like, no, really slept.

I meant to stay awake/up this morning but Lucy got up on the bed with me and then game over. I woke up to her laying parallel to me in what started as a perpendicular situation.  She bogarted the entire bed, all 35 lbs. of her.  

And my work texted me. So, there's that.

I'm at my desk and starting work. I skipped showering but am in my favorite hoodie. I switched the alexa station to 80's music, I'm having coffee and brownies for breakfast.  I'm going to work most of the day, probably. Maybe.  Then enact the Television Part of the Day.  It will end with Taco Tuesday and hopefully Not the World on Fire.  

With that, this is where I tell you that my 84-year-old father-in-law voted this year for the Very First Time.  He wanted to be part of history.  He wanted to have some responsibility in ending these dark four years.  84-years-old.


Then do the self-care thing in whatever way you can. 

02 November 2020

Spun Out

I just had to take a few minutes of self-care.  Everyone is High Level Stressed today, the day before the election.  I am No Exception.

I'm trying to work with interruptions from Kevin, the in-laws (don't get me started) and the dog. And work.  Now I'm sneezing my fool head off and need to go get my inhaler.  The one that I nearly forgot to renew last week because I am a Responsible Adult.

I am over-caffeinated today because my brain wouldn't boot up this morning.  I just made myself eat a banana (YUCK) and an organic protein bar and drink 10 oz. of water.  I still want coffee.  I will argue that with myself later.

I loaded the dishwasher and started it.  I restarted the dryer.

I put the unfinished domino game away that I started when my mom phoned the other day. (another don't get me started)

I had paperwork strewn all over my desk, floor, and filing cabinet.  I stacked everything back up so my brain doesn't sit there and constantly remind me that there is paper, like everywhere, and why don't you do something with it. (I am but the brain disagrees)

Soon I have to go into town to pick up extra groceries in case the world falls apart tomorrow.  And I am stopping by my work for ten minutes so I can skip my Thursday office hours if the world falls apart tomorrow.  

I'm sending this out into the universe for two reasons.  Well, three.  Yelling uselessly into the void sometimes helps.  So I can look back to this day in particular and remember.  And so my brain will just finally, please, shut the eff up.

I hope this finds you doing soothing things today.  If not, please do.  Today is not the day to trifle with.