10 June 2021

Canine Bankruptcy

Lucy has become a high roller.  We spent $556 dollars yesterday to find that she's a) in perfect health, 2) she strained her left knee and c) sometimes dogs just don't feel good.  YEAH.

Monday morning she wasn't herself, didn't eat breakfast and just slept in our bed all morning.  I went to work for a few hours and when I returned, she wasn't feeling good and wouldn't let me pet her beyond her mid-section. She also wouldn't lay down on her sides, just lay in the sphinx pose.  

I called our vet and they couldn't see her until THURSDAY.  I scheduled an appointment, just in case, then called every vet in two counties. Finally an unavailable vet recommended one in my hometown. I phoned and they took her first thing the next morning. Because now it's like 4:30 pm. Also, hooray small towns.

Kevin and I had the discussion of using emergency pet care but the cost is prohibitive unless the dog is in terrible shape, shall we say.  My sibling in-laws have taken their dog, the one that I don't like because it's mean to Lucy,  multiple times and it has been No Less Than $1000 per visit.  Don't get me started on how that feels like extortion.

Also, the above mentioned dog has cost them over $10,000 in procedures.  It's a boxer with papers and has all the health issues and behaviors that breed is prone to.  Plus owners who don't take care of her properly.  (people food, not trained to behave alone in the house, not trained to be around other animals)

Kevin and I discussed multiple times the "How much is Too Much?" and we disagree.  I believe Kevin would be a Whatever It Takes person if he weren't married to me.  In the past 60-days we've spent just under $800 on her and I'm getting a little bitter about it. (this is not a humblebrag but more of a @#$#!) This also leads me to the Just Because We Can Save Them, Doesn't Mean We Should. Quality of life and remaining life span needs to be considered.  And debt.  I apply this to humans as well.   

Anyway. I didn't realize I had so much to say about that.

Lucy didn't eat dinner Monday night and she needed to be ON us. Not next to, but ON us.  So she slept in the people bed and she was obviously in pain.  To the point that Kevin slept on the bedroom floor with her for a while.  (I know, right?)  She was just as bad in the morning and didn't eat breakfast or leave the people bed.

Going to the vet, she was horrible in the truck, wanting to get UP onto the dash, trying to lay at my feet, trying to get in my lap. I honestly don't know how I didn't wreck my truck. Finally we got to the vet and she was all Perfect Dog.  Sigh.  She let the vet touch her hind-quarters and tummy and do all the necessary things without a peep.  But he said that it was clear her tummy was upset.  She had the tiniest of a temperature.

They kept her for x-rays and bloodwork and I had to go home without her.  UGH.   FIVE HOURS later, I went to pick her up.  After being together every day, all day for a year and a half, that was not my favorite.

Her blood work is perfect, her organs are perfect ("If you ever need something, here's your donor" the vet said)   Her spine is great, her joints are great, her tummy is fine.  She has a slight heart murmur but that's common for a dog her age.  He said that if he didn't know the demographics of the dog, he would have bet that she was a much younger dog.  

While this is nice, I'm yelling in my head "Then why am I here!?!"     The most he could find was inflammation in her left knee.  I "jokingly" said that we were here because she wanted attention and he said something like "maybe."  Double sigh.  Except she was really not feeling well and not acting right.  

So, it's a good guess that she ate something that didn't agree with her and also hurt her knee hunting and that it just was coincidental. So, whew.  I also think she's nine and we're seeing Old Dog Behavior.  

I brought her home and she was SO HIGH.  Omg, so high.  I'm going to hell for laughing at her.  Thus the social media posts.  Here's my favorite:

You have to tell me if you're a cop

She slept with us all night, like a people between us.  Not a peep nor a movement.  She slept all morning on the people bed in her blanket, while I worked.  She whined at one point and I checked on her.  I think she didn't know how to get down. She was still a little high.

Also, I let her outside on the deck and she didn't quite know what to do.  I let her in the yard and she walked like she'd never experienced grass before, lol.  Now she's sleeping on the deck and will randomly wander the house.  She's whined twice and I think it's because she can't see me.  GREAT.  I hope that's not going to be a habit.

Also, her whining has been Next Level today.  It's like she learned from the other dogs at the vet. Super.

Meanwhile, we're supposed to take it easy for a few days so I'm skipping walkies until Friday.  I asked the vet about the walkies suggestion and he said that it was clearly working so keep going. A little part of me was hoping for "No, that's too much.".  Not that I hate it, it's just work sometimes because I can't just walk out our door for a walk; we have to go somewhere.

In the end, we found a new vet because I liked his approach.  He offered to see her for free if she acts up like that again in the next little while.  It's a small town vet office like you would see in the movies.  Her other vet is a larger, newer clinic and doesn't have that same vibe.  

Now I'm going to go research pet insurance.  

03 June 2021

Adventures in Parenting

 I haven't told a parent story for a while, I realized.  The pandemic has kind of limited their ability to make us crazy.  Oh, there's the usual electronical things like when they turned down the phone and didn't turn it up so now it's broken.  Or orders from Amazon that she DIDN'T order, just ask her. (now she knows how "easy" it is to do returns, sigh.) 

Or the handful of times they would decide that they were just over the pandemic and would go somewhere.  Kevin did a good job at just stepping back and letting them go.  Sure, he'd throw out a "You're gonna die alone..." here and there but mostly he held his tongue.

And now they're both immunized so they've been shopping and to restaurants multiple times. Don't get me started.  They are still in their eighties and medically fragile.

Kevin's mom was dying to see our house, she's been hearing about my projects and wanted to actually see it.  Kevin went over Sunday at noon to see if she wanted to visit. He would walk her over here.  But she had tired herself out and wanted a little rest first.  Kevin told her he'd check in with her later and came home.

He was moving the clock and artwork on the wall behind the giant television and I was mopping when we both hear a noise.  It was his mother.  Standing in our kitchen.  Unannounced. UNACCOMPANIED.  She had somehow managed to walk over here, on a gravel path, by herself.  No cane, no walker, no oxygen. Nothing.  At least she kept their little dog home, I guess?  My f-i-l was working next door (another don't get me started) and she took the opportunity to sneak over.  She would say "surprise", we say sneak.

Kevin and I were both stunned to silence.  Finally I managed "You are SO grounded" over Kevin's "What in the hell are you doing?"  She did the infuriating "I'm fine" thing when she's so not fine. She was clearly exhausted but didn't want to sit or borrow my cane.  Because reasons.

We recovered quickly enough and Kevin took her on a tour.  It's not like the house is huge, I can hear everything and I did pop in to make an appearance in each room, I just didn't hover.   She liked it very much, became a little weepy seeing our picture wall, and Kevin walked her home.  

We didn't discuss it once he returned, just a raised eyebrow and a heavy sigh.  It wasn't until dinner when I mentioned "SHE DIDN'T EVEN KNOCK."

I've talked about the bras and my m-i-l.  Here's an update: It is STILL happening.  Man, I have some karma to correct somewhere.  Kevin suggested that I hand the issue off to my sister-in-law.  Yeah, tried that and she is uninterested.  Because, you know, I'm ENJOYING this so much.  We're waiting for two more bras to arrive and if those don't fit, then she is going to have to go into a store and get fitted.  

Here's the big one.  Here's the one that made me wish I had alcohol in the house.  

Every.Single.Time. my mother-in-law phones, she asks "Are you sleeping?"  Doesn't matter if it's 6 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon.

She phoned about 4:00 pm and she sounded not quite on this planet.  It's a little early for her to be sundowning so my internal alarm sounded.   After a few seconds of fumbling, she finally got out that she needed help with her bank account and "can you go on the computer and look."

I've always kept financial boundaries firm with the family.  This can be challenging because there are few boundaries in this family.  For example, every year Kevin's brother tries to compare income tax refunds.  Every.Single.Year.  So, yeah, that's a thing.  I'm hesitant to wade into these waters and I'm trying to decide if I need to call Kevin.

She continued to struggle to ask me so I asked her what exactly she needed.  Did she need a bill paid? Did she need to check her balance?   (my blood pressure is rising writing this, just remembering.)

"I just phoned the bank and it says there is no money in our account."


I told her I'd be right over, I just needed to get my laptop.    As I'm getting it and turning it on so it's ready when I walked over there, I'm trying not to panic.  I'm flipping over into Combat Mode, working the problem.  

It's probably a mistake, odds are it's a mistake. 

Except remember when she tried to order something from Facebook?  And Amazon.  

We have funds to cover them if it is something wrong.  But the brother is going to have to buck up too and that will be drama...

Are we at the point of them needing help with their finances because 1.2.3. NOT IT.  

Seconds later, I'm walking over with my laptop and my internet hotspot.  Breathing through it and convincing myself that it is just a mistake.

My father-in-law is in his chair watching WOMEN'S BASKETBALL.  Like nothing is wrong.  

My mother-in-law is at the kitchen table and absolutely no color in her face.  She's struggling with words because she has, rightfully so, melted down.  

I asked her to give me her bank statement so I can create an account.  I asked her if that was okay and she hesitated.  Then I explained that I can't help her if I can't have those things.  Well, how do they balance their checkbook you just wondered.  She CALLS CUSTOMER SERVICE.  

I noticed that she had three credit cards in front of her, all of them from a national bank.  "What are those?"  I asked.  One is a debit, one is a credit, and one is...Are You Ready?...  " a card they just gave me."  Deep breath. Do.not.react. 

She gave me the bank statement and I got to work, like you see in the movies when people are trying to hack into the company computer system.  This is where I say it's FRIGHTENINGLY easy to create an account.  

And...they have a balance.  A big balance, actually.  So...hooray?

Now I'm walking back what happened.  She phoned customer service to check their account.  It appears that she entered the "Card They Just Gave Me" and it has a zero balance.  Because it's a credit card with rewards and they don't use it. She kept pointing out that it was a rewards card until it occurred to me what she meant and I said "It's not like the grocery store."  

Plus, she used that card number - out of three available cards - instead of their account number for reasons that are beyond me.  

I'm vacillating somewhere between wanting to lay down and cry and throwing punches.

Then my sister-in-law phones her.  M-i-l is telling her that I'm looking into it and fixed it.  But she's not being clear because she's still in panic mode.  I literally took the phone out of her hand "Teresa, it's Surely.  It's all good.  It's probably what you thought happened."  She expressed relief, frustration and thanks and we hung up.

Now that I'm not freaking out that we have to pay their bills until this gets fixed, I've flipped into WTF Mode.  She explained again about the card that they just gave her.  I suggested, pretty firmly, that they call the bank and cancel that card.  She's stuck on the "But they gave it to us" so I moved on.  

Next I suggested that she has my s-i-l help with this regularly so we don't freak out the entire family.  She kind of agreed to that.  I suspect that she asks for help more than I know with that.  Whatever, I said the words and I can move on without guilt.

Then I suggested that they keep the larger amount of money in savings instead of in checking.  They have been poor a good portion of their lives and it's my guess that it's comforting to have that big amount in their checking.  However, I pointed out that if this had been Fraud, they would have exactly $211 in savings to live on while it was getting fixed.  This took a couple of tries to get them to understand and I left it unresolved. Yes, I could have transferred the money right then and there but I'm trying to keep boundaries in place.  

So, now it's all fixed.  I texted my s-i-l all of the log-in information so she can do with it what she wants.  I wrote it down for the inevitable next time.

Returning to my house, I texted Kevin to phone me when he gets a moment.  Again, wishing there was alcohol in this damn house.  He phones right away because I never make that request.  I gave him the clif notes version of the story and he's momentarily speechless.  That never happens. He recovers and says thanks for fixing it and that obviously A Conversation is needed.  Again: 1.2.3. Not It.

Then he tells me later that the b-i-l knew but didn't tell Kevin or me.  What the ACTUAL.  I can't even go there in my mind because it's so frustrating.  And then it occurred to me that clearly the s-i-l knew also.  Sigh.

I post this to a) scream uselessly into the void  b) so it's hopefully helpful to someone else who is raising elderly parents.  I have no suggestions because finances are one of those areas that aren't going to be addressed until something goes wrong.  We dodged a bullet and that was our warning shot.

26 May 2021

Wait, That's Mine...

My mother-in-law decided she needed to clean things out this weekend.  Yeah, that isn't disconcerting at all.  It started when she phoned me, needing tissue paper to pack things.  So in a tiny panic, I walked a box and paper over to her.  To find her standing on a little collapsible step stool.  IN SLIPPERS.  While my father-in-law watched.  Raising parents is not for the weak, I keep telling you.  I was speechless for a milli-second then announced "Oh GOOD, you're standing on a stool." To which, she says "Oh, pssh, I'm fine." as she clumsily steps down.  CLEARLY.

She has done this before: giving away stuff.  Last time it was giving away Christmas stuff then fast forward two years and she was wondering where her decorations were.  This is SEPARATE from the "It's in the purple tote with the broken lid I don't like" conversation that we have annually.

I asked her why she was doing this and she mentioned that she wanted more space to put out the "Stuff that I like and want to look at."  I admit, I got a little smart-assy and said "You live in a three-foot by three-foot house, what do you have that you can't SEE."

She mentioned that she had animal figurines that she thought my s-i-l had and she would like to see them.  Well, first off: *I* have them and secondly: that was the agreement.  If she wanted any of her stuff back, it was hers.  But no, I was wrong: Teresa has the figurines.  I started to argue then just said "I'll be back in a minute."  I came home, grabbed this creepy dog thing that she loves and took it back over there.  "Is this what you were talking about?"  Yes, that was one of them.  

Back over to the house I went, gathered up the rest, and took them back over there.  Now she's flustered.  She's worried that now I won't be able to look at them.  I literally had to make myself wait to respond, count in my head, and then say "It's fine, they are yours and you will enjoy them more than me." Whew.  What I wanted to say is that I forgot that I had them until you mentioned them.  But I did not.

Now it's Tuesday.  I went over there to drop off mail and she had the box ready for the goodwill.  Kevin and I had already agreed that I would check out everything before it went anywhere to make sure she didn't give away heirloom stuff that the family would want.  Also, I usually text the niece photos of stuff to see if she would want it.

I brought the box into my office and began to delve into it.  The first thing was a candy bowl that is MINE that she used during the holidays. There was also a ribbon that was around another vase when we sent flowers over.  So...great. I'm getting my own stuff back.

One of the other items was a glass hummingbird we gave her to set in her window.  I'm certain she has no memory of it so my feelings aren't hurt beyond a "Huh, well, there we go."  There is a plastic bird with mama bird and babies.  I bobbled it and while trying to catch it, noticed it has batteries and makes noise. HARD PASS.  There's also a fisherman figurine that does something similar.  This is what I categorize as gifts for people who are impossible to buy gifts for and/or while in the hospital.  (I think that's where the bird nest came from)

There were two glasses which are part of a set.  I've lost track who has the set but I've always liked them so I put them in the china cupboard (iridescent blue carnival glass)  There was a marigold carnival glass candy bowl and glass that was also part of a set that I DO have.  The candy bowl is on the kitchen island for now and glass is in the cupboard.  Good thing I took those animals out of there so I would have space.

There was an ugly brown tea cup set.  It pinged in my memory so I set it aside for later.  This morning I thought to look underneath and there's a note that says "Grandma Tippy's teacup".  It was one of Kevin's grandmas favorite cups.  So, whew, hooray for my scattered memory bank keeping (sorta) that information.  Into the cupboard that goes.

Next up was a flower vase, just a clear wide-opening vase.  At first I put it back into the box because: vase.  Then this morning I realized it would be perfect to hold all the rocks I keep bringing home from walkies. Because right now, they're in my truck, on the kitchen windowsill, on my desk, on my office windowsill, in my actual office, everywhere.  Kevin is delighted with that fact. (nope)

There was a blue mini-vase that is pretty but doesn't match anything in the house or china cupboard.  This is where I explain that my mother-in-law is childlike when going "shopping", which is browsing endlessly through second-hand shops.  She has to, HAS TO, buy something before she leaves.  Has to.  I'm guessing this odd little vase was one of those purchases.

Finally there was a heavy ceramic Christmas tree so I kept it because Christmas.  A felt Santa doorhanger that stayed in the box.  Candles that I don't need.  A small picture frame that I don't need but will use.  A heavy platter that I can't tell if it's vintage or second-hand.  It's in the Waiting for Other's to Dibs pile. 

And finally this adorable and slightly terrifying lamb:

It's one of those things where you see it and think "Oh, that's cute" then look at it a little more closely. OR IT LOOKS AT YOU MORE CLOSELY and discover that it's actually a little terrifying.  What you can't see is that it has a halo and it's hollowed out for a candle? I mean, it's just the lamb that keeps giving.  (nightmares)

So, add this to things to be prepared for with raising elderly parents.  They will suddenly start giving stuff away.  My mom did it without my knowledge until I happened to notice one day. Then  I brought home some stuff that had hung in her kitchen since gawd was a boy.  I can't think about what she sent away without us knowing.    Also when downsizing the family house, remember to keep things they love but aren't quite ready to part with. Box them up and put them in a closet. Sometimes, those items can be returned for a visit and seeing them again will make them happy.  

23 May 2021

Bribing the Vet

 It's been well established that Lucy is the goodest puppy ever.  Out of the four dogs we've had, she's been the easiest and best trained.  She's smarter than me, by far.  

She's nine years old now, even though we still call her a puppy.  We are in denial that she will ever be Not a Puppy.  

She started acting up about a month ago.  She wouldn't sleep in her crate.  Tore it up once at 2:00 in the morning.  Whined and cried.  Refused to go in at bedtime.  

When I gave up and let her sleep with us but it wasn't like she was all "I WON, I am in the People Bed!" Sometimes she was alerting - going to the windows or patrolling the house, and sometimes she would just be in like a panic and want to lay ON us.  Occasionally, she would switch it up and sleep through the night in her crate.  Just to keep us off balance, I think.

After two weeks of sleep deprivation torture, I took her to the vet. Even though she had a checkup in November with shots, we went to make sure something wasn't happening.  $222 later and it is determined that she is aging and having anxiety.  STAND IN LINE, PUP.   

The vet first suggested puppy prozac.  I told her that I would like to explore other options before throwing chemicals at her.  I emphasized that just like me, if she needs it, she will have it but let's try other things first.  She said she can't recommend it because: rules but that some people use CBD.  We will try that if this continues. (and for the human, also)

The vet then suggested to increase her walkies.  I explained that we do long walkies every Friday, and other short walkies during the week and that she has 6 acres to roam all the other days.  Nope, dedicated, regular walkies.  Like I mentioned on the social media, I think she paid off the vet.

Okay, well, regular walkies isn't going to kill me so I set my intention to figure out a way to make this happen.  The first week we did walkies every day, a mix of 1-2 miles each time.  She slept in her crate at night that whole week.

Then, like a switch, it was as if she thought "Hey, they've tricked me. I will NOT sleep in my crate."  So now she sleeps on the couch.  

Last week we went every day but one.  She was tired, I was tired, and the weather was a little bleh so we skipped it. It was enough that Kevin was actually starting to feel bad for me.  She continued to sleep on the couch, or her pillow behind Kevin's chair, or her fort under the dining table or even sometimes her bed.  As long as she isn't waking us up, I can't care.

Sidebar: cousins are coming to the house. Cousins who we haven't seen in two years.  Kevin mentioned something - in JEST - about having the house clean.  I sassed and said: "When is it never not perfect?  Name one thing that is wrong."  He thought about it and then grinned...oh no.  "The fact that there are one, two, three, four DOG BEDS in this house."  Okay, fair enough.

Then the other night I was startled awake.  She was scratching at the door, threw herself against it, and whined.  I jumped up and opened the door then she shoved past me like her tail was on fire.  She jumped onto the bed and laid down.  She laid with Kevin for a bit then moved and had to lay ON ME.  I'm starting to think that I need to go to the doctor, she 's freaking me out.

Once she settles she's fine.  During the day, totally fine.  She's not in pain, doesn't complain, has no symptoms.  She will even go sleep in her crate when I'm working in the office (where her crate lives)  If she thinks we're leaving, she puts herself in her crate. She just won't sleep in it during the night.

Seriously. What a dump

I've pulled it apart Twice.  We put in a sweatshirt that Kevin had worn to work.  We closed the curtain, we turned up the radio.  We put more blankets in, we put less blankets.  We have done all the things and  No Thank You.  She's gotten two baths and the vet has checked her for fleas and ticks.  Kevin wondered if we needed to put more cushion in there.  To which I gestured to the crate with a "Seriously?"

So, worse case is that I get exercise.  Worse case is she sleeps elsewhere.  I mean, in the scheme of things it's not a big thing.

But, there's always a but.  When I can't sleep, I will do laundry.  I will put dishes away.  I will write.  I will go outside and take photos of the sky.  I can't do these things while she's sleeping in the living room.  She will be all "Oh, we're up?  Awesome! What are we doing?"  So now it feels like I'm grounded in my own damn room.

Because she's a shelter puppy, we don't know her exact age.  According to the shelter and the vet, we approximate about nine years old, maybe leaning toward ten.  Her muzzle is grey, her eyebrows are grey.  So with that, we think she is aging and getting a little clingy.  I also discovered now that I'm paying attention, that her hearing isn't what it used to be.  I've startled her twice and that would never happen before. She is a Navy Seal when it comes to that stuff usually.  (yes, they checked her ears)

I worry a little bit if I have to return to an actual office in the Fall but we'll jump across that bridge when we get there. Meanwhile, she can have all the dog beds in all of the rooms.  And outside. Until then, look at this face:

16 May 2021

Support for the Elderly

Oh, I still have a draft of stories from the parents.  It encompasses about the last two weeks and you know, I don't know what I'd write about if they weren't here.

This one, though, this one is just...I can't.  The ever so lovely Swistle has been along for this ride and declared it the best thing ever, so here we go.

You know what's super fun?  Like, with a dash of omg?  Talking about and Shopping For bras for your elderly mother-in-law.  YEAH.

Unbeknownst to me, she's been shopping for bras and can't find anything that fits. I had taken two packages back to Amazon returns but didn't quite realize what was in there.  

This is a two-parter: I want to snick my loving husband between the eyes for letting his mother know how easy Amazon returns are.  Secondly, if I hear "I didn't put that in my cart/buy that." one more time, I'm going to need alcohol. 

The issue is she keeps buying sports bras and being frustrated that she can't get them on.  Deep, from my core Sighing. You are so very welcome for that visual. If it's in my head, it has to be in yours. That's the rules, I don't make them.

After a uncomfortable conversation with my m-i-l, IN FRONT OF MY FATHER-IN-LAW, I came up with a plan.  But first: the deets.  Not the...lol. I'm so very tired.

She can't do behind the back closures.  Fair enough.

She can't do hook and eye in the front.  Okay.

She needs a different size because she's aged and things have...shifted.

None of the "easy pull-on" bras fit, no matter what size she orders. 

After internally screaming and deep breathing fortification (thank you, meditation) I offered that those were Sports Bras and not meant to be easy to get on.  That, in fact, the very opposite because, you know, SPORTS BRAS.

I was met with immediate resistance.  Wooboy, I didn't understand.  They said easy to put on.  Well, then, if they SAID it was easy then what do I know.  I suggested that she could try again but maybe have some assistance "from someone else who lives here" while not making eye contact with my f-i-l.  "Because they're BY DESIGN tight and notorious for being difficult to put on."  Nope, I was wrong.  She just needed a bigger size.  She has already tried...wait for it...a 4X and it was "too small." Yeah.

Sidebar: I am curvy.  I am beyond curvy.  After birth control and a few IVF treatments, my chest grew from an already big size for my frame to a bigger size.  I AM AWARE OF THE STRUGGLE.  I wanted to say "LOOK at me, do you not think I know about these things?"  but again: my f-i-l is sitting right there.  KILL ME WITH A ROCK.  This is not a conversation I want to have with anyone, LET ALONE my m-i-l.

Finally, we agreed that I would look for her and to please, for the love of dog, stop buying bras.

I finally did research and there are snap-front bras for elderly women. WHO KNEW? I didn't. (and yes, I will file this back for future use)  I ordered them from the amazon so returns were easy FOR ME.  One was utilitarian and one was really pretty.  Of course the utilitarian one was the first to arrive and my bet to be the one that fit.  Because ugly always fits better than pretty with these kinds of things.

No word from the m-i-l after two days. I thought maybe I had won.  I even asked Kevin "I know she'd probably not tell you, but do you know if those bras fit?"  He balked, rolled his eyes and said no, I don't need to know about that.  Fair enough, except I DO.

A little bit ago, I walked over there to check with her.  My nephew happened to be here and went to say goodbye to her.  "What are you doing?" he asks.  "Asking your nana a question you don't want to know." He's like me and just replied "Okay, then."

And no, the bra is still too small.  "My boobs kept falling out" WITH HAND GESTURES.  

I said: if it's in my head, it gets to be in yours.

But she wants to keep it because it kind of works and it's so nice to have a bra again.  Ummm, what?  How long has this been? what have you been doing? are all questions that went unanswered because I can't take anymore vivid imagery.

She went on to explain that she measured herself, or tried to, and she was a 44.  This seems unlikely but I'm not a good judge of this kind of thing.  I know I'm not that big and I don't think she's bigger than me at all.    So then I asked her where she was measuring, words that I never want to ask again.  She said "Around my front."

That noise you hear is my head banging on the desk. 

I tried again: Did you measure around your torso or the...."  I'm trying to phrase this in a way that is not going to give me nightmares  "...did you measure around the Thickest Part of You."  I am not discussing anatomy placement with my m-i-l.  She indicated that she did her thickest part, then offered that her hip size was about the same measurement.  WUT?  I started to ask for clarification, stopped myself just in time, and continued on.  I don't want nor need to know why she measured her hip size.

"Okay, so here's the plan.  Do not order any more.  The next one will arrive tomorrow and we'll see if it fits.  If it does, we'll order more of those.  If it doesn't, we'll try a bigger size.  Do NOT order anything else."

She agreed.  But I know I'm going to have to go look at her Amazon account to make sure that she didn't. Even though she'll say she didn't.  

AND THEN, I talked to my sister-in-law to make sure that she hadn't already ordered something or had a plan.  She hadn't - because of course, what was I thinking - but she did express displeasure with the whole topic.  Stand in line, sister.

Here are the links for those of you who might have this conversation in the future.  I would have paid good money to not have this conversation.  So, let my discomfort be your guide:

Utilitarian: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PV5HZJ8?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Pretty: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y46NKSL?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

15 May 2021

On The Side - What Did Surely Take Apart Now

This month's episode of What Did Surely Take Apart Now is Kevin's side table.  It sits next to his chair and holds all the stuff that he hoards: pens, pocket knives, catalogs, timeslips, candy.

Yeah. This space doesn't bug me at all. Nope. 

The table was built by his dad almost thirty years ago, probably.  It sat between the parents recliners in the Moody House.  We inherited it when they moved here with us.  It's kind of a cool table as the drawer is huge and there is a pull-out above it, kind of like a cutting board.  It was intended as an extension of sorts.  Kevin never uses that feature because of the way the table sits.

There is heavy glass on the top.  Glass on furniture is one of my least favorite things but he put it there for durability.  No need to worry about water rings, etc.  Except it's a dust catcher along the edges.  Also, before we got it, there was a spill that wasn't cleaned and it had stained the wood. UNDER the glass, along the edges.  Also on the front of the drawer, if you look closely.  Sigh.

Lucy, unimpressed that I'm beginning another project

This is where I say when I went into the little hardware store, the guy recognized me and asked what I was working on now.  I would like some sort of ribbon, please, for that accomplishment. This guy has seen me through many painting projects, a gardening project, and the dining table.  THIS is why you shop in the little, local stores.

I started this on Tuesday...probably... and it went pretty smoothly to begin with.  Because, I would discover that my father-in-law - who is infamous for Good Enough - had never stained the wood.  I think maybe he put polish? oil? on it.  This made sanding super easy. I think it might have taken longer to take apart everything and move it outside.


Then I cleaned it with that godforsaken tack cloth that I hate.  I cleaned up my mess and got out the stain.  Did I think to put anything under the table to protect the deck? Nope.  Has Kevin noticed yet? Nope.  The stain went on super easy and I kept waiting for a repeat of the dining room table. 

It went great.  I think partially because I knew what to expect, I knew better what I was doing, and it was just different kind of table/wood.  Still, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But it didn't and after two coats, I was able to bring the table back inside and put the room right before Kevin got home that night.  


All I said was "Just don't spill on it yet."  To which Kevin said "No promises.  That's too much pressure."  For the record: I'm the spiller in this family.  

Back in place, just with less stuff piled around it

I still had to put the sealant on it, which is trickier. It takes two-three coats, with four hours in-between and 24-hours before "regular use."  I set the goal to start on Friday morning, after he left and it would be done by Friday night when he got home.

Yeah, not so much.  It was 44 degrees when he left in the morning.  Too cold to work outside.  The sealant has an odor that lingers so doing it inside wasn't an option this time.  (lesson learned from the dining table: it took almost a week for it to stop smelling)

I started working my actual job, intending to just work an hour or so. This was a deadline week and while I had met my portion of the deadline, others had not; giving me stuff to do. Two hours later and now I'm sleepy. I had forgotten coffee and breakfast. It's still not quite warm enough so Lucy and I took a wee nap.  Two hours later and now we're late for the day.

We went on walkies, a new trail that ended up being about 2.25 miles long, stopped at work to pick up stuff, picked up groceries then headed home.  Just to sit back down to work for a bit then remember that I forgot to pick up something while I was in town that couldn't wait.  Back into town I went, spent some unexpected time with a friend, then home again.  Now I'm really late.

Kevin had plans for the evening with his bff so I knew I still had time.  Also, it was unseasonably warm yesterday.  Then he got out of work late, left late, making me later. 6:30 pm I started applying the sealant stuff.  It went fast though and there was still a bit of sun on the deck for it to dry when I started.

First coat of Sealant finished

Fast forward to 9:00 pm, and it's still tacky to the touch...we're on hour three of four hour drying time. Sigh. I hauled it into the laundry room to discover...

One of my long blonde hairs was lengthwise in the sealant. FML.  And, it turns out that the deck isn't level and the sealant had pooled a little bit on one edge.  I KNEW this was going too smoothly.  Ha! woodworking pun! Look at me!

I took a deep breath and laid on the couch.  Tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.

Kevin worked this morning so I slept in until 8:30; which is when Lucy insists it is time to get up.  I cleaned up and we went to get coffee and treats.  Then Kevin phones that he's already on his way home.  I'm trying to get this finished, Kev. Stop messing with my schedule.

I hauled the table back outside and gathered everything up again.  Sanded, sanded, sanded. Again with the godforsaken tack cloth.  Finally, I started to apply another coat of sealant.  Turned around for a second to find...a bug flat on it's back in the wet sealant.  The universe is HILARIOUS.  I went to flick it away when I realized it was a wasp-like creature and thought better of that.  I turned to get a rag, turned back and it was gone.  Okay, all's well that ends well. I guess.

Snap sent to my BFF 

Oh, and also during this Kevin's dad goes by the house on his tractor.  I kept waiting for him to stop and ask what I was doing but he didn't.  Thank you, sweet tiny 8 lb. 6 oz. baby jesus.  For one thing, I didn't want to hurt his feelings that I was fixing changing his hard work and for the other, I don't want supervised/opinions.  

This coat went smoothly once I got started.  Now I'm waiting for it to fully dry and I will forget this project ever happened.  Probably.

Also, I mentioned to Kevin that now "we" didn't need the heavy glass on top.  No, he likes it.  He wants to keep it.  Heavy sigh.  Alrighty then.  With that knowledge, I could have left the hair, the pool of sealant, and the bug on the table and just sealed it up under the glass.  Damned missed opportunity, right there.

Meanwhile, I'm still considering refinishing that end table we were given...I need to come back and read this story and Sur La Table on the daily until that consideration stops.

Drying, mostly finished

Waiting until morning to pile all the stuff back

And...we're ignoring there is a hair from Lucy on the top.  100% ignoring it.  It will be a tribute.

Neighborhood Watch

 Yesterday early evening my phone rang.  My phone rarely rings, people know not to phone me.  The only time it rings is the parents and they have a specific ringtone. (Stewie saying Mom,Mom,Mom for my m-i-l and my mom, old fashioned ringer for my f-i-l)

Usually I ignore calls but I walked to my phone and looked just to make sure.  It was my sister-in-law, the one who lives next door.  Sigh.

I swear this is true.

"Have you seen my dad?"  Her dad lives on the other side of us, his house is visible from theirs and WUT.

I explained that I had been gone a big portion of the day so not today but Maybe? yesterday?  "All the days blend into one, I'm not sure but I think he mowed the lawn yesterday."

"Oh, okay, good." she sighs.

I will never understand this as long as I live:

"Chelsea has been trying to reach him and couldn't so she called me in a panic."  Chelsea is his grand-daughter and my s-i-l's niece.  


"Well, you should probably walk down there." I replied while throwing my hands.

Then she says: "Oh, father-in-law is going to go check after he gets back from town."  AFTER.HE.GETS.BACK.FROM.TOWN.

So, let me sum up:

It's her dad.

Well, that's it.  It's her dad and she's phoning everyone in the neighborhood/family instead of walking down there.

I hung up and was all AAUUUGGGHHH, and Kevin asked what that was about.  So I asked him "Have you seen Ben today?"  No, because Kevin works all the days.  I explained the situation to him and he was the same as I am "But, what? Why... what?"  Finally he shakes his head "I got nothing, I can't understand it either."

He was getting ready to leave and stepped outside to start his truck.  I hear him yell "I see Ben!!"  Ben was just pulling into his driveway, having returned from town.  Okay, whew, on some level.  Then he says "You should text s-i-l and let her know."

And I'm wondering...do I?  Should I?  Because again: it's your dad, walk your ass on down there and check on him.  But I did and she responds with she thinks his phone is broken because it rings twice and goes to voicemail.  Ummm....because he isn't home?

Live with your family, they said. It'll be great, they said.

14 May 2021

Like A Mother

 My relationship with Mother's Day is complicated, this has been established. This year upheld that status.  And this will be the only time you will hear me complain.

On this day, I always get a pass.  Sleep in and I choose how I want the day to roll out, separate from family celebrations.  Sit on the couch all day? sure.  Take a road trip? yep.  

It's also a day I stay off of social media.  It's exhausting seeing all the posts about something I didn't experience and am specifically excluded from.  Also, sometimes well meaning people will say I'm a Dog Mom, which I find insulting and condescending. I know, they mean well but No.

 So, I just avoid social media most of the day.  This year, when I did peek, two cousins tagged all the moms in the family to wish them Happy Mother's Day.  So that was...just, ugh.  Don't do that.  Kevin has posted on the facebook "Happy You're Not A Mom Day" to me before and it makes me laugh, even if it does make it weird for everyone else.  

We saw my mom for the first time in almost 18 months.  We timed it to arrive before the rest of the family.  Some of it was to avoid potential drama and some of it was to avoid the fact that four of the six adults choose to remain unvaccinated.  I have enjoyed not seeing my family during this whole pandemic adventure. I'm just saying.

I was quiet heading out and about halfway there, Kevin offered "How about a Happy Meal?"  When I said yes, he laughed "I knew that would help."  That's a keeper, right there.  In my meal, I got a Thelma bobble head and Kevin asked "Is that the hot one from Scooby Doo?"  WUT.  I laughed and clarified: "It's the nerd one, Thelma is the nerd one." He's all "I know."  And he says I'm weird.

I don't know what I expected but like always, with anything with my family, it wasn't what I expected.  

It was like no time had passed, like my mom had just seen me the day before.  Kevin mentioned how it felt odd to be "back" at one point and my mom seemed almost a little confused.  It occurred to me later that it was because the family continued to see each other during the pandemic, it was just me that was absent.

We've spoken about once a month over the past 18 months but I thought it was interesting that not one question was posed about our well-being, what we had been up to, anything.  And I look a little different since she saw me last: I'm the one person who lost weight during Covid, I learned how to cut my own hair and it's different than when she last saw me and I'm dressing a little differently.  Nope, nothing.  And she often comments on weight...to everyone's dismay.

She did however, refer to Dr. Fauci in a really subtle racist way.  So that's...great.  

We didn't leave in time to avoid one of my brothers.  We tried to visit for a few but when he dropped a "You can't trust *a specific race*" we left.  Yeah, so didn't miss my family.  I mean, there wasn't one moment of "Oh, this is nice."

By the time we returned home, the kids were showing up next door.  Five was already there and we went to the creek and played.  I live for these times with him, I know they're fleeting.  Especially since he's FIVE, as he will tell me. (five in years old and in succession)

Then we got to see nearly all of the kids, the bigs and the not-so-littles.  We've seen them from a distance or at the beginning of all of this but this was the first time to actually spend time.  My soul is full.  They're all taller than me now, by like a lot.  Like before, they're fun to sit and have conversations with.  When asked where they would travel, unlimited, they all thought about it.  One was Fiji, which is amazing to think about because he's the kind of kid that would make it happen.  One of the triplets asked if he could think about it, it was a big decision.  I just love how different they are.

And my niece...she's a teen now and I so empathize with her.  She's grown up similar to me (with significantly better parents though), a girl in boy world.  We discussed the key to life is to not give a sh*t about what anyone else thinks.  Then - unrelated - she scratched her name into her grandpa's picnic table.  She paused when she realized that I saw her but I just whispered "Go ahead and finish. I love it.  I got your back if he flips out."  She smiled and finished.  I kind of want to sneak down and put a sealant over it so it stays forever.  I took a photo instead. 

I got to spend time with the adult kids too, each of them individually and together.  One-on-one time is RARE and the planets aligned this year to make this happen.  We refer to the as "The Kids" as if they're ours; but only between Kevin and I.  His brother would not be happy if he knew.  I get that on some level but I also don't because he's so not a great dad.  #shutupandobetter

My point being is even though it wasn't "MY" day, it turned out to be a good day.  Time spent with the kids is always good and after being separated for so long, it added to the day.  The alternate reality that is my family surely added to my appreciation of the kids.

Then I posted photos on the social media to celebrate the day and everyone finally being together.  Like a mother.

05 May 2021

See You Later Alligator

 We had to attend a memorial Saturday.  Before you think "Oh that's sad", no, it really wasn't and for a handful of reasons.  It was for an elderly aunt who was one of those women that became mean as they aged.  Also, this family isn't big on sentimentality.  The Priest - more on that in a minute - attributed it to them being Norwegian.  This family is big on smartassery and alcohol. Finally, she passed from cancer in October so the loss isn't fresh and paired with the pandemic, most of us had already lost the connection.

Now, the location.  The cousins have property "upriver", which is exactly how it sounds.  It's in the foothills of the northern Cascade Range.  We've been there a handful of times and we get lost every.single.time.  It's like a Twin Peaks or Northern Exposure episode.  It's not like LOST lost, just take an extra turn kind of lost.  It's on a river so it's not like you can go far.

Kevin had to work but bailed early.  We were asked to arrive a little early to hang out with the cousins before everyone arrived.  We tried and succeeded, kind of.

While Kevin was in the shower, his mom phoned. I answered his phone - in case it was an emergency - and I could hear her but she couldn't hear me.  I assumed it was because his phone was still connected either to his vehicle or his earpiece.  I hung up and called her from my phone.  FIVE TRIES later I gave up. Somehow she did end up leaving a voicemail that was just her and f-i-l talking about how she can't call us.

You guys, I wonder on the regular why I haven't started drinking again.

Finally she phones me.  She is worried because they left without us.  I gestured to Kevin like WUT and he said they had made no plan for traveling together.  So I just said "Don't worry, we'll just catch up with you later."

We headed out about ten minutes later.  About five minutes into our travel, Kevin's dad phones  "Where are you?"  Now we're immediately gone to the dark place. They've crashed, they've had a medical emergency...

No, they're waiting for us off the highway because I told the mother that we would catch up with them.  She took that as we were going to chase them down and travel together.  Deep Sigh.  Kevin explained that they could just continue, we were fine.

After disconnecting, he says "It's a good thing you didn't say See You Later Alligator.  She would be all I wonder why Surely's mad at me, she called me a reptile."  Omg, his brain sometimes.

We continue on.  We get nearly there, only about ten minutes left and the phone rings again.  His dad again. "Where are you?" again. Kevin explains we're minutes away.  His dad says "I know, you just passed us. We pulled over to wait for you."  a) then why did you ask where we are and 2) why is this still a thing.


Kevin sighed heavily and pulled over, telling his dad to just drive by and we'll follow them.

I will never understand how the family makes the Simplest Thing a THING.

Oh, and his brother texted us while we were still driving "Are you there?"  I just answered No and put the phone down.  He wasn't there either so why are you texting Kevin when you know he's driving.  He didn't need anything, he was just having (literal) separation anxiety.

We get to the place, which is a nearly three acre campground next to the river.  Most of the family is already there.  And it's a little bit drunk-thirty already because that's how this family rolls.  (they are nice, they're just a little sitcom-esque)  

The priest arrives after us and as he's walking toward the group, biffs it.  Fell right to the ground. I had SO MUCH to say and couldn't say any of it.  I was already worried about being smited into a pile of ash.  I was happy for the six-foot social distancing, in this instance.

Finally everyone arrives and we gather together near the place they set up with chairs, etc.  No one wants to sit.  Everyone stands back. INCLUDING THE CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED.   Finally the priest is telling people specifically where to sit and then the cousins start chiming in.  "Surely and Kevin, come sit up front."  We both balked, because, like, no. But we did as we were told.

About two minutes into the sermon, I noticed that I'm seated next to lilacs.  I am super allergic to lilacs.  The universe is HILARIOUS sometimes.  I can't move seats, I can't get up.  I can't move the flowers.  So I just meditatively breathed as shallow as I could.  Worse case I'm a runny, sneezy mess with a wheeze.  It could look like I was mourning.

Now back to the priest. The priest was in jeans and told us that was a first for his career. Of course this family provided that opportunity.  Then he "joked" that he had told them the next event was supposed to be a wedding, baptismal, or barbecue.  This is where it gets weird because it IS a barbecue.  That also happens to have a memorial at the beginning.  Mostly it's a barbecue though.  Way to make it weird(er).

I can't remember what point he was making when he said the following, I just remember him telling us. He described how he loved his teenaged son so much, yet could still imagine him with cement blocks on his feet, floating in Puget Sound.  WUT times infinity.  I looked at Kevin and he stage whispers "Well, that was rough." and we tried not to laugh.

Kevin's brother is seated behind us and he says ALOUD "I've felt that."  Umm, sir, this is not a comedy show. SHUSH.  And the brother continued his call and response throughout the program.  What is that?

Next was the regular funeral reading of the loved ones birth and death dates, family - including a "Did I miss anyone?" AND HE DID, one of the sons.  It was the son that beaked off in my social media comments during the insurrection so maybe it wasn't a mistake.  

Sidebar: I hate how when people die, the cleryperson always makes them sound better than they were.  Stop that.  They did that for my dad and I wanted to stand and ask "How many of you thought my dad was an ass?  Show of hands."  AND, during my memorial if all y'all choose to have one: tell them I was snarky, smartassy, and a handful.  Do not sugarcoat who I am.  PROMISE.

Next up on the schedule of the program was listing her hobbies: gardening, cooking, sports, and watching F*x news.  No exaggeration: there was a murmur of APPROVAL through the group. Sigh.  That was sadder than the death, to me. 

Then he mentions that the aunt knew Loretta Lynn as a child.  I looked at Kevin with an eyebrow raise and he one-shoulder shrugged.  In thirty years with this family, I've never heard that story.  It's possible but how did that never come up before, especially when the brothers are Big Story Tellers.  I am so going to ask Uncle when he is here next weekend.

Finally the memorial was complete.  The eldest cousin had been running the music during the program and at the end, he slightly turns to the group and says "What do you want to listen to?"  Made me laugh.

This group is very republican.  They all commented about being vaccinated or not (most weren't), etc. They hate our governor, etc.   I had already made a plan for this situation.  My outs were going to be: taking photos, going to the bathroom, or "asthma".  I only had to use it once so that was a small gift from the universe.  My other was a simple comment of "That assh*le....wanting to keep us alive and stuff." in response to comments about the governor or the president.  I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get to use it.

One of the cousins is like a daughter to my mother-in-law.  I haven't been a big fan of hers but as we've aged we've found common ground.  She was uncomfortable in this setting and stayed near me. (my gawd, I need to do a family tree for this post. It's SO COMPLICATED)  She kept asking me who people were. I finally laughed and was "Denise, you've been part of this family longer than I have."  

There was an older, very handsome gentleman whom no one seemed to know.  Finally, we were told that it was the eldest cousin's bio dad.  He had found him about a year ago and they are now more family than with his actual family.  He had come to support his son and to honor the aunt.  How nice is that?  

Backstory: the aunt and gentleman had dated in high school, in a small super-churchy town.  She got pregnant, the boy's (wealthy) family wouldn't allow them to marry because the girl was poor and pregnant, so she married someone else.  This was not part of the memorial and man, that's the stuff people want to hear.  The human experience, not that she liked to garden. (Again: you can tell ALL my stories. PROMISE ME.)

Now it's time for the barbecue/party.  Everyone was eating and mingling.  I watched the crowd ebb and flow between the elderly parents, the cousins - all now in their sixties & fifties - and the younger cousins.  My dark little heart was "This is probably going to be one of the last gatherings" as I watched the patriarch of the family absentmindedly toddle around with no aim.  My m-i-l was actually in her wheelchair and with her oxygen.  There are three uncles, one of which is my f-i-l, and woo boy they are tough as nails.  Even with that, I can see how they've aged in the last year or so.  That's what I call happy/sad. Happy that everyone is together  and sad for the reason we are.

Finally, it was time to go home. Kevin mentioned he was starting to make his way to the truck and OF COURSE, his brother jumps to make sure he's ready to leave also.  Seeing this, my - slightly evil - husband slows his roll and hangs out a while.  We watched them pull out of the campsite and stayed probably another fifteen minutes.  Plenty of time for them to travel to the highway and let us alone.

We leave, we get to the main highway, and what do we see about one mile down the highway?  His brother.  He had PULLED OVER so we could catch up with him.  OFFS.  Kevin just muttered "Of course" and continued on.  I'm not even sure he waved, now that I think of it.

Once we reached "town" the option is to continue on a country highway or go through "town" to the freeway.  Kevin asked what my preference was and I chose country highway.  The words hadn't dispersed from their word bubble in the air when I caught a flash in the side mirror.  There sits his brother.  And his blinker is on.  Because why would we NOT want to have him follow us everywhere.

Here's another funny thing that Kevin will do in these instances: turn his blinker on.  He's ZERO intention of turning, he's not going anywhere.  He just quietly turns his blinker on for seconds then turns it off.  Just the thought that his brother is probably freaking out with "Where is he going? This isn't the turn? What if something is wrong?" is enough for him

So, there's a glimpse of family life in Surely's World.  I wish I could say it wasn't always like this but it is.

Also, Glenda - we speak your name.  

28 April 2021

We Paid Extra For This

 In my drafts folder I have a compilation of Raising Parents stories.  And then this happened.

Kevin's mom turned 81 years old yesterday.  We didn't expect her to live to her sixties so the jokes on us, I guess.  She has outlived all of her siblings as well.

If you're a long time reader, you know that Friday Night Dinners used to be a thing.  That "ugh" feeling you just felt? HOLD TIGHT.  If you're a new friend, the family - who essentially lives together - used to go to dinner Every.Friday.Night.  It ended with Covid, so #thankscovid.

Until last night.

And yes: it was Tuesday.

In what sounded like a little bit passive aggressive/manipulative request: my m-i-l wanted to go out to dinner because this might be her last chance.  While that is true, I'm not appreciating the approach. But that's not even the worse of it.

Here's why:

She has a GI tube and isn't supposed to be eating.  

She's on oxygen and refuses to wear it outside of the house most times.

She's unstable walking and refuses a cane or a walker.  Her husband just says she's fine and lets her stagger around. Literally stagger.

It's been long established that no one enjoys these dinners and yet we continue.

Super fun, is what I'm saying.

Out of the four "children" three of them were working all day. Those three got out of work a little early to make this happen.  

When it was time to leave, my f-i-l was IN THE SHOWER.  The ones who had asked for this to happen were not ready and seemed absolutely surprised that we were going.

We all took separate vehicles because no one will ride with my f-i-l anymore.  I don't spend time with the b-i-l, and the parents weren't ready so couldn't ride with the b-i-l as what usually happens. #sorryenvironment

We arrived at the restaurant and as Kevin and I are crossing the parking lot, I realize the parents weren't there.  They would be parked in the disabled parking space so it's obvious.  Kevin went into the restaurant to check with his brother.  Again: thank you covid for "allowing" me to stay outside to wait.

While he's checking, here comes the parents. They had gone to the wrong restaurant.  


I said something like "This is Super Fun, why did we stop?"  Kevin was in his feelings, having realized fully the mistake that was happening, and said "Don't start."  Too late, buddy.  

We began to walk into the restaurant, Kevin goes first to guide his mother but isn't walking beside her because he's spun out.  My f-i-l stops about ten feet short of the door to let me go; leaving his wife staggering/shuffling through the door.  I admit that I was a little snappy and said "Please go with her, I am fine."

Now we've reached the Family Dinner Bingo Portion of the evening.

We get to the table and there is confusion about who is sitting where. Every Time. EVERY TIME. Every time.  Just sit dafuq down like normal, regular human people.  Bonus: the b-and-s-i-l were Already Seated.  I am considering going back to the car and I haven't reached the table. Meanwhile, the b-i-l is super loud, drawing attention to the table from other tables, and the waitstaff are trying to maneuver around everyone as they solve this unsolvable puzzle.

The b-i-l has two personalities in restaurants: Super Charming Guy - which he is NOT or Curt Unsatisfied Guy - which is his default mode.  Spin the wheel, which one do we have tonight?  Super Charming Guy.  Because the waitress is the girlfriend of someone he works with so he is faking it.  Please take all knives and forks from the table, thank you.

The m-i-l chose Olive Garden, I don't know why.  Oh, and this is my favorite thing right now:

But it's Olive Garden: pretty straight forward and been there tens of times.  Still, she needs to read the menu. Sigh.  AND she forgot her glasses. DoubleSigh.  The f-i-l remains seated and does not go get her glasses.  Kevin, in a rare show of frustration, stands up and asks for the keys so he can go get them.  "It's not locked." the f-i-l states.

This is Kevin:

Meanwhile, my s-i-l is doing what I usually do in this situation: "At this restaurant you usually eat A, B, or C"  Nope, she wants to see the menu. Remember: she's not supposed to eating anyway so GAH.  Kevin returns, gives her the glasses, and she forgets to look at the menu.  When prompted, she wonders about getting a steak.  Yep.  A steak.  The b-i-l tells her no, which surprises me, until he says "I will make you one, you'll like that better anyway."  *internally screaming*

After this whole THING, she decides to split a meal with the f-i-l.  

Now it's my second least favorite part of Family Dinner: waiting.  Awkward conversation because there are no subjects that don't offend the b-i-l if I participate.  So I'm looking at my phone under the table until Kevin notices.  Finally my s-i-l asks "What's new with you?" 

I had three responses squelched in my head because WUT.  I mustered a "Every day is the same day" trying to make light and it landed in the middle of the table with a thud.  I'm still puzzling what to say...I mean, NOTHING IS NEW.  You know Nothing is New.  I just....and I didn't even ask a follow-up question as per polite society because WUT.

Everyone but us ordered mozzarella sticks.  We didn't because we just had them three days ago and we're trying to make somewhat smart choices with our eating.  Does this stop the b-i-l and m-i-l to continually offer Kevin them? No. Does it stop them making put-out, uncomfortable expressions when he declines? Also no.  IT'S NOT A JUDGMENT, FFS.  We just don't want them.

So, meals came and we eat.  I just keep my head down and eat.  I can't with his mother and all that. I'm just waiting for her to choke.  There's a little bit of awkward conversation and it seems to go without drama. 

Oh wait, I almost forgot this part.  It came up that this dinner was not as great of an idea as the m-i-l thought it would be.  She lands with "Well, I always think it's going to be my last."  I swear, SWEAR, the restaurant hushed when she said it.  Then she continues that she tells the f-i-l every Christmas that it's going to be her last Christmas and so far, she's still here.  ....I....I don't know how to respond to that. Even Kevin, who is usually quick thinking was all "Ummm, well then."  

But back to the bingo:  Every time, regardless of restaurant, the b-i-l complains states that the portions are too small.  Every time his wife orders a margarita and he always calls her a "slush", which is something Kevin used to say but he appropriated.  Every time the f-i-l reacts to being offered salad like they've laid radioactive waste in front of him.  OR says "Orange Pop!" like a child when asked what he wants to drink.  The one bingo square that didn't get marked is the b-i-l ordering a steak and being high maintenance guy about it.

Now, for some reason I will never understand, the m-i-l and the b-i-l always linger at the table long after it's time to go. It's so rude to the servers and to the folks at the table who don't want to be there.  

At this point, every time but specifically this time: the m-i-l is exhausted and overwhelmed, it's way past time to not be there. Yet we linger.  At one point, Kevin teased his mom and it didn't land well.  I said "Stop, look. She's overwhelmed and we need to go."  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the b-i-l start to react and he stopped. Thank you, universe. Kevin asks for our bill  and indicates that we're paying for his dad's meal.  Okay, cool.  

The server split the check evenly.  So we paid for mozzarella sticks we didn't eat, a margarita we didn't drink, and more for our food than was necessary.  Kevin realized this on the way home and genuinely wondered "Who do we talk to about that?"  I'm all "Umm, your BROTHER, who commented "Oh, they just split the bill in half" and didn't offer to pony up extra."  And that's where the conversation ended.

So, yeah, we paid EXTRA for a miserable meal.  At least we brought home leftovers and I don't have to cook tomorrow.

And that's why we don't do Friday Night Dinners anymore. #thankscovid

15 April 2021

It Ain't Easy Being Green - What Did Surely Take Apart Now

 Because I just can't let things be, I started painting the bedroom.  Yes, finally.  And yes, "started".  And no, the photo albums aren't finished.  I am comfortable with the fact that they will remain unfinished and my heirs will have to decide their fate.

My goal was to paint  last week, during spring break, but I chose to do nothing instead.  Which is great, until I try to manage a big project and that pesky work thing at the same time.  Newsflash: work lost out.

If you remember...or if you don't click THIS...I did a painting experiment on one wall in the bedroom.  I lightened the mocha color I used in the living room and it was a FAIL.  A big fail.  It was supposed to be a sandy color but it turned out BLEH instead.  It defies photography and looks okay in photos:

It's not as sunny as it looks, I swear

This is a better angle. Right side wall is the fail wall.

At least a month ago, I chose a color and left the paint card on the fireplace so I could see it in varying light.  (at least that's what I tell myself)  Finally, Kevin casually mentions "I like that color, actually."  Kevin, who never expresses a preference, LIKES a color.

The plan was to paint the mistake wall.  Yep, that was the plan.  Is that what happened? Of course not.  Nope, I painted the three other walls instead.  Two of which were painted last year. I had left the big, tall and wide wall for last when I painted them.  I knew I'd need help so I just kept putting it off.

So I started with that wall.  Don't try to make sense, there isn't any.  I set my intention to just reach as far as I can without breaking out the big ladder.  Kevin will finish that part this weekend.  Especially since it's unfinished and he enjoys that as much as I do.

I chose this paint color:

I was a little afraid that it would be too dark for a bedroom then I realized what I said. It's a bedroom, usually a person wants those dark. Sigh.  It's the shade of color that changes tone and depth with the changing light.  

Like always, this is a Not Tell Kevin Project.  Of course, like always, he calls while I'm on a ladder.  "What are you doing?"  "Nothing, working."  "Why do you sound...winded...Is that the television?"

This is where I say that it take two and a half viewings of Bohemian Rhapsody to paint three walls of a master bedroom.

I explained what I was doing and he was all Of Course You Are.  "Don't fall and break your hip." he always says.

I finished the big wall and was nearly finished with the window wall when my phone rang.  I usually don't answer numbers I don't know.  But I did and good thing: the auto body shop phoned to let us know the truck is finished.  I texted Kevin and then he phoned. "I'm coming home early."  GREAT.

Now, I still have to finish painting, shower, unload my truck, clean it up from walkies with Lucy, oh, and give Lucy a bath.  And he's coming home early.  GREAT.  "What time are you thinking?" I ask, squinting at all the projects around me.  "3:00, I'll be home at 3:30."  Okay, I sighed, that's actually doable.

What time did he get home? Not 3:30.  2:30.  Sigh.

I cleaned up everything, including me, and we went to get the truck.  So, that has finally had a happy ending.  And I didn't have to make dinner.  Double Win.

But I had to try to sleep with an unfinished project within my sight.  I swear if I could have painted without waking Kevin and the dog, I probably would have.  But alas, no.

Yesterday, I finished the unfinished wall and completed the wall with the doors.  It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

The amount of frustration I feel that the fail wall looks good
in photography will never leave me

Now the debate begins with the Wall Fail.  Part of the reason that I painted the other walls was in vain hope that it would maybe look okay with the green.  My hope was dim but maybe it would work out.  To my surprise, Kevin wondered the same thing.  So we agreed to just sit with it.  

It took about an hour and we were both "Nope."

Now today, my plan was to start and perhaps finish the big wall.  It's noon and I just got out the paint.  Chances for success is not looking good.  Also, I have to go into town again for work.  Sigh.

Oh, and remember the whole giant television story?  Yeah, there's a 45" television in my way now. I had mentioned it last night to Kevin but then forgot to remind him to move it this morning.  It's okay, it's not the end of the world.

And this is why I was grounded from painting in the old house;

Why move heavy things when you can paint around them

I am to the This Needs to be DONE portion of my Project Coping Scale.  Even though the television and dressers were still in the way, I could still paint.  I took an old fitted bedsheet and draped it over everything.  It worked perfectly, except for the not painted parts.  Which you cannot see unless you're looking for them, KEVIN.

This weekend we will finish it.  It will take maybe an hour and this godforsaken project will be completed.  At least it looks nice. Or will.  Will Look Nice.

Lucy is also over this project

The parts that are finished look nice, at least

14 April 2021

You Can't Have This Puppy

 We should never have disposable income.  Well, not never.  Sometimes.  Maybe.

It all started with our bedroom television.  It ended with two giant televisions.

Our bedroom television was a hand-me-down from when Kevin's parents moved up with us.  It's probably more than ten years old. It still works just fine for a bedroom television.  However, it was developing a shutting off problem, as in it wouldn't.  I would need to unplug it, let it reset, then plug it back in.  Or randomly it would have sound and no picture.  In television speak, it's the character that coughs in the beginning of the movie.  You know it's not going to be around long.

I mentioned the television a few weeks ago to Kevin.  I made a "joke" that when we bought a new one, he would prefer to buy a new television for the living room and move the living room into our bedroom.  He laughed, kind of demurred like "that's crazy" and nothing came of it.

Then our tax refund finally arrived after a month delay, our stimulation checks came after a two-week delay, Kevin's friend sold some racecar parts for us, and we just got notification that our deductible has been reimbursed from the accident.  Right now: we're feeling like Scrooge McDuck, swimming in money.


Yes, this is 100% First World Problems and Privilege.  This also comes after having a string of bad luck and years of struggle so this is a Humblebrag.


Sunday morning I mentioned it to Kevin again.  He was in between projects so he was all shruggy and "We can go into town if you want."  I was more looking for a "Let's go".  It's also been well-established that I don't buy big ticket items for myself.  It just makes me anxious.

Finally, after Nephew came over to look at our furnace (a whole other story), Kevin said what he usually says when he's getting frustrated with the lack of a decision.  It's super inappropriate, a saying handed down from an "uncle"  "Fight, F*&k, or Hold the Light."  It makes me laugh every time.

I looked online for options and because things like this end up being Group Decisions (don't get me started)  Nephew weighed in.  An offer was made by the b-i-l to take us to the costco and I was immediately all "NOPE".  Because then it's a Thing.  It's a "Why don't you get the bigger one?"  "Why don't you get the whatever-we-don't-need?" and "Let's go look at the .... while we're here."  No. So much NO.  Not only do I not want to spend time with him, he is a Gatherer.  We are Hunters.

Okay, pause again.

A gatherer is a shopper that likes to wander the store.  Go to multiple stores. Take their time.

A Hunter is someone who knows what they want, where it is, goes in and gets it and gets out.


Finally, I decide that I've dithered about this enough.  Just because I go doesn't mean I'm buying something.  (adorable)  It's 3:30 on a Sunday.

Also, I'm already spun out because I know I'm going to paint the bedroom this week. (shush, I am.  I AM!) and if I'm going to take everything apart, I should just paint first.  Kevin says that's silly and he will help, which IS silly.  Mr. Twelve Hour Days/Six Days a Week.

We went into the big box electronic store and walk back to the televisions.  They're all GIANT now.  Before we left the house, we had made a decision to get a 65-inch television, an upgrade from our 45-inch one.  We knew this was going to be a big impact on the living room but figured it would be fine.

Kevin actually froze.  Stared at the television and kept asking "Are you sure they're only 65 inch?"

I'm laughing because I knew this would happen.  It happened last time.  It sounds good until you're standing there.  Last time we bought a television, it took THREE TRIPS to the store and his dad dropped it.  Yeah, we should not buy televisions.

We talked to the salesperson and made a decision.  He tried a few times to upsell us and was met with a NO, in varying forms.  Including when he announces - after we decided - that the television we just chose is not available.  WTAF.  Probably should have let us know beforehand but whatever.  It was available at two other stores, one twenty minutes north of our house or the other twenty minutes south of where we were.  But if we buy the one they had in stock "It's only $200 more."  Dude, seriously.  I got a little sarcastic and said "We're not paying $200 more because you guys don't have stock. It should be reduced, instead. An inconvenience fee, if you will."  He did not agree.

More out of frustration than anything, we decided to go the store in the north because delivery wasn't available until the end of the month.  My other favorite thing: delayed delivery.

I'm a little pissy, as is Kevin, but whatever.  It's time, that's all that it's costing us. However, as we walked away to pay for it, I muttered "Why does bad things always happen to us?"  Kevin understood the sarcasm but the salesperson actually kind of stopped for a millisecond like OMG, did she just say that for real.  Made me laugh.

AND THEN as I'm paying for it, Kevin's chipped debit card wouldn't work.  I'm muttering in my head because this shouldn't be a thing, like at ALL.  Finally the salesperson casually mentions "Oh, the chip reader doesn't always work.  It will fail and then you can just slide the card." WUT.  Okay, next time let's START WITH THAT instead of shaving years off of my life with each swipe while worrying about it.

Finally, we turn to leave.  Kevin hesitates, again.  "Maybe we should look at the 55 inch televisions."  I said "No, because we paid for it AND the last time we bought a television, you wished you bought the bigger one."  He agreed and said "But it's just so BIG."  To which I said, loudly, "That's what she said."  He turned around and started walking out of the store.  

We got in the truck and Kevin pulled into the starbucks drive-through without a word.  He's become addicted to the pink or violet drinks lately.  And the store is closed.  Now he's the one who is saying "Why do bad things always happen to us?"   But because starbucks, there's another one down the road.

Then he launches into a monologue about the television not being in stock. "Hey, here's this great puppy.  It's the best puppy.  Well worth the money.  Oh you love this puppy? Well, too bad. It's not available. You can't have this puppy.  You CAN have this other puppy though. It's not as great but it's still a good puppy.  I know you don't like it as much but it's here.  Will it last as long as the other puppy? Probably not but it's still a good puppy.  It needs a warrantee because we don't know who made this particular puppy but it's still a good puppy."

This is all paraphrased because he was on a roll and I was LAUGHING.  I wish I had it on video.

Finally, we get to the other store.  Check in and get the new television.  This is where the clerk asks what we are driving.  Kevin says an SUV.  The clerk then pauses and says "Well, this television really shouldn't be laid on it's side."  Again, I say: WUT.

I watched Kevin cock his head and rub his jaw and I'm looking for an exit because he's about to lose it.  Instead, he quietly says "It would be good for someone to have said this BEFORE and I would have brought MY TRUCK."  "Oh, well, we have delivery service." the clerk offers.  I think I literally whispered "Oh.No."   Again, Kevin rolls with it.  "I'm here NOW.  It's paid for NOW. I drove thirty minutes out of my way because YOU didn't have it in stock at the other store."  The clerk must have had some sense of self-preservation because he changed tack to "Let's see what we can do with your vehicle."

Another clerk wheeled out the television and helped Kevin load it.  Kevin asked him "What is "It Can't Be Laid Down?"  I mean, like at all? Or for a few minutes? or what?"  This kid says "I'm not really sure, they just tell us don't if you can."  AND WALKED AWAY.  If the television wasn't already in the truck, I think Kevin would have left in on the sidewalk.

But we got it loaded, used the fold-down back seat to keep it mostly sorta upright.  Crisis diverted.

Now this is where Kevin gets buyers anxiety.  I worry about big purchases beforehand and he worries about it afterward.  He's worried it's too big, it's too much money, what are we going to do.  I'm all "It's going to be great." and distracted him with the thought of putting the little television in his garage. 

We got home, unloaded it and got it into the house.  The box took up the space between the existing television and Kevin's chair.  You could FEEL the anxiety coming off of Kevin.  Oh, and this is where I say that I said I didn't want it wall-mounted because I've worked so hard to make the living room nice and I don't want to take down actual art and put up a television.

Kevin went outside to get some tools and maybe have a little cry while I went into the bedroom to take apart the television.  By the time I finished that, he had the television unboxed and was looking at how it would fit on the stand. Yes, we should have measured beforehand.  Where is the fun in that? 

Years ago, we spent capital M money on a media stand because it would last "forever." And it wouldn't.  The television was too wide to sit on the stand.  Now we're back to thinking about mounting it on the wall and I'm still in Camp No Way.

Luckily for us, his brother has recently had a new shop built and has scrap wood.  A few minutes later, he comes back with a plank of concrete board siding.  Ummm....  He asks if I have anything to cover it. I actually laughed because seriously.  Futilely I went and looked in the cedar chest and my dresser. The best I have is a chenille scarf that I will never wear.  "That's all you have?" he asked without thinking.  He glanced up to see a raised eyebrow.  "That's all we have Right Now."  "Okay, it will work fine." he says. Smart man.

But then, this is where I say "I thought you were bringing actual wood.  I thought I could just stain it because I know how to do that now."  I mean, I know right?  How perfect is that?  He did not say no.

After a bit of struggle, we got the television installed.  Then Kevin went into the bedroom to finish the other television that I had abandoned.  I sat on the couch and went through the set up process, including syncing it with my phone and connecting it to the internet.  At one point, it said that it could do something clever - I don't remember what - and I exclaimed "You've got to be effing kidding me right now."  Kevin, hearing me, called out "What's wrong NOW?"  I had to explain that it was actually a Happy exclamation.

So now it's 7:00 pm and we have two giant televisions.  It's almost ridiculous.  We went from a 24-inch television in the bedroom to a 45-inch television and a 65-inch one in the living room.  I think it won't be so shocking after a few days.  We'll get used to it. Also, I realized last night how much my eyesight has faltered, when I realized how well I could see the larger television.  (duh) In the living room, right now, it feels a little bit like sitting in the front row at the movie theatre.  But a few adjustments and that will pass.  It doesn't matter, we're committed now.

OMG I just realized that if you convert my height to inches, the TELEVISION is taller than I am.  I need to go lay down for a minute...in front of the television. With my actual puppy.