31 January 2021

Notes from the I.T. Department - Racecar Edition

I've talked about working on the racecar before and I know it's not everyone's interest.  Bear with me.

I have always helped with the racecar, in varying capacities.  Some of it simple, some of it not.  What's changed in the last few years is the introduction of computers and data.  What was before mostly Kevin's domain has now grown into mine.  Racecar Nerdery, thy time has arrived.

Installing a G-Force sensor

We now have two racecar "computers"...naming them that for simplicity sake...that the racecar uses. One gives us data to measure various performance aspects and assure safety.  The other is used to actually make adjustments.  I'm comfortable with the first one and learning with the second.

Our friend is on the cell phone, helping us do the initial set-up

In addition, I video each pass the car makes.  These videos are cool because: social media. However, they are also used as tuning tools.  These videos can be just as useful as the computers.  These, too, are stored on the racecar laptop.

We also have analog data, which is a nerd way to say we use a handwritten logbook.  Eventually, the two will be combined and everything will be stored on a laptop.  I'm not quite there yet. There is still a little bit of Luddite in me that draws comfort in having something tangible to refer to.

Log book and the time slip that we derive the data from

So, I help while actually racing to gather the data and save it.  Then once home, I make sure that everything is documented and backed up appropriately.


With all of that, I'm the go-to for the laptop, data, tech stuff.  We have two friends that we can ask for help but mostly it's on me. Because it is well established that I am the I.T. Department for all the things.

This is where I get to do the "I told you so" and "I am right" dance.  Kevin had made some changes to the car; changes that included complicated wiring and aforementioned tuning computer.  This created a little gremlin that he couldn't chase down.  Little as in, a warning light wouldn't light properly.

Through process of elimination, or so he thought, he decided it was the newly installed tuning program.  He requested my assistance to come run the program to see if it "threw any codes".  This means that when the program boots, any error codes will appear to let us know there were issues.   

And it threw codes.  But nothing that would affect that light.  Next, we examine the settings for this particular light.  It is set to light at "100%" so in my head, this ends that category of investigation.  Because: there is no greater value than 100%.  Parameters for the light to work are also correct.

This where I say, trying not to laugh, "This is now a You problem and not a Me problem."  As you just probably imagined, that did not land well.  I then quietly returned to whatever it was I was doing in the house.  

This is also where I say: we differ in how we approach problems.  I tend to start with the simple (Hello, Occam's Razor) and ask the dumb, obvious questions.  Someone else, who isn't me, tends to do the opposite of that.  I have already voiced this hypothesis to him.  "It has to be something dumb." To no avail.  

About a half-hour later, Kevin comes into the house. Sheepish.  At this point, I'd wager that he'd rather eat his hair than admit I was correct.  So I am practicing my best listening and not reacting skills.

It was a simple crossed-wire.  

Now, in his defense, it was a new specialty light where it Had To Be wired a specific way. Whereas with the replaced light did not. Most lights do not.  But this one did.

Because it's the holidays, I only smiled and was encouraging.  In my head, however, was copious amounts of the I Told You So dance.  Don't question the Nerds ability.

28 January 2021

Tattered Paper and Mostly Laughter

 The nostalgia box project is nearly completed.  It went from nearly three big totes to one and two scrapbooks. As always with me, it's taken much longer than I had planned.  Some of it was avoidance, some of it was work and other projects, and most of it was the time to go through every.single.piece.of.paper.

I also underestimated that the stuff being put into a scrapbook would cause it to expand.  The binding is fixed and now it cannot be closed.  I am vacillating between "Of course not" and "Effing Really?"  We will take the win that I have from grade school to high school placed into the scrapbook.  It's a little fixable as I didn't fill all the pages.  I wouldn't be me if it went right the first time.

What treasures have I found?  For as much that went into recycling, I did find some real treasures.

Report Cards. They were mostly as I remembered, no big surprises. Or wait, there was one: On the middle school P.E. card, my height and weight was listed so wtf.  Also there were handwritten test scores and...wait for it..."shower credits."  I mean...what?  What is that and why is it a thing?  

Strangely, there were only three with this notation.
And two with "Not working to her potential"
And two with "Needs to be more careful and not make careless mistakes"
ALL of these could be autobiography titles for me.

Then there's this note from my mom.  This is a good synopsis of her:

My parents went somewhere for the weekend, I don't remember where or why.  I love the keep the birds alive, take care of the house, and the afterthought of "oh and feed yourself."  

I have a binder that I started to transfer notes into at one point. The intention was to group them with the first scrapbook but see: expansion issue.  In the meanwhile, it is painstaking to unfold these intricately folded notes.  Then read them and subsequently recover from embarrassment or laughter or astonishment.   

During my junior year, I did a workstudy/student exchange (?) where I spent a few days at another high school. I think I was considering transferring?  I just don't remember and I'm not calling my mom.
It was a larger, more "city" school than my small, redneck school.  I liked that there were more opportunities available but I didn't like that it was just a sea of kids. 

Anyway, I found a batch of notes that random kids wrote to me; like a pen-pal kind of thing.  I was super curious to see if I knew anybody now that I didn't then.  Only one; she is married to someone I dated in high school and does not like me AT ALL.  Other than date her husband when I was sixteen, I've done nothing to her so...Shrug.   I am tempted to message the note to him but I won't.  Because I am a grown up.  Kinda.

The second scrapbook is also completed.  This one contains newspaper clippings, wedding invitations and programs, milestone anniversary announcements, and memorial cards & programs.  There were two culls of "This is no longer important"; people who are no longer in our lives or marriages that have since failed, etc.  There are both wedding invitations and funeral programs for some, sadly.  If I have both, they're on the same page which is gut wrenching, if I'm being honest.  

The best one is my sister's wedding invite and program. I remember that day like yesterday.  She married a nice, but a little dim, guy. The real problem was she was gay and not ready to be out in small town America in the early 90s.  I sent her a photo of the invite and program with the caption "Your sister keeps everything." with the shocked emoji and laughter emoji.

She answered with the requisite "OMG" and an explanation *wink wink* that hetero marriage is just too hard.  I reply with "Yeah, THAT was the problem."

This project has brought some joy, lots of laughter, a goodly amount of cringing.  Reaching out to friends by messaging copies of letters and notes and the ensuing conversations. I had a core group of friends but I also had friends that frankly, I couldn't remember. Like we were friends during that one weird semester when my friends and I didn't have lunch together. Then in true high school fashion, those temporary friendships fade.

I had a lot of being reminded that I did have good friends and did date two nice boys before Satan.  I had some revelations of unhealthy situations. I did have the dreams again, although not bad ones this time.  Weird ones. Like fishing - literal fishing - for black lab puppies.  Clearly my alphabet brain trying to sort out all the information I've just rebooted.  

This finally brings me to "Why save them?" and "This has taken SO LONG!" I kept persevering because it feels important to remember.  I wouldn't have had these conversations with my friends or these revelations or shared memories, if I hadn't kept everything from 1980 forward.

Also,  there was a quote that now OF COURSE I can't remember where I heard it:  "When does a person truly die?  When the last person who truly knew them dies."  Do you need to lie down for a minute? because I did.

We speak your names.  We remember.  And mostly laugh.

26 January 2021

Or Best Offer

 I've mentioned before that I do the marketing for the racecar.  This entails social media, sponsorship needs, and the buying/selling of parts.  Yes, for those of you keeping track: I am the I.T. person for the racecar.

Kevin bought new wheels for the racecar and it has not gone without drama.  It's too racecar-y to get into here. Just know that it not only cost more than planned, it also requires alterations.  Drama.

He decided to sell the original wheels and had me post on the social media, websites, and thecraigslist.  This is my least favorite thing ever because trolls.  I have an innate dislike of sales and sales persons.  (If you are one, I apologize. I'm sure you're lovely)

The other night, Kevin got a message inquiring about the wheels.  It was 10:30 so he replied with a simple "Yes" to the "are they still available?"

Then a full 24-hours went by so we assumed it was spam/autobot/trolls.  I dislike online marketing for this reason.

This morning there was another inquiry.  "Can you send more pictures?"

Kevin answered, while running heavy equipment, "What would you like to see?"  

"Just some more general pics"

This precipitates a phone call to me.  I have to get into our car trailer and take photos, log in as Kevin, and post photos.  No, I'm not annoyed at all. Why do you ask?

Then the "buyer" asks what car they were on.

I answer with the year and the make.  If you're wondering, it's not necessarily pertinent to the wheels. They fit what they fit. The ad is very specific.

"Got any pics of the car?"


"I'm working and don't have time.  Are you interested in buying them or no?"

Then my better angel said "That was a little snarky. It takes a minute to send a photo."  Well, the only photo I have on my work computer - where this is all being done - is a cartoonish photo that doesn't show the wheels.  My worse angel laughed and said "Send that one".

He answered with a counter-offer of $100 less than asking. Sigh.

Kevin phones me to see what I thought.  I thought "Counter with another $50 because now I'm annoyed."

Then he mentions: "That photo didn't show the wheels."

I'm all "I know, right?"

There was a pause then laughter.  He should know better than to have me do this and expect me to be a grownup.

This is where Kevin gets a decision making disorder and I'm sighing heavily.   He's worried that because there hasn't been a ton of interest, he should just take the offer.  I'm, on the other hand, thinking it doesn't cost us anything to store them in the trailer or than my diminishing patience with humanity.

"Counter offer another $50." I suggest. "You don't know this person, it doesn't matter."

Fine, he decides.  I counter offered and now we're waiting again.  I have to go into my office so now we're all waiting for the stunning conclusion.

Have a racecar, they said. It will be fun, they said.

22 January 2021

The Hill We Climb


The Hill We Climb


When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.


We braved the belly of the beast.


We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.


And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.


Somehow we do it.


Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.


We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.


And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.


We are striving to forge our union with purpose.


To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.


And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.


We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.


We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.


We seek harm to none and harmony for all.


Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.


That even as we grieved, we grew.


That even as we hurt, we hoped.


That even as we tired, we tried.


That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.


Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.


Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.


If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. 

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.


It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.


It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.


We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.


Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.


And this effort very nearly succeeded.


But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.


In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.


This is the era of just redemption.


We feared at its inception.


We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.


But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.


So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?


We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.


We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.


Our blunders become their burdens.


But one thing is certain.


If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.


So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.


Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.


We will rise from the golden hills of the West.


We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.


We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.


We will rise from the sun-baked South.


We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.


And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.


When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.


The new dawn balloons as we free it.


For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.


If only we’re brave enough to be it.


            —Amanda Gorman

            January 20, 2021 Inauguration Poet



 Is it safe to come out?  It is?  Okay, good.  As Swistle mentioned, it felt weird to post this week so I refrained.  Even today, it feels a little odd.

Then I really thought about how it feels last night.  It's an absence.  It's a loss, a good one, but a loss all the same.  It occurred to me in the middle of the night, as things tend to do, that for me: it is 1990 again.  Before you start reaching for historical dates, it's historical only for me.

When I left Satan and the almost two years following, my vigilance was ceaseless.  Surely there would be little pockets of peace but there was always this...noise in the back of my head.  Until time passed, legal paperwork, and a move out of the county finally quieted it.

Then 45 came along and the noise was back.  Quieter, of course, but it was back.  The frustration and anger was back.  As much as I hate to use the word because a certain belief-set has ruined it, I was triggered frequently.  The videos of him insistently grabbing at her hand, the lying without consequence, the sexist behavior; all of it triggering me. Reminding me.  

Okay, rolling of shoulders.  Now he's gone.  Now no one says his name.  Have you noticed that?  His name is rarely mentioned and it's glorious.

The noise is now gone, the vigilance is gone and now there's like a loss.  But it's a peaceful and welcomed peace.  The bad man is gone now.  We can scroll through social media without squinting or wincing.  Joy Scrolling instead of doom scrolling. (not mine, nipped from the twitter)  We can relax because the grownups are back in charge.

So if you're feeling a little weird, maybe this will help define it. Many of us have been holding our breath for four years and now we can exhale.

19 January 2021

Five Shirts

 I'm on my fifth shirt today and it's only 11:00 am.  And I'm supposed to be leaving for work right now.

I'm certain that I'm not the only human who is unsettled right now.  I can't concentrate.  I can only sit here and wish it is 24 hours from now.  24 hours from now and the long national nightmare will be over.

But what's with the five shirts?

A.D.D. and related sensory processing disorder can manifest in weird ways.  Stress also can manifest in weird ways.  Let's begin at the beginning:

I have to go to work today.  It's cold out today.  This presents two dressing challenges: I have to look like a grownup and I have to be warm.

First shirt was a fleece pullover that I used to love.  Somewhere over the last year, I've become Meh over it.  I don't know why.  Because: reasons.

The second shirt, which was only a consideration, was a Nordic style sweater.   It was probably going to be too warm and I only wear it during the holidays.  (welcome to my brain)

The third shirt, is a flannel tunic that I wore to Kevin's staff Christmas Party.  It bothered me today. It lasted a minute.

The fourth shirt I actually wore for a bit while working at my desk.  It's a red paisley tunic that I actually love.  But when I was getting ready, I needed another layer.  Off went that shirt.

Now I'm on my fifth shirt, which is actually long enough to be considered a dress.  It's too big.  But I really like it so I wear it here at home usually.  It doesn't look terrible with a simple black hoodie and the black pea coat that I wear in the winter.

We are not talking about how my socks don't match my shirt.  Or how the seam of the sock is crooked and making my brain flip into DANGER DANGER mode.  Yes, I am aware that I can change socks but that feels ridiculous.


The point of this is to acknowledge that most of us feel unsettled right now.  That us neuro-divergent folks are a special kind of crazy right now probably.  Or maybe it's all of us and I'm not special.  Well...define "special" I guess.  Again: we are all in this right now.  We are all feeling a little crazy right now.

Maybe change your shirt.  It might help. 

16 January 2021

Essay in Suspension

 So, I've been upfront that I was kind of a troubled kid.  All in all, I was fine; good grades, no drugs, no jail.  But I had my things.

I was suspended from school a few times.  In my times though, they had "In School Suspension". It was just a room removed from the rest of the school where you spent your school hours, including lunch and breaks.  Other than the not talking thing, I didn't hate it.  Also, you could slide notes under the carousel desks pretty easily.

My English teachers were pretty disappointed in me for not living up to my potential.  Stand in line, folks, it forms to the right.  

They thought they'd be clever and give me a list of S.A.T. vocabulary words (fifty, I think) and required me to write a fictional essay.  

Even now, I'm kind of laughing about that tactic.  "Wait, what? You want me to spend suspension doing something I love AND am good at?  You animals."

I had three days suspension and I was done in one.  This isn't to be all braggity and look-at-me, it's to show how excited I was for the challenge.  #nerd

This is also where I say that my English advisor/mentor/person told me that the essay would have won some composition award.  BUT because it was written while I was suspended, it wasn't eligible.  I mean, c'mon, if that's not my life summed up in a nutshell, nothing is.

And upon scanning it to the computer, I just spotted the note written from the teacher: "Read it to the class"  OMG. "Now presenting Essays from Jail."  Thank gawd that I was in suspension because I would have died having it read in front of me. Or WORSE: having me read it.

 I also noticed that my grammar and punctuation errors have never quite been eradicated.  This is on me and not my education though.  My alphabet brain can tell you the telephone number from the bar my parents went to on the daily but not remember where semi-colons and commas are supposed to go. 

14 January 2021

History in Ziplock Bags

Because there isn't enough happening right now, I thought I'd break the nostalgia box down into manageable pieces.  Well, I started one thing and here I am on the interwebs.  This is going as expected.  But I had to take all y'all along for the ride with me.

For a box of stuff that everything is unceremoniously dumped into, it is a little organized. I have ziploc bags that are labelled: grade school, middle school, etc.  After I finished a really long day at work, I thought it was a good idea to begin organizing the box.

I chose the grade school bag first.  My mom kept a lot of things.  This surprises me a little as she isn't terribly sentimental and a broken parent.  Also, you can see where after first grade, things weren't kept.  First grade is when my grandma died and that's about where the wheels fell off in my family.


I used to draw a lot.  Like, a lot. And for a kid: I wasn't terrible.  Now that I have early childhood ed., I can see where I could have been a good drawer. I wonder why I stopped. I have zero idea; other than the dead grandma thing.  I do remember having a zombie/horror character phase (frankenstein, ghosts, werewolves) so maybe that's where I was discouraged.  (I keep telling you I'm Wednesday Adams!!)   Also, no surprise, I was a good writer.  Those things came easily to me. 

Then there's math.  My mom kept math worksheets for some reason.  I went into a flop sweat just seeing those.  I did have special education math for a little bit so maybe that's where those sheets are from.  Also, a certificate for memorizing my times tables 0-10.  It's the little victories, I guess.

In that bag was also a newspaper clipping and I had zero idea what it was.  I unfolded it and Spelling Bee!  How quaint and nostalgic that feels: a small town, farm county spelling bee. I remember winning it in the sixth grade, beating my friend Rosalie who did not take the loss well.  I remember studying and the book provided by the Bee is in the bag too.  I remember the competition a little, I remember the anxiety more.  I think I made it about mid-way? three-quarters to the end.  Someone asked if I remembered what word I went out on.  I had to think about it hard.  I remember it was one of the psy- words.  Finally I remembered it: psyllium.

On the writing part, I kept an original Star Wars notebook.  I feel like buying a shadow box for it.  There are also two journal style notebooks full of stories. I've set those aside to look at another day.

So, there is one bag done.  I threw out about half of it.  I will go through it one more time and probably cull more.

Next is Middle School. That was yesterday.

In the eighth grade, from a life skills class, I found a Values Appraisal worksheet.  Who gives something like that to a 13 year old?  I mean...wut?  

And a personality test to see what jobs would be good for you.  Again: 13 years old. The results for me were a Secretary, bank teller or lawyer.  Sigh. So 1980's answers for a girl.  Firstly, secretary was probably the default answer for many girls, bank teller is AMUSING because dyslexic - undiagnosed at that time but still had special ed math classes...HELLO.  And lawyer...I don't remember that ever being on the radar.  My guess is that I was told it would require a lot of school and I was all "I'm out."

Next was my home-ec workbook. I HATED that class. HATED.IT.  The teacher didn't like me either so it was a fun quarter for everyone, I'm certain.  There is an entire workbook of how to set a table, hostess a party (yes: HOSTESS, not Host) how to greet guests, how to serve a five-part meal (drinks were the first part!)  I am somewhere between fascinated and offended. 

There is another workbook that required me to identify kitchen tools and processes four different ways. Pictures to words, fill in the blanks, definitions, and in a sentence.  My adult self sees Teacher Burnout Example A.

Then, because I'm on a roll and time just doesn't matter anymore, I kept diving:

High School was today, before I had to go into work.  I manage my time SO WELL.

Ugh Report cards.  I think I only want the Trigonometry one. I bribed the teacher for a D instead of an F by telling him I would have to take HIS class again.  Yep, I was Ferris Bueller.

A certificate for maintaining a 3.1 GPA my junior year.  I equate this to a Participation/Most Improved Award.  My gawd, the achievement bar must have been low that year.

So.Many.Passed-in-Class.Notes. I'm setting all of those aside for another day.  Many of them will go in the trash, I'm certain.  I see a whole lot of Cringe in my future. And yes, they are pyramid folded. 

Graduation Cards.  I was very surprisingly touched at reading those.  I'm glad 18-year-old me kept those.  Even the one from my future in-laws who said I had a bright future.  NOT IF THEIR SON HAD ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT. 

A ton of writing.  I'm also setting this aside, with the middle school writings.  

In the most PERFECT example of who I am as a person, I present the following.  It was a Psychology 101 my senior year. I had to choose a public figure and do a personality comparison between them and myself. 

I, of course, chose Ernie of Bert & Ernie fame.  I seriously wonder what the teachers thought of me. I suspect that I made them laugh or drink. Perhaps both.

I am taking a bunch of newsletters, programs, and high school newspapers to the historical museum in my hometown.  They will be more valued there than stuffed into a box in the back of a closet. I've sent photos to friends online.  I'm sending out a graduation announcement and some photos to my childhood BFF today.  I'm trying to think of anyone who would want something before I put it into an album or the trash.

It doesn't feel like I've lessened anything from the box but I have.  I have a bag to take to recycling to prove it.  I have a little metaphorical lesser load in my feelings.  

There is another pile of stuff that would be from "Adulthood" that needs culling. This, I imagine, will also create a pile for recycling. I will do that tomorrow.  It's been a week since the beginning of this post; real life intervened momentarily.  

Next step is to dump it all out and sort it into albums.  I think I'm ready.  I know Kevin is. The other night he paused and said "So...what's with the box...in the hallway...all week?"

"It's a project that I'm working on. I am leaving it in the hallway, where it will bother me so I'll finish it."

And there it still is.

12 January 2021

You're Doing It Now

 I used to hate the quote "Don't argue with a pig because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it."

Firstly, I don't like pigs. They scare me. 

Secondly, the trill of annoyance/injustice that goes up my spine when someone is purposefully contrary is a thing.  In the last few days though I have gained a deeper understanding of that saying.  

While reading social media, waiting for our second civil war, I have watched with interest as one belief set argues that the other belief set just wants to restrict their freedom.  The other belief set argues that until the other recognizes that they are on the wrong side of history, there can be no compromise. 

I've watched the tug-of-war between "Can't we just move on?" and "Why won't you learn?"  and have genuine and definite fear for the future.  

Here are some interesting examples that have happened over the past 48 hours on the social media:

A high school friend posted this morning:

I would like to conduct an experiment that I hope will birth a constructive debate in the future.  I would like my friends from both sides of the aisle to respond with 2 items.  First, the most important and pressing issue on your mind and second, a issue that you believe may be important to someone on the other side that you would personally be willing to compromise.  RULES to respond:  Only list 2 responses, I am not asking for debate at this time, no responding to other peoples post, be honest, I want this to be a sincere safe place to put issues on the table.  Why am I doing this?  I genuinely care about what my friends think and are concerned about and tough conversations need to be had at this trying time and well I might as well be the one to start them.  I also believe there will be a lot of common ground among us that sometimes gets looked over due to all the background noise of politics.  Please post by the rules... If anyone attacks anyone for anything they post, I will delete it, this is a simple task to find out what is important to each other, not a debate, if you wish to debate please do so on your own page.

At first I was interested. I thought it was brave to ask; I also thought it was a fool's errand. Nonetheless,  I thought about what my possible response would be.  Then I scrolled to the answers. Of course the most strident belief set answered first. These are folks who don't normally comment on his page suddenly they have things to say.  This disingenuity is exhausting.

Their responses were consistently Constitutional Rights.  #merica  The third response to what they would compromise, I kid you not, was: Completion of the wall %100  Sigh.  Seriously. That is so 2016.

Then I scrolled to another friend's page and watched as a friend rightfully called out someone for being hyperbolic and parotting untruths.  The person, unfortunately, is a misogynist so it degenerated to "I can't talk to miss high and mighty" tones. Sitting on the sidelines, I just wanted to message the friend and advise her to stop engaging with the troll.

This brings me to this: stop feeding the trolls. I've watched smart people fall into the mud in attempts to educate or bring to light untruths, only to end up on the same muddy footing as the person they were "talking" with.

I'm very careful with what I post on the facebook.  I try to stick with puppy photos and funny quotes.  I purposefully don't want to be the person who posts "I know this will offend some but I'm posting it anyway."  That is a particular kind of immature dickishness.

Here is the difference, in my humble opinion, between one belief set and the other on social media:  One is strident and willing to say or do anything in order to "win."  The other - also strident - has good intentions and expectations of consequences.  This is very simplified, I understand.

When something like the insurrection occurs, it is impossible for me to not acknowledge it.  I found this quote from Pete Buttegieg and it resonated with me:  

Words have consequences, especially the words of a president and his allies.
Today those consequences include violent rioters attacking our Capitol to overthrow the American democratic process.
This must end, and democracy must prevail.

It's pretty simple: "Words have consequences."  The first comment posted was a screenshot of an AOC quote regarding protests, intending to troll me.  What it said isn't as important as who posted it: a distant cousin who probably couldn't identify me in the grocery store.  Someone who never comments on anything that I post suddenly felt compelled to comment.  It's magical how that happens.

I admit I was irritated.  My first reaction I wanted to post was "You don't know me. Don't start."  But I took a few minutes and thought about a response.

The universe gave me an assist when a post on another social media platform gave me a screenshot of a tweet of 45. Because "For every tweet, there is an equal and opposite tweet." for this specific individual.  I posted it without comment.

The answer was a doctored photo of the insurrectionists that claimed they were not insurrectionists.  I did a quick google-image search, verified it was false, and deleted the comment. I also did not comment. No response from the cousin.

When Kevin discovered that his cousin had trolled me, it was over. "Unfriend him. Unfriend him now. He Does Not get to harass you."  While I appreciated the support, I was in the middle of making enchiladas.  I did unfriend him and will consider unfriending others as this dissolves into a probable civil war.  Kevin summed it up: You Don't Get to Harass People.

Then there were positive, supportive comments to that post. Then there were two VOTER FRAUD! and IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE/DON'T TRUST THE MEDIA  comments that have gone without response from me. I just can't with that.  I have left them up because I want the comments to die in silence.  Although I do want to post the West Wing meme:

Then I received an instant message with conspiracy theory rhetoric.  I had received one, albeit benign at the time, before and ignored it.  I just can't with that now. I replied with "Hi, I'm a bleeding heart liberal snowflake. Please don't send me these. Thanks."  Their response was a simple "Okay."  That is how it is supposed to be.  I didn't berate them, I just declined the messages.  They, in turn, did the same.

Scrolling later last night, I found a min-essay stating a funny way of saying Stop Supporting the Insurrectionists.  There is ZERO way to chip in with a "But the other side does too" or that old chestnut of "It was the group that begins with "A"!!"  Because any comment will appear that YOU'RE SUPPORTING NAZIS. Brilliant.  Just brilliant.

Then I noticed another friend that dropped the Both Sides Do It, Politicians Don't Care and now they're unfollowed.  

Kevin wondered why I would post at all.  My response was "Because I don't want my friends who are marginalized to think I am a coward."  Because this meme effed me up a few years ago and continues to do so:

05 January 2021

Maybe Today

 And now it's Tuesday.

There is still a stack of ornaments on the floor next to my desk.  Yep.  Super excited about that.  

Last night when I was making dinner, I was making a list of what I DID accomplish.  Apparently it was in my Out Loud Voice because Kevin paused what he was doing and asked "Did you just say you made the bed?"

"Yes, I did. That is how my day has been. I'm counting what I DID get done. The bar is pretty low." 

He laughed, a little nervously, and moved on. Wise man.

I did get the wall painted finally.  I bought a gallon of paint instead of a quart because I suspect I will be painting the white wall soon.  I did get some actual work finished.  I did complete all my errands.  I did get stuff done, not just what 2:00 a.m. Surely had planned.  2:00 a.m. Surely is delusional.

As of dinner time last night, I did not get the Christmas dump site cleaned up.  I did, however, make it worse.  Now you just thought, wait, how could she make it worse?  Oh, I can make things worse. TRUST THAT.

Two things:

Monica's Closet...so that's a thing unto itself.

I believe you have to make a mess to clean a mess. So now there was stuff lining the hallway.

I thought it was a good idea to pull everything out of Monica's Closet so when I was "ready" to put away everything, it would go together in a manageable way.

And the gods laughed.

7:30 last night found me laying in the middle of my office floor questioning every decision I have ever made.  I could say I was meditating to sound all grown-up and stuff but no.  It was a tantrum. It was a "I'm gonna lay here and pout."

When I realized I wasn't accomplishing anything, I snapchatted my BFF to give her an update.  Yep, you probably guessed it.  Sent it to the wrong person.  Luckily, it was my other BFF, whom I'm certain was a little "???"  They are used to me though.

But look at the shot I got of a concerned Lucy:

Dafuq you doing on the floor?

So, clapping of hands.  Here's the state of stuff and things:

Christmas decorations are boxed and labelled AND put into the closet.

The kids are taking the end tables but not until this weekend.  I still have an extra lamp but it's part of a set so it has to live in Monica's Closet until I decide what I'm doing with those.

There is a pile of stuff going to the goodwill.

The Nostalgia box has made a re-appearance. It is not going into the closet yet because I'm determined to finish that project.  

Yes, there are still ornaments on the floor. You mind your ownself.

There are now two photos and two paintings needing hung now lingering in the hallway.

This is where I say I realized this morning that the parents haven't sent over their tote of decorations yet.  Sigh.  100% Not Going There Today.

This is also where I say that Kevin has offered to help multiple times and I have declined.  Two reasons: he works eleventy hours a day and this is my mess.  And "helping" would be like having a toddler help fold laundry.  He would not be offended by that comparison; he would laugh.

New goals for today:

Get those @#$% ornaments off the floor and put away.

That's it.  That's all I got.  Seems obtainable.  Yet here I sit.  

Oh, and Kevin - clearly not thinking - asked if I sat in my new chair yesterday.  He immediately regretted that question.  Bless his heart.  

Maybe Today.  

04 January 2021

Home Improvement - Part Two

Part Two of Yesterday's post Home Improvement in Three Hours or Less

I am now amending that title to "Three Days or Less..."

By the time we arrived home, it was bucketing down rain.  I ran into the house, let out Lucy, and opened  both doors wide so we could get the chairs inside.  Kevin's chair could come in via the mud room but my chair was larger so it had to come in the main door. Because why not. Lucy was excited that we were home, all the doors were open, and Things Were Happening; adding to the frenetic pace of the afternoon.

My chair came in first and I had The Anxiety.  The chair is larger.  It's new. We have to rearrange furniture.  OMG. What have we done to our cozy house?   Kevin noticed me beginning to spin out and suggested moving just one end table while he got his chair out of the truck.  He also had to tell his dad that we didn't need his help; which disappointed his dad a little. But the last thing we needed was an 84-year-old man with memory and speech issues "helping" move furniture.  So between me, the dog, and his dad, he also had his hands full.

In an attempt to gain any sort of control in my brain, I moved one end table down into my office, Thusly smashing my hand in the process; Day Two of the New Year and I already have an injury. Seems right on time.  This also caused a lamp to be removed and because it's me: books.  All of it went into my already messy office.  We are ignoring that matter right now. (and at the time of this writing, if I'm being honest)

This is where I realize that I DO have a smaller end table. It was that table my mother-in-law sent over months ago that I whined about having to keep.  In a zippy twist, it's perfect for the room now.  It has a DRAWER.  It has a mate if I want to find a different table for the mud room.  Sometimes things do work out, even when you don't want them.

Kevin came into the house, put his chair down then went back outside to close the truck up and put it away.  I moved his chair into place and it fit exactly where the old chair used to was.  In a rare instance of thinking ahead, we had dropped off the old chair to the Nephew.  And of course Kevin's chair fit perfectly with no fuss or fanfare.  

He returned to the house, finding me sitting in my new chair and spun dafaq out.  "Okay, we have to move the loveseat down.  We need a smaller end table.  This is going to take some doing."  Thank you, Captain Obvious. You're not helping.

He sat down and looked at the space.  He was the one who arranged all of the furniture when we moved into this house. He has a better eye for things than I do when it comes to big picture.  He suggested taking out a bookcase and was met with a raised eyebrow.  This lead to "We need that corner but the china hutch is there."

But the china hutch is there.  Again, a china hutch is ruining my life. This one is mine, built by my father-in-law, and full of our own stuff.  Being rid of this one is not an option.  "Okay, well, it sucks" I say  "But we can move it." This is where Kevin pauses.  Kevin never pauses.  I sense impending doom.  I am right.  

"You didn't paint behind it, did you?"  Ah feck.

I laughed "You said I didn't have to!!"  He laughed because: of course.  Then he followed with "Do you have paint?"  Of course I do, I said.  We'll shelve this detail for a minute.

I skimmed over the thought of painting for now  "We move it to the opposite corner.  We move the bookcase to where it was. We move the loveseat down and we're good."  Deep sigh.  This wasn't supposed to be a THING.  It was supposed to be one chair.  

He looks around and eventually says "Yeah."  I sat there, silent.  Thinking. Regretting all of my life's decisions.

This is where I mention that the Christmas tree is still up.  Fully decorated.  I wasn't going to take it down until "after the new year" which it technically was. I also threatened to add a day to it's existence every time Kevin asked "When is the tree coming down?"  The plan was to take it down on Inauguration Day or whenever it started bothering me.  Apparently that day is today.

"Okay. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.  Or: you just start."  I stood, silently planning how I'm going to move that #$%^ china hutch.  I turned to Kevin, pointed at the corner "But I'm not painting that today."  Sensing the potential for bodily harm he said "Okay" then went outside to get tools.

I began defrocking the tree.  Usually I do this slowly and with care; removing all the ornaments then wrapping them up into a large tote.  Not this year.  I laid out a bath towel, filled it, then carried said towel to my desk.  Repeat three times.  And yes, my office is still FULL of haphazardly stacked decorations.  And now an end table and lamp.  This is going So Well.

Fifteen minutes later the tree is down and now I'm working on emptying the hutch. It's contents were quickly stacked on the dining table with all the books from the bookcase that I unloaded first for some reason.  What do I need to move next?  The bookcase.  What do I need? the books.  Tactical Error #I can't even count now.

Next Kevin has the hutch unbolted from the walls and is moving it.  I kept saying "Use the slidy things" and he kept trying without them.  The slidy things are a gift from the gods. GET THEM.  They have saved me many, many times.  (Slidy things)   Finally he relented and tah dah!  I was right.  A bit of wrestling and Kevin bolts it into its new home.  We are super committed now. 

I began to replace everything into the hutch when Kevin says "Why do we even have all this stuff?"  Deep breath, rolling of shoulders "This is our history. The history of us. And we're not going down that rabbit hole right now."  Then he noticed some model cars he forgot about and he's distracted again.  Thank you tiny baby jesus.

I had set a goal of being done at 5:00 p.m.  That gave me a little over two hours to put this mess right.  I'm happy to say that I was finished, mostly, at 5:15.  I can't move about my office freely but the living room looked good.  Well, except for the wall that needed painting.

Now I'm on Sunday.  The plan was to put everything away in my office Sunday morning then paint while watching the Seahawks play.  It's now Monday morning and my office remains a holiday dump site.  

What had happened was I woke up 100% Uninterested in putting stuff away.  I came into the office and wrote this instead.  Then there was lunch.  Then the game started.  So I broke out all of the paint stuff and began to paint.  

Firstly, I was pretty sure I didn't have enough paint but historically I under-estimate how much I need.  I poured out the paint, knowing that it was the lighter color from my failed painting experiment in the bedroom.  I thought that maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't be light enough to be a thing.  I know, shush.

It was a thing.  Because of course it was.  I painted a bit, hoping that maybe it wouldn't be so noticible once it dried.  It was.  

Then Five came over because his daddy was helping next door.  We sat and talked for half hour then there was a knock on the door.  It was the Niece, stopping by to say hi because we haven't seen her in months.  (masked up, stayed in the mud room while I stayed in the kitchen)  Now an hour has gone by.  The Seahawks won and it was time for dinner.

I was happy to have a cozy chair to sit in while I read and ignored the mess that is that wall. And my office.  This is also where Kevin offered to help "put things away"; which was answered with a quietly panicked "Nope."  Because "putting away" would be "Why do we HAVE THIS STUFF" and I can't even with that right now.  Because Why DO We have all this stuff?

I think I have to paint that wall too.  It looks weird white now.

Then I woke up at 2:00 am, full of a plan to get all.the.things. done today.  It's almost noon on Monday and I've checked in with my job and wrote this.  Lucy has stolen some packing paper and properly sniffed everything, finding it uninteresting.  Same, gurl, same.

I have to go pick up groceries soon and buy paint.  I have to work but literally and figuratively can't get to what I need right now.  I'm on my second cup of coffee and still *looking around* no motivation to be found.  Maybe it's under the stack of ornaments. (there are words that shouldn't ever be strung together)

But I promised Kevin that this mess I've created will be gone when he's home in *checks watch* six hours.  Probably.  Maybe.  

That chair IS pretty cozy.

03 January 2021

Home Improvement in Three Hours or Less

In another stunning installment of both What Did Surely Take Apart Now and We Shouldn't Be In Charge of Our Own Lives, we present this weekend.

It started with a couch cover.  Well, also with the fact that Kevin needed a new recliner.  Yes, this is confusing. Just wait.

One of my (requested) Christmas/birthday gifts was a cover for the loveseat.  It is a lovely burgundy velvet.  It was fun for a little while but I'm over it.  In case you're questioning my interior design tastes: it was given to us.  Because our original couch wouldn't fit in this small house.  See, we clearly plan things ahead of time. This is a THEME.

The cover is an olive color that read more tan than green on the interwebs.  In this house, it reads green. Because of course it does.  Just that didn't qualify as a fail because the green still plays.  It was also too big.  Or it was on the first attempt of installation late on Christmas Day when my patience was at an all time high (Sarcasm)

The other day I decided to try again and had success mostly. With a down, faux suede lap blanket from Kevin's mom that I never used, it looks good.  Hooray for hoarding linens and bedding!

This then started me decluttering the kitchen and living room.  I had mentioned to my BFF about a month ago that it was my next goal: Put away/get rid of anything that was extraneous. Stuff that was out because...reasons.  

But I still had Christmas decorations out so I half-heartedly began defrocking the house.  I also half-heartedly put them on the floor of the office.  I KNOW.  Welcome to my alphabet brain, please step carefully over those loose wires.

So that's how we got to Thursday.  Yep, for those of you who just thought about what day it is. Thursday.

Kevin needs a new recliner.  It's well past it's expiration date.  We inherited it when the parents moved up here so it's about twelve? fifteen? years old.  I mentioned that when we get our refund or covid cash, we should get him a new recliner.  He was interested but not super excited about the actual getting of said recliner. (this is what we call "foreshadowing".)

On New Year's Eve, after some racecar parts drama, we went into town to look at chairs.  We first stopped at the store that we thought the parents liked.  It was dim, we couldn't tell if they were open.  But the sign and the interwebs said they were.  They shouldn't have been.

The woman working couldn't have been LESS interested in helping us.  She vaguely gestured to the section of recliners then walked away.  So, this is starting well.  Then as Kevin is trying various chairs, she approaches me with a catalog of entertainment centers and starts talking mid-conversation.  I had to stop her, gesture to Kevin sitting in a recliner six feet away from me, and decline the catalog.  She got flustered and walked away. Now I'm looking around to see if there were actually others in the store.  Thankfully, there were. AN ELDERLY COUPLE.  I know I just had a birthday but C'mon.

Kevin had narrowed it down to two chairs, his favorite is OF COURSE about two hundred dollars more than was reasonable to spend.  We lingered, waiting to ask if there were upcoming sales or anything wiggle room.  She remained uninterested and distant.  So we walked across the street to look at another store.

This salesperson needed to calm down a little.  She was a little too excited there were people in the store.  And she told a Billy Graham story so I'm out.  (it was fine, I just was all "Umm, you don't know me.")  We then returned to the original store and Kevin got the reluctant salesperson's attention.  He asked if there were any upcoming sales or wiggle room.  She was annoyed, complete with heavy sigh and an "I'll have to look"   After some grumbling, she said that she could reduce it $50.  This doesn't even pay the taxes on this item.  We left again.

Now I'm googling furniture stores near me.  We stopped and looked around at store which I knew would probably be expensive but maybe worth stopping because of the holidays.  For this, we were granted a salesperson who didn't believe in personal space.  And bonus: super expensive furniture.  Now we're annoyed and dejected.  

Next stop was a franchise.  We wanted to shop local but also wanted to bring home a chair.  And no dice.  More expensive than the first store for the same products.  SIGH.  Then I consulted the google again and realized that we had actually WALKED RIGHT PAST another furniture store back at the first store.  Because of course we did.

This store has seen better days. It needs some serious TLC and I was a little skeptical.  And with that, we bought a chair.  It's family owned, run by a couple who were in their early sixties and charming.  Kevin narrowed it down to two chairs and then developed a decision making disorder.  We agreed we would be back first thing Saturday morning to buy a chair.  (because now it's 4:00 on New Year's Eve)

Kevin decided to let me sleep in on Saturday.  While: hooray!  We had plans and now I felt late.  I scurried to get ready and we went to get a chair.  He'd decided for real and we were good to go.  We entered the store and they say "You're late!  This is not first thing in the morning!" They completely made up for our disappointing experience at the other store. 

While they are loading Kevin's chair in the truck, I'm wandering around because Hi, Hello, Hey, it's me.  I don't know how I missed it before but the chair I've been coveting for months now was it Right There.  Display model, clearance priced.  OMG.  I sat in it and sighed.  Then I took a photo and went to find Kevin.

I helped him wrap the chair up in a tarp because it's January in Washington State.  I mentioned that there was a chair that I liked.  He's all "Let's go get it."  but I'm still processing dropping $cough on his chair so I'm all No, we'll wait.   He was skeptical and wanted to just go get it now but I'm still not convinced.

Next stop is lunch because now it's later in the day.  Kevin continues with the whole "You should get the chair" throughout the meal.  (it's a drive-in burger place for those of you wondering about covid)  I did the thing that was making me mental a mere 24-hours earlier: "Let me think about it. Maybe we'll go look again."

And we bought the chair.  I'm still a little shook.  I do not make big purchases for myself, like ever.  EVER.  Remember how long it took me to buy a laptop? and I NEEDED it.  Also: hilariously, the owners both said "Uh oh" when we walked back into the store.  "Did it fall out of the truck? do you need a replacement?"  (I once lost a stove off my truck so this was extra funny. That story is for another day)

We loaded it into the truck in now wind and rain. Kevin only mentioned twice that this would have been easier if I'd just bought it when we were there the first time.  Fair enough.

Now. *brisk hand clap* Have we thought about we live in a small house?  Nope.  Have we thought about end tables, bookcases, lamps? Also nope.  But we have two new chairs. One of which is new to the space and not replacing an existing chair.  

Stay tuned for the riveting conclusion...