29 May 2022

New Vacuum...Who Dis

 In yet another example of adulting that I would never have predicted, I had to buy a new vacuum and I was happy about it.

The unlock pedal on mine broke and it looks fixable. BUT we have wandered into the Is It Worth Fixing territory. The internet says the part is available for about $10 and offered a video as to how to fix it.  About one minute in, I was all "Whelp, I gave it a try."  Kevin was 100% "Just buy a new one, I don't even want to try."  Fair enough.

As near as I can guess, the vacuum was 10-16ish years old and it's showing wear and tear beyond the broken pedal.  I can't remember if I bought it when we got the new house or the new carpet; either way I remember we needed one because new carpet.  Anyway, the interwebs state that the life of a vacuum is usually around eight years.  I had way surpassed that timeline either way.

I got this one:

From the amazon, delivered  for $181.00.  The same vacuum was "for sale" at Best Buy for $249, which is a little goggling.  Luckily I didn't need it right this second.  Well, I did but I waited anyway.

It's awesome and I should have done this sooner.  I thought it was going to be lighter in weight but I don't think it is.  I left off all the attachments just to simplify and to not add weight.  Also, if I'm being honest, I don't use them often and it makes no sense to haul them around just in case.

Meanwhile, off topic again, it's quieter so I appreciate that and it definitely did a better job.  I like that it's red instead of the utilitarian brown and black.  Having grown up with heavy, bagged, and loud canister vacuums, this is amazing.  Somewhere my ancestors are thinking "We beat our rugs with brooms but okay, spoiled."

This doesn't mean that Rosie is fired, I just also need a big girl vacuum because we live in the woods and Kevin comes home grubby most nights, and we have Lucy.  Rosie is perfect for the hard floors and under things and mostly for that satisfying vacuum trail that she leaves, showing her work. But Kevin nor Lucy are big fans of her dimly wandering around the house and bumping into things.

Kevin and I were just talking the other day about when you age, there are fewer and fewer things to look forward to.  This was a good example of that: the happy anticipation of waiting for the delivery, putting it together and USING it.  Aging is dumb.

I still had to find a new home for the old vacuum. It worked but not to the best of it's ability.  But it couldn't stand up on it's own and it was dusty, as older vacuums tend to be.  Kevin was hesitant about sending it off to a second hand shop so I had a little think about it.  If you don't have a vacuum, even an older dusty one for $5 was helpful.  I didn't want to sell it online though.  

Finally, I phoned a vacuum repair shop and asked if they would like it for parts or whatever.  The guy who answered the phone was surprised, laughed, and said yes, absolutely.  He was very happy that my alphabet brain somehow thought to call and ask him.

I cleaned it up a little and gathered all the tools and extra belts and filters.  The repair shop is one of the businesses that are still "Call and we'll come out to you" so they even came out to the truck to take it. It was the same guy I spoke with and he was still kind of giggling as he took it. 

So, if you have an older vacuum you no longer use, maybe see if there's a repair shop that wants it.  Or have yours repaired, as I probably could have done.  

But the new one is so cool. I have no regrets.   :)

26 May 2022

Picture Stories

With everything that has happened and a booster shot that made me Rumplestiltskin, I'm phoning this post in.  Well, with cell phone photos, if you will.  Random shots from the past week for your distraction.

This little angry bird caused me to buy another feeder.
He chases other birds away.

Could not find my glasses the other evening.
This is bad even for me
(Kevin's work truck rear bumper)

Kevin sent this photo to me
from his work the other morning

Anniversary Cards. 
He said he won because: two cards

Ridiculously tall tulip stems.
They're about three feet tall.
(shot through a window and the rain)

One of my favorite photos of the 
happiest puppy who ever puppied.

15 May 2022

Geology Rocks

 Every time I go to the bay or the river or the little park or to the ocean beach…well, frankly anywhere…I pick up rocks to bring home.  It’s something I did as a child then lost to adulting and have now regained.  

Part of what started this hobby-habit up again is that I spotted a rock among freshly-laid gravel driveway.  It was a little planet rock, looking like a little galaxy in a single stone.  I have written about it before here: Third Rock from the Sun.

I tend to favor smooth, white, rounded stones and wish rocks. Kind of like in the movie Somethings Gotta Give: 

Photo nipped from interwebs, real photo below

  I was starting to accumulate too many of those so I had to do something differently.  I began to think about a particular kind of rock or stone that I wanted.  Setting my intention for each walk as “I want a green rock” or “I want a striped rock.”

The fun thing about setting an intention is that most often I find what I’m looking for. Sometimes not and that’s disappointing but mostly successful.  The literal biggest one happened when I first began being intentional about it. I wanted a green rock.  We were at the bay and sure enough there was a green rock poking up out of the sand.  I scuffed it with my foot and it didn’t pop up easily.  Because look:

It was heavy to carry around the beach but absolutely worth it

One time I found another planet rock and it looked kind of like Mars.  I brought it home then couldn’t find it and it was annoying me to no end.  Cleaned the trucks, went through all my hoodie pockets, repacked both go-bags for Lucy.  I even returned to the beach where I found it – the one with the rock sculptures – in the ridiculously vain hope that I would find it.  I didn’t, of course.

Weeks went by and I realized in the middle of the night where it was.  When I bring home rocks that turn out to be not as I thought they might be, I put them out in the rock garden.  They fill in rather nicely amongst all the sharp stones.  Sure enough: there it was. I had accidentally tossed it out.  

Discovering it in the rock garden put another idea into my head.  One that I haven’t quite put into action yet.  There is a creek bordering our property with plenty of larger round stones.  Many of them were disturbed when they did the creek remediation and I can just walk down and pluck them out of the grass.  That, however, is a lot of work and will be something I can do over the summer.

The other issue is that I need to have places for these treasures.  I repurposed a clear planter/vase/thing first.  Then it was full.  I repurposed a planter that held succulents which I continually killed and now it’s full. I tried a leather-bound box that a gift came in years ago and it’s full.

The other day I had the genius idea to grab a canning jar and plunk only white rocks into it.  I loved it so I did another one, this time with mixed media; rocks, feathers, and shells. I will definitely continue to do that until I find another way. Right now I have a pile of rocks on my desk that I’ve left there because I’m enjoying them.  However, they need to find a home.  

Well, what really needs to happen is I need to cull some of my rocks out into the garden.  But my brain isn’t down with that idea completely yet so here we are.  Then I realized that I have vintage glass bowls stored in forgotten cupboards.  I'm certain that my ancestors didn't intend this as a use for their prized Sunday Family Dinner bowls but here we are.

Also, part of what prompted these little collections is a book I read last year.  The main character was an artist who made shadow boxes of items found on the beach.  The hardcover featured photos of these boxes and I was further intrigued:

So, here's the thing: I have a eleventy hundred rocks and I will always be picking up more.  If any of you would like a special rock, let me know and I'll send it to you. (free, this is a fun thing for me)  Want a wish rock? A planet rock?  A purple rock?  A flat rock?  All of them?  I will happily and gladly go on a search for you.  Just know that I am crap at finding agates so please don't ask and sea glass isn't a thing here.  Anything else, let me know.

P.S.  Points for knowing where the title came from.  
P.S.S.  Bert from Big Bang Theory

12 May 2022

Disappears After 24 Hours


I went to the app and there was a notification and it's a  a message from him with a video.  Usually he sends me those via messenger or text so that was weird.  You know, coupled with his exclamations of WHAT IS THAT.

It's a video of HIS MOM smiling down into the camera, clearly not aware that she's being recorded.  

That's not the OMG part.

The voiceover says AND I QUOTE: "All Guys Pay attention, have tissues ready.  Click on the circle in the lower right corner. Watch it secretly, you'll thank me for that."

She somehow created a ticktock story and somehow Kevin saw it.  A story with a p*rn voiceover.

A couple of things to unpack here:

I didn't know there was such a thing as a ticktock story. 

HOW did she have access to a voiceover for p*rn?

How in the name of Where's Waldo did she manage to create AND POST it?

I frantically logged into her page to see if I could delete it and can't find it anywhere.  Thus the equally frantic search of "What is a ticktock story"

Now Kevin is forwarding it to his brother because "If it's in my head, it has to be in his."  

The debate is whether or not to mention it to her.  Because she'll just deny that she did it AND she probably has no idea how she did it.  *I* don't know how she did it.

Raising parents, I keep telling you: it's not for the weak.

10 May 2022

Secret Library

 When I first started doing the bloggity, I used to keep drafts as word docs instead of drafts on the actual platform.  I think I stopped doing it because it resulted in random docs on my computer that would just be ignored until I would need something then be all “Holy Hell, what is that file? And that file….and…”

Instead, it happens on the bloggity platform which is marginally better because at least I look at them occasionally.

My point though, it is one of the downfalls of working from home when you’re also a writer is that the last thing you want to do is sit down at your work desk to write.  Now, it could be said that writing is also a job and that’s true too.  In which case, I need to figure out a work-around so that I don’t feel like I’m spending all my time at “work.”

What I’ve been mulling is where to set up my laptop semi-permanently to maybe encourage the process.  I like having it on the dining table but it’s in the way when we have dinner.  So that’s a maybe.

For a while it was on the lower shelf of our coffee table but I tended to overlook it; because out of sight is out of mind. And the coffee table has moved now so that’s not accessible in that way anymore.

Then a long while ago I posted this meme on the bloggity.  It has since been added to:

Upon reading it, I immediately wanted one.  Like I have a whole house to myself but I NEED one.

But this house is tiny and it's just not an option.  Monica's Closet always will be Monica's Closet, despite my continual downsizing and delusional hopes.  The other closet is Kevin's racecar closet and it's nearly full now.  There's only one coat closet and it's a working closet so it's not an option.

Which then brings me to a phone call I received on Tuesday in the middle of the Barbie Leg thing.

I was approved to work from home for the 22-23 School Year.  HOORAY and Relieved Sigh.

Not only do they not have a place to house me in my old building, they have realized that there is zero need TO house me.  Whew.  So what I'm hoping is that we'll get through the next school year, everyone will be settled, and will forget that I work from home and that's how I'll live out the rest of my working days.  I even told my job partner, upon hearing this news, that "If I can do this forever, I was retire doing this job."  

What's funny - as in coincidental, not ha ha - is that I had begun writing a proposal for continuing to work from home last weekend. I had just signed my Intent to Return Letter and stated that I am requesting to continue to work from home.  The next step was/is signing a contract for the 22-23 school year.  So I was trying to be proactive and voila!  No need.

Then it occurred to me last night that I need to clean my clothes closet. I've been holding on to clothes because I never knew when or if I would be called back to an office.  Now I know that I am not and even if I were, it will be almost two years before that would happen.  I don't need business attire, be it as casual as it is.  I will never do direct service again or have to step in to help so out goes that clothing style.

There is an antique dresser in our primary closet, put there because I didn't have any room for it.  It holds funeral/job interview clothes and odds and ends that I wear occasionally.  If I took that out of the closet, I could have an area for a nap hole.  It would be behind the door and Kevin would likely never notice it. 

Really though, the only option is Monica's Closet.  It's big enough, I would just need to organize it so it all fits in two thirds of the closet instead of all of it.  

It's probably not realistic or even reasonable, but it's fun to think about.  I told my friend that all I want is an older house with a secret library.  Simple request: a secret library. Pull on a sconce, have a wall swing out and Secret Library. 

photo nipped from Etsy

08 May 2022

Happy You're Not My Mother's Day

 This day is "Not My Day" or "Happy You're Not A Mom Day" for me.  So a few years ago I wrote this post.  I've edited/added a bit to reflect the now.

I phoned my mom last night about Mother's Day.  We were going to go out this morning before my family was visiting to avoid that Whole Thing.  Welp, my mom had/has Covid.  She tested positive "on Easter"  Well, first she said Christmas then corrected herself so there's that whole thing.  She says she's fine, it was just like a cold but she still sounded snuffly.  

And, oh, thanks, family members, for letting me know. btw.  You're *super*.  My mom even said "I didn't know no one told you."  "Yeah, that's how it is now, mom" I wanted to say, but I didn't.

Instead, I will go down during the week to see her for a little while.  She said that it was fine and that today is "Just another Day" so that will give you insight to the dynamic as well. 

So, the pandemic has given me distance from unhealthy family dynamics and for that I am strangely grateful. 

We bought Kevin's mom a flower arrangement because she can't care for her flowers anymore and that is sad. However, on a happier note:  Kevin chose the card and it's nearly exactly the same as her birthday card that we gave her eleven days ago.  We're pretty sure that she won't notice and because we're horrible children, we laughed about it. 

With that, the annual repost for this particular day:

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

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

Even as an adult, she had that presence.  I remember arriving at a family function years ago and it had been a crap day. I was spewing all the reasons why I was late and it was an awful day and in mid-sentence she stopped what she was doing, turned and hugged me tight.  Like a mom would.  

My paternal grandma helped while she was alive.  She died when I was five, but I still remember her babysitting and making sure that I was spoiled and had what I needed: ceramic figurines from the tea box, scrapbooks, napoleon (neopolitan)  ice cream, and affection.

During grade school, my mom became a volunteer firefighter with a group of stay-at-home moms.  Those women also stepped up and made sure I was okay over the years, as well.  Equipping me with wedding shower gifts and handwritten advice when I married the wrong man with kind of an unspoken understanding about the decision I was making. I didn't understand it then but I've since realized their support.

Where we lived when I was a child, the houses around us were summer homes.  The mom in one family was such a hippie; she did yoga and meditated and seemed quite strange to me.  She was a gentle mom and I liked her very much, even though she was a mom the likes of which I had never seen.  She passed when Kevin had Covid so I wasn't able to attend her memorial. It broke my heart a little.  The beautiful obituary that my friend wrote for her described her as Soft.  As in everything about her was soft and gentle. It clarified why she was an important presence when I was young: she was soft when everyone around me was hard.

My grade school best friend's mom was also just a quiet presence.  They were poor, I mean, really poor and she was overwhelmed with all these kids and the things that came with that.  I didn't realize it then but I do understand now. But I just became another one of her kids, like it was no problem at all.

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

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

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

Happy Mother's Day


06 May 2022

Barbie Legs

 So this has just been a super fun week.  Today is the first day in four days that I haven't been in bed.  And that's not as fun as it sounds.

No, not the 'rona.  Both hips made the decision to leave my body this week.  One hip isn't super unusual but this is the first time that they coordinated, causing three mornings at the chiropractor.  SUPER.

As a result, I've watched an entire season of Grey's Anatomy and cleared off everything that I ever wanted to watch on the DVR.  Yesterday I watched the new West Side Story.  It was good, I can appreciate everyone's love for it; it is a watch once for me though.  I've seen the original but I was a child so I had very little recall of it.

I saw my regular chiropractor twice and the second time he felt so bad about the pain that he stopped.  Then I saw his dad and he's a take no prisoners, no holds barred guy.  I thought for sure that he fixed the issue.  Then as soon as I sat up this morning, pop.  Out goes my hip again.  Yesterday I was all Pity Party but today I was just pissed.

And now hours have passed and I made ANOTHER trip to the chiropractor.

What had happened was:

My hip was still painful today but only while sitting.  I decided that I was just going to rest and medicate with pain reliever and ice/heat.  Wait and see how it plays out, maybe I was being a baby.  (I knew I wasn't, let me have my delusions)

Kevin had a tentative appointment for tomorrow at 7:45 in the morning.  On a Saturday.  Ugh. No thanks.  But he decided he didn't need to go.  I texted the chiropractor that I was still sore but unsure what to do and oh, by the way, Kevin didn't need to see him tomorrow.  Meaning that I could go tomorrow, instead of him.

Instead I get a "Come up and we'll see what's going on."  Ummmm....okay.

I had just gotten groceries out of the truck in the rain, after taking Lucy for gentle walkies also in the rain.  I discarded my wet hoodie, changed glasses (also wet) left the groceries on the counter, and got back into the truck to go to the chiropractor for the FOURTH TIME this week.

So, because the chiropractor and I talked via text, the receptionist didn't know I was coming.  She was surprised but caught her frustration fast and I heard "You....TEXTED him?"  I mean, fair enough about the texting but she didn't know the whole cancelling an off-the-books appointment for tomorrow.  All's well that ends well.

She took an elderly couple back and put them in an exam room.  I knew I would have to wait so I just checked work email on my phone while standing.

Then I hear a bird call. So I looked at my notifications bar on my phone and nothing.  Then I heard it again so I looked out the big windows of the lobby.  Once more heard it, then  I looked over to see the chiropractor motioning me from behind the desk and in the hall.  He gestured to be quiet and come back.

I went back, laughing and told him "I thought I was losing my mind, I'm hearing birds now."  He laughed and explained that was how he got his daughter's attention when they were young. Then he explained that the gentleman of the older couple "Talks.The.Entire.Time." and he thought he would save me the wait.  This is what I still drive to see him.

Hip was back out, rib was unhappy and it was good that I went in because it was working it's way up my spine.  I have zero idea what is causing it. Do I need new sneakers?  Is it the new couch? the new bed?  Bad karma?  Aging?  

I have done many things to my body: rolled a truck down an embankment, been blown up, had a few fender benders (none my fault) and it turns out that simply living my life has created this whole thing. Now I'm Suzy Correct Posture until this passes. 

Oh, and when I called out of work to my job partner on Tuesday, she said "I also have one Barbie leg. It just pops out occasionally and needs reassembly."  That legitimately made me laugh.  It's exactly how it feels, just like when the Barbie leg gets pulled out.