Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Random ramblings

The kids continue to be massive little assholes.  Granted, I'm still working on getting a good routine built for them, but it's difficult with trying to do the things I have to do while trying to ride herd on them.  I've taken to chasing them outside and telling them to not tattle to me, and to resolve things themselves.  Most of the time, this resolves by one of them coming in and taking their Kindle Fire to their room, and shutting the door.  Most of the time, that's the pixie. 

The imp has transitioned from riding a bicycle with training wheels to riding without, and then transitioned into a bigger bike that fits him better, and that goes through mowed grass easier than the little bike he had.  And he now has a bell on it, which pleases him immensely. 

The pixie has learned to ride her bike with the training wheels on the room-sized patio just out the back door, with Merry-dog running alongside.  She's starting to want to transition to a bike without training wheels because she can't ride her bike anywhere off the patio. 

Both kids are spending something like 3/4 of their time outside.  Drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing on the patio, running all over the mowed part of the yard and pasture, riding bike (imp) up and down and around the driveway...

And they've made a friend.  There's a little boy--our neighbors to the east have a grandson who's over a lot--who's a LOT like the imp in interests and personality quirks (including ADHD, which is medicated, while imp is off his meds for the summer).  He's over on the weekends a lot, but not a lot during the week days (he's in summer school).  And when they're off playing, I have to CALL them in to eat, because they won't come in when they're hungry. 

The dog needs bathed and shorn.  She needs the Marine Boot Camp cut.  She REFUSES to be an inside dog, especially since she's got that wonderful room outside with a ceiling, cement floor, a ceiling fan, and no walls.  And it's forecast to be a hot one, this summer.  But she hates--HATES--baths and grooming.  I did get her bangs trimmed, and a couple of matted bits cut off of her back fur, but she stayed out of reach after I got those few things done. 

You'd think she'd appreciate the whole "I can see, now," thing, but no. 

Cricket has taken to lounging on the end of the table in the library/living room.  She loves that spot.  Especially when the pixie leaves the desk lamp on, and kitty has a warm spotlight for her fuzzy self. 

Shadow has delighted in the fact that the kids have a hard time getting their bedroom doors to fully latch.  She shoves the door of her choice open, goes in, and sleeps on the child of her choice.

Often, this results in the comical view of a 40 lb 6 year old pixie carrying a 13 lb cat out by her middle because she doesn't want the kitty sleeping on her, but Shadow is not deterred.  She just goes and either shoves the imp's door open (which she prefers, normally, because of his 4' high loft bed) if she can, and cries outside it until he opens it if she can't get it herself. 

We are pulling books out of storage.  We're limited on how many we can bring out, because we just don't have the shelf space.  Yet.  Odysseus is going to be building bookcases after we get everything out of the old place, and get repairs going on it.  We've got almost everything, but still have a bit more to go.

As for the new place, I love the house.  I love the house, the patio, the yard, love the space, the quiet, and the fact that we have six full acres to ourselves, and have so very much to explore. I love that I can shoo the kids out without worrying about the pedophile a block up from the old house anymore, or the nasty white trash kids that moved next door to the old place teaching my kids language and attitudes that would get them in trouble at their Christian school.   I don't care for the ticks, but that can be dealt with a lot easier than the problems at the old place. 

Yes, the house has issues.  It was built in '70, so it's an older house.  The chimney on the fireplace needs work (the liner's rusted, and the dampers are rusted shut), the plumbing drainage needed fully replaced (done), and we've got some roof leaks (flashing around one of the turban vents, and a hole that was plugged with expanding foam both leak during monsoon downpours)...and the garbage disposal has decided to leak through the bottom as of the other day.  The garage doors need replaced (so do the tracks on one), and I need a strap fastened to them so I can reach them to close them when they're up.  Most of this, though, is livable while we wait until the other place sells. 

I am feeling immensely better.  The inflammation has not resolved, so I've still got issues with joint discomfort, but a whole lot of other symptoms have eased or disappeared.  The difference is that the endocrinologist that my primary care doc referred me to put me on a different formulation of thyroid meds.  I'd been on the generic for seven years.*  And I'm now on a name brand specially formulated to be hypoallergenic.  There are four ingredients to it.  And after a couple of weeks on it, my brain fog cleared.  A lot.  Not totally, and if I overdo it even a little, I get nasty brain fog regardless of any other symptoms (but they do tend to come back in full force if I do overdo it). I have a bit higher energy level as a starting point (it's still not back to normal, and likely won't be for a while, yet), but still wear down quickly without being able to build back up without a full night's sleep, and less activity for a few days.   I need 8 full hrs of sleep per night to function instead of 10 hrs.  (I do still need around a half a pot of coffee, regardless.)

All this means I'm keeping up with housework a bit easier, with a little more mental energy left at the end of the day. 

Unfortunately, my laptop seems to be having issues, now.  I'm starting to lean toward a different brand, because this is the second Acer in two years developing hardware issues early.  It needs a new keyboard (half the time, it won't register that I've pressed a key, which makes writing an adventure in misspellings and typos), a new wireless card, and needs the power jack re-soldered, none of which I can do because of the laptop's design.  I'm eyeballing a few different machines.

Odysseus is also looking at new laptops.  He's looking at bigger ones, since he's not hauling it back and forth to college anymore. 

Me?  All I want is a full size keyboard that works reliably. 

In the meantime, I'm getting a LOT of use out of what Odysseus got me for my birthday: a TWSBI piston-fill fountain pen that holds about three weeks' worth of my writing output in ink. 

Anyone know if there's some type of adapter that will let me plug a very old ergonomic keyboard into a new laptop that only has USB ports? 

*And apparently, people with a wheat allergy can react badly to the inactive ingredients in the generic levothyroxine, because some manufacturers use wheat starch to as a binder, and others use something else that people with wheat allergies react to. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yet another zinger from my mom...

So, I was talking to Mom on the phone, and pointing out that she's a door mat: people whine a little bit, and take advantage.  I also pointed out that she's far too prone to taking people at their word, and too sympathetic, and too ready to suggest that maybe the government "ought to do something to help people." 

Her response? 

"Well, maybe I'm too soft.  But you're too hard.  You have no compassion for people who are down on their luck."

Well. 

Fuck you very much, Mom. 

She's right, in a way.  When people are "down on their luck" through a string of bad decision after bad choice after stupid action, then no, I don't have compassion. 

In 2011, Joplin faced one of the biggest tornadoes that this area of the country has ever seen.  There was a path of destruction six miles long, and varying between 3/4 and 1 mile wide.  Many people lost homes all the way down to the slab. 

We weren't home.  Thank God, our home wasn't touched.  That evening, I gathered up all of the unopened diapers, deodorant, soap, outgrown baby clothes, wipes, and anything else I could think of getting together.  Including canned food for the shelters feeding volunteers and newly-made homeless. 

Because losing everything to a massive tornado?  That's down on your luck.  One spouse out of two losing their job (and the other getting wages garnished to pay child support on their unemployed spouse's children)?  That's down on your luck. 

Choosing to buy a car that's a little more than what you need (or honestly can afford)?  That's stupid.  Active stupid.  Paying the stupid tax every month stupid. 

Choosing to buy gormet level food on a fixed income when you REALLY CAN'T taste the difference?  That is, again, active stupid.

Choosing to not just get a tattoo, but finance the fucker?  Active stupid. 

Choosing time spent "protesting" over hours spent working, then complaining that you can't afford a $10/month pack of birth control pills?  Active stupid.

Choosing to try to stay in a minimum wage job* AND buy/rent things that your parents worked their asses off AND pooled their income with roommates for (such as: more than studio apartments)?   Active stupid.

Choosing to buy cigarettes over diapers?  Active, malicious stupid.  

Doing this while your kids are going hungry and whining about how you have no money for food or diapers does not spark compassion in me.  It sparks rage. 

And somehow, that is a "lack of compassion."

*Staying on minimum wage is NOT easy.  Show up on time every shift for sixty to ninty days, you get a raise.  Stay on for another two or three months, you get a raise AND a promotion.  Stick around long enough, and you're getting a decent wage and running one or two (or more) stores.  Staying on minimum wage takes effort.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Crap.

I've had wheat poisoning two weeks in a row, now.  Yes, I call it poisoning: I don't react well to it, and it damages my patience and my health.

Last week, it started the previous Friday: I went with my family out for pizza.  It's a place with GF pizza options, and I've never had a problem with them before.  This time, however, the kitchen staff were suffering from a case of the mega-derps.  They made two REGULAR pizzas, and sent both out, then tried to make good on their mistake.  But I'm pretty sure they didn't clean off the counter, and got flour all over my pizza. 

I spent Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, and all the way through to midday Monday REALLY suffering.  Not just digestive discomfort but active pain.

I was still feeling the aftermath (more CFS symptoms than usual) throughout the rest of the week. 

Yesterday, I went with my family up to my in-laws' to celebrate Father's Day.  My MIL bought Great Value Pulled Pork--it's excellent, by the way--and made sandwiches. 

I really should have thought.  I should have left the pulled pork alone.  I didn't. 

Yes, I've been having issues since. 

This morning, I took some Midol Complete--the pyrilamine maleate helps a bit on squashing involuntary smooth muscle cramping.  And then I got a kitty on me.  And on the heat pad across my belly.  And she started purring, then went limp.  Next thing I know, I'm waking up an hour later with a crick in my neck, and it was time for lunch.   

I took another dose early this afternoon, but took it too far after lunch, and wound up mildly nauseous.  Went and laid down flat (only thing that helps), and woke up when Andrew got home. 

And found that the pixie had spent part of her afternoon straightening the dining room/TV room. 

I was very glad my MIL kept the imp for a two-night stay.  I'll be picking him up tomorrow afternoon, but the worst of it should be past by then. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

One step forward, two steps back

So. We got the septic tank dealt with.  The drainage issues did not abate, and the hall toilet kept flooding. 

The hall toilet proved to be a simple issue: the bolts had corroded to the point they were rust powder, and there was NO wax ring left.  Just a little bit of residue.  Given that the toilet guts needed replaced as well, we went ahead and replaced the toilet. 

We dredged the washer drain every other load, and kept getting...lint and hair, Odysseus thought. 

The sinks, and bathtub, and shower kept gurgling and backing up. 

We did research, and finally found a plumber with stellar reviews, and I called.  I called on Tuesday, and he came out on Thursday.

Y'know, it's a really bad thing when the plumber comes out from under the house, giggling and shaking his head, and says "It's a DIY nightmare under there.  The ONLY thing that was done right was the toilet.  It'd be cheaper, easier, and faster to rip it all out and do it over."

Friday, they started on it.  They finished it Saturday.  The plumber actually doing the work said, "I took out twice the linear feet of pipe as I put in, and it was all the wrong size for the job it was supposed to do."

So, that issue is fixed.  Fully, for the time being.  We shouldn't have to worry about backing up drains for a while.  Reasonably priced, too. 

Also on Thursday, Odysseus went to the old house to go get our push mower to get the trim work and inside the fenced in Scotty-dog yard all done.  And came back absolutely steamed: someone had stolen the mower and the gas can. 

All told, that's set us back financially a bit more than I was calculating, for this point.  It's not a disaster, but it's definitely discouraging.  However, that said, this will hopefully be the last big maintenance costs until after we get the other place fixed and sold.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Plans for the day

I think I'm going to plant myself somewhere and refuse to move much today. 

Monday, I ran the kids up to my mom's and left them there.  I went to the old house and started the clutter-clearing on the old master bedroom.  Found five bags' worth of clothes that had been hidden under and behind furniture.  And lots of lost receipts and other things that needed thrown away.  Took probably two hours to do just that much (and stack books).  Then, I had to go get my refilled prescriptions at Sam's Club, since I managed to get them called in too late to get them ordered and filled on Saturday. 

And I somehow managed to wrench my knee before I went.  My bad knee--the one that healed up wrong after years of abuse followed by surgery that cleaned out the scar tissue in the joint, and had me hobbling on a cane every year from age 19 to age 27 (when pregnancy hormones loosened the tendons and ligaments to the point where things straightened themselves out) between September/October and April/May.  So I had to really use the cart at Sam's Club to keep the weight off of it while I filled my 'scrips (which were delivered half an hour later than they'd expected) and got shopping done. 

Yeah, it still aches a bit, but not nearly as bad as it did Monday. 

Yesterday, I guess the discomfort Monday tied my shoulders in knots.  I found one the hard way: I stretched really hard, and wound up with one of the knots on the left side where my neck and shoulder meet cramping to the point I couldn't move my left arm without pain.  I had already arranged for my older sister to come watch the kids so I could go over and work on clearing more out of the old house (two boxes of books, the last bag of clothes, and got my balls of yarn untangled, as well as got five sets of wire shelving cleared out).  And got to the point I couldn't move my left arm even at just the elbow without my shoulder/neck junction screaming at me. 

It's a lot better today--so long as I don't try to lift my arm above my shoulder, the discomfort is at grumble level.  Hell, I can even reach sideways for a Kleenex.  But putting on a shirt didn't feel so good. 

I'm going to try to not hurt myself today.  Tomorrow's a whole 'nother ball-game, though, and there's still more unpacking to do.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Simple Stroganoff

1.5-2 lbs stew meat, cut smaller
1 sm. to med. onion
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup*
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
1 c (or more) sour cream or Greek yogurt

1. Season and brown meat with onion.  Put into crock pot. 
2. Add soup and sour cream.
3. Simmer on low in crock pot for 5-6 hrs. 

Serve hot over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes.

This is mostly a cheap, filling, delicious meal that feeds five or six.  Leftovers warm up nicely.

*I use Pacific Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup--it's not just wheat-free, but flat-out tastier than Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. It is, however, a LOT more spendy.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Quick question...

Who's the one that made it personal, first?  Who made a little eleven-year-old boy cry? 

And why should we care if some has-been, bottom-tier comedienne feels bullied?  Especially since the facts do not support her feelz, and she's been targeting the child as well as the adults?

She's right.  If she was a white man, people wouldn't be working to get her out from in front of audiences.  She'd have been punched in the mouth by the victims of her bullying behavior.


septic tank issues

So.  We have had the first sign of trouble with the new place as of yesterday, and brother is it a doozy.

The imp decided he wanted to go down and play in the pasture.  I have NO problems with this, provided he stands still to get sprayed down with OFF before he runs off.  Because ticks: we has them.  I also insist that he has to have a bath after he's had a day playing out in the weeds with OFF sprayed all over him. 

And we had to do a load of laundry for Odysseus to have work shirts for today. 

And that's when the trouble started.

When the washer started draining, drains all over the house started gurgling.  And backing up a bit.  And then, the tub started draining.  And the toilets overflowed, and soapy water backed all the way up into the bathroom sink. 

Odysseus stopped the washer, cleaned up the mess (thankfully--he was able to do it a lot faster than I would have been able to), and took off for Walmart, for a new work shirt, and an auger.  He thought he cleared the drain, and went ahead and finished the load of laundry (needed a rinse and spin cycle). 

This morning, he said the shower drained better and faster than it had been (I wouldn't know--I can't see the shower drain between my feet, since I don't wear my glasses in the shower).  And went ahead and started the laundry.

The laundry drain backed up, and started overflowing.  I paused the rinse cycle, and checked the toilets.  They, thank God, are not regurgitating.  Just the washer drain, and the bathroom sinks. 

I think it's time to call the septic experts.  Hopefully, they can find the tank, because we don't know where it is.