Monday, September 19, 2022

Random stuff...

  • I don't need to "Kickstart My Heart," guys.  It's my brain that needs it.
  • I have never seen anybody spring for the asshole package on a four-door Honda Civic.  Until today.  Fuckwit tried crawling up my tailpipe (I was doing 30 in a 25, and he clearly wanted me to go faster), then wove around like he wanted to pass me, then didn't signal when he turned into Sam's Club behind me.  Yeah.  Exactly.  You'd expect behavior like that out of someone driving a BMW, not a Honda Civic sedan.  
  • Our Sam's Club has quit carrying the imp's favorite sausage links.  But they had Buffalo Trace, and Laphroig in stock.  I...yeah, I got both bottles of my favorite bourbon, and the only bottle of one of my favorite Scotches.  
  • Ya know, I really could do without the record-setting highs.  Our outdoor kitchen is defunct for the next while.  And the grill's...kinda scrunched.*  Oh well.  A couple (or four) days of cooking on just the stove top won't hurt anything.  
  • The use of Irish diplomacy on our insurance agent, the adjuster, and the adjuster's supervisor has had results.  Almost up to the cost of replacement.  Depreciation and inflation do nasty things when they play together.  
  • My sister's bottle kitten she saved last year** is huge, and still growing.  I am almost certain he's mostly Turkish Van.   If he is, then he'll probably finish growing sometime within the next few months, but put on muscle for another year.  He's also a gorgeous kitty, if more than a wee bit nuts. I picked him up on Saturday, and given how much heavier he is than my girl-kitties (11 lbs each), I'd put him between fifteen and eighteen pounds. 


 

*Weber Spirit propane grill.  The casters are...yeah.  Scrunched, if not outright broken, like the front left one (as you're facing the grill).  Considering a PATIO ROOF made of TWO BY SIXES (if not two by eights) LANDED ON IT...I suppose it stood up well.  All things considered.  Might actually be willing to use it, if the poor thing hadn't got slammed down on its front and dumped the burners and everything when the roof got taken off of it to be taken apart.  

**Gus--named after the fat little mouse from Cinderella--was one of two kittens my sister took from a lady that didn't know how to raise days-old kittens after their momma tangled with something fatal.  Gus was the only one who survived being fed puppy formula for a couple days.  

Sunday, September 11, 2022

21 years

 This is what it should look like.  



Never forget. 

Never forgive.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Processing...

It's been...well.  One hell of a couple of weeks.  Emotionally, I'm off balance, and honestly off my feet entirely.  Flattened.  And it's going to take a while for me to sit up, much less get my feet under me.  

And life isn't slowing down.  

So.  The week after school started.  Mom had an appointment with her oncologist on Wednesday.  She called me on Monday, all chirpy and cheerful, and said she'd cancelled the appointment, and had stopped taking the hormone blocker.  She was certain it was killing her.  (What it was doing was starving her 4.5cm tumor to death.  Said dying tumor was releasing toxins.)  Said she knew that not taking the medication anymore meant that her cancer would stop shrinking, but she trusts God to take care of her. 

In other words, she decided not to take the damned helicopter he sent to fish her out of the flood water, that she'd rather die than fight. 

Uh.  Ouch.  

Yeah, I've told her outright that I don't want to hear anything about her health when I talk to her.  Because in choosing to commit slow, ugly suicide, she's forfeited the right to complain.  

Week before last, the imp called me from school in the late afternoon (right as study hall was starting).  Said he felt sickish.  He wasn't sure if he had a fever, but felt funny, and his stomach was bothering him. 

He's prone to truly vicious heartburn, so I figured that was all it was.  I went and got him (no fever, but he was quiet and lethargic--something he isn't).  And I gave him antacids, and bread (which, weirdly, helps his heartburn a lot...like it used to do mine).  

He was fine the next morning, so I sent him back to school.  

Friday afternoon, when I picked the kids up, the pixie was coming down with...something.  By Sunday, everybody else (except the imp) was starting to come down with it.* 

And...the patio roof came down.  As in: it detached from the back of the house, and crunched our grill.  Poured rain between the edge of the roof and the edge of the patio roof, first, then...crash.  Totally destroyed the outdoor kitchen, and yanked the light switch that ran the patio light and the ceiling fan back into the wall good and hard (broke the plate).  

The dog was outside.  She wasn't hurt, but she certainly got the poo scared out of her.  We managed to get her in the house, but her room and yard were rendered unsafe, so she spent the following several days utterly miserable.  

We spent several days arguing with the insurance.  They sent out a contractor to take pictures to send to an adjuster that apparently didn't understand what she was looking at on her desktop where she was poking options on drop menus.  

We have already gotten a quote for straight up replacement.  For a framed-in roof with osb, tpo, guttering, a light, and a ceiling fan.  Exactly what fell down.  

They quoted us either repair (pop it back into place--not an option, partially because it broke, broke the eaves and rafters where it had been nailed up, and as we found out, some of the osb was rotten), or "replacement" for a metal roof with a tar-paper cover. 

Yeah, it's not even ballpark.  And we couldn't have made up the difference.  At all.  Not without totally dropping another project that we'd already started.  (We were expecting the carport to collapse, not the patio roof--which had never given us any signals that it was a Cletus-built clusterfuck before it fell off the house, and had already pulled it down in preparation for a better one with a hipped roof to be put in its place.)

We're in the process of arguing with the insurance.  Our agent is on it, because, well, they don't want to lose the residuals.  If we shift home insurance, everything is going.  

So.  That.  And normal kids-at-school drama.  And puberty crap (yes, they're both going through it).  And...

...and yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II, the woman I've admired most for my entire life--one of the only women I've admired for all of my life--passed away, yesterday.  

That...kinda was the cherry on the shit sundae life slammed into my face recently. 

I'm grieving her passing, and for her daughter and grandchildren.  I'm grieving for her great-grandchildren.  I'm grieving for her nation, because while she did her best for her nation, even at her deathbed,** she didn't fix succession.  The fucking moron who could never step into her shoes planting his white-trash, low-class, trashy ass in her throne.   And his white trash whore of a wife is now titled "Queen Consort."  

Even as I grieve, though, I'm happy for Elizabeth.  She's home, with her beloved Philip, who passed on last year.  


*Pretty sure it was the Cold from China, round 2--symptoms were right.  Won't bother testing, because it's a cold, and I don't want to add to the panic-porn statistics. 

**She summoned the new PM to her bedside, the day before she passed, to swear her in.  Which means that the drooling idiot dribbling all over the monarchy can't do anything until after the next election...which is not like ours, and nobody knows when it will be held.  Given his age, he might actually not survive to another election.  We can hope, anyway.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Miracles

I’ve read through a lot.  I’m 43 years old, and I read all the time.  If there are words, they will be read. 

One of the trends I’ve noticed…is that miracles are often not recognized until long after the fact.  Or are so huge they can’t be overlooked. 

And, since we have been able to mostly figure a lot of things out, much rarer than they used to be.  And are often on the lines of Divine Inspiration being heard and noticed, either in research (medical, scientific, or otherwise), or in our personal lives. 

It was a miracle in ’80 for Regan to take the White House.  Less of one in ’84, considering how well he did in his first run through at jacking back the illusions the political classes were pushing, and showing the normal people who live in reality that yes, there was a man behind the curtain pretending to be the Great and Powerful Oz…and that he was kinda disappointing, actually. 

Too bad his VP (elected in ’88) yoinked that curtain back shut because he was part of that particular class…which set the circumstances for the resurgence of Marxism…socialism…whatever you want to call the anti-individualist, collectivist philosophy that drives the political aristocratic classes. 

The problem they had is that they couldn’t force the curtains all the way back shut.  There were gaps.  And reality kept showing through those gaps. 

And the realists got pissed off at the fools whose damaged fingers kept reaching for the fire, and elected Trump (another miracle, honestly), which has set us up for a massive miracle, of the majority realizing what I learned as a child: the government does not care about the individual, and will not protect them.  This realization could, with His Providence, bring back sanity in the way things are done in politics.    

Note, I am saying that this has been a miracle, and that the miraculous will have to continue to happen, or things will…slump back into the swamp.  Or worse. 

Those miracles were on a national stage. 

Other miracles, miracles of research…I know, first hand, people who should have been dead years ago.  The only reason they’re not is because of pharmaceutical giants still searching for more treatments for things that are still a death sentence.  One of my closest friends developed inflammatory breast cancer while she was breastfeeding her year-old son.  It went to stage IV before it was identified, because it’s so sneaky of a disease. 

She should have been dead five years ago, but she isn’t.  Yes, she’s still got active cancer, and is fighting a rear-guard action to prolong her time—her son’s ten.  She’s fighting for long enough to raise him.  Because his father’s…not the advocate for him that he should be. 

Her continued (and continuing) survival is a miracle.  Yes, she’s in constant pain.  No, she hasn’t been outright healed.  Yes, she’s been praying (as have I, and everyone around her). 

But that’s not how it works. 

Thing is, every time one treatment starts failing to work, there’s another one that does work.  That’s a fucking miracle, right there. 

I’ve heard the whole argument: “That’s not a miracle, that’s science.  A miracle would be having her healed.”  Remember what I said about Divine Inspiration?  How else do you describe the massive leaps forward in the medical research profession realizing that every type of cancer is different, and requires different treatments?  How else do you describe the medical research profession finding new and different ways to approach something that defies anything other than the broadest of categorization? 

Diabetes used to kill people.  Routinely.  Still can, if the individual with diabetes doesn’t understand what’s going on, and how to manage it.  Or if they decide to just…stop treatment.  HIV/AIDS used to absolutely kill people.  It still can and does, if the person who has it doesn’t pay attention, and/or stops treatment.

The advances that turned those certain death sentences into manageable, if serious, health conditions?  Miracles.  Driven entirely by Divine Inspiration, and the gift of understanding and intuition. 

I’ve heard other arguments: “If they had the faith, they’d be healed.”  Or, “If they just prayed harder/was a better person…”  

That isn’t the way God works. 

He does things in a much smaller, quieter way than He used to.  Partially because those gifts He set us up with?  The ability to learn, to reason, to understand, to intuit and generalize?  Those require less flashy intervention on His part.  Which means He is actually requiring greater faith to actually keep going when something hurts, and the doctors are having a hard time figuring it out.  Or when your treatment for a disease that will kill you makes you feel awful for a while (like an antibiotic does for the first week of a two week course for a nasty infection). 

Or when the people in charge of the nation are cheerfully trying to play with matches in a grain silo. 

He has made the way straight before us.  It’s not easy, and it’s not level.  But it’ll get us through to safety, if we stay on it.

And humanity in general, like sheep, have this nasty tendency to get distracted off the safe but hard path He has laid out for us, and bound off on the easy path (that leads straight to a sudden drop we can’t see, but that He can). 

He laid the path out for us.  He’s set our feet on it, and pointed us in the right direction (and He will keep doing that when we stray…if we ask for guidance).  He’ll bap us back into line (assuming we’re paying attention).  But it’s still up to us to walk the path.  It’s up to us to grit our teeth and do the hard stuff to get to safety. 

(I’m praying that the nation discovers the gumption and wisdom to stay the right course.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

My mood today

 

I have...reasons. But I have not been in a good mood since Monday.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Kid stuff

School is now in session.  The first week at the kids' school is always a short one: they start on a Wednesday or a Thursday.  The kids both think it's for easing them back in, but as a (former) teacher, I know better.  

I'm trying a different organization thing for the imp this year: the individual binders by themselves didn't work last year.  He knew it by the end of the first day: "I can't keep up with this.  Not all the binders and all the books."  The everything-in-one-giant-binder method sort of worked last year, but he still ended up losing things because he'd shove loose papers into the locker, rather than into the expanded files in the front of the binder.  And then, he'd lose the week's board work, instead of getting the points for it.  

This year, he's got a tote bag for each class.  Most of them are different colors: he's got five different colors to work with, and six classes (yeah, that means there's a risk of grabbing the wrong tote for two classes--English and Science, I believe), but all of the totes have writing utensils and a clipboard, along with a binder with dividers for the class.  I suggested carrying a backup writing utensil, and he's asked for cargo pants for that.  Because "I don't have any way to keep spares on me--no, I won't hang a pen on my cross necklace, and I don't care if you did and it works!"  

I do need to find him one more tote of a different color from the ones he's got (red, blue, turquoise, ecru, black) for either the science or the English class...

He was a bit worn out after school yesterday.  There wasn't a meltdown, or even a crappy attitude, but he was noticeably tired.  My first hint was that he went to the wrong pickup point yesterday afternoon: school policy says that the oldest sibling goes to the youngest's pickup point, and last year, his younger sister was in elementary.  His fourth grade teacher brought him back through the building to the right pickup point.  He was dragging and tired, and worked really hard not to be cranky at the rest of us.  I sent him off to play with Legos and unkink his brain, and then let him play computer games for a little while after he did some chores for me.  

Upside is that I think he's got the right doses and blends of medication to help him function normally.  He was less tired yesterday than he was before we got that dialed in, because he wasn't spending as much energy fighting himself to behave as he has to without the meds.

The pixie, when she got in the car, just mournfully stated that she was having a hard time remembering where she needed to go from one class to another.  I had to tell her that she'd probably have her schedule--at least, the order of classes--memorized by the end of the second week, and would probably mostly have the hang of it by the end of this week.  

The pixie is starting to learn to girl: she's almost twelve, and I've got her started on learning to carry a purse.  No wallet, no money, just...the purse, with extra note-taking supplies, writing utensils, and her color pencils (which need to go from class to class, because some require them, and others don't.)  She said yesterday, when I asked, "No, the purse wasn't helpful.  It just got in the way, and I kept almost forgetting it."  

I hated to tell her that that's the way of it, but having a purse is one of the major advantages of being a girl: it's the best way to carry everything we really need to carry.  I will point out that her choice is a little off-beat: it's a little faux-leather backpack type purse.  It's big enough, but not well organized.  Her slightly-better-organized one isn't big enough for what she needs.  

She's eleven, now, and will be twelve in the first part of December.  She's the same height I am, and is really starting to shoot up.  She grew around two inches between the end of last school year and the start of this one, and is now pretty much my height.  I'm foreseeing at least the upper end of female average height for her, and am delighted.  

Both kids have a study hall at the end of the day, so neither should have much, if any, homework this semester, other than studying for tests.  Both kids have indicated a need for "not-brain-work" after school, so I'm going to have them grab a snack, then go do something outside or play with their Legos or something for a few minutes, then help me with a chore for the first half hour to an hour, even if they come home with homework.  

I'm crossing my fingers, but I think this year may work better for both of them than last year, not just for the pixie.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Gah. What a relief.

Today is the first day of school.  The past two weeks have been an absolute cluster-fuck--I've been running around like a suddenly-headless barnyard fowl, trying to get everything together for the kids to start school, and randomly remembering things I'd forgotten to get, either for school, or for the household in the mad scramble of getting ready for school.   

That's all done, now.  School started this morning.  

I'll have (most of) a day to get stuff done, then there'll be a different mad scramble from the time I pick them up to the time they go to bed.  

First day of school, and I managed to get most of my daily checklist dealt with.  If the library hadn't resembled a tornado's aftermath, with bits and pieces left over from putting school supplies in order...I might have knocked it all out for today without having run out of my energy budget for housework.  

(What was left was reserved for fixing supper.)

I managed to get the first run through of the editing job I picked up done--the family for whom I'm doing the work approved it all, and I'm going to go through again and fix the changes in.  Shouldn't take as long as the initial run-through did, and won't be nearly as infuriating to do.  

I'd edited the old fellow's autobiography, and thought "sure, why not?" when his granddaughter contacted me to see if I wanted to deal with her grandpas second manuscript.  Why not was that he assumed his expertise in a technical area of a scientific field translated to expertise in theology, linguistics and the cultural psychology and philosophy revealed thereby, and translations.  

It...really didn't carry over.  

Anyway, that's done.  I don't have to read it again to fix the changes in.  

So, I should be able to get that done (or mostly done) tomorrow, and then get on...some read-throughs for a couple of friends.  

Then I'll be back to writing. 

Because the majority of my attention won't be devoured by trying to pay attention to what the kids are doing and how they're interacting while ignoring the TV that they're watching.  Believe it or not, that right there eats a lot of energy.  Honestly, it eats a lot more than I realized until recently.