Comfort and Limitations

It’s dark when the alarm goes off and my husband hits the snooze button to squeeze a few more precious minutes of sleep from his restless night.  I lay there not quite wanting to open my eyes and tentatively move my sore limbs, regretting my decision to tear down a fence in the back only a little, thinking, not bad for an old chick, as I become familiar with each ache.

The sound of the shower motivates me to swing my feet to the chilly floor and shuffle downstairs to turn on the kettle for tea.  One English Breakfast tea bag goes into the stainless travel mug for my husband and I fill the coffee pot to the six line for myself, dumping two mounded scoops of coffee into the basket before remembering to actually turn it on.

The cat is looking at me from her perch on the arm chair and I’m wondering why she isn’t yeowling at me like she normally does at this point in my morning routine, hurrying me along so that she can have a fresh bowl of food.  I glance at the dog’s dish to make sure my son has fed her before heading down to tend to the cat, proceding with caution on the stairs because I know she’ll come barreling down them right as I’m ready to take another step and I don’t want to be a feature story on the 5PM news.  But she doesn’t today, and I look back to see her staring at me, seemingly as uninspired in this routine as I am.  I tap the spoon on the rim of the cat food can and peer around the corner to see her headed down the stairs.  She stretches each hind leg, then looks up at me and yeowls, as if to say, it’s about time.

Continue reading “Comfort and Limitations”

Patriotic Coffee

Voting is a Responsibility
Voting is a Responsibility

Not too much else can be said.

Except this…

This…

Oh, and of course, this.

I’d say our house is in order.
Not bad for a Nearly Wordless Wednesday.

Gullibility and a Strong Core

In case you were wondering, I’m alive. I did go out on a couple of early morning walks this week, smartly attired in my plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. By the time Thursday rolled around, though, I was on auto pilot and made a nose dive back into bed. Rude.

Tone your core while you blog! But today is Friday, and you know how I feel about that under normal circumstances, but today? It is my very first non-working, permanently retired if I feel like it Friday. Okay, so retired from working for others work. Payroll work. Having to get dressed and go to work work. So how did I celebrate?
I broke in my new ball.  I sat on it all day and tried valiantly to do something about the organization of this pathetic looking blog of mine.  Nothing has improved on the blog, but at least I’ve rolled and swirled and bounced myself toward a firmer core.  Yes, you, too can burn calories while you blog!  Of course we may not be able to get out of bed tomorrow, but still.

What else is new?

Not much, but yesterday when I was coming out of the grocery store with one of my green bags I finally remembered to remove from the trunk, a young man with a nice smile and a multitude of those disks inserted in his ears and a few other places I can’t remember right now, looked in my direction. He had a clipboard and a purpose.

“You want money, right?” I began since I’m not very good at beating around the bush when I talk. His eyes even smiled.

“Do you know about Greenpeace?” he began.

“Of course I know about Greenpeace,” I told him, flashing on images of news footage years ago of ships with nuclear reactors being prevented from entering a port in Australia or something like that. “But do you have any idea how many requests we get each week for contributions? It’s out of control. Even NPR hasn’t been able to peel my money out of my fist yet.” Who do you give money to when everybody wants it? His smile never left his eyes as he let me blather on until I asked if I could make a donation on line. And when he began to respond, I interrupted him realizing that he wouldn’t get credit for the donation.

“I need to be able to show something for my effort her today,” he told me.

“So fine, can I give $15?”

“No, we’re only set up to take monthly contributions,” he told me, explaining that it helped the organization have a more steady stream of cash instead of having to wait until the end of the year for a lump sum.

“Okay. Okay. Okay. Where do I sign? Can I do $10 a month?”

“No, I’m sorry, the minimum is $15. That’s only $5 more,” he added as I looked away from the form I was already filling out, and making it easier for those leaving the store to escape my fate.

“I can add. The math’s not that challenging,” I mouthed off, and he laughed good-naturedly, most likely thinking I was nuts.

“Do you want a sticker?” he continued as used the side of a brown crayon to rub an impression from my credit card on the form.

“Sure. I need something to show for my money, right? And if someone steals my credit card number, Greenpeace will be paying the bills. Make sure you tell them that, okay?” I called over my shoulder after picking up my green bag to walk away. “I’ll blog about you…”

“Thanks!” he said, still grinning. Talk about job satisfaction. Jeez. But I always wonder when I send off a contribution to any organization, just how much of it is eaten in administrative costs.

So when the MoH got home, I asked what he knew about Greenpeace since I joined.

“Great. They float around on a boat and cause a lot of problems,” he mumbled, partly in jest.

I’ll have to work on him a bit more. He’s no where near to being green.

It’s not easy being Green.

Feeling-Green.jpg I know you’re sick of hearing it, but it is what it is. I’m sick. My head feels as if it’s the size of Barbie’s, the right side of my throat (if not constantly lubed up with scorching hot tea or ice cold water) feels like I swallowed a cup of glass shards, and the right side of my neck and ear are sore.

I should probably go to the doctor, but I don’t think I have one. I sort of got one a little more than a year ago when I was desperate, and then when I decided that the COBRA payment on our medical insurance was highway robbery, purchased Blue Cross, which is just legalized highway robbery. You know, make your monthly payments, and at the same time, put money in an account, so when you go to the doctor and pay for the visit you can get a tax break. Who thinks of this malarkey? So I haven’t figured out who our doctor is or whether she takes Blue Cross. And no, we haven’t gone to the doctor. We have paid eight trillion dollars for the insurance in the last year, however. You know. Because we have absolutely nothing better to spend the money on. But I tell you, I truly sleep well at night knowing that we’re helping support the payroll at Blue Cross. There’s nothing like giving back. Bleary-Eye.jpg

Where was I on my suffering and pain…

Oh yes, and then there’s this goop thing. How is it possible to breathe out of both nostrils, yet detect swamp remnants somewhere behind my face, causing me to make persistent noises at night when the MoH, who is the world’s worst sleeper, is trying to act like he can pretend as if he’ll ever go to sleep. Ever. It just gives him another reason to not sleep, which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. So to be THE reason he’s not sleeping is humiliating.

He said to me this morning as I was surveying my puffy unloveliness through bleary eyeballs in my bathroom mirror:

“Do you know how loud it was last night?”

“No,” I answer, not really wanting to know.

“It was so loud I could hear it downstairs over the radio.”

Puffy-Unloveliness.jpg Now, I’m wondering what radio because it’s easier to think about that than what he’s describing, and am trying to picture him down there in the middle of the night. Well, actually, I think it was a bit after twelve. Is that the middle of the night?

He continues, “You really sleep soundly. I even tried kicking you.” I’ve invited him to try and wake me up by nudging and shaking, but kicking? I should check my legs for bruises. I did volunteer to sleep on the couch tonight, however. True love and all that sort of thing, you know?

Clearly, I’m not running on all cylinders, but I’m still aware of a few things that are going on out there through my haze of swamp residue and general disgusting grossness:

Like Earth Day. Being green. Saving the planet one curly light bulb or ugly Prius at a time. I’ve started our transition to those curly light bulbs for more than green reasons. They’re beyond cheap at Trader Joe’s. But we have a ton of those recessed lights whose brightness rivals that of approach lights on a runway, and I haven’t quite gotten around to figuring out what to do about those. Our telescopic light bulb changer isn’t designed to hang on to those curly light bulbs and I’m not thrilled about getting up on our extendable ladder. It’s a bummer, because I just can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like with a bunch of pig tails protruding from our ceiling. In the meantime, we just don’t turn them on. Does that count? Green-Light.jpg

It should count that on trash day, our recycler is beyond full. I need to receive an award for this. Of course, much of it is wine bottles, but the paper takes up quite a bit of space, too. Junk mail should be outlawed. Not the email kind. The snail mail kind. There’s tons of it and I can’t begin to find out how to stop receiving it. Junk-Mail.jpg The unwanted magazine subscriptions that feature plastic surgeons and society events are an easy phone call or email. But the election crap, and the charity organizations asking for money? It’s ridiculous. At least it gets recycled.

We keep our cell phones way beyond what’s fashionably correct. But that isn’t because we’re being conscientious, it’s because we just don’t care that we are carrying fat, heavy phones that are banged up beyond all repair. What? Worry about the looks I’ll get the next time my clunker crashes to the floor in the grocery store bringing looks of disdain from those who have surgically attached the latest RAZR2 to their ear? Feh. Ours work just fine.

Disposal-or-Trash-.jpg I rarely put anything down the garbage disposal any more. It’s a toss up whether putting food in the land fills or out to sea is best, and it sounds noble to even consider it, but I have to be honest. Our plumbing sucks. And since we’ve had a few back ups in the last year, I try to keep the ol’ disposal’s running time down to only when necessary. That means if anything stinky is going in the trash, it has to be orchestrated with trash day. Do I need to explain how many things are in my freezer that are headed for the trash because I couldn’t leave them to rot for a week before the garbage truck came? What. A. Pain.

Full-Fridge.jpg But hey! Did you know that having a full fridge helps keep energy costs down? There’s less space to circulate the air, so the motor doesn’t have to work as hard. I wondered why I kept all that food in there. It couldn’t possibly be that I have deep-seated problems relating to hunger or neglect from childhood. Just kidding, mom. Really.

Sticking with the food theme, my coffee grounds go out to the flowerbeds as much as possible. And I’ve thought of taking the leftovers that Starbucks puts out each day, but I just don’t have that much dirt to plant in anymore.

And I bought those grocery bags that are reusable. Ten of them. I’ve actually used them three whole times since I got them. Of course carrying them in the trunk of my car doesn’t exactly help me remember that I have to use them every single time and it’s hilarious when I pop the trunk after leaving the store and see them unused. Dork. Reusable-Bags.jpg There is another problem: without the plastic grocery bags, the RTR is concerned that he’ll have to use the clear thin plastic bags the newspaper comes in to scoop the dog poop when he’s walking Miss Big. The horrors of carrying doggy poop are bad enough, let alone doggy poop that you can actually see. But I’ve got that covered when the time comes.

I haven’t figured out what to do about the kitty litter, though.

Any ideas out there?

No, the cat is staying. Besides, she’s adopted and fixed.

So happy almost Earth Day, all. Aren’t you exhausted now?

P.S.  I had absolutely NO idea my nostrils weren’t perfectly symmetrical.  Go figure.

Making a list. (gasp!)

Lights Oh. My. GAWD.

I’m soooooooooooooooooo not ready. Are you? (Everyone but meleah can answer because I already know her answer. She’s a stud.)

I must be desperate because I have my notebook out for a list. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I made a list for something other than possibilities for a dinner menu, recipe ingredients, or groceries? Hmmmmm?

Forever.

Like I said. Behind.

  1. I still have to get my car smogged so I can get a certificate to mail in with my license fees before the end of the month.
  2. I have to get a couple more gifts for the Middle Son. Fine. So I’m splitting hairs.
  3. I’m making piles of presents to sort out what’s traveling to VA and what’s not.
  4. I’m making Christmas dinner for 16 or so while we’re there, so I’m close to having the menu done. Oh, and breakfast, too, so those recipes are ready to go (have you ever heard of Fat Momma’s French Toast?)
  5. I have successfully completed my December Daring Baker’s Challenge that will be robotically (bwahahahahaha!) posted this coming Saturday at Sass & Veracity, so if you want to laugh your ass off, make sure you check in so you can snort your coffee through your nose. Everyone should be able to say they’ve done it at least once in their life. Suffice it to say, I’m donating the product to the middle school down the street. I’m sure the office staff will have inhaled it before I can make it out the door before they ask what it was.
  6. I bought Christmas cards and think I’ll get around to doing them tonight. The “authorized”service provider for our television and Best Buy will not be on my list. I did find a very cool box of Coal Candy at Restoration Hardware, however.
  7. I made an executive decision and am postponing baking cookies until after New Year’s (how’s that for being an ingenious slacker?)
  8. Most of the house is decked out for our house sitters (The Oldest Son & The Middle Son), so they can feel our holiday lerve and open their presents on Christmas day without us. Of course we’ll probably set up an iChat session so they can see how many of our faces can be crammed into the screen at one time and yell “Merry Christmas!” effectively eliminating any angst caused by our leaving them here because they had to work. Sprucin’ up the Place  More Decorations
  9. The RT has to clean his area (because he has managed to get it back to the condition it was before I painted and organized it.
  10. The MoH took care of the laundry yesterday (He’s well-trained. Okay, so actually, he’s just a nice guy.)
  11. Now, a final trip to the grocery store so the guys have enough junk to eat while we’re gone.

So, yah. I’m ready.

Soooooo not ready for Santa.

NOT.

But I’m smiling.

Nuts, Friends, and Nuclear Generators, or Something of that Nature

The MoH’s birthday was yesterday. All was well until I ran out of gas. Not the gas in the car. Me. No. Not flatulence for gawd’s sake. Gimmeabreak here. I’m trying to keep it straight today.

Energy. My get up and go not only got up and went — it never showed up. I’ve been diligently employed for a whopping six days as of yesterday and I feel like I need to ask the next passerby if she can get the number off the truck that ran over me.

It’s quite humbling.

How will it feel when I’m sixty-three or whatever the words in that Beatles’ song were.

Seriously.

Such a very sad state of affairs.

After working, stopping to get cards and wrapping paper, doing my afternoon carpool duty for the highschoolers, and making the MoH his totally favorite chocolate pie (drooled over for as long as he can remember that his mother made him for his birthday because it was his father’s and grandfather’s favorite) then left the pie in the oven for the RT to handle while I ran down the hill to get take out for dinner before we decorated our Christmas tree to the pre-planned vibes of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra…

I crashed. Not the car. Jeez.

Like a computer. Or maybe it was more like when a generator shuts off and you can hear the motor grinding down laboriously to a deeply resonating end.

Like that.

Nuclear. Okay, so I know that a generator is mechanical and anything nuclear is anything but, well, that’s not quite right either, but you get the picture, right? So for the purposes of imagery, I’ll add a bright white flash to the grinding sound and call Stephen Spielberg for advice.

I’ll have to promise you news at eleven on this one, because I’ll never do it justice. Suffice it to say I am very close to people who work until their tongues hang out slapping against the sidewalk DAILY. Seventy hours a week. And they do it with grace and dignity. Okay, so some smack talking from time to time. Happy hour. But they do it.

Me? My grand total for hours worked since I began is 32.5. I used to do that in my sleep in less than two days. Okay, so more than my tongue was dragging then, but I paid dearly for that. Now?

Like I said. I’m dealing with it. It only confirms what I’ve always thought about myself. I’m either ON or OFF. There’s no MEDIUM on this model. It completely sucks because something always falls to the wayside. And trust me — it’s never been work. Oh, no. Gotta be there early, and huff and puff while I’m doing it, and try to figure everything out yesterday. Even if it isn’t my job.

It’s the bane of my existence.

S.I.G.H.

I’m a Little Nutty Award So to just put this in a nutshell, (and Dawn from Twisted Sister called it straight when she awarded me with the “I’m a Little Nutty” Award) after the Chinese take out for dinner last night, and after the MoH had yet again listened, and listened, and listened, and then helped me decorate the tree even though he had to get up at 5AM to crank something out at work, I opened my fortune cookie.

I think I’ve bragged many times about my fortunes and horror-scopes before and how completely positively wonderous they are. Funny thing, though. It said, “Keep your expectations reasonable.”

Huh? How’d the fortune cookie god know?

I could have had either of the other two cookies, because their fortunes were much more in line with what I usually end up with: “Chances of glamour and excitement are coming to you;” or “Luck is with you now. Act upon your instincts.”

But no.

Now what the hell is that supposed to mean after a lifetime of promises of fame and fortune, happiness and hilarity?

I’m going to get crap in my fortune cookies from now on because my expectations aren’t reasonable?

The Colors of Friendship Good thing I’ve got friends in Bloggsville like Dave from Wandering the Ether (he awarded me with the fairly swanky “Colors of Friendship” award) who understand that even though 99% of us will never, ever physically meet, the time we spend reading each other’s trials and celebrations, revelations and disappointments, opinions and understandings may very well be more important that some relationships we’ve had with humans we can shake hands with each day.

And that is what actually caused my meltdown on the MoH’s birthday and how rude of me. This is the first post I’ve managed in four days here. And my food blog? Feh. I miss visiting the people I’ve come to know over the last nine months. I miss laughing with them, and feeling the angst caused by another, or the emotion caused by a memory.

I miss writing and cooking and writing about cooking — my very favorite things.

So bear with me as I figure this all out.

Oh, and I will “keep my expectations reasonable” lest I anger the fortune cookie god. Jeez. Stoopid fortune. I want my money back.

Life is just weird sometimes, isn’t it?

Friends and nuts, I’ll be back shortly.

Silver linings and Butthole dragging dogs.

As Far As Today Has Gone…

What was annoying?

Getting up the second the alarm went off, getting ready for my first official day as a person who actually goes to work after a year (only part time) and is ten minutes late because of traffic.  Three miles in twenty minutes is a problem.  I am not someone who is ever late.  Ever.

But what’s good about it?

Not getting pissed off about it.  I got to work.  All was well.  And tomorrow, I’m taking another route.

What’s gross?

Realizing that the dark smudge and related four-foot streak across one of the only clean places left on the carpet this morning was caused by the dog who couldn’t take an extra minute to poop outside, so came upstairs, summarily parked her butt hole on the carpet, then proceeded to skooch forward using all four paws, removing whatever offending turdlett was hanging on for dear life.  It worked.  What a genius.

Where’s the proverbial silver lining?

Obviously not on the carpet.  But the image of the dog dragging her butt hole is completely, side-splittingly HILARIOUS even though the spot remover didn’t quite remove the stain.  The bottle lied.  I’m an expert at lying carpet stain bottles. And in knowing that she doesn’t have worms or clogged anal glands.

What makes me want to rip my hair out?

After pulling off a B+ so close to an A in Algebra II during the first grading period this year, the RT has systematically worked to destroy his grade (okay, so it’s a B-) by not doing most of his homework because he doesn’t feel like it.  He’s knows it’s more than strange that he’s engaged in this rather highly developed form of academic suicide, but hey!  He’s good at just not thinking about it.
Why do I grit my teeth, grinning to bear the agony of this revelation instead of ripping his lovely brown eyes out of his skull?

He’s in more agony about it than I could ever be.  Daily, he procrastinates, then doesn’t do the work and the routine begins again the next day.  He must love the torture.  Plus, he must love my rather lengthy and antagonizingly argumentative discussions about life and work and responsibility.  And the concept of beginning to look for a job now that requires no degree and a cheap place to live while employed in said fashion.  In San Diego, that would be a cardboard box.

And the bright side of this debacle is?

He gets this flat look about the eyes, like I have the calm audacity to suggest he will have to fend for himself in this world, and that he may not get it right.  It lets me know I’ve gotten through.  And then I get to tell him that he’d better figure it out because he only has about six years of math left to take in his life if he isn’t planning on the minimum wage job route.  It doesn’t matter that he most likely will NEVER use any of the math he’s required to take, but you can all rest assured that at least with my kid, the good ol’ U S of A will have a chance to compete.  You know.  Mathematically.  In the world.

Could someone tell Edwards for me please?  He was sweating bricks over it during the minute or two I listened to the debate today on NPR.

Oh, and the RT completed his math while I wrote this, so clearly it’s not challenging.

Like I said.  Torture.