Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Time off Happenings

OK...so I have to go up into the attic twice over the holiday.  Once to see why our front porch is leaking.  Now, mind you--I'm no small chicken anymore but am still amazed at what I can still fold up and do.  I had to slip through studs that are only 18" apart and slither down into the space over the porch.  Find the leak and put a bucket under it until I can get on the roof and re-roof that portion.  I found it alright.  Finally.  This was the fourth trip up there to look. 

The next day, I have to go up there to find out why the corner of the ceiling in the living room is looking funky.  I go up and slither around on my belly in the attic out next to the wall.  Not much room to work.  I can't see any reason why this would be happening.

I come back down.

Then we go shopping for a new kitchen faucet with some christmas money that the SO's parents sent.  You'd think it would be a simple install.

Oh hell no.  Nothing in a midtown home is simple.  Took me 2 hours.  Had to stop all the leaks including the drain trap that got knocked loose.  It's in.  But I cussed a blue streak.  Even the instructions said I would.  They also told me to stop and take a beer break.  I should have.  I didn't.

I'm under the sink in a very uncomfortable position.  I've loosened the supply lines and have water dripping down on my face.  My arms are stretched up in some unnatural position trying to loosen the nuts holding the faucet in and my SO wants to know what I want for dinner.

What I want for dinner.

I don't give a shit at that point as long as it doesn't require water.

We order pizza.

Nevertheless, it's in and looks great.

Holy Schmoly

We got the Wii Fitness Advisor for the holidays.  There are several programs you can choose: Weight Loss, Flexibility, etc.  I did the flexibility for the first time tonight.

I'm not.

Can't touch my toes.

And the thing she calls the Child's pose.......whatevah!! 

I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow but enjoyed the workout.  Next workout will be weight loss.

We'll see how that goes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

The shortest day and the longest night of the year.  Death gives way to
rebirth.  The sun god starts his journey back towards us. 

In
ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the feast of
Saturnalia, while in pre-christian Britain, the end of December
centered around the pagan Yule log in a fiery display to melt the heart
of a cold and dreary winter. Today, a similar response to winter
doldrums is the celebration of Christmas by many cultures around the
world complete with twinkling lights, holiday feasts & lively
festivals.

Winter solstice! A time of transition in the annual
war of light vs darkness, cold vs warmth, abundance vs shortage, life
vs death! All people in our northern climes have tended to view this as
the crucial time of year. A time to hold ceremonies designed to assist
nature in rebounding from the path toward oblivion to one directed
toward prosperity. A time to huddle at home with family and friends in
love and worship, or a time simply to hibernate, as much as possible,
sleeping more, and attempting to keep ones mind on other things.

It
has often been said that the greatest joy tends to follow deep sorrow.
What is so wonderful about the winter solstice is that once we are past
that moment of time we can look forward to brighter skies. Slowly at
first, then more rapidly as we go into January and February, days get
longer and everything around helps us celebrate the increase of light.
It speaks well for the human spirit that our greatest religious
celebrations take place at winter solstice time, as people radiate
warmth of fellowship and love on these dimmer days. The festivals of
darker days are really celebrations of light.

Winter Solstice
has been celebrated in cultures the world over for thousands of years.
This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth
of the Sun. In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul,
meaning wheel.

Today, many people in Western-based cultures
refer to this holiday as "Christmas." Yet a look into its origins of
Christmas reveals its Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established
December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" in the third
century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly
thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent
the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was
Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and
linked with the visit of the Magi, was originally an Egyptian date for
the Winter Solstice.

Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and
rituals associated with "Christmas" actually are linked to Winter
Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian
mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday
time, its Pagan nature is still strong and apparent. Pagans today can
readily re-Paganize Christmastime and the secular New Year by giving a
Pagan spiritual focus to existing holiday customs and by creating new
traditions that draw on ancient ways.

If you're really
interested, follow the second link to read about the traditions and
where they came from.  Much of our Christmas holiday has its roots in
pagan ritual.  I find it fascinating.

http://www.clarkfoundation.org/astro-utah/vondel/solsticewin.html

http://www.circlesanctuary.org/pholidays/SolsticeArticle.html

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday

We had a delightful time at our favorite mexican watering hole Monday night. A very dear friend received a promotion with the Post Office so I told her that she was buying the first round. Well, the little sneak snuck off and paid the entire bill. There were 8 of us and all of us had entrees with drinks. I know about what she spent and it's a chunk of change.

She's feeling proud and she should. She's worked hard to get where she is. We had a great time. Good friends at our favorite restaurant makes for a great evening.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Did it Get Cold??

Holy cow. I got up this morning and was unprepared for the temperature outside. Even Cora Beth bitched when I tried to start her. That's my truck. A 91 Jeep Comanche 4wd, 6cyl, 4.0 bossy truck that is sometimes temperamental. Gets that from her owner I suppose. I wouldn't' trade her for the world though.

We're coming to the end of the year and the holiday season. We do Christmas and Hanukkah but we don't over do it. One, we can't afford it but two, we don't want the boys to grow up thinking they're entitled to everything they want. Everybody has limits. I think the oldest is OK with it. The youngest is still in diva mode and expects to get everything he wants. Boy, is he in for a let down.

We're still looking for an RV that we can afford. I have faith that it will work out. I want to do this before my SO no longer remembers what we're doing.

Life is fairly show right now. No real crisis to deal with. The boys are doing well in school. I manage to avoid my boss for the most part. He's focusing his attention on someone else in the office. Attacking the weakest. He's horrible and must go.

I have a party tonight and one Saturday. Good friends. Should be fun.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time Flies....

Thanksgiving is over. We went to visit my SO's family out of state. It was a good trip and I would imagine we'll be making that trip more and more often while my SO's still remembers. The boys are really enjoying their cousins. It's a shame that we have to travel out of state for the boys to play with their cousins knowing that they have some here in the city and yet either my brother or his ex-wife won't allow them to get together more often than gatherings at the parental units' house.

What a fucked up family I'm part of. They have no idea what I'm or this family is going through. I visited my step mother today. She asked what was wrong with my SO. I know I've told her--told them all---but they don't really pay attention. She said she was sorry when I told her. I'm not even sure she really cares. I don't give much energy to it anymore. Just makes me angry and I have other things to be angry about right now. Stupid people isn't something I need to waste time with anymore.

We've decided to make the most of what we have left and God only knows how long that will be. There could be a rapid deterioation within just a few years or we may not see any further decline for many years. Who knows? So, we've decided to look at good used RV's so that we can do some traveling and camping. Everybody enjoys that. I know that I should be focused on getting out of debt right now but to hell with it. Doesn't make any sense to pinch pennys now and wait to have fun when we run the risk of my SO not knowing what is happening years from now. So we live life today. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. I'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Not so much sadness anymore

So the oldest has been going to MASE for about a week now and is really doing well.  He gets up without fussing, does his homework and doesn't mind putting on the uniform and tie.  The only problem is that he brought home a bitch of a cold day before yesterday and even had to miss a day of school.

The youngest starts Monday.  He's very excited.  We bought his supplies along with a voice recorder so he can record his teacher's lectures.  The thinks he's big stuff now. 

It's given the SO some much needed relief.  She says she actually feels rested now.  We're looking into some medication for her fatigue.

We're going to the Ornamental Metal Museum's iron pour tonight.  That should be great fun.  If you can, come out and watch.  Molten iron poured from a big machine into molds.  My kind of fun.

The youngest just watched an episode of Mythbusters and is now outside making shiny mudballs.  And people wonder why I have a cocktail now and then.

Oh...we just ate lunch at the Bar B Que Shop on Madison.  Best ribs and sauce in town.  I could drink the sauce.  I could pour it in a cup and sip it.  It's just the best I've ever tasted.  Here's their webpage:  www.dancingpigs.com

Go, you won't regret it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Have an Anger, a Resentment and a Sadness

Our homeschooling days are coming to an end. Because of my SO's disease, she can no longer homeschool our boys. That saddens and angers me. This disease is slowly eroding our way of life. It's taking away some of our freedoms. Because we are having to put the boys in school, we will no longer get to make our annual trip to Florida. That really saddens me. The death of a tradition.

I hate this disease. I hate what it's doing to my family. I hate that science doesn't seem to be working very hard to cure this or prevent it.

I'm angry for my children because their lives are being profoundly impacted now. They must go to school and will not be thrust into situations that we'd hoped to keep them out of. They are losing their educational freedom and to some extent their innocense.

I'm just angry. I'm resentful. I'm sad both for my SO and me and for my children. They are frightened and I there's nothing I can do to fix that for them. They are angry. I can't fix that either. I can only support them.

I'm angry for the disruption this is causing my family. I can't fix that right now either.

Today is my oldest's first day at MASE. He is no longer a homeschooler. He is being pushed into a setting that nearly makes him sick at his stomach. I can't fix that either.

I can't fix any of this and that makes the angriest of all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night

I can't stand it.  The tension and the anticipation is driving me crazy.  And yet, here I sit watching this ......train wreck.............this autopsy.............this public display of sex.

Ok, maybe not that because that would be or could be enjoyable.  But the other two are pretty accurate descriptions of what watching election returns is like.

I should go read a book and just wake up tomorrow and scream that Santa has been here.  Or Satan, depending on who wins and I'll not give my hopes away here.  Some of you can probably guess though.

Good lord, make me get up.

I know this is history in the making but I can't stand the suspense.

I'm going to go read. 

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Camping at Chickasaw State Park

We drove up yesterday to camp just the one night.  The boys and I went and did a little fishing.  Nothing was biting where we were.  Would probably help to have a boat but we don't so we just played by the water and wasted some worms.  Later, around the campfire, we commented that watching the fire is just as entertaining, and maybe moreso, than watching TV.  I could stare at the fire for hours.  The boys enjoyed it.  No computers.  No Wii, Nintendo or whatever else they have.  We did some walking, wood gathering, fishing, talking and enjoying the company.  It was very peaceful and relaxing.  I should add that Chickasaw is very close to the town that I did most of my growing up in.  I lived in Henderson from 8 years old until 15 years old.  I loved it and used to run in the woods from the time I got up in the mornings until it was nearly dark and time for dinner.  The woods around Chickasaw are just like the woods I played in.  I had lots of memories come back to me.  It was good.

I didn't get much sleep.  Never do but just because I don't sleep well isn't a reason not to go.  Everybody else sleeps fine.

I'm ready to go back.  It's just 2 hours up the road and it's a beautiful drive.  We found a second lake but can only fish on that one if the camp isn't rented out.  There was a father and son duo out there.  He showed me the fish they'd caught.  Some damn fine Crappie.  Someone will eat good tonight.

Won't be us unless we go out.

The dogs are exhausted.  Both of them ran and ran and swam.  The yorkie found something in a wood pile next to the water that he wanted really badly.  He was furious with me when I took him away from it.  That's all we need is some snake bit emergency out there in the middle of nowhere.  Silly animal.  So he walked in the water just to get back at me then made sure to jump up in my side of the car and walk around allll over my seat.

Little effer.

Was a good weekend.  Made some memories.  Enjoyed the moment and will do it again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Odd Occurances

Wow, the powers-that-be really do work in mysterious ways.  I had to take my truck in to have some work done.  The shop is right down the street.  I was waiting on my SO to pick me up but didn't see her when I walked out of the shop so I started walking down the street.  She pulled up later and picked me up on a street that we don't normally drive down.  Ever.  Not once since we've lived where we do.  As we're driving, I see a truck that belongs to a friend whom I've not spoken with in over a year.  I've left a couple of voice mails but nothing back.  I knew she'd moved from the house around the corner but didn't know where she'd went.

Until today.

We drive by and see her partner outside so we pull into the driveway and find out that my friend has been diagnosed with stage 2 metastatic cervical cancer and is facing the prospect of having everything taken out because it's metastasized to her pelvis.  She was diagnosed over a year ago.  We also find out that her partner was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer.  Both are going through chemo and radiation.

We'd have never known that had I not started walking home.  Had I not seen my SO drive up.  Had the timing been just right to drive down that particular street and had my friend's gf not been standing outside the front door of their new house.

Tell me there isn't a power larger than ourselves guiding our hands. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Wednesday Morning

Have you ever thought about the days of the week and how some get more respect than others? The weekends are royal. Monday is cursed because it interrupts the royal weekend. Wednesday is smiled at because it's "hump day" and halfway to the royal weekend. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the step-days. No respect although those are the best days for cars. It's said that if you buy a car, buy one that has been built on Tuesday or Thursday because the manufacturers are paying closer attention to what they're doing.

I have no idea why I'm pondering this. Some things pop into my head for no good reason. For instance, why do they glue the toilet paper down so that you have to shred it to get it started. Why is that? Why can't we paint stripes on the streets that you can see when it rains? Who named the Banana? Who ate the first raw oyster and why? What's the purpose of the mosquito? Proof right there that god makes mistakes.

It's 6:00AM Wednesday morning. Early hump day. I need a bumper sticker that says, "Hump it like you mean it!" Hump it like you mean it....jeez louise. How that leads me into anything political is a mystery. There's another debate which will probably be a snoozer. Perhaps we should start picking our politicians like they do on Survivor. Let's put them all on some remote island full of cannibals and see who survives. No, no....a deserted island and let's see who BECOMES a cannibal. Dog eat dog, man. Lord of the Flies. Hump day. It makes sense in my brain. Be grateful that it doesn't in yours.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Beach Day 18






I'm just sayin'.........

New Blog Addition

I just added a link to a blog that I've been reading and find highly entertaining. It's in my blog list on the right side of the page. I have to warn you though, if you're a Palin fan, you're going to find your blood pressure rising. If you're not, you may find it rising anyway. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beach Day 16

I'm back. I have another picture to share. The first shows how empty the beach is. The second is looking west and the third is looking east. It's very peaceful here this time of year. The water has been crystal clear. I was standing in about 4' of water yesterday and could see my feet as clearly as if I had been standing in a swimming pool. The boys and I found some very nice shells. We'll be back at it today.

The weather is gorgeous. 85 with a slight breeze. Just enough to keep if from being blazing hot but not so cool as to make it uncomfortable when you come out of the water.

We've made some very good friends down here. I hate to leave them but nothing I can do about that right now. One is convinced I'm going to be the next VP of HR. I doubt it. I'd much rather take the Manager's job but one can never dream too big. We'll see.

Anyway, it's almost time to head down to the water to sit and read, swim, snorkle and just relax. I'll raise a cocktail to all of you!













Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whew!

I've been in town for a week. I'm due back on the beach Sunday for my final glorious week there. American's don't vacation enough. I don't realize how tired I am until that first day out on the sand and in the water. It's as if I take off that weighted backpack for the first time and I feel my shoulders begin to lift. Almost like I'm floating off the ground.

Work still annoys me. I work for a know nothing do nothing manager. I am charged with making decisions all day long yet when I do, I'm second guessed by this know nothing do nothing manager. The area is in disarray and it's beginning to wear thin. Unemployment is beginning to look better and better. We could live out of the Element easily. I know...become professional house-sitters and just move from house to house. I'm dreaming or delusional, not sure which. I just know that I don't like going to work anymore and that's a new feeling for me. It's overwhelming right now. The bright spot are the people I work with. I am encouraged. I believe they trust my judgment and value my opinions. That helps.

In other news--Kellen is growing almost in front of my very eyes. Kittens do that. My boys are doing well. We still have moments in which I'd like to bury them head down in a hole but who doesn't?

This election season is driving me crazy. I still don't know how Obama got the nomination--well, I do. Because Florida and Michigan's delegates didn't count but still. And I sure as HELL don't know how McClutz got his nomination. This financial mess (which McClutz helped create) is a nightmare and his decision to postpone the debate Friday is just chickenshit. I believe he doesn't want to debate because he knows he's going to get smoked and because he knows that some of his involvement in this debacle is going to get called out there. Freak. Chickenshit Freak. Coward.

And Palin. That one ought to scare smart people to death. Can you imagine her running the country? I mean, I know that the President makes very few decisions without the input of a bazillion advisors but still.........I have a headache just thinking about it.

I have grocery shopping to do. The bug lady is coming to the house today. I have brochures to put together for a seminar and a monster of a statistical report to build before the end of the month.

My feet itch.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Has Passed Us


Here's a picture of the Ike surge.




We got a lot of wind but no rain. The tide surge was impressive. It breached the dunes in several places but no damage down where we are staying. It was fun to go up and watch the waves and brave the wind. There was some sand blowing and we all joked that we could get a free microdermal abrasion treatment if we just sat down.

I just came back from the beach and have noticed that it's calming considerably. We'll probably be back in the water tomorrow. The ocean is a funny thing. No matter how hard humans try to hold the sand in one place or the water, she's always going to do pretty much what she wants. She's also going to have these little tantrums from time to time just to remind us exactly who is in charge here.

I just find that fascinating and am curious to see what the coast will look like tomorrow. What treasures will the ocean present us with? Today, it was an old laundry basket and a fishing pole. What will it be tomorrow? I can hardly wait to see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

At the Beach. Day 1


This is behind where we are staying. It's about 200' from our back door.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pictures of Kellen

Is he not the cutest?

He's the baby we rescued from the pound. We had high hopes at the time that the new Director would work with us in setting up a good foster system. We've been terribly disappointed. The Director doesn't return phone calls or email. We're still trying.
I had promised to share some pictures with our foster kitten. Here you go. He's a doll.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2 Days

2 days and we leave for Florida. We have our house sitter in place and are almost packed. I can't remember a time when I've needed a vacation more. I am also very aware of how important it has become to live in the moment because I've learned the memories are no longer guaranteed. These vacations will become more and more important as time goes on.

I know that there will come a day when the boys won't want to go with us anymore because at some point we will be "uncool". Hopefully, that won't happen soon. It's still nice to take them with us despite the moments when I want to smother them in their sleep.

I need a break from work. It's been a FUBAR for 2 years now and it's beginning to take a mental and emotional toll. My brain needs to rest. My soul needs to rest because some of the things I've seen done have really hammered on it.

Oh, and don't worry. We're watching the weather. Looks like most of it is going up the Atlantic coast. yay for us. I'll post pictures.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

19 Days

Before we're on the road to Florida. My oasis. My battery recharge pack. My sanity. I'm drawn to the water. I'm also drawn to the country. Probably a result of me being a Taurus and earth sign. I remember as a kid just wandering around in the woods, climbing trees, finding things. I also remember going to the beach once and just sitting at the edge of the surf picking up and letting dribble through my fingers the rough sand that is the Atlantic coast. I remember finding shark's teeth. I wish I knew what happened to them.

There's something about the pull of Mother Earth that keeps me grounded. No pun intended. There are those who prefer the hustle and bustle of big city life. Not me. This city is as big as I want. I'd be happy living on the coast or in the country. I grieve that my kids will never know what it's like to run out the back door on a summer's morning and not return until they're hungry. I miss that for them. There was such freedom then and no freedom now. Times change which is probably why I am so adamant that we still take this one vacation every year.

it's a time for the grown-ups to reconnect with the kids and vice versa. It's a time to heal and replenish and renew.

It's a time to sit in the sun and get some color back.

19 days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation Countdown

Florida. That glorious piece of land sitting right next to the gulf. Sugar white sand. No alarm clock. Just books, booze, beach and food.

We rent a house down there for a month beginning the first weekend after Labor Day. We save all year for it. My income tax refund goes for this trip. I drive a piece of crap boss truck so that I can afford a month on the beach. I don't buy new clothes very often. We make choices and sacrifices because going there is that important.

It's where I recharge and after this last year, man, do I need some recharging. I want to wake up in the morning and not give a damn about how many jobs I have to fill or how many investigations I have to do. I just want to wake up and find my coffee and stumble out onto the deck until it's time to go to the water.

I want peace and at this stage in my life, I feel I'm entitled to some of that. I feel my entire family is entitled to some of that. We have some rough times coming and need to enjoy what we have now because the memories we make now might be memories that my partner will be able to hang on to later.

I hope so, anyway. It's also nice because the boys still want to spend time with us. I know that will change as they get older so we book this vacation every year and will until we can't or it no longer does its job with us. I'll grieve that later. I'll grieve many things later but right now, I want to focus on making memories.

We leave in 27 days.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

We have good news!

So, a friend suggests that I send an email to Cindy Wolff with the Commercial Appeal and let her know what was going on about the kittens. I do. She writes me back and--long story short--she puts us in touch with the Director at the animal shelter. We weren't able to save the other babies but we did end up saving a cute as a button 4 week old kitten. We've also been set up to help with the rescue and adoption program.

Ernie was very nice and apologetic. He seems very eager to work with us and is grateful for our help. My partner has another meeting with him set up for Thursday. I'm not sure what details need to be worked out but am certain there are a few.

I don't think we could have done this without Cindy's help and we are eternally grateful to my friend to for the suggestion and to Cindy for the help. I'm sure it will be a great adventure from here.

I'll have pictures soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I am FURIOUS!!!

My partner was coming home from a secret shop out by the animal shelter and felt this overwhelming urge to go. Once she got there, she went on the cat side and saw in a cage 3 tiny not yet weened (or shouldn't be anyway) kittens. She went to the front and offered to foster them. They shouldn't have been there. There was no mother and here was NO way they were eating solid food. NOBODY at the shelter would let her bring them home and in fact, one of the workers said they usually just let them die.

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS????? What happened to the crackshot director that was hired from Arizona, or where ever? What happened to compassion? What happened to common sense?

She has called twice and only gets voicemail. She has emailed twice and gets NO response. I'm sure those babies are dead. Left in a cage to slowly starve. I'm outraged. How could humans do this to a helpless, defenseless kitten?

I suggested we go back and just take them out. Let them arrest us. I'd love for this to hit the news. We're going to try again tomorrow but I'm betting that they're dead. Victims of uncaring, unthinking humans.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Youngest and Japan

We put him on a plane Saturday morning for Los Angeles then Japan. Wow. 10 days in a foreign country halfway around the world. Wow. It's a little nerve-wracking. He'll be ok and it'll be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Can't really deny him that.

I'm still grinding my teeth over work and the nonsense going on there. Enough to make you crazy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Denial Redux

Message
Maybe I live in a state of denial. For those of you who
don't know, my partner was diagnosed 2 years ago with early onset. She was 44
at the time. That seems awfully young in my mind. She still functions fairly
well based on what I'm seeing. She does tire more easily than she used to but
is still able to travel and plan that travel. She keeps a blog and sometimes I
read things that she hasn't really talked about. This last post startled me a
little. She talked about sleeping more, leaving the boys to fend for themselves
during the day and not able to hold a thought for a day after her last trip to
Nashville.


See, I don't see that. I see her at home where she's
planning meals, cooking, cleaning, bathing, getting the boys where they need to
be. Maybe I'm living in denial or maybe I choose to be blind to it, I don't
know. What I DO know is that there are days when I'm angry, ANGRY at whatever
higher power who is supposedly in charge. And then I wonder if (insert your
god/goddess) really gets involved in the day to day. If there is a god, I have
to question why that god would do this to a person and a family, especially one
that has young children in it. It isn't helping that our 15 year old is angry
about this and acting out towards her. That is taking it's tole on my mental
and emotional health. Work is in a state of turmoil right now so I don't need
that tension when I come home but don't know how to fix
that.

And then there's the rest of my family. That's an entire post all by itself and maybe I'll tackle that soon. Suffice it to say, she isn't accepted there and neither are my kids. I won't put myself or them in that situation again.


And I'm scared to death of the day when she can no
longer take care of herself and what that means for the rest of us. I'm already
seeing the woman that I fell in love with fading away. I see the changes
including the personality changes. I know that if I met her today, I wouldn't
give her a second thought. I fell in love with the fire and opinion and fight,
not with what she has become and that's hard. People say that she's the same
person you fell in love with and I have to say, no she's
not.


This isn't like cancer or an accident that changes
someone's looks. I could deal better with that. This robs people of their
personality, their senses of humor, their interests and desires. All of which
is what I fell in love with, not her looks.


I don't know what the future holds. We take it a day
at a time and I continue to believe that a cure or better treatment is just
around the corner. it's the cynical side of me that believes that because
there's way too much money to be made for the pharmaceuticals NOT to find that
cure/treatment.


And here's what really makes me angry. Our government
is talking about bailing out all of those people who chose to live beyond their
means, who made irresponsible choices in home loans and yet, our government
won't recognize my relationship so that I could better take care of my partner.
We've followed the rules. We have made sacrifices so that we could live within
our means and we are punished. I can't get health insurance on her. We can't
afford a separate policy because of the expense. There are decisions that will
have to be made but I can't make them unless I have a piece of paper giving me
permission. I WANT to take care of her properly and can't.


20 years, we've been a couple. Next month, 16 years we
will have been parents twice but I can't provide healthcare for her. I'm angry
with the system and with this disease and lack of understanding for
both.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Felt Fear Yesterday

I read my SO's blog post...well, one of them, and felt fear for the first time since her diagnosis. She talked about how she's losing ground and must leave the boys to fend for themselves during the day. She talked about not being able to hold a thought after getting the boys to camp and Kendo practice. She talked about sleeping more. And I've noticed that she's eating more. I wonder if her brain thing has something to do with both of those.

For the first time, I had a brief glimpse of what my future possible holds. A partner that can't take care of herself.

And then she leaves me a voicemail talking about how she had to go to one of her volunteer positions and begin coordinating the Arts and Crafts fair. I'm confused. This disease is confusing and horrifying.

On top of all this, for the first time EVER, I had a tiny anxiety attack when I walked into the office. I work for an acting Manager that knows NOTHING about the department he's been put over. Who does NOTHING to help with the work load. Who has NO idea what he's doing and can 't make a decision on his own to save his life. I bet he can't go to the bathroom without calling the VP to ask how to do it.

I was ready to quit.

Thankfully, it passed. Hopefully, things will change soon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some Things You Never Want to Hear Your Partner Say to Your Son

"I don't care if you DO have a stiffy. I need to get in there and feed my cat."

He's 13 and guess what has come alive. Yup. God love him. The thing has developed a mind of its own. I'm sure the males reading this will be able to sympathize.

All I'm thinking is here we go again.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Lazy Sunday

My oldest and I went to a local fish store to replace my recently departed Yellow Tang. We got there an hour before it opened so we had some time to kill. Now, he "claims" he doesn't like to shop but he sure had fun going with me to the dollar store and RadioShack. He's quite talkative when he's not in a crowd. Any of our friends who have spent time with him one-on-one have noticed and remarked about that.

He spent a week in Nashville at a game programming camp with several other 15 - 17 year olds. When my SO picked him up, the camp director told her thank you for sending such a well-behaved child. Apparently he made an impression. I'm proud of him. That doesn't negate the fact that on any given day I want to strangle him. It just keeps me from doing it.

My youngest and I went on an 84 mile motorcycle ride yesterday. It was great fun. He loves the bike almost as much as I do. I'm pretty sure his butt was mush when we finally stopped and I think he went to sleep right on time last night. Not that I'd take him on an 80 mile ride everyday just to make him sleep but it sure is tempting.

All in all, it was a good day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's 5:09AM and....

There are just some things a woman shouldn't have to do this early in the morning. Our sweet precious cat, who belongs to our youngest, is a fierce hunter. She lays low in the outback that is our back yard and stealthily stalks her prey.

This morning, I happened to be in the kitchen pouring my first cup of coffee when I heard the great hunter come in through the animal door. Lo and behold there she was with a BIG FAT RAT in her mouth.

She was SO proud. She tried to put it at my feet in adoration.

I had other thoughts. I shooed her outside toot-sweet. She played with it for a moment, I guess hoping it would come alive and play back. Who knows why cats play with their food? I came back in the house and sat down to read the news and enjoy my coffee.

She had other thoughts. In she came very quietly. I knew she was in the house only by the jingle of the tags on her collar. I went to to check and didn't see the BIG FAT RAT at first. I think she was laying on it trying to hide it. It showed up after I walked back in the room from checking the bathroom which is where she usually deposits her kills. I guess she thinks it would be easier to clean up in there. After all, butcher shops are tiled.

Anyway, I picked it up with gloves on and took it to the trash.

In my underwear. God love my neighbors.

I'm pretty sure it was a male.

No female has anything that big between her legs.

I picked it up by its tail which is how I caught a glimpse of that package.

God love the females.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ducks and stuff

I was heading to Home Depot yesterday to get propane refills and while driving down a midtown street--in the heart of midtown, mind you--what do I see crossing the road? A mama, daddy and 4 baby ducks. Kid you not. Out for a Saturday afternoon stroll. I had to wave down an on-coming truck so the wouldn't get hit. They wandered up in someone's backyard I guess because I saw no sign of them on my drive home.

is that good luck? Should be. They were mallards, I think. Don't those have the green heads?

I went fishing with a friend yesterday afternoon. We caught 3 hand-sized perch. My fishing buddy called them shell crackers. I've never heard of that. I've only heard of sun perch or bull gill bream. I'm guessing they're the same thing, just a different name. We gave them to an older couple that was fishing and had a stringer almost full. Not really worth it to clean 3 fish. We're looking for someplace better to go. I think no matter what, if we want better catches we're going to have to get a boat. Just a 2 person fiberglass would be great.

It's quiet in the house right now. The oldest is away at computer camp. My SO and youngest drove up yesterday to pick him up. The youngest had Kendo practice this morning and the oldest is released at 4. They'll drive home and chaos will once again rule supreme in this household.

The silence takes me back to when we lived separately. I enjoyed it but found that I got bored and restless and would find things to do that would sometimes cause me trouble. Like a home improvement project or a half-baked attempt at gardening. I love my family but there's heartache associated with it. The 15 year old has developed an attitude and the 13 year old his honing his. It's exhausting. Not to mention trying to make sure the SO is still able to handle them and everything that comes with it.

All I really want is peace. And to win the lottery. That wouldn't suck because then I could move to peace. Boarding school is a wonderful thing.

I need to go iron. And thaw something for dinner. And take a nap.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dementia

A film crew was here for the last 2 days filming us. They asked how dementia has affected our lives. Quite a bit, actually. My SO has had to cut back on her activities but she is still able to manage this family. In fact, she leaves Saturday morning to take our oldest to Nashville for a computing camp and our youngest for a Kendo practice. She's planned it and mapped it out. She still manages that.

We bought a Tomtom to help her. I'm still trying to figure out a way to claim that as a medical expense. If anybody else out there has managed that, let me know.

Anyway, it came in handy for getting the producer to the airport. It corrected my SO's route after a wrong turn and they made it just fine.

I know what's coming with this dementia. I'm not ready to give up yet. I was filmed saying that if one believe's in a God then one must ask why? Why this? Why her? Why the children? Why me? We haven't done anything to deserve this. There is no good answer and probably never will be.

This is an ugly, horrible disease. It robs the family of a partner, parent and loved one. It's awful. And I don't think that America is ready for what's about to happen to it. Medical care is inadequate at best. Research is underfunded. Something's got to give soon.

I hold out hope that a cure is just around the corner.

Lawd, I'm Tired

We put in a patio this weekend. I'm grateful for the help even though I wasn't ready. It's probably just as well because knowing that I had folks coming over to help motivated me to get up off my ass and get it done. The entire family helped plus a couple of friends, one of whom came from out of town.

It took us until 3 that afternoon to finish but we finished. Brick pavers. Not the big 16x16 but the regular sized brick. I think we laid about 600 of them. These are bricks that another friend gave us. All in all, it was a cheap patio. Cost me some sand, landscape timbers, pizza and a pork shoulder.

It was great and it looks great. Go to www.knitmentia.blogspot.com for pictures.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And about that kiss.....

Is it enough to make you sit up and say wow? Or has two women kissing on television or in the movies become so common place that you don't feel anything? I hope not. I hope that two women kissing always stays hot. Always stays moving. Always stays special. I think it's the sexiest thing in the world, two women kissing.

I hope they treat this relationship with the honesty and dignity that it deserves. I hope it becomes normal but never dull and boring. I hope it continues to move me but not towards anger. No stupid. Make this work because it can and it should.

Come on Shonda, don't disappoint me.

I Am In LOVE

I'm in love. Grey's Anatomy has proven that network television can have vision and courage. Did you see the kiss? Callie and Hahn? Hot or WHAT?? I don't have video yet but have some screen captures.

Feast your eyes.











Road Work

Anybody notice that gas prices are going up? Yeah, me too. Because of that, I'm riding my motorcycle almost exclusively. It's an eye-opener, let me tell you.

I'm betting that nobody who actually paves the roads rides a motorcycle. Know why? The bumps that you hit in a car feel pretty small but those same bumps on a motorcycle are real kidney clangers.

The bikers out there know what I mean. Bumps that make you clench your butt cheeks hard so that your kidneys don't fall out and splat behind you.

I've been hitting my share of those lately and it's getting old. I'd like to propose that all of the road worker decision makers be forced to ride the city streets on a motorcycle for a month. I'd bet you'd seen glass smooth streets in a week.

Later. I gotta go pack my kidneys in ice.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Harry Potter Character are you?

Apparently I'm Harry.


Which Harry Potter Character Are You?
My Result: Harry
Myspace Quizzes
You’re a leader and a good friend. You have a tumultuous past, but that doesn’t get in the way of your impressive future.

Take Which Harry Potter Character Are You?
Find more quizzes at Quibblo.com
Quibblo

Monday, May 19, 2008

School Board Superintendent

So Kenneth Whalum, Jr. thinks that a young black male should run the schools.


Have you ever heard such drivel?? Can you imagine the mushroom cloud that would go up over Memphis had a white male made the comment that a white male should be running the schools? Memphis would have been leveled from the blast.

Hey....there's an idea. But no, I happen to like this city. I see the potential and I'll be damned if I'm going to give up on it. Whalum not withstanding. Stupid, pinheaded freak.

What the schools need is the best qualified regardless of race and/or gender. Someone with enough backbone to stand up to this city and say, "It's time for you parents to get serious and become involved in your children's lives."

Where is the screaming by Whalum over the lack of involvement in these "young black males" in their childrens' lives? Why isn't he out hollering about that? As I've said in another forum, fix what's wrong at home and the problems in the schools will fix themselves. The classroom isn't a place to be raised. It's isn't the responsibility of the teacher to become the parent.

It isn't fair to those children who really want to learn to have to put up with the garbage that is flung by those childrent who don't want to be there.

AN EDUCATION ISN'T A


RIGHT. IT'S A PRIVILEDGE!!


Some people have forgotten that. Some politicians have forgotten that. Some psychiatrist and psychologist have forgotten that. Ohhh, let's not bruise little Johnny or little Suzie's fragile ego.

Ain't nothing fragile about child that brings a gun to school and shoots his classmate. Ain't nothing fragile about a child that threatens a teacher during class. Get rid of the garbage. Make schools a safe place for learning. This bullshit about in-school suspension or detention is crap.

I have an idea. Take those kids that don't really want to be there and give them a year in a service organization but make them serve their year in a third world country. Let them learn what it's like to not have a school they can go to because one doesn't exist. Let them learn what it's like not to have indoor plumbing or running water, or hell, for that matter, safe water to drink. Let's see how big and bad they'll be when they come home. Let them duck bullets from rebels while trying to cook dinner. Then we'll see how the little freaks feel about being at home. Let mummy and daddy worry about Butnot Mychild when Butnot Mychild is trying to figure out where their next meal is coming from. Or when Butnot Mychild has to really walk 14 miles to get to school in the rain or snow or heat. And if Butnot Mychild is female? Let them worry when she isn't even allowed to go to school.

Give the children that want to learn an environment free from stress other than what will be on the next test. Shut up Whalum and get out of the way of progress.


Sometimes you just don't know what to say.

I'm looking around the house and for the most part, we've done the projects that we can reasonably and financially do right now. It's time to take a look at the backyard. We have some really good friends who called and offered up a bunch of paving stones that they no longer want. They're very generous and quick to help us when we ask. The only problem is that they're too stubborn to ask for our help. I thump them from time to time. It doesn't help.

We went over yesterday and pulled some of them up. It loaded my truck DOWN. There's at least another truckload which we'll get either this weekend or one day after I get off work.

Friends are important. We sometimes take them for granted. And I mean the collective "we". I was having a chat with my oldest yesterday, trying to figure out why he's angry. He says he's angry about his friends. I'll admit that all of his good friends have ended up moving away all through his lifetime. His friend on this street moved away. His best friend in Oklahoma. Another good friend and then one he made when they moved back here. He's closed himself up over it. I told him that having friends takes work. That he has to reach out and make an effort. He says, "Well, they don't." OK, maybe they don't but that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't.

I had to listen to what I was telling him. Relationships take work. Home. At work. Everywhere. Professionally. I had to think about who my friends were and if I was putting the right amount of energy into the relationships that I had. We should probably take that inventory on a regular basis because before you know it, a year has passed and you haven't talked to some of the people who populate your "friends" list.

He had to. He also had to take a deep breath and reach out to one of them. That was a big step for him. Especially knowing that this friend may very well end up moving to Japan. Breaks my heart for him. Nothing I can do about it though. Just like nothing I could do about his experience with the coffee shop down the street. And don't for one minute think that I don't think about firebombing the place. Makes for nice fantasy but it'll never happen. (That's for all you government email snoops)

I appreciate my friends. They are a good support system especially in trying times and believe me, I'm seeing a few of those right now.

This too shall pass, so they say. It's not finding a cure for dementia but it makes the wait a little easier to stomach. It doesn't get my partner of 20 years on my insurance but it gives me a place to rant.

Just a little "thanks" to those whom I choose to call my friends.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Brag Moment


I just have to take a moment to do a little bragging.
We just found out yesterday that the youngest son has been accepted for this year’s
Japanese exchange program. His sensei for the National Junior Kendo team
encouraged him to apply. We figured it was a very long shot because
technically, he’s too young. I suppose they’re making the exception because his
birthday is the month after his trip. He’ll spend 10 days in
Japan. His sensei will be with him along with about 10 other
kids around his age.



This is an awesome opportunity for him. Plus, it gives
us a 10 day break.



I have no idea how we’re going to pay for it but I’ll be
darned if I’m going to let him miss this once in a life time
opportunity.


Know anybody looking for a kidney?

Monday, April 21, 2008

What to update?

Been a while. Let me see if there's anything that needs updating. I mentioned that we finished the sunroom. Looks good too. It'll be nice to take a little break from jobs around the house so that we can just enjoy it. All too soon I'll have to start on replacing some rotted wood on the back of the house which will then need paint.

Really never ends does it? Kinda like the mess the mayor keeps hocking up and spitting out. Superintendent. Please. Like I want that irresponsible piece of crap in charge of educating my children. And a 17% increase in property taxes? FOR WHAT?? I don't think so. It's good we kept our tent. We may be living out of it.

Work is annoying the fuzzy spit out of me. I work for a moron. I can't stand to see him coming. I can't stand to hear his voice. I can't stand to sit in the room with him. There are days when I'd rather go back and be a painter. Was a whole lot less headache. 7 years and I can retire. I'm looking forward to it but I'll tell ya, if I wasn't so close to retirement, I'd sure be looking for another job. This one is making me sick. I used to love going to work. Now, don't get me wrong--I still love most parts of my job, just not my boss.

And I'm STILL asking why they can't paint lines on the streets that can be seen when it rains?

My partner got turned down again for Social Security Disability. It's back to the lawyer now. How great is that? Twisted system.

I can't think of anything else at the moment. I have to go pick my youngest up from his job soon. he's paying for his part of the Las Vegas trip for Kendo. He's learning a good lesson. it's killing me though.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My letter to city council and county commission



Dear City Council/County Commission, (names and references changed where appropriate to each governing body)


It’s my understanding that
the Mayor is going to ask for a city property tax increase. I am asking you to vote no on this
proposal.





This madness must stop. Since 2004, my property taxes have
doubled. I cannot absorb another
increase especially when I know there are places that city spending can be
cut.





As elected officials, you are
required to make tough decisions and this is one of the toughest. It’s time to examine city services and
determine what essential services the city is required to provide. I believe the city government can and must be
leaner.





How long can you expect the
few citizens left in this city to shoulder this increasing burden before
breaking? For me, I can tell you, not
much longer. Another increase coupled
with a county tax increase and the proposed privilege tax will force me to sell
my house and move out of the county. As
paltry as my little $2100 in property taxes may seem in the grand scheme of
things, it is still $2100 that will go away.
How many more of those $2100 can you afford to lose? I’d say, not many but that’s what will begin
to happen.





We have an out of touch Mayor
and a seemingly out of touch City Council.
I’m asking that you step up to the plate and do what may difficult but
necessary. Say no to a new tax increase.





Respectfully,





&&&&&&&&&&&&



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Squirrel Battle

Apparently, squirrels and I are destined to fight for the rest of our lives. I've been hearing one in the ceiling over our mudroom. My oldest actually caught the critter coming out from under the eave. I'm not sure who scared who the most....the oldest or the squirrel. The oldest said he scared the squirrel so much that the squirrel jumped right into the wall and fell dazed to the ground. My oldest said he nearly wet his pants. You figure out who scared whom the most.

I find some wood in the garage and put it up as a facia board to block the opening. Problem is that it's not quite wide enough and of course, because this is an older house, the eave isn't straight across so there are some dips and curves. I decide to use the expanding foam to cover those holes. I figure the squirrel won't chew through it.

Holy cow, I was wrong. My SO went outside and there the squirrel was, taking bites out of that foam and spitting it on the ground. She hissed at it and the squirrel scurried up on the roof then hurled squirrel profanity down at her. So there's my partner standing ankle deep in the expanding foam "popcorn" that the squirrel has seen fit to spit on the ground and there is the squirrel now pressed flat on a tree limb above the driveway shooting the evil eye down at my partner.

There's something wrong with this house.

It now has a strip of metal flashing across the eave. Let's hope I didn't trap the squirrel in. Or isolate babies. That would really fuck my karma up.

Oh....

For all practical purposes, we've finished the sunroom. We put up the last piece of crown moulding this weekend. Final coats of paint and moved the furniture in. Whew. All that's left are the curtains and a new futon cover. Took longer than we thought but it's been worth it. Another successful make-over.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Elephant Painting

Tell me this isn't a display of intelligence and self-awareness. And we're killing them at an alarming rate. I wonder who the civilized one is now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Civil Rights progress

There's an interesting thread over at another forum in which I'm an active participant. There was a news story about a high school student who shot another student because he wore a dress and make-up to school. One poster there believes that the cross-dressing student brought his murder upon himself because of what he wore. It's created good conversation.

The comment was also made that the sanitation strike was 40 years ago and that we've only made it this far in race relations. I believe we've made enough progress that most people are upset over this type of
behavior. Yes, there are a few Neanderthal out there who believe that
what we wear justifies us getting the crap beaten out of us or worse,
killed.

That we have many on that board who have effectively
shouted down those who believe the above statement tells me that we
have made progress. Yes, we have a long way to go but we're slowly
getting there.

I had a school/teammate in Jr. High that killed
herself because she couldn't accept her sexuality. She heard the talk
in the hallways. True enough, they weren't directed at her. Very few
knew her secret. I was one of them. But the talk about "queers" was
enough to affect her.

I have always maintained that those who
holler the loudest about "queers" are struggling with their own
sexuality. If you're secure in who YOU are then what difference does
it make what someone else is or does or says or wears?

We're
getting there. But we--the gays and lesbians--have to take some
responsibility for our own progress. We have to come out. We have to
show our friends and co-workers and co-forum posters that we really are
pretty normal people and that the extremes (who seem to make the news
in disproportionate numbers) are not the norm. I am. My friends are.
We are Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers (and those numbers would startle
you), politicians, mothers and fathers. Our contributions to society
throughout history are enormous but they aren't being talked about.
Not like they should. Our contributions today aren't being talked
about because "gay" and "lesbian" still makes people uncomfortable.

We
have the same concerns that everyone else does. I worry about paying
for my kids' college if they go. I worry about making the mortgage
every month, paying my utility bill and gas bill while having enough
left over to buy groceries. I worry about having enough money for
retirement and taking care of my life partner. I worry about making
sure I have the right paperwork with me if I have to take my youngest
to the hospital just so I can make medical decisions for him. Do the
hets have to worry about that? I worry about having the right
paperwork so that I can make medical decisions for my partner of 20
years. Do married couples have to worry about that? I worry about
having the right paperwork so that if something happens to me, custody
of my oldest will go to my partner and if something happens to my
partner custody of my youngest will go to me. As current law stands,
the in-laws have more right to the children than we do. Do married
couples have to worry about that? If my partner survives me, she will
not get my pension. That doesn't happen with married couples. What
married couples take for granted, we have to plan for. There were 5
sets of legal papers we had to sign when we decided to have children.
I'd bet that most married couples don't have to go through that.

So,
even with all of that, I still say we're making some progress. We
still have a long way to go. One day, we will be a none issue.
Probably not in my lifetime but hopefully in my children's. At least the conversation is occurring.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Don't mess with my child

There's a new coffee shop that's opened right down the street. Cafe Eclectic. I've been there once and had really high hopes for it but now, I'm not so sure. My oldest was encouraged to apply for a job there. He did. He was told by one owner/manager/head cook/head-whatever to come back that next Saturday for training. He got up at 6:00AM so he could be ready and there by 7:00AM. He shows up and someone there--a different head something or other--told him, sorry--this is for people with more experience. We'll work the others in later.

He was disappointed. As an HR Professional for 18 years, I was embarrassed for the management group. How utterly unprofessional. As a mother, I was furious and embarrassed for my 15 year old.

Just so happens, we know the person with the money behind this operation. It's someone that my oldest has volunteered with on MANY occasions. Someone who has seen first hand how hard he works and how dependable he is. She's very unhappy that he's been treated this way. As a mother, I smile. As an HR professional, I want to grind my teeth.

He receives a phone call and is told to report on a Saturday. He does. He works for almost 8 hours.

He has YET to receive another phone call or to be put on the schedule. As a mother, I'm furious because I happen to know that they've hired another teenager close to my oldest's age who is a liar and a thief. I know this from first hand experience. The cafe does not. Well, not yet, anyway.

As a mother, I'm furious and want to scream at them.

As an HR professional, I'm furious and want to scream at them. If they aren't going to put him back on the schedule, fine, but have the common decency and respect to tell him that so that he can make other plans. Even if it's just a letter. Christ on a stick with cheese people, just because he's 15 doesn't mean he isn't deserving of respect. Perhaps if we treated our teenagers with more respect, they'd be more likely to show it.

As a mother, I want to call them and tell them that when stuff starts disappearing I can tell you who is probably responsible.

As a mother, I know better and know that this isn't my fight.

Still, it sets my teeth on edge or several different levels.

I don't think I can support them. I haven' been back except for that one Saturday morning.

Dammit. And it's so close to home.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On another note.....

How about that FREAK we call a city mayor?? Can someone PLEASE put him out of our misery? His arrogance is clinical and he needs treatment. I'm still holding out that the Feds are headed his way. Word is that they've questioned his son. I don't know about any of you but I haven't heard the fat lady sing just yet.

How is it that we have a mayor who a majority of the voters did NOT vote for? Something's wrong with that. I'm thinking that the charter needs to change how the mayor is elected. It shouldn't be a free-for-all or simple majority. There should be a primary and a runoff. The dynamics of the city and the racial make-up of the city has changed. The old rule isn't necessary. How do we change it?

And he ran, why?? To save us? Save us from what? That big bully Herman Morris or that bigger bully Carol Chumney? Please. Take your lanky, crazy, egomaniacal black ass home. I'm tired of hearing the puss that oozes from your mouth.

A piece of advice....

Never--EVER--put a hot screw in your shorts pocket. I learned that little lesson today after trying to hang the new ceiling fan in the sunroom.

No...I'm not finished with that little remodel. Yesterday, I climb up on the ladder and begin trying to hang the ceiling fan from the existing electrical box. Everytime we do a remodel in this house we discover just how crappy the former remodelers were. Who hangs an electrical box that is going to support a fan with FINE THREAD SHEETROCK SCREWS??? Not only that but they had barely hit the joist that's up there. How that old fan had not fallen is a mystery and miracle to me.

I took the old screws out including one that was partially screwed in with the head stripped out. That's when I discovered that a hot screw will burn through your shorts pocket. I also learned that one must not move very quickly on a 6' ladder. I'm sure the dirty handprint on the freshly painted ceiling can be touched up with new ceiling paint.

I persevered though. I got that new fan hung securely. I had to drill holes in the box so that the screws would hit the joist in the middle. I could hang from that fan if I wanted to. Some would call me stubborn. I prefer determined. This room will NOT get the best of me.

My oldest and I moved the saltwater tank Sunday. I can now finish laying the tile. Oh, guess what about the tile. It's not uniform in it's size. Some of the tiles are 1/16th" larger than others. Do you know what havoc that plays with laying a tile floor? Grout lines are not uniform. Drives me crazy.

Anyway, the oldest and I moved that tank. I had to tear it completely down and even mostly empty that tank weighs 100 or so pounds. It's in its new home and level.

The remodel is winding down. I have part of a wall to paint, crown moulding to put up, baseboard to put up and tile to grout. Then we'll be finished with it and on to the next project.

I'm tired but determined.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Good lord, I'm tired.

As you may or may not know, the family is working on remodeling the sun room. We've had to deal with water damage, mold and cranky building materials not to mention cranky family members. Attaching panels of bead board on the ceiling was a monsterous task even with an air compressor and framing nailer. I had to keep adjusting the pressure so that I didn't keep shooting the nail straight through the material.

My arms and shoulders will never be the same. Those framing nailers are heavy and working one over your head while on a ladder and leaning is no small task. Neither is yelling at your children to hold the broom handle steady while they prop up the ceiling panel. It was a video worth of AFV. The nice thing is that it's all up except for one short strip, which we held off on so that we could have one more rain to see if we really did fix the leak. If we did, then we should be able to finish the ceiling and begin painting this weekend.

Why is this important or blog worth? I dunno. Except to say that patience and perseverance are important attributes to have throughout your life. It's worth teaching your children regardless of how hard a lesson it is to learn.

One of the next major jobs is to move the 75 gallon salt water tank we have in there. Gawd. I need a fork lift. We can't move the tank until we lay the tile in the area we want to put the tank. Engineering and planning. It's everywhere.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lester Street

Sweet Jesus, I agree with everything that another blogger has said in his post about Lester Street.. He's absolutely right. For a moment, we must forget the messenger and focus on the message. It IS time for this community to come together and develop a solution to this problem. Open an honest and respectful dialog that leaves the tinges of racism out of it and focuses on humanism.

If we don't get a handle on the crime problem then we won't attract new businesses to the area which means no new jobs and that just feeds the sense of helplessness of some members of this community. We must also get a grip on the education system. A new business can't or won't hire an employee that can't read or write. We must move away from the idea that an education is a right. It's not. It's a privilege. Those who really want to learn shouldn't be burdened with those who don't. Get the troublemakers out of the classroom and out of the school building. Develop alternatives which may include some sort of social service and have them fulfill that service and another country. Let them see just how sweet they have it here. Let them see what those in Africa or South America go through to get an education. Let them carry their daily ration of water 5 miles to their hut for a year or more then bring them home. I'd bet we'd see a difference. Give those who want to learn a safe and inviting place to do it.

If we don't get a handle on children having children then we will continue to increase a generation who doesn't know what it's like to be raised by parents who understand what it means to be a parent. This will require comprehensive sex education and access to good birth control. We've learned that not talking about how one gets pregnant does NOT prevent one from getting pregnant nor does teaching one how that happen increase sexual activity. This is no time to be a prude or embarrassed. A 16 year old knows NOTHING about how to raise a child and we see the effects of children having children every day. It must stop.

The solutions will call for strong talk, strong action and some hard work on the part of this community. We must get angry but not at each other. Get angry at the problem and channel that anger into positive action.

We can clean this up but not if we continue to call each other names and finger-point.

There is a quote from a movie that has stuck with me ever since I heard it. "All I know is that the choices we make dictate the lives we live." It's time to take our choices seriously and to hold those responsible who make bad choices. This city MUST come together and push from the same side so that we can turn this Titanic around. We can't do that if we're pushing against each other.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Toldja

I finished the porch and stair railing today. Both boys helped. I stared at 8:30 this morning and finished at 4:30 this afternoon.

It's all about the right tools. Kinda like life. I had to rent a hammer drill which made short order of drilling into the brick. What took so long was the tediousness of finding the right angles for the handrails and the right length and angle for all of the spindles that we put in by hand down each handrail. I couldn't gut them en masse because the heights weren't the same. I'm not sure how that happened because I measured but that's beside the point.

It's done.

Another job tackled and tamed.

And what did my boys learn today? Use the right tool to get the job done correctly. That goes for Math, English, History and Science. It just goes for life which is what I'm trying to teach them. Go out into the world unprepared and you'll get your ass kicked. The oldest got his kicked today. He couldn't hang until the end and had to send the youngest in to cover for him. I can still work circles around them. Life is GOOD.

The sunroom is next if it doesn't leak during this next rain. Keep your fingers crossed.

Now, where's the tylenol?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Home Improvement

OK, so I sold the MG. It now appears that I have replaced one addiction with another. Home improvement. It never ends. It's this insidious evil all encompassing gnome that has somehow taken over. A little over a week ago it was the roof. We're still waiting on it to rain so we can see if we've plugged the leaks. This weekend it's the railings on the front porch.

We go to Lowe's and spend 2 hours picking out the material. I come home and spend an hour just measuring and cutting one post and one rail. Know why?


BECAUSE NOTHING IN MIDTOWN IS SQUARE!!


I'm talking about the angles on my front porch. We can talk about the people later. Anyway, I'm trying to mount the brackets that will hold the railing to the brick pillars and can't get a hole drilled into the brick. I was able to drill into the concrete on the porch but not the bricks. I'm going to have to rent a hammer drill tomorrow. So, not to be thwarted, I decide to dig the holes and set the posts for the end of the stair railings. Dig dig dig 18" into the ground and a 2" root/limb later I have a hole. I put the post in it and fill the effer twice with dirt, tamp, dirt, tamp and still can't get it tight. Tomorrow when I rent that hammer drill I'm going to have to get some concrete.

I went ahead and cut the railing for the other side of the porch. I suppose I could have cut the railings going down the steps but made the mistake of sitting down and drinking a glass of water. And then tried to stand up.

Gawd. I really must stop doing this to myself. My legs were calling me all kinds of names and none of them nice. My back was standing behind my legs going, "Yeah, what they said!"

I won't let this break me though. I'll tilt with this windmill and win only because I'm just stubborn enough. According to my doctor I'm a short fat middle-aged chick who needs to start paying attention to my health. No sugar. No white flour. No potatoes or rice. Notice she didn't mention no physical labor. At no time did she tell me not to do these confounded home improvement projects.

Sadist. Or am I the masochist? I'm not sure. Maybe I'm just in a state of denial about my physical abilities at this stage in my life. Doesn't matter. I'm still going to finish that porch railing tomorrow. I may have to call the paramedics Monday but that's ok. They can come over and admire my new railing as they're hauling my fat tired ass to the ER.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Roofing

My GOD, I'm not 23 anymore. Our sunroom roof has been leaking apparently since we first put it on 2 years ago. I listened to a bunch of men tell me that there was enough pitch to put shingles on when I knew good and darn well there wasn't. Being as I'm broke I decided to do the job myself. Wm and I crawled up there Sunday and did the tear-off. I took Tuesday off to put it back on before the weather moves in on Wednesday and let my just give a HUGE thank you to my friends who came over and helped me. I couldn't have done this without her or my two sons.

Let me tell you something. I'm already sore as crap. I was sore Monday so what made me think I could get up there and do the hardest part today without getting sore all over again? Stupidity, that's what. Over confidence in my own abilities. Ego?

My legs are eaten up from moving around on the gritty roofing material. My hands are eaten up. I was COVERED in tar. That stuff is insidious. Once it got on my body I SWEAR it multiplied on its own. The nails stuck to my hands. My hands stuck to the trowel. I couldn't have slide off that roof if my life depended on it because all I would have had to do was put my hands down and I'd would have stuck to the roof. I had it on my ass, legs, hands, arms and somehow on the back of my neck.

But....we did it. We replaced 200 sq ft of rolled roofing. We cut and fit it like pros. The test will come Wednesday and Thursday when it rains. It sure feels good though. It feels good to know that I can still take these projects on. That I can do these things for myself. That I'm still capable. At 48, I might be a little slower but I can still do it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sick on the weekend

Just a word of advice. Don't get sick on the weekend or at least don't wait until the weekend to try and get anything diagnosed.

This started Wednesday night. Stomach pains. I figured it was something that would go away all by itself so I didn't pay it much attention. Thursday, about 9:30AM, while at work, I doubled over. I knew then that it wasn't something that was just going to go away. I had to leave work. I went home and went to sleep thinking that if I could just have a good poop I'd feel better.

That didn't work either. So, I get up Friday morning and start looking for a GP because up until this point I really didn't need one. I never got really sick. A cold here and there. Sometimes a respiratory thing but nothing that really needed a dedicated GP. Until Friday. And I was stuck. I called two and there were either not in the office or booked.

So, I head off to the minor med. First I go to Baptist. Our new insurance doesn't cover Baptist so my next choice is either Methodist minor at Hacks Cross and Winchester or Germantown Pkwy and Club Pkwy. I opt for the closest which is Gtown. I drive there without packing a lunch and guess what? CLOSED FOR REMODELING. I climb back in the truck and head off to Hacks Cross and Winchester via Poplar and Fayette County. I had no idea Poplar and Hacks Cross didn't intersect. Anywhere in the state. I know where Piperton is now.

And so, I finally get to Methodist minor med only to wait 2 hours and finally be told that they can't definitively diagnose my fault gall bladder without an ultrasound. They don't have a machine. I could either go to the ER or try and find a GP that would take me. I call the one family physician's group that I've been to. Luckily, they can take me Saturday morning at 8.

Great.

I get there and quess where it is? Just one block from where I'd been Friday morning. Winchester just a block down from the Methodist minor med. And guess what else?? THEY DON'T HAVE AN ULTRASOUND EITHER!! Holy crap. So now, my choice is hold out until they can schedule me one on Monday or go to the ER.

I should have gone to the ER in the beginning but now, I'm trying to follow the rules. Be a good doobie. And what does it get me? A weekend of pain, some nausea and the inability to get a good night's sleep.

I'm cranky. I have a gallbladder that feels like someone is trying to ring itself out. They put me on the bland diet. Rice, toast, tea, bananas. Like a good doobie I eat it and I still feel like shit. So you know what? If it doesn't matter what I eat, and according to my gut it doesn't matter, then I want a great big goddamned hamburger. Stomach pains be damned.

Lortab works.

And my youngest doesn't understand why I don't feel like driving him all over town. I feel more like running him over several times with the truck.

I'm going to go lay down and later I'm going to have the cheeseburger. Gallbladder my ass. Ultrasound my ass.

And one wonders why healthcare has skyrocketed. There is no such thing as one stop shopping anymore. OH OH OH....and after the ultrasound my GP will have to refer me to a surgeon so there ONE MORE BLOODY VISIT TO THE BLOODY DOCTOR.

I'm hungry and everything I eat hurts. I'm cranky.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Storms

Whew...what an afternoon and evening. Midtown was spared the brunt of the damage. I feel for those in Hickory Hill....well not the freaks that looted the destroyed Sears store.

But now I have something I want all of you to ponder. It's about 5:30, I'm on the elliptical, it's raining and lightening something fierce outside and then I hear this loud, odd noise outside. We can't figure out what it is then it dawns on me--

MY NEIGHBOR IS OUTSIDE USING POWER TOOLS!!!

WTF?? Why don't we just grab a metal rod and go stand in the street?? He could have done us all a favor and take himself out of the gene pool. Some things never cease to amaze me. Like looters who come out right after a disaster.

I wonder if he finished the bookcase he was working on.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My youngest

Holy jeez, I had a go-'round with my youngest last night. He decided it was a good idea to take on some attitude with me when I told him to do something. Bad idea. But let me tell you what I learned from that.

PARENTHOOD AIN'T FOR WIMPS

We have to be smarter, faster, quicker, stronger and have more stamina so that we can stay at least one step ahead of them. By the time it was over--and I won, by the way--I was exhausted but I never let him see any signs of weakness and showed no fear. After he left it was a different matter. And then I started thinking about how grateful I am that I'm not a single parent. My hat is off to you. I don't see how you do it and am beginning to see how a single parent can just give up. It's exhausting. And it's the child that ends up suffering. I firmly believe that all children want boundaries and will push until they find them even if it means they test the law. Nobody wants chaos. I think the human nature tends towards order and so do children. It's why you see natural leaders float to the top. I remember in school when the teacher would have to step and not put someone in charge you would still see someone in the classroom tend to rise up and bring order. Happens over and over. You see it in playgroups and groups of friends. There is one that tends to become the leader. I believe it's because we need that order, those boundaries. Kids push and we have to be strong enough and brave enough to push back.

He did.

I did.

But damn...when one decides to push it can often feel like an elephant trying to find a place to sit down. This won't be the last time either. Swell.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

UGH....home repairs.

You know we've been doing some work on the house. If you own a home in Midtown then you know that it never ends. Yesterday, I went up on the roof to try and find out why the sunroom keeps leaking. I'm beginning to think that the pitch on that part of the roof isn't high enough. I'm not looking forward to that tear-off and rebuild though. It's not that it's much to tear off it's just that we did it 2 summers ago.

Then, I went around to the back and was looking at where the paint is peeling down around the foundation. And I discovered ROT. ROT DAMMIT. ROT. Now, I have to have some folks come take a look and give me an estimate on what it will cost to replace. I can do a lot of my own work but there are some things that are just out of my knowledge zone. Foundation construction is one of them.

The next big question is how are we going to pay for it. I have no idea. I'm praying to all the gods I know to provide. They will. They always have in the past. When we least expected it, some little windfall would appear. It will this time. It's just that this windfall isn't so little and it feels daunting and overwhelming. It may mean that we postpone the overhaul of the sunroom and the install of the second bathroom.

Overwhelming I tell you. If any of you have any suggestions as to how to fix this I could sure use them. I'll even post pictures if I need to.