30 June 2007

I've a home improvement weekend in mind.

I have so many items on the list-finish painting the bathroom, paint the kitchen cabinets, finish unpacking, get the washer and dryer going, shorten the mini-blinds, hang curtains, clean out the fabulous chest of drawers I found and got home two weekends ago so that I can FINALLY, after too, too many years to count have my clothing neatly folded and put away in a dresser instead of on a shelf, continue working on the gardens-front and back; whoa, I'm tired just making the list-I have to do the weekly 'investment' cooking so that when I crawl in from work during the week the most strenuous thing I have to do is nuke a plate, firehose the house; yikes, I should get started! But where??

Thirty years ago I was working at a photo-finishing company in San Francisco. I worked at the flagship store and had several co-workers.

One morning we arrived to find an overwhelming list of tasks all urgently needing to be done before our leaving for the day; one of my co-workers suggested we stand still for a moment, take a deep cleansing breathe, then whatever task our eyes fell on first was the task to perform.

By following her excellent advice we were able to accomplish a tremendous lot of work.

Some of my age contemporary co-workers learned a quite valuable lesson that day-old people know stuff.

The co-worker was in her sixties and was working because she needed the money to supplement her meager SS. My contemporaries thought she was an unpleasant old hag who wouldn't mind her own business and worked at finding extra, silly work for us to do.

They liked to grumble that she wasn't our boss, who did she think she was to tell us what to do under the so-called good work ethic bit she adhered to?

Who cares, we could always get another job when our stupid boss let us go for some stupid reason like lack of punctuality, arriving for work properly dressed, or demonstrating a willingness to go the extra mile...

Somethings never ever change-some of those pinheads didn't get it.

I remember sitting in senior econ class looking at my particularly obtuse classmates thinking-"Oh sh__, these idiots will rule the world one day. God, help us!"

It was a no-brainer then, and it is a no-brainer now.

Old people know stuff.

So, I bid you adieu, dear and gentle reader, and go to take a close eyed deep and cleansing breathe...

28 June 2007

Happy Anniversary...

Retrieved from: MSNBC.com on 6/27/07

Heart may react to tragic anniversaries

Doctors report evidence that unconscious mind keeps track of time

Updated: 2:13 p.m. ET June 27, 2007

WASHINGTON - A woman whose defibrillator activated one week to the hour after her father died, and recorded the event, may provide the first documented evidence of “anniversary reaction,” doctors reported.

The defibrillator acted as a pacemaker, perhaps saving the 50-year-old woman’s life. Its function of keeping a precise record of when it was activated made it possible to establish the precise time of the event, the doctors reported.

In a dramatic extra twist to the story, the patient was standing by the open grave of her sister-in-law, who had herself died when she heard the news of the father’s death.

Dr. Michael Sweeney of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and Dr. Michael Quill of the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York reported on the occurrence in the journal HeartRhythm.

“We have all, almost to the point of being urban legend, heard stories of people literally dropping dead upon receipt of tragic news ... or a widower dying on the anniversary of his deceased spouse’s (death),” Sweeney said in a telephone interview.

No one could really prove it, but the case of the woman, who had had the defibrillator implanted after an earlier heart attack, may provide good evidence, he said.

Sweeney said he learned of the story when the woman came into his office for a routine checkup. He noticed that the defibrillator — a device that sits quietly in a patient’s body until an abnormal heart rhythm activates it — had provided a mild shock to her heart five months after it was implanted.

“My patient ... had an event which, had she not had a defibrillator, she would have fallen into the grave,” Sweeney said.

She was also not aware that the defibrillator had fired, as it gave her heart just a gentle pulse and not an overwhelming shock. Because it fired at almost the precise hour of her father’s death, but one week later, Sweeney and Quill believe it was this shock, and not the funeral of the sister-in-law, that precipitated the abnormal heart rhythm.

“The concept of anniversary reaction is that it is a response to the unconscious sense of time. Just because you aren’t thinking that it is exactly seven days later ... a part of your mind ... is thinking that,” Sweeney said.

The event also suggests a possible biological cause for “anniversary reaction” — a change in the heart’s beating pattern, Sweeney said.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19460290/
MSN Privacy . Legal© 2007 MSNBC.com

So, I get in the car after a particularly grueling day at work. I hit the CD, because I didn't feel up the chance that a song would trigger my own personal flood.

Rod Stewart's voice filled the cabin-

"Smile, though your heart is breaking..."

27 June 2007

Happy Anniversary, my heart, my soul, my everything, wherever you are. Did you have to believe his lies? Did Fox?

18 years, 19 years, 20...

This year, 26.

I go back and forth. One year I am so broken I can't leave the house, other years I have no choice, I have to go to work, I have to attend to the daily struggle-those years I hate Crusty so much I long for a mere three minutes alone in a room with him and I contemplate the damage I could do in three short minutes to him if I had a nice Little Slugger in my hands.

26 years-he stole the years, the hope, the chances...

Some years I actually make it through the day and don't even think about it until something triggers a wave of grief so strong I think I will fall through the floor instead of only to it. But it is private, and no-one sees, no-one knows.

Thanks to Crusty, no-one cares. He set me up for this. What a swell guy.

Tomorrow I will go to work, I will do my job, I will probably work late as usual.

Tomorrow I will try not to think about the ruins of life that I stagger through.

No-one will know and no-one will see.

26 years.

Happy anniversary.

24 June 2007

I blog to vent, I blog to keep people up to date; I blog to explore.

Yesterday I spent the day catching up the Internet. I checked in on the Tiny House Movement most of the day, learning all sorts of things about the movement that scorns the MacMansion (but not the price, whoa! Some of those tiny houses have some majour prices! I mean, how can 350 sq ft cost close to a hundred grand, American???) by taking 'downsized' to new and amazing extremes.

That said, in complete sticker shock, I promise you, I got some great ideas. The best one is to see if I can buy the current tin shack, tear out the wall coverings, re-insulate with real insulation, and completely re-wire the whole house so that I can wash clothes and run the air conditioner at the same time, or bake in the oven, or whatever, and if you don't get it, I am glad for you that you've never lived in an inadequately wired shelter.

Who has the kind of money required to purchase the Anti-MacMansion? Not I. So I must make do.

And I'd better get on it, because winter will come, and I for sure do not want another three hundred dollar electric bill!

But first I think I should get the place levelled.

Yup, that's right, the damn thing sits slightly tilted to the back left, and as I sit here typing, I am slowly rolling southwest.


Adventures in being downsized.

Ten years ago I was sitting in a little completely remodeled trailer, snug-maybe slightly too snug-and paid for. I was a homemaker, although married to a through and through rotter, and a 24/7 mom. Most of my time ten years ago was spent cooking, cleaning, sewing, and trying to figure out how to keep Fox from killing himself, accidently or on purpose.

We had money in the bank, and food in the pantry, freezer, on the table. We paid all of our bills in cash, the credit cards carried no balances, and we went to some pretty cood places inspite of Crusty.

But Crusty wanted a mortgage, he wanted a 'working' wife, and he damn sure didn't want a family-which I knew back in '81 and told him-"Hey Mike, you and I want different things from life, I think you are getting too serious..." At which point he put a .41 mag to all of our heads, and well, it took 18 years to be able to get away.

I Googled him a couple of nights ago and was nauseated to see he'd also been in the 'cane. The difference is that he's taken the divorce as a chance to buy some place down in Central Florida, which the 'cane took out and garnered him a $90,400.00 drain on the American tax-payer by way of a federal interest free loan.

That sorry bastard. Fox and I went hungry, homeless, had no medical care while he was buying into a coming disaster zone!

It completely pisses me off to think that the ambulatory fecal matter went down to the worst place in America, a place I'd got us out of to avoid being there when the big one hit, bought himself some crumbling piece of rotting Florida landscape and then when the inevitable happened, got that loan.

I hate that my tax dollars are being wasted on a piece of sewage like him! I utterly despise people who deliberately choose to place themselves in danger expecting the government to bail them out.

I have nothing but contempt for the breed-'rich' people who are mortgaged to the hilt, leveraged to the max, and expect you and me to rebuild their wanna-be marble palaces that slid off cliffs-Malibu, go up in flames-also Malibu; are washed away in yearly floods-OK, also Malibu, but also the Gulf coast, any dry river bed, any ocean cliff...Sorry, but how hard is it to figure out Florida and the rest of the hurricane/tornado zones are perhaps a nice place to visit but only the idiot or incredibly selfish actually move there with the expectation of a US government bail-out.

Is it not a no-brainer that if you insist on building some architechtural nightmare, you should have the burden of replacing it on your own nickle when the inevitable happens?

Oh, please! How complete is the sense of entitlement that it takes to be the very incarnate vampire?!

I mean, DUHHHH!

And F___ you if you think I am going to smile and throw MY money at your willfull ignorance!

Not even when Hell freezes over will I think it is ok for anyone to think I should support their stupidity habit!

Meanwhile, I'm sitting hoping to scrap up the money to insulate my walls, one room at a time.

23 June 2007

Another day. I should eat but I can't muster the energy required.

I got a sort of promotion at work, transferred to another department-I spend my day on/in spreadsheets. I've gone a little spreadsheet nuts.

I'm tired, I think I might be hungry, and I know there is nothing on TV.

Go figure. I finally can afford cable, and there is nothing on.


20 June 2007

I'm doing laundry-a long and involved process however it doesn't include filling the kitchen sink and plunging my hands and wrists into a sink full of soapy water.

I am, my friends and gentle readers, the profoundly grateful and fairly proud owner of a Wonder Washer!

Finances being typically tight through the holidays, I celebrated another year of survival by going online with the boss' permission to purchase a Wonder Washer and a Mini-Spin Dryer from thelaundryalternative.com. I waited and waited and finally, a week later, the boxes arrived on a Friday afternoon.

I took delivery at work-I work at a pretty good place-and hurried home. I spent the weekend catching up on things like having more than two pair of clean socks at one time. Truly, the first load I put through the Wonder Washer was every sock I owned.

By Sunday afternoon I had laundry strung all over the house; I'd used two packs of cup hooks and a package of cotton clothesline from the Dollar General improvising clotheslines across the alcove in the hallway for a one unit washer/dryer. The next weekend I ran a 'poor-man's clothesline' between two oak trees in the yard...

Monday I had clean clothes-NO MORE LAUNDROMAT!! Finally, I'd wasted my last quarter in commercial washer the owner had cut off the hot water line to!

OK, I am hoping to be able to find a good used washer at the local Goodwill, where last payday I was able to find a really nice CLEAN sofa and chair-the first I've had since leaving Alabama.

The Wonder Washer is a good friend, and good exercize, too-all I do is pour in a teaspoon of laundry soap, some OxyClean, three gallons of HOT water, and then the clothes; screw down the lid good and tight-trust me, tight is good because if it isn't the lid flies off when the crank is employed, and hot soapy water goes EVERYWHERE...Then crank the handle for a full five minutes to get the clothes clean. The steps are repeated several times with clear water to rinse the soap out.

It's a work-out. Crank, crank, crank; drain, drain, drain (the unit comes with a drain pipe to be inserted with a push and twist to drain by gravity feed into the sink); fill (fill, fill-I use a half gallon pitcher), then crank, crank,...

And OK, the unit is about the size of a propane tank for a BBQ, so I can get a few blouses and skirts, or a couple pair of jeans, or one bath towel at one time. It takes all day Saturday to get enough clothing and household linens cleaned to get through most of the next week.

But it really does beat the alternative of literally handwashing clothing, because I refuse to go to the laundromat ever-ever again.

The mini-spin dryer will spin the water out of one pair of jeans at a time, with it the jeans actually dry overnight!

And I truly cannot tell you how I am looking forward to the luxury of having an automatic washing machine again.

One of my neighbours lent me the use of his washer and dryer this past Sunday. I was embarrassed, afraid he would see me near tears to be able to wash my quilt, bed linens, and some clothing in three easy hours.

I love some parts of the 20th and 21st centuries, electricity and the automatic washing machine rank quite high on the list.

16 June 2007

I'm back.

What a crazy past eight months. In case anyone cares and has been quietly checking in, I've been off-line for eight months. The phone jack died and I was waiting to move into the house that was being remodeled-"December 1st" They said, then the 1st of each month until finally on 1st May they said, "OK, move." I kept thinking I'd save the effort to be home when the phone company finally showed up to repair the fried phone jack by just having the new place wired fresh. But the move date was delayed over and again, and with everything going on, I just didn't care much...But the cable guy just left, and I am finally watching real TV again-oh Lord, why did I think I could be happy without CNN and TWC?? And the Internet.

Where do I start?

Where do I start? I keep asking myself that, I have for years, really.

Where do I start?

In the middle, I guess.

Gator died 8th Febuary 2007 at 2111 hours-one week to the day and minute of his stroke. A stroke, we later determined to have not been a stroke at all, but his body finally collapsing under the horror of tainted dog food.

I lost the dog who huddled with me eighteen hours in a storage facility apartment bathtub during Hurricane Ivan, the dog I didn't realize was after all really MY dog until the last week of his life, the dog who until his last hour of life kept trying to face the door and somehow managed to convince me that he was holding on until Fox FINALLY came through the door; I lost that gallant and wonderous dog to the contaminated pet food horror.

I kept telling myself that he died of old age; the vet and my neighbours were so great, telling me what a great dog mom I'd been because right up to that last day he was on his feet, Gator was a right handsome and happy dog.

I told myself that Time killed Gator-he was three months shy of 13 years old when he went down and Boxers generally don't live that long, but it wasn't Time after all. The little whisper I'd been hearing in my head the last week of his life became a roar on that day in March when I checked CNN online during my lunch hour-"It's the dog food."

My wonderful neighbours took turn hacking out a grave for Gator on the hillside behind the tin shack. The ground was frozen solid, and it took us three days to get a hole deep and wide enough for the remains of a 100+lb Boxer.

I had to find the macabre humour-the body, wrapped in a blue tarp left over from Ivan, hung over the site for three days at a weird angle. It gave the newest neighbours, who leased the house behind me the day before the dog died and who moved in the day after quite a start to see the blue tarp obviously wrapped around something person sized (that was a BIG dog) teetering over a partially dug hole, and several shovels standing about.

As the hole got bigger (thanks to the hour here and there each of the men in the neighbouring families contributed, including the new guy who lent a hand after ensuring the body was a dog and not a, you know, person-"It is a dog, right? Right?" is how one of my other neighbours likes to recount it when we get together to watch the fireflies every evening...), owing to the lay of the hilly area I live in, the body teetered more and more precariously, and we all agreed the morning we finally got the thing finished that was a blessing considering how damn tired we all were from employing pick-axes and shovels for so long because now we could sort of slide the body into its final resting place and save ourselves having to lift and lower.

And then he was buried, and I went inside after raking the entire back yard to make his grave yard look less harsh.

Where do I start?

He was the last living being who knew me from before up here in North Georgia, the before when I was a homemaker and trying to keep my family together; the before when I was trying to keep my son from self-destruction...No-one else here knows me.

When the little house the landlord was remodeling became the place I would be moving to upon its completion, Gator was still living and hale. I worried because he would have to negotiate two narrow stairs in and out of the house, but I knew it would be better all around, and he would gain from the mild exercize. He was going to have his own fenced yard again...finally, for the first time since 2001.

Of course he'd been dead for a few months when I finally moved. I really hated the tin shack, but I didn't want to leave the place in the end because Gator was still there in a way-his corner, his favorite begging spot, his ...

(I can see his grave from the new place. That helps, I guess. The new tenants of the tin shack are great, and respect his grave.)

But I was coming home to emptiness, truly, finally no reason for anything. When Gator passed, I lost the last member of my family. I started feeding the stray cats, and grimly laughed to myself that I would lose my sanity.

And then came Mozart.

The people who'd moved in during the burial of Gator moved out, leaving behind a young ginger cat they'd adopted from the local shelter.

And this ginger cat was determined to be the only cat feeding from the cat food I was putting out for the strays.

I left the front door open one warmish March afternoon and in he strolled, making himself at home.

I shoed him out at the end of the day when I closed the door. The next few weekends I let him in, leaving the door open. If any of the others tried to come in he quickly bowled them back out.

But the first weekend in April, after making sure the old owners really didn't want him, I didn't shoe him out. I closed the door and he looked at me, I looked at him, then he curled up on the footstool and never tried to get out.

He watched the PBS broadcast of 'The Magic Flute' with me that first two hours he was in the house with the door closed; because he seemed genuinely interested in the production, only losing interest when the PBS plea-for-funding interrupted the program, I named him Mozart. I mean, come on, what else could I call him? Puccini?

I had a bag of cat litter because I use it in the car ashtray; I went down to the Publix and got him some Kitten Chow, a feed bowl, a cat pan...some toys.

That is one spoiled cat.

Thank-God for Mozart.

Where do I start? Well, today by cleaning out the litter pan.