COPD Olympics

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I started this blog way back when to deal with the mind-altering reality I was faced with now that the COPD diagnosis was official, and I could no longer pretend to keep up with my work or home life needs.

Being able to rest when I needed, and learning to tackle household chores at my own pace has been quite a mental adjustment.

Under the “spoon” theory of not having enough energy to both take care of myself and take care of my general cleanliness responsibilities, daily tasks began to get reassigned.  Weekly tasks became every two weeks or monthly.  Monthly tasks became quarterly.  And so on and so on…  in order to ensure tasks which were important to me, I had to consider all indoor and outdoor responsibilities, and prioritize.  Yes, like the anal retentive control freak I am.

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Something as simple as washing my kitchen floor becomes an Olympic-level endurance event.

Rolling out of bed and skipping breakfast and my medications (because eating triggers instant tiredness, and I can’t eat and expect to get anything done), I get started.

10:00am – All the kitchen clutter needs to be moved out of the room, and the room needs to be swept.  Then, I need to sit down and rest.

11am, the bucket of water and scrubbie is ready.  I have sweatpants on to pad my knees (it’s been a lifetime since I was a good Catholic girl, but I know that the only way to properly clean is on my hands and knees), and I throw down a drop cloth for extra knee padding.  I wash the first part of the floor, hitting it with straight alcohol and peppermint essential oil (one of the few scents that doesn’t mess with my breathing), and wiping it down with paper towels.  Then a final warm water rinse with the scrubbie, and more paper towels to dry the floor as I go to keep the cat from tracking through the water and making a fresh mess.  I get a quarter of the floor done, then it’s time for another break and a rest.

While it normally takes me 3-4 days to complete a 10×15 kitchen floor, I’m under pressure to get it done as it will be impossible to do once the houseguest returns at some point over the weekend.

1:30pm, I’m exhausted, but I have got to get the floor done.  Take my blood sugar reading while drinking gallons of water from all the sweating I’m doing trying to get the floor done, and decide I need to have something to eat and my meds, so that the side effects from the Theo Dur EX capsules don’t keep me up all night from its stimulant, but especially since I had enough of that drama from the lovelorn jay that has built its nest by the streetlight and spent the last 3 nights serenading me,  ALL.  NIGHT.  LONG.

So, time for decent eating.  One teriyaki chicken sandwich on a potato bun, plus mayo, and more water and I’m done.  Nap time is inevitable at this point.

3:30pm, I’m up again.  Still exhausted, but the floor is calling me.   I set myself a goal, and I will get it done.  Gum drops and water for energy.  Forget about Diabetes; I need energy! Fresh gloves.  Fresh, hot, rinse water.  Position the knee pad drop cloth, and another quarter panel of the floor is done.

4:30pm, time to sit for a bit and rest.  Maybe a little Judge Judy.  About half the floor is done at this point.  I’m tired, but I have to find energy.  Protein for dinner is best.  Heat up some leftover fillet mignon, make a little pink sauce (mayo and ketchup – A1 will just make me cough…).

6:45pm, I reheat dinner and get that down, and immediate exhaustion sets in.  More water.  Add some Mike and Ikes fruit candy for a much needed sugar rush.

7:15pm, back at work doing another quarter of the floor.  My arthritis in my wrist and back is acting up, but since I’m in pain most days anyway, I suck it up in the hope that I’ll bull my way through this project in one day.

8:30pm, time for another rest.  Sweating like crazy.  Guzzling water like a crazed person crossing a desert.  Grateful that no one can see my drunken stupor-like exhaustion.  I. WILL. GET. THIS. DONE.

9:30pm, the final quarter and home stretch. I have a chocolate chip cookie dough shooter from the bakery, and the sugar rush fills my empty energy reserves.  At least for a little bit.  I’m finally done by 10:30pm – 12 hours after I started – and Herself, the supervisor, is “inspecting” my work to ensure it’s up to her standards, LOL.

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From my perspective with 26% lung capacity, something as simple as cleaning my kitchen floor becomes an Olympic event.  In order to reassure myself that the house is clean before the houseguest returns, it was a must do task.

Today, I gave up the “spoon” for personal grooming.

Today, I gave up the “spoon” for socializing.

Today, I gave up the “spoon” for watering the garden (and the tomatoes need the water on this permitted watering day), but cleaning the floor has a small window of opportunity, so it comes down to choices.

Instead, I used 90% of today’s spoons for cleaning one small portion of my house.  The last 10% is wasted on my bedtime routine for putting Herself to bed and securing the premises as I head to bed, too.  Indoor fish fed.  Outdoor water garden / fish pond checked (the fresh air after dark was just what I needed as I wandered into the back yard to ensure everything was operating as intended).

Yes, I checked into fb off and on today.  It’s easy to do if I’m too tired to leave my chair.  Ditto with gathering my thoughts and writing a blog or two.

But, as hot and sweaty as I am, my only goal right now is to head to bed.  No dishes done.  No shower.  Just go to bed and put everything I didn’t get done today – in terms of picking up the mess and emptying the trash – on the list to do tomorrow.

Sometimes, that’s the best you can do.

 

 

Pieces

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“We’re always trying to find someone whose broken pieces fit our broken pieces” – Bruce Springsteen

While I can’t say I’m looking for anybody, in terms of friends and getting along with others, we all have baggage about the pieces of ourselves that need work.

I like listening to music as I clean.  Today’s insight is care of that great philosopher, Bruce Springsteen.  I’m adoring his “Western Stars” film and soundtrack.  With the houseguest away, I can listen to all the music I like, endlessly on repeat, and it’s nobody’s business if I do.  I’m procrastinating on working on the electrical and finishing the kitchen fan replacement, which became a lot more involved than I hoped it would be by the introduction of a fancy light control switch…

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So, I stopped and watched more youtube videos, trying to shore up my lack of experience with demonstrations of others’ prowess and nonchalance in dealing with a material – electricity – that can kill you if you don’t do it right.

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So, procrastinating… I got the water garden fish pond enlarged and built.

I got the kitchen cleaned, the floor scrubbed, and paint touched up.  Anything to avoid finishing the electrical…

But, I tell you all that to tell you this:  my house is just me and the cat.  It’s been that way for two weeks.  Two peaceful weeks without dark clouds of unhappiness and dissatisfaction hanging over the house.

The houseguest continues with her vacation, and I’m reveling in the peace and quiet, which will probably end by Sunday (I say “probably” because she wouldn’t be courteous and give me a return date.  She thinks such questions are controlling).

It’s sad that one person can be such a downer.  No matter how much we try, no matter how much we hope, we cannot fix that other person.  We can’t even hobble along together, because their broken pieces don’t work with your broken pieces.  With the house to myself since June 28th, I’m reveling in doing what I want when I want without having to worry my cleaning and repair efforts will upset the houseguest.

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Nobody’s evil.

Nobody’s wrong.

You just can’t get along because it takes two people to build harmony and peace, and your broken pieces just won’t sync.

The houseguest is #21 on the subsidized housing waitlist for the elderly and disabled.  Getting to #1 can’t come soon enough.  I *CAN* endure until she’s out of my home. I’ll just be doing a whole lot less of maintenance, and a whole lot more of fishing.  Away from the house.  Away from the storm cloud that is my houseguest.

 

 

Yes, I’m a wimp

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I’ve recently joined a facebook book club.  Normally, I can’t / won’t read best sellers when they are newly released.  Yes, I can be contrary that way.

They recommended 2 out of 3 books that I adored, and one I detested (and returned via Audible’s new hate it / return it program).

However, I’m a huge fan of artists and their inspiration.  And, a variety of the members have recommended a book that they adored, “The Passion of Artemisia”.

Now, here’s the sticker.  In researching the storyline to see if I might enjoy it, I find out that this book is based on little known but recovered history involving one of the rare female artists renowned as much as Michelangelo  or Caravaggio.  Born in 1590 or 1593, Artemisia was the daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter.

But, this is where it gets crazy.

The apple of her father’s eye, Artemisia is trained in painting and is the first woman allowed to attend  art school, and to later become a member of the painter’s guild, Accademia di Arte Del Disegno in Florence, Italy.  However, at 17 (well past normal marriage age for that place and time), Artemisia catches the eye of her father’s quazi-business partner Agostino Tassi, who her father also hires to tutor Artemisia in his style of painting, and he rapes her.

There’s some rumors that Tassi and his friend / co-conspirator, Cosimo Quorli, was also involved.

Apparently, Tassi promised marriage so the sexual relations / rape go on for about 9 months, when Daddy Dearest suddenly realizes his daughter is no longer a virgin, that Tassi has zero intention of marrying Artemisia, thus besmirching the family honor.  So, Orazio presses charges of rape against both men.

During the 7 month trial, it came out that Tassi was planning to murder his wife, had engaged in adultery with his sister-in-law, and planned to rob the Gentileschi household of valuable artwork to claim as his own, etc., etc., etc.

All this drama sounds like a story that would fascinate, until… Wikipedia informs me that Artemisia had to give testimony in her rape trial while wearing thumbscrews, a torture device, to ensure she was telling the truth about her rape.

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No, it’s not enough that she is raped and has to put up with the predations of a married man as if SHE were the despised rapist.  She has to be tortured to ensure she’s telling the truth while giving testimony !

But, what made me really cringe was the fact that an ARTIST, a rare female artist, had her ability to make beautiful art also jeopardized by the use of thumbscrews on her precious and valuable hands.

I can’t even turn the cap on a water bottle with a wimpy paper cut, yet this artist can go on to create classical paintings after enduring thumbscrews !

Still haven’t decided if I’m going to try this particular book,

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or one or all of the other versions referenced, but if anyone knows anything about this artist and her stories, I’d love to hear what you thought about any of the versions of her story.

 

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Partings

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Way back in 2009, I was sent to work in on a project China.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the bonus I earned for the success of that particular project would mark the end of stable health for me.

I tell you all that, though, to tell you this.  No matter how much we may try, nobody’s getting off this earthly plane alive.  Regardless of how much we try.

And, we acquire a lot of detritus along the way.

With the cleaning bug upon most of us during the pandemic, we’re re-evaluating all the “stuff” we’ve accumulated, and either giving away, re-homing or selling those items that no longer serve a need.

My folding bike fell into that category.

When I was in China, I was coughing up a lot of blood and crud, and really struggling to breathe due to the heavy metals in the air and the toxic air quality.  Being VERY humid didn’t help my breathing birth defect, either.

Used to hiding my weaknesses, however, I never gave it a thought.  My blinders were on that my refusal to ask for accommodations – career-limiting restrictions on what I would not, could not or SHOULD NOT do for my employer – would lead me to an assignment that would weaken my quality of life, never occurred to me.  Not when there was adventure to be had !

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All I could think about was, “They want to pay for ME to go to China !  ME !!!”

I knew the air quality was bad, but no one wore face masks or otherwise indicated it was a problem, so I hid my breathing disability, accepted the assignment, and prepared to have my first truly foreign country “adventure”.  On the big fruit company’s nickel.  Without a penny in my pocket to cover any touristy expenses.  This was this was not “vacation”, with a planned budget, but “work”.  But, while there, I was determined to make the most of the opportunity.

Then, the out-of-pocket costs started to rise, and yet I still found a way to:

– buy a passport

– buy 4 outfits of culturally conservative and appropriate  suits

– buy educational materials on the language and customs

– figure out how to get by while not speaking Mandarin or Cantonese, never mind reading either language

– buy an iTouch, stuff it full of language translation photos to cheat if I got stuck communicating

Yes, I’m a control freak.  It’s just how I roll.  Plan for every worst-case scenario, and I’m ready to bounce back from whatever life throws at me.  You know, good Girl Scout training, LOL.

Then, the morning of my departure, August 27, 2009, I find out my brother has a brain tumor, has been rushed to the hospital, and there’s nothing I can do.  Financial Strike 1, as I know I’m going to have to find the finances for a quick weekend home as soon as the trip ends.

Next, while I’m at the airport, I get a call that my Auntie decided to have surgery – the surgery I asked her to delay for two simple weeks – just as I’m departing.  Financial Strike 2, as there are always complications when Auntie is involved.  I know I’m now going to have to hit FL on my flyby to or from MA, too.  The budget $$$ are leaving my pocket before we’ve even left the airport.

At any rate, I tell you all that to tell you this:
You Can Do It.

Whatever “it” is.

That’s part of what this folding bike represents to me.  Chaos.  Adventure.  Achievement.  Repercussions.  Aftermath.  Reward.

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I had 7 days in China, no budget, but a decent pair of sneakers to walk anywhere I chose when I wasn’t otherwise working.  I was but 2.2 kilometers from the Forbidden City and the Imperial Palace, and I certainly couldn’t sleep when my anxiety and adrenaline were running high, so off for a walk I went.

My feet and my bike have always represented freedom to me.  While exercise-induced asthma (before it evolved to COPD) always made movement a hassle when struggling to breathe, when the anxiety of being in a new place was riding me, and adrenaline added it’s two cents, nothing was going to keep me in that hotel room, no matter how nice, once work was done during daylight hours…

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So, I set off to explore the Hutong (residential and business districts outside the gates and gardens of the palace) areas leading to and from the Forbidden City.

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and the incredibly embellished interior areas, with every eave and crevice colorfully painted…


Walking in the toxic air was a big mistake for my ongoing quality of life, but worth every minute of blood and sweat as I explored on $0, tried to stay out of trouble, and find my way around an alien landscape where very little was in English to aid my explorations and comprehension.

So, when I show you a picture of a folding bike, and tell you it’s an evolutionary story of “partings”, you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you the bike represents so much more than simple transportation.

After coming back from China, heading over to Boston and then down to Venice, FL, to do what I needed to do, I finally headed home after a few hectic weeks.  Broker than broke, but all obligations and duties performed.

Once I got back from China, I found my stamina sucked.  I was taking breathing meds to try and keep up, and my general irritability and aggravation-quick-to-anger bitchiness was way out of control.  Seeking a way to try and rebuild my health, I bought the bike and tried to improve my health.  Instead of a lung capacity of 38%, I was barely managing 33%, with medications that increase my general feelings of anger and frustration.  So, that bike represents not quitting.  Hope.  Determination to be well and keep up.  To pass for normal.

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I still have my performance award in my curio cabinet (hidden in the back, on a lower shelf, as Yanks believe bragging is immodest, but I can’t part with that tangible achievement memento yet, either), but it didn’t matter as much as the cash bonus.  And, the cash bonus didn’t matter as much as the bike I purchased to signify my achievement.

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To finish the bike story, however, I also have to tell you this…  In 1996, I got an award for moving 300+ people from 5 leased buildings into a single new building designed to meet our needs.  Project done, on time and under budget.  Yes !

Awards for contact workers are generally unheard of, however, I got one and it means a lot to me 24 years later.  That award / cash bonus turned into a 60-disc CD player jukebox, and 24 years later I still can’t bring myself to part with that hopelessly outdated jukebox, even though I no longer use it.  It’s sitting in my office collecting dust, all because of the achievement it represents.

I have been the owner of this house for 4 years as of August 16.  I did most of the basic sanitation / rehab and moved in on October 17th, 2016.

Almost four (4) years later, I am drowning in 1,100 square feet of crap, while now having only 700 square feet of living space.

As part of procrastinating for finishing up my fan de-install / replacement install for the kitchen, I got the web-covered and 4 years dusty and unused folding bike washed, photographed, and sold in less than 24 hours.

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It’s hard to get rid of your possessions when they still have cash value, as well as sentimental value, but since I can’t simply walk away, leaving this mess for any of my so-called heirs to deal with, I’m happy to say that one more parting is accomplished.  Yes !  And, sadly, “yes” (boo, hiss).

Admitting to yourself that you’re at the point where you’re never going to have another travel adventure, or a work challenge, or be well enough to actually ride your bike again without risking your health, is a fork in the road that comes to us all when we fight debilitating health challenges or as part of simple aging.

How long we take to accept our changed circumstances varies for us all.  I tend to stew and whine a lot, but I eventually get motivated to get my butt in gear,

In my case, I’m focusing on the next purchase…  if they won’t open the pool, I’ll make my own and create new adventures in my own back yard !

Plus, build an actual water garden / fish pond for the gold fish I haven’t yet managed to kill (10 put in the outdoor kiddie pool in January, at least 7 are still alive).  The water lilies are growing well to keep the fish pond water clean, and after 6 months testing of the concept, I’m ready to make it happen in my garden.  Whatever it takes to keep busy and living my life.

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Anger Issues

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SparksFromACombustibleMind wrote a great blog, “I Tried… I Failed”

and while I would have replied directly to her, I could not commiserate as comments were shut off.

Today, I, too, spent many frustrating periods trying to get things done via phone, broken websites, etc., so I feel her pain and extreme frustration.

But, my inability to respond directly opened up a good opportunity that I was already working on regarding a spoken word / poetry piece that one of my cousins posted from an anonymous Englishman, who I’ve since tracked down via You Tube as Chris McGlade, also known as the Northern Monkey or Redcar comedian.  This piece is entitled, “The Right To Hate”, and I’ll try and provide a decent translation of his words for anyone who may struggle with his accent.

Don’t let his title put you off, because he has some valuable points to make about inequality, if you can get beyond your own internal biases.  (and, let’s face it, we all have biases to embrace or reject, whether we believe we do or not).

The author has a very strong point to make about stifling speech through the choice of less-preferred words on sensitive subjects, and I submit to you that – if we prevent people from working through these topics verbally because of the words they choose to express their honest feelings – then we’ll never make any progress on addressing the underlying issues.

Here, then, is my translation of his essay:

You tell me what I can’t say

You censor what I can

You say I’m offensive because I believe my eyes

And I say I see a woman, not a man

You call me thick and racist for not wanting to be a part of a rich man’s club in Europe with no soul, or guts, or heart

You throw at me the slave trade

You tell me my 2 year old grandson is to blame

You point your branding, accusing, intolerant fingers, and tell me to hang my head in shame

I’m free to have opinions, as long as they fall in line with yours

I can fly my banners high and proud, as long as you support that cause

You have to be right all the time,
Yours is the only way

I have to like the things you like,
be they black, trans, left, or gay

It makes no difference if I tell you I’m not the things for which you accuse 

For, once you’ve made up your closed up minds, I’m always going to lose

I have black friends, “So?  You’re still a racist!”

”Homophobic?“  But I’ve shared beds with gay men…

“I’m an anti-Semite”?  But the Rothchild’s really do influence the dollar, pound and yen.

You sip your Pinot Grigio in trendy bars down in the smoke, looking down your noses with loathsome contempt  at 33 million working class folk

Well, I’ve come to this old blast furnace to tell you that you have had your time

Because the winds of change are blowing and bells of freedom soon will chime 

Because my class, my fucking class,

Are waking up and stirring, and we’re going to peacefully attack

We’re going to breech those PC walls of segregation that have divided gay, straight, white and black

I’ve got no malice in my heart

I don’t judge people on their sex or creed or race, 

I don’t even speak ill of absolute cunts behind their backs

Not even the bloke who murdered me Dad

I just tell ‘em to their face

So, to all you branded Liberals who won’t allow debate, 

I hate no man or woman, I just want the right to hate

I want the right to hate like I want the right to love

I just want to dislike what I want to dislike and be able to vocalize it broth

I’m not responsible for slavery

And I’m not taking any blame

Because the white privilege built on black slavery you say that I enjoy,

Well, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Oprah Winfrey, Rhianna, Floyd Meriweather, Alicia Keyes, Jamie Foxx, et al, all enjoyed the same

Beyonce spent 87 million on a house, just through shaking that ass

While me and our lass sit at home lamenting over ways to pay the fucking gas

And I don’t see too much white privilege that lets Eastern Europeans or wounded soldiers live in cardboard boxes

Why do black lives matter and liberals fail to see

Not all white folks live in stately homes, chasing fucking foxes

And I’m not homophobic, transphobic or anything phobic as I don’t fear race or sex or gender

I just won’t bow down to your PC

Don’t confuse my use of slang with racism or bigotry

Don’t confuse my rejection of your shite with spite

Don’t naturally assume that I’m thick or racist because I’m Northern Working Class

I’m not

I’m articulate, sharp and bright, and I will not walk a minefield every time I open my mouth to speak

And I will not apologize for things I’ve glibly said, or spoken tongue-in-cheek

So, shape up or ship off with your fucking madness because I aim to bring you down

I aim to bring working class people together, Muslim, Christian, White, and Brown

I’m going to bring those Globalist’s walls of Jericho crashing around your brainwashed, Liberal feet

And I’m going to blow my loving, inclusive, un-PC fanfare, and your Communist, Fascist, Capitalist, Socialist, Left, Right, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Christian, Black, White, Gay, Straight, Male, Female, Leave, Remain, North, South divides I will defeat

You’ve divided us and conquered us for way too long

You’ve taken the piss out of us, and you’ve laughed and shared the benefits at the top

Well, I’ve come to this “Northern, Working-Class Shrine” of my hometown of Redcar to tell ya

It’s time for your shit to fucking stop

 

Covid-19 and Personal Liberty

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If anyone doesn’t know the story of Typhoid Mary, a woman twice jailed for her asymptomatic transferring of the disease, typhoid, to over 50 people on multiple occasions, I recommend you look at the wiki page.

While there were also asymptomatic men who also willfully carried and transmitted the disease despite being warned that they were infection points, to this day it is only Mary Mallon, single woman and belligerent Irish Immigrant who was held for years without any regard to her personal liberty.

Tony Labella, a man, also caused at least five (5) deaths, while infecting a total of 122 people, but he was never jailed or quarantined against his will.

It is with this particular resolution in mind (i.e., the woman went to jail, while the man was left free to earn a living, and to continue to infect people) that I read the “Thoughts and Theories” blog by PCGuyIV, who argues that preventing people from earning a living is equal to government control.

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As long as we’re not locking up the current band of misfits carrying weapons to peaceful protests, and as long as we’re not sure of the origins of the virus, as well as how it actually transmits, I submit that we are nowhere near the government controlling our destiny.  As far as I am aware, we’re releasing convicted felons so that they can hopefully not lose their lives in tight confinement, and we are not leaving arrested people (for whatever charges) incarcerated as the risk of catching the virus is more serious than someone losing their lives if it is preventable.

Yes, we have converted many jobs to digital, able-to-work-anywhere opportunities.  Or, so it seems from my home county of Silicon Valley.

Yes, we have left the most vulnerable among us – the minimum wage workers – with little option but to continue to work on the front lines, the illegal aliens and migrant workers picking our crops – facing an angry and unruly public with little or no personal health protective gear, or health insurance, and with few options but to risk working or be fired.

It is with the current drama from “Let ’em Die!” Donald that a variety of Americans and Immigrants and Visitors are creating chaos as it’s clear what is the truth – people are dying – but it’s also clear that armed people are willing to kill anyone who argues with their disbelief system.  This crazy Neandertholic belief that might-equals-right is endorsed by the current President – who lost 1 Billion Dollars in assets during the first weeks of the shutdown –  and who believes that socializing and earning a living is more important than protecting individual lives, the lives of their family and friends, and the lives of complete strangers with whom we share this earth.

While I started this blog on May 24th, I never posted it as other events took center stage.

However, it’s a little over a month later, and I’ve started playing board games outdoors on Friday and Saturday evenings, with masks, and via social distancing at a picnic table outdoors.

I’ve also broken quarantine by traveling to the next county, with its more relaxed rules, to get a haircut.

And, as of today, I have also (thankfully) seen my houseguest off to a short vacation with her family, knowing that she brought a bacterial pneumonia home with her when she saw them in February.  A greater risk of dying is worth getting her out of my house for a bit.

The good news is that she’s been approved for subsidized senior housing in Silicon Valley, but the bad news is that we don’t know when she’ll actually get her unit (she’s #21 on the waiting list).

So, win some or lose some – I’m taking some risks because the status quo just cannot be maintained.  I know better, but life is not without risks.

 

 

 

Reprieve

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I try to be a decent person.

I try not to unfairly judge others.

But…  !

When you are a guest in my (admittedly) ramshackle home, is it too much to ask that you NOT get on my nerves while you’re here ?!!!  To not run up my bills or fill my time with now-necessary repairs ?  I don’t think so…

I am so ready for the upcoming (and however brief) reprieve while the houseguest goes on vacation, that you would not believe how ready I am.

Just trying to get my butt in gear to start the day and repair the cabinet door that the houseguest pulled off its hinges…

Why do I say she did it vs. blaming it on wear and tear?  After all, the cabinet doors on the vanity’s in both bathrooms are equally dilapidated…

Well, I blame her because she’s about 5” taller than me, refuses to use a step stool (because she’s not tall enough to reach things on the top shelf without being on her tip toes while hanging off the door for balance…) so, I hope you catch my drift.

And, because it’s the door on one of the cabinets she uses.

Plus, like any good senager, the cabinet broke itself vs. her having the adult sense to let me know she broke it.  “Oh, did you notice the cabinet is broken?” was yesterday’s oh-so-innocent question.  I wouldn’t care if she said, “It broke while I was using it…”, or, “What’s it going to take to fix that cabinet, I broke it yesterday…”  Nope.  Like any good teenager, my senior houseguest takes no responsibility for anything, yet goes out of her way to NOT do what I specifically  asked her to do in order to not physically stress my dilapidated housing.  So…

Cause + Effect = Blame

Adding to my aggravation, I just walked into my bathroom to find she went out of her way to get on my nerves while she’s gone.  You see, she’s a tweaker.  Everything must be rigidly maintained, to her standards, or she tweaks it.

In this case, she hates the set up of my main bathroom and re-arranges the angle of this stupid sign every time she uses the bathroom.

It must rigidly face the front, to match the shelf upon which it rests, versus resting at an angle, to be more welcoming, in my point of view.

So, I just reset it and will enjoy the reprieve from our petty little territory games while she’s on vacation with her family, and I’ll have the time to work on my home at my own pace.  Score 1 for me !

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Saintly Beings…

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Without going into a condemnation of any particular religion or faith, I do want to talk about people and their belief that they are sanctified by their God for a particular mission.

I was lightly brushed by faith-beyond-reason way back in 1996 culminating in my going to work on Friday, September 13th, while many others had decided to skip work, and all because a co-worker’s God had decided I was a “lamb” sent to him to be one of his faithful.

The engineer was a nice guy.  A new father. He started hearing voices.  Shaved his head.  And he left strange voicemails for people at work, wanting to share with them his role as a Prophet, and their role as had been revealed to him.

Unnerving.

We reported him to management, and kept working that week while they hired security for the staff, and staged an intervention.  I worked all week, trying not to over-react, and hoping that this once rational man would accept the mental health services offered.  When his voicemails increased in frequency and urgency, citing his last day at work, September 13, 1996, and his desperate need to talk to me, I left him a (hopefully kind) voicemail telling him he was scaring me and advising him to get or accept the help being offered, and I also decided to go to work that day while many of my friends played hookey.

Going to work may have been stupid, however, I’m not one to back down.  A black sheep my entire life, there are just some points where I cannot do the prudent thing as I risk losing myself.  So,…

I’m not a “lamb” of God or anything else, and the use of “lamb” in his messages to me made me feel like a sacrifice waiting to happen.  I took steps to protect myself, regardless of which of my coworkers were amused or outright laughing at me.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this…  people don’t always show you their crazy.  But, when they do, LISTEN !

People in love with their faith are fine – it’s not my place to even pretend I have any answers, never mind ALL the answers.  People are programmed with their family’s or society’s faith from birth onward, before logic has a chance to kick in.  And, in my experience, all challenges to logic disconnects in the catechism are discouraged, as the true heart “believes”, regardless of the challenging questions or lack of supporting, logical evidence in front of their eyes.  In troubled times, people look for surety and certainty in their lives to help them calm their fears.  I get it.

But…  when the certainty you’re grabbing onto includes a couple who believe they were destined to be together…  having been life partners in prior lives, on prior Edens… when their faith calls them to label everyone of conventional importance in their lives as “zombies”, evil people who have been taken over by Satanic forces… and the bodies start piling up…  bodies of relatives AND children…  at what point do the people around them stop drinking the kool-aid and use the rational parts of their minds?

In this particular mind-blowing example, the body count as we know it includes:

– Former spouse, Tammy Daybell, wife of Chad Daybell (murdered?  TBD)
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– Former spouse, Charles Vallow (killed by 4-times married Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox)
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– Chad and Lori then begin being seen together as  a couple

– Alex Cox, Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow’s brother (newly married, one of the cult’s key members, killed by “misadventure” or suicide – the gossip mavens are still undecided, and I don’t believe the official’s have ruled, yet)
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– Joseph Ryan, Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow’s prior husband and father to Tylee Ryan (Lori’s missing daughter) dies of a heart attack which is now being ruled as “suspicious”.
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– Brandon Boudreaux, husband to Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow’s niece, Melani, driven off the road (another Daybell-linked attempted murder?) after the niece becomes another Chad Daybell follower…

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– Tylee Ryan, elder child, missing since a September trip to the Grand Canyon which included Uncle Alex Cox…  and whose body was recently found on the Chad Daybell property in Arizona

– JJ Vallow, youngest son, and also missing since a September trip to the Grand Canyon which included Uncle Alex Cox…  and whose body was also recently found on the Chad Daybell property in Arizona.  After officials followed cell phone pings on Uncle Alex’s phone to a mysterious 2am, 2-hour visit to Chad Daybell’s property.  Burying the bodies, perhaps, of his niece and nephew?

At any rate, you get the idea that everyone near Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow Daybell was either a follower or a victim.

But… !

BUT… !

Anything but a catalyst to the untimely demise of so many people; mostly HER family.

Chad Daybell has been out on parole since his extradited return from Hawaii, after Lori’s children had been missing for months, and after he and Lori were married while on the run.

While poor, little, helpless Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow Daybell sits in jail after also being extradited from Hawaii…

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(Sarcasm intended).

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And:


So, I happened to catch an episode of DATELINE NBC last night.  And, I had to tell you the backstory in the rare event that you might not be familiar with these events and ever-enlarging net of players.

Puhleeze tell me that Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow Daybell, the person with the most bodies on the line, is NOT going to get off with a poor, helpless, fragile little woman defense !

I get it, if you feel you’re on a sacred mission from God.  I was raised Roman Catholic, so I understand the suspension of logic and mental gymnastics that may be programmed into people before their brains are mature and that occurs with the truly faithful.

I understand the dichotomies involved in being both ‘of the faith’ and boxing those thoughts away in a room of their own in order to embrace logic and function in the world where others may not have the same faith.

But…  Just as I didn’t understand the Reverend Jim Jones cult, and the suicide of all of his followers; nor the David Koresh cult with the multiple wives and children, and the government’s attack that resulted in the subsequent loss of life; nor the bombing of the MOVE cult in Philadelphia that killed so many of John Africa’s followers;  I don’t understand how the Chad and Lori Daybell murder spree cult could get a toehold on the plausibility scale of so many different people in their circle of friends and family, who (from the news coverage) appear to be seeing Lori as an innocent, a dupe.

I don’t care if they were friends or were related as I, too, grew up with a very charismatic father who was able to inspire insanity in the otherwise normal and rational of people.  (Separate story, too time-consuming to detail here),

As we’re sitting in our homes listening to folks discuss a belief in a “mission” from their God, as reasons why they were friends and why they listened to these stories with suspended disbelief, I just have to shake my head.

Where were or are their individual meters of plausibility or backbones?

Where were or are their individual ethics and lines that they will NOT cross?

As I listen to the Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow Daybell friends and family talk about their concern for the two children, as well as how charismatic Lori is, it always circles back to everyone being clueless about the kidss and Lori being “so nice”.

While I can excuse her one surviving adult son, 24 year old college student Colby Lagioia, for his mixed feelings and confusion about whether or not his mother contributed to the death of his half siblings (like I said, charismatic father, so I have a first-hand exposure to some of the deprogramming he may have to go through in order to untangle his own mixed emotions as he builds his own life and matures), I have no such excuses for the rest of the adult family and friends’ suspension of disbelief.

Certainly not enough to blindly ignore the pattern of dead bodies connected to some messiah complex which appears to be a part of branching off into a new version of their religion / now cult.

I am just not able to deny reality to that level, even if their particular branch of faith counts  women as second class citizens, and allows some branches to discard their children, especially young men, if the existence of those children results in competition of the wishes of The Prophet or leader.

I hope to their God that she is not allowed to escape judgement for her actions in contributing to the death of her children.  Lori Cox Lagioia Ryan Vallow Daybell is just as guilty of the murder of her children, and possibly the murders of her former husbands and brother, as whoever actually accomplished the deeds.

If anyone cannot see that the “Saintly” beings, Lori, Chad, etc., are in it up to their eyeballs, then they need their sanity checked.

This is not an episode of the 60’s TV show, “Batman”, and Lori is no misunderstood “girl”, who is not responsible for her actions, or lack of actions, for protecting her children and other connections.

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Your gov’t, NOT at work…

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I am not a big fan of phones.

I am not a big fan of government incompetence.

But, when the US Government takes down it’s social security f’ing website EVERY DAY when operators aren’t working “to assist you” between the hours of 8:30am and 5:30pm, it DEFEATS the whole purpose for having a website at all.

Seriously, if your website isn’t up 98% of the time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why the heck have one at all?  Just to keep up with the Jones for the “appearance” of capability?  Sheesh !

Add into the problem the fact that one simply trying to access the website off-hours, after getting the, “we’re closed for maintenance, please contact us between the hours of …” has their account locked up on the first try (not the third) is RIDICULOUS !

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and

SSA lockout hours

sets me up for aggravation before I’ve even begun to talk to anyone.

Finally got on the phone during the government’s “business” hours, only to find that I can wait on hold for 35 minutes, or they will call me back in an hour and a half.  Um… No.  I guess I’ll wait on hold until 35 minutes pass and hope for the best (it’s been 22 minutes on hold at this point).

While I would normally play games on my tablet to help the hours go by waiting on hold, I use Voice Over IP (Internet based calls, or VoIP), so that option is off the table, too.

It’s a good thing that I don’t have any kind of expectations for dealing with the government any time soon…

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Unloved. Narcissistic. Whatever…

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A while back I had to write a friend a letter.  It was full of things that I couldn’t simply say.  I couldn’t say them, because she wouldn’t hear me.  Wouldn’t.

So, just like when I write this blog, I emptied all the crap that was between my ears into the letter way back in March or April, (maybe even as far back as Christmas, as time is running together at this point).  Anyway, I polished and edited it within an inch of its content, and mailed it off.

I started by saying, “I love you…”

I ended by saying, “I love you…”

In the middle, though, there were a whole bunch of buts.  And pleas for her to knock it off.  Plus reminders that I loved her no matter what, but that her inability to “hear” others when they said “enough” was driving me crazy.  That friend has tried to circle back to the topics that I don’t want to talk about – mainly her refusal to give in and accept that I won’t change my mind on a topic and we will have to agree to disagree, but need to move on to a new topic.

I am going to be 60 this Fall.  Never thought to make it to that age.  Still not sure of what to do with myself now that I’m almost-60-going-on-12 on a good day.  But here we are.  In the middle of a pandemic.  Some of us are freaking out.  Some of us are peeved.  Some of us are feeling unloved.  Some of us are in our heads way too much.

Whatever it is, it’s bringing out the worst in most of us.

I spent most of last week running back and forth with driver errands to help me stay busy and make the shelter-in-place time go faster.

Another friend, one who is 83 and in the assisted living center and cannot leave the building nor have visitors was feeling particularly badly.  Certain she was unloved.  Certain she had done something wrong to be considered an evil person and locked up, I spent most of the visits trying to talk her off the ledge as she wasn’t allowed to leave her facility and was determined to do so.  Dementia is a heart breaking disease.

Multiple calls from her before a visit, which I answered and reminded her that I couldn’t come in the building and would stop by her window after I dropped things off, and yet still she tried to meet me at the door and leave the building to go with me.  Tears when she was yelled at by the Administration staff of her facility, and more tears when I put up my hands to stop her and stepped back from her.

Tears when I visited at her window, and she was crying because she thought I should have been there sooner than I was, and she was so frustrated at being confined to her room.

Tears because she wanted to give me something, and missed me when I came to her window and called her on the phone, because she’d forgotten I was coming and was out in the private courtyard, enjoying the sun and fresh air.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this.  People are EX-HAUS-TING.  As much as we love them and want to help them be their best selves, you’ve got to keep yourself separated from their constant demands or they will make you crazy.  Or, crazier.

My younger friend is dealing with many issues as she approaches her middle 50’s, but the most problematic one is her need to swallow whole the attention of anyone in her realm.  I tried to get her to understand boundaries when I wrote that letter earlier this year.  While I have gotten her to understand that her salesperson’s persistence isn’t going to change my opinion as boundaries aren’t up for negotiation, she still tries to circle back.

Last week was a particularly bad time for her because she’s trying to negotiate a deal at her current contract position, and doesn’t like the facts.

Fact 1)  When you accept a position, you also accept that rate of pay until the contract comes up for renewal, or a year has passed.  You made the best deal possible, so you live with it unless you’re willing to renegotiate due to misrepresentation, and willing to walk when you don’t get a fair or reasonable response.  Renegotiating in the middle of a pandemic, when they have cut your billable hours down to 20 per week, is possible but not recommended.

Fact 2)  Having your hours cut does impact your ability to live on the rate of pay you negotiated.  Again, though, see Fact 1) before being impetuous.

Fact 3)  You can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard, sometimes you’ll get what you need.  Life just works out that way.

So, her contract is up for renewal at the end of June, and she tried an end-run around her agency (that I told her NOT to do, as you’re only as good as the agency’s clients, and you don’t want to burn an agency relationship).  The old agency that she would prefer to work with dangled a $2.50 an hour raise to her, but didn’t bother to read that employment contract she’d signed for this job.  That contract said that she couldn’t work for the client the agency assigned her to for one (1) year from date of departure on any assignment without first clearing it with them.  That’s a HUGE sign that they won’t take kindly to her changing agencies in order to get better pay and benefits, but she ignored that language in her contract, and the old agency never bothered to read her contract until last week, blowing up her negotiations-in-progress.

So not my problem.  Especially when she’s just venting and not hearing me when I tell her that she needs to suck it up.

Anyway, those two things were going on, plus the houseguest’s arm surgery and interview to (maybe? hopefully?) get a place of her own in subsidized, disabled and elderly, housing.

My patience was at a very low level, so I began ducking my friend’s calls from Friday onward as I’d had it, my energy was sapped, and I was itching like nobody’s business from all the bug bites I got while fishing.  (By the way, I advise anyone who plays the stock market to buy Gold Bond itch cream shares, as well as Benadryl.  If other people are like me and hiding in the woods and open spaces to get through this pandemic, those are two of the chief products that should see a huge surge in demand this Summer).

Anyway, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I was reading SparksFromACombustibleMind’s blog, Monday Peeve, and I had to laugh.  Her response to the self-help guru fans was very similar to mine.  My younger friend spends so much time inhaling every self-help book under the sun, yet she fails to put any of those suggestions into practice.  By this time she KNOWS what she needs to do to address her issues (constancy and reasonable expectations management being just some of them), so trying to get me to read the book isn’t going to happen as I just don’t see things the same way she does.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I just finished a tear-jerker of a book about the Tennessee Children’s Society or Home, which was a fictionalized account of real happenings.

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And I just want to tell everyone who is feeling unloved and unwanted and unappreciated to go read that book and concentrate on the lead character, “Rill” or “May” (as she was later renamed), and figure out a way to heal yourself and go on with life.

People are going to break your heart.

People and circumstances are going to not live up to expectations.

Whatever it is that’s driving you crazy, nobody else can fix or change.  It’s always up to you.  What I enjoyed about this particular book is that it reminds us that we have choices in life, and it’s what we do with the no-win scenario that makes a life worth living.  Being a survivor isn’t pretty, but sitting in a corner and obsessing over things that you cannot change isn’t practical, either.

I love my friends.  I’ll be there in whatever way I can, in sickness and in health, just like the friendship vows state, but I can’t let myself be sucked into drama that I cannot change.

Yes, I’m just selfish that way.

Accepting what is (when our mind isn’t playing tricks on us due to dementia), is one of the hardest things that we all must adjust to in order to make progress in life.  The sooner we get on with it, the happier we will each be.

I don’t have any better advice than that.  No ponzi schemes for making money off others unhappiness.  As I would say to my Las Vegas Auntie (and she would go crazy, as she loves a good fight), “It is what it is.”