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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Itchy

Yes, it was worth it !

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I am lying in bed, “Sweet Home Alabama” playing quietly on the TV for the 9,000th time, and instead of trying to get to sleep, I’m trying to write a blog.  On WordPress.  On my tablet.

WordPress hates my tablet, so if this isn’t a recipe for frustration and disaster, nothing is.  But, I digress.  I’m itchy and easily distractible.  It’s easy for the itch of the bug bites to distract me.

This week had lots of highs and lows, and aggravations from the lawyer about yet more audits on my disability supplemental salary, blah, blah, blah.  The latest dispute is their claim that they overpaid me by $16 a month (once they FINALLY gave in and paid against my supplemental insurance policy), and visions of being forced to pay back THEIR error, plus interest or other such nonsense backdated four years, has me sweating with yet more anxiety.

Since I’m already sweating over purchasing an AC unit (it was 105 degrees last week, and it got to 103 earlier this week, so an air conditioner was vital for my health), even if it was worth it, I’m still frightened about the eventual utilities bill I’ll receive…  anyway, the point is that I was already very hot under the collar the last couple of weeks.  Add in the ongoing aggravations of the pandemic restrictions, and it doesn’t take much to tip the apple cart off balance.

I did not need to hear from the ERISA lawyer to add to my stress.

Even if they pushed back with a reasoned argument based on California law…  Yes, that $1,000 fee I pay them every month for troubleshooting is worth it, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy having to need their ongoing services.

So, in order to try and stay healthy and work off my stress, I’ve been walking.  Mostly after 5pm when the Valley breeze finally kicks up (our temperatures can fluctuate 40-odd degrees in a day due to a desert-like microclimate).

My feet are swollen up like balloons, as tends to happen in the high heat with COPD.  My diabetes medicine has a tendency to dehydrate, keeping me close to the bathroom as I’m guzzling water and cranberry juice like a drunken sailor on shore leave…  You know, it’s always something even before I venture into the great outdoors.

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If I’m lucky, I can get in 10,000 steps and not run into a coyote or bobcat.

If I’m not lucky, I spend the entire walk looking for any likely tree to hide behind while addressing my inability to go longer than 45 minutes to an hour without having to pee.

In these days of newspaper headlines about perverts around every corner, it’s scary to think of dropping trou and exposing one’s tender bits to the passing eyes of every Tom, Dick or Harry simply because the portapotties, located only at the trailheads, are also closed…  How that closure of a very necessary outhouse prevents Corona-19 contamination I’ll never know, but the short story is that I am NOT part camel, and when Nature calls I answer pronto or suffer the toddler-like consequences.  No, I am not packing a spare set of clothes in my backpack.

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So, as part of my wanderings this past week, carting my fishing rod, Corn kernel bait, jacket, snacks, bottled water, bug netting head covering, etc., etc., etc., I’ve also taken to carrying a small LL Bean folding table (because I can sit on it when tired or while fishing), and it’s MUCH, much lighter than an actual chair for being able to lug it around and not add to my fatigue while still being practical for its intended use.

We’re talking major, white-trash-on-parade, tenderfoot excursion.  With all the detritus that comes with dealing with old age’s demands, too.

Anyway, I tell you all that to tell you this… I may look like an old lady, but I feel like a kid again.  Including being covered in bug bites from my explorations !

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It was very much worth it, though, as the bug bites directly correlate to my catching a fish (and possibly seeing a beaver at its den) for the first time in almost 20 years (19 years and 9 months, to be exact) I caught a fish ! Seriously !  It’s only a common carp, maybe 12 to 14 inches long and 2-3 pounds, but it is worth every minute of itching !

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(and, yes, I’m a catch and release kind of woman – no wasting a life for me).  Bites and all, I can’t wait to go again !

 

 

Outward Appearances

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I began writing this a year ago November, 2018, at the start of my frustration with Fall every year.  It’s become more relevant as we’re now in Spring and dealing with the worldwide pandemic in 2020, so I’ll clean this blog up and release it to the world and we will see if it makes any sense or is just more purging of crap from between my ears.

At the time I began composing this, I was at that point in the Fall / Winter where I couldn’t seem to get out of my own way.  Choking regularly was driving me crazy, and it was especially aggravating when lying down to sleep.

While I still have that problem, the new one – let’s call it the “whistle” – has been added wherein I am waking myself up because I’m struggling to breathe and have developed a “whistle” noise on my exhales that is high pitched enough to get on my last nerve.  It’s not enough that I cut down the trees in the front yard to keep the birds from nesting near my bedroom window and waking me up in Summer.  Nope, now I’m my own bird bringing my own birdy noise with me wherever I may go.  Oh, joy !

Being in the middle of a pandemic, I’m still in the middle of the whole meaning of life thought process, and the fact that I “appear” to be too well to elect euthanasia, yet I have the functional lungs of an 81 year old.  (I know that label sounds silly, but it was on one of my test results, LOL).

At the time I wrote this, I was meeting with my Endocrinologist the prior day, and I was again teary eyed trying to express myself, as this process of living with multiple challenging conditions was and is on my last nerve.  I believe I am healthier 60 lbs over weight, and I think my history tells the truth of that as I put on the weight in Massachusetts and started to have more stable health without hospital runs, and that same factor continued once I moved to California and enjoyed a new lease on life due to the dryer air and lack of routine moisture or change of seasons to help me retain stable health (for me).

I have so many things going on medically that I just don’t give a damn.  I mean – I do care.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suicidal, so I do try and stay as well as I am able.  But…  It’s just so much uphill work.  So, this insistence from my Endocrinologist that I lose weight is frustrating and scary to me, as I’ve also watched my Mom battle this disease and lose 35 lbs in 9 days from the struggle to breathe while hospitalized.

Add in the constant choking from congestion, and the nose bleeds from trying to resolve the congestion as my body REALLY doesn’t like the over-the-counter decongestant choices available, and I’m back to being tired.  All. The. Time.  TIRED.

We tried to do a beginner plant walk in the Fall.  Since they invited kids, I thought it would be a gradual climb to 500 feet due to the “beginner” label.

No such luck.  I was tired.  My legs were both stiff from physical therapy sessions following the car accident and like rubber due to zero energy reserves.  And I had to turn back before we’d gone a mile because the hike was straight up hill.  Beginner plant ID efforts – yes.  Beginner walking or hiking on an easy slope – no.

I hate getting all ready to go and having to turn back.  Never mind having an audience to contrast just how physically incapable I am once the blinders and distractions are removed.  I am competitive, even though I know it’s a nonsense effort as we aren’t starting from the same playing field.  I may accept that fact in the front of my brain, and change my efforts accordingly, but when the evidence stares me in the face that I can’t keep up with my friends and peers, it loosens a crazy woman in me, and I hate it.

Absolutely hate it.

I am way too competitive to give in easily when I decide to do something.  I hate my body failing me.  Failing in its duty.  Failing in what should be its general abilities.

But I hate it more when I’m exhausted, and every effort to get some sleep is hampered by choking on phlegm, and having to calm myself or move to a chair to sleep and still be able to breathe without choking.

Which brings me to today’s topic.  Euthanasia.  Again.

As I go through life, hiding my COPD and trying to fill my days with activities that keep me involved in life and give me something hopeful to focus on, I have other friends who are dealing with their own heath issues and fighting to live every day, despite the reality staring them in their faces.

One friend, in her late 80’s, is fighting cancer and trying to continue with her infusion therapy despite coming down with a bad case of cellulitis in her leg.  She can’t walk.  The leg is swollen.  She’s in extreme pain.  But, she’s also terrified that the hospital will stop her cancer infusion treatments, leaving the cancer to again take hold of her body and very painful back and end her life.

Even in extreme pain, she’s looking for a way to survive despite the challenges.  Despite the reality that we never get enough time.  The pandemic has her running scared, frightened that she’s too ill to be allowed into the hospital setting to continue her infusion treatments.  And, being competitive, too, while also fighting for independence despite her frailty.

Part of our conversation when we talked centered around our very different health challenges, and ages, as well as our very different choices in life for how to prepare for the inevitable.   K was telling me that her husband was preparing dinner in the other room, as she could barely walk, and she was frustrated because she couldn’t be as “cheerful” as me.  Seriously?

We had a good gallows humor laugh over that, and exchanged horror stories about how we’d poorly treated the people in our lives at various points (in my case, it was me exhausted after a night of very little sleep and being awoken by the squeaking of the kitchen faucet (worse than nails on a chalkboard to my noise-sensitive ears).  Rolling out of bed after being awoken by the noise, I was up and screaming at the houseguest to quit turning the kitchen faucet on and off while trying to do the dishes when I wasn’t even up for the day – she can’t simply leave the water on so that it’s hot and rinse the dishes, she’d rather rinse them one at a time, conserving the freezing cold water and NOT getting them cleaned).

See?  everyone has their petty moments, and we know some of mine as I’ll admit them in this blog from time to time.  At any rate, in talking to K, I remarked that I’d had 60 years to figure out all my flaws and to practice social distancing so that the ugly side of my personality wasn’t on parade when I wasn’t at my best, and that she has to cut herself some slack and simply try to be nicer next time as she was still new at this game, only having had the cancer diagnosis for a few years.

Yes, it’s gallows humor, but the honesty helps us figure out how to get along when we are not at our best, and the world is on our last nerve…

Success.  Happiness.  Motivation.  Resilience.  All of these things are topics that each of us have to drive from within ourselves, based on the choices that we make for how we want to be in the world despite the challenges that have been handed to each of us.

Whether we have children.  Whether or not we get married.  Entitlement.  Levels of expectation from friendships or family units.  On and on and on…

As I sit here with incontinence issues due to the diabetes medication and the pints and pints of water I’m drinking to stay hydrated (between 70 oz and 110 oz on an average day, or 5 pints), I’m losing patience with the sheer work involved in living.

I go traveling and try to find things to keep me distracted and content, but when I can’t find an open bathroom and have to pee every hour on the hour, it gets old.

When the latest medication, Jardiance, is dehydrating me so that I’m drinking lots and lots of water all day long including before bedtime, I’m out of patience.  I’m exhausted and cranky, despite my outward moments of success.  I was already operated on once to help control my muscles and keep me from peeing myself.

I remember that surgery vividly, as I was about 5 years old, and they tied me to the bed for days to keep me from pulling the catheter out, it was so aggravating.  So, more surgery to repair yet another aggravation?  No way.  My cousin, T, may be considering it, as the incontinence problem runs in the women in our family…  However, this is the same woman who has had 21+ surgeries on her leg to keep from losing it due to infections and bone disintegration following a broken ankle in 2009.  I’m just not that kind of medical warrior.

At this point, I’m up multiple times a night to pee, AND I’m finding that I didn’t always move fast enough (thank heavens for pads!) so I have to change my underwear and PJ bottoms on a regular basis in the middle of the night.  The pain / frozen small of my back makes it particularly challenging to move quickly after last years car accident, adding yet another joy to my evening routine when battling a full bladder.  Trust me, ain’t nobody got enough time for this kind of drama and laundry !

So, I tell you all that to tell you this.  I’m pretty good at hiding my illness and keeping up outward appearances to give the facsimile of being well.  Until you have a competitive houseguest who is watching every thing you do or don’t do and keeping score…  Until you can’t find a bathroom when out and about because all restaurants and most stores are closed.

I’m pretty good at giving the appearance of being out and about and active, until plants remain in my yard for days at a time because my energy was wiped out by the sheer act of shopping, or while plant thieving, and I have zero energy left over to actually get them into the ground in a timely manner within a day or two.

I’m pretty good at giving the appearance of ability, until boxes moved onto my porch or into my driveway for sorting through and disposal / recycling / donation remain there for months at a time, giving lie to my outward appearances by not being addressed in a timely manner.

Nobody wants to be seen as “less”.  Less capable.  Less active.  Less able.  Less independent.

So, I’ll keep lying my head off through my outward appearance of passing for normal, and hope that no one will look behind the curtain to see just how exhausted I am trying to keep up most of my outward abilities to pass for normal and capable.

Hope on the horizon?

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The houseguest has a lead on subsidized housing, and an interview on June 9th.  Please, please, please – for anyone who believes in some type of higher power – I’d appreciate prayers to all the Gods or powers-that-be to help her get chosen for this apartment and OUT OF MY HOME !

I will continue to house her as long as necessary, but the longer this shelter-in-place goes on, the more the friction increases…

Since everything I have to say involves b*tching and moaning for the most part, I’ll continue to keep my distance from blogging as I am on my very last nerve.

I hope you’re all staying healthy and sheltering-in-place in comfort.

S-I-P / Quarantine

Unlike the Nora Roberts book, “Shelter in Place”, this situation did not involve a terrorist act which is quickly over, but leaves lasting echoes in one’s life.

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(Big Nora Roberts / JD Robb fan, and their audio books are keeping me company as I work to fill the hours and avoid Der Orangevone on the TV daily, as he thinks his idea of a “press briefing” is a great time to bully people, and hold a campaign rally).

So, we’re all working hard to learn the differences between S-I-P, Quarantine, Lockdown, and what we can and cannot do.  And, we’re getting lectures from friends and family about what “we” should be doing….

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with further clarification:

Can and Cants SIP guide

And, then we get to an update as to what “essential” businesses and workers may mean:

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Clearly, California is trying hard to define “essential” workers, and limiting access to seniors for cross-contamination of their fragile community members.

However, I submit to you that – so long as you have workers going in and out of the senior care facility on a daily basis, for up to 3 shifts per day, that you are still risking those seniors.

While I am being very careful to stay away from my friend with dementia, this extended period of time of her being refused visitors and being isolated in her room seems to be overkill – so long as they let their workers return home each evening to their family and especially their children.

It’s kind of the same argument that I have about airport security “theatre”.  Since most x-ray equipment can’t detect plastic weapons that don’t have a “gun” or “bomb” shape, it’s more theatre than actual protection.  As has been proven again and again when someone gets a plastic gun through security.

So, I tell you all that to tell you this – I’m not stupid.

I have been self-isolating for years, but especially since August 23, 2015, when my doctor finally agreed that disability was in my best interests.

So, to have friends (yes, the Melaleuca connection), feel free to go out for a ride in the country, ignoring all warnings about traveling beyond their local home area, and by not being out for any specific reason beyond the fact that they needed space and fresh air, all while lecturing me to stay home and let the kindness of friends and strangers strangle me to death with their caring, is entertaining.

Yes, I’m that perverse.  The minute you told me not to do something, you also guaranteed that I find a way to do it, and safely, while chanting, “You’re not the boss of me!” under my breath.

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The fact that I am still alive after numerous hospitalizations, despite being disabled, despite being told that my ability to get things done despite my breathing numbers is amazing…  blah, blah, blah.

At the end of the day, we’re all going to do what we think we “need” to do; what we think is “right” to do; and what we think that it’s “safe” to do; all without risking the health of ourselves and others.

When you’re number’s up it’s up.  My only goal is to not take anyone else with me when that time arrives because I was too stupid to understand what shelter-in-place restrictions really meant.

Be safe out there.

 

 

 

Cleaning Wars II

Melaleuca Logo

Melaleuca is a wonder product according to my houseguest’s sister.  While I love my friend to pieces, I’m not taking cleaning advice from her because she, too, believes subjective and sometimes deceptive advertising vs. knowing the truth behind her beliefs by doing non-sponsored research… Melaleuca falls into that category.  Everything sold has a scent, is costly, and is designed to get you to encourage your friends and family to use their products.

Yes, I checked it out years back, when first approached, and – no – I didn’t want to live in a plastic bubble.  If necessary to clean, I wanted to do it once via hydrogen peroxide and alcohol when deep cleaning is necessary to assure a sanitary surface.

If you use the Melaleuca products to disinfect, there is a fine print comment in the EPA approval that is buried in their advertising, that makes it too expensive in terms of time and money to make Melaleuca products my first choice for cleaning materials:

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Melaleuca EPA 04

 

and, on page 5 of 5 of the EPA 2011 posting available on line:

Melaleuca 05 EPA

Why in the world would I use ANYTHING where 95% of the ingredients aren’t detailed on the EPA letter or the product, and where further warnings as directed on the label by the EPA indicate that this product can be hazardous to people and pets?

At any rate, as a continuation of my earlier blog, “Cleaning Wars“, dealing with the landmine that is everyone’s opinion about what you need to do to have a COPD-clean environment that works its best for you is no easy task.

As with most of us, we don’t have much energy, so we don’t want to do anything twice.

Here’s the crap that’s on their feel-good website that irritates the crap out of me:

Melaleuca Company 01

Key triggers for me?  Anything that purports to help MY finances and my quality of life, while also telling me it can also help me “reach my goals”.  They have a really slick advertising company or marketing firm helping them reach people’s soft and gooey underbelly without even a blip on most people’s radar…

Melaleuca Company 02

Given the advertising of their botanical cleaner to not say that it’s a cleaner, but merely that it’s a disinfectant, for use AFTER you actually clean:

Melaleuca 02 - Botanicals

And the disclaimer in their online ads that actual cleaning needs to be done BEFORE using the disinfectant if one wants a truly clean surface:

Meluleuca Ad 01 - Bathroom

“Final step”, implying that this is to be used AFTER you actually clean.  Nope.  No thanks.  Not only does it make more work for me than my regular cleaning, it’s also only available in a scented product, making the scent wars in my home more of a challenge, too.

So, I remain stubbornly assured, based on EPA evidence, that my choice of alcohol and soap and water as a cleaning / disinfecting agent is the best choice vs. doing things the Melaleuca way.

Cleaning Wars

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Well, after last week’s “FOOD WARS” posting, the houseguest and I got into it over her demand that I give her her own shelf in the fridge.  Seriously.  She has 3 half shelves, so that we can take advantage of size alternatives, and she’s taking over my half of the space, but she thinks that I’m being dictatorial in not giving her a single shelf for her own use.

The houseguest who is homeless.

The houseguest who lives with me for free.

The houseguest who has been here since July 16, 2019…  Going on 9 months…  And she picks a pandemic, when we’re on shelter-in-place directives, to start picking fights over me being controlling.  Now she has decided to debate my cleaning choices.

Me, who got bacterial pneumonia from her bringing a cold home in February.

Think about that a minute.

I’m sitting here fighting for my life, actively, every day since August 23, 2015, when it was confirmed that the medications they were giving me weren’t working well enough to help me versus their dangerous side effects.  It was determined that I go on permanent disability, and that I figure out how to live the rest of my life (maybe 3-5 years at that point, but there were no fixed timelines or date stamps on my foot because everyone reacts differently to triggers and their version of the COPD illness).  So, you’d think I would have learned a bit about my triggers in my 55 years of living up to that point, as well as adjusted my needs as my COPD continued to worsen.

At age 59, I am as healthy as I possibly can be, despite 25% lung function / lung capacity, and approximately 92-96% routine oxygen saturation.

storm trooper vacuuming

Trying to avoid breathing issues as most scents and aerosols trigger difficulties, I have made it my mission to clean as simply / quickly as possible to avoid exhaustion (hey, it only took me 4 days to clean the kitchen floor when the houseguest was away having her knee replaced, LOL).

Generally, I use 70 – 91% alcohol (whatever I can get inexpensively in the first aid aisle), with the addition of peppermint oil (because it helps me breathe, and doesn’t cause any coughing spasms).

The houseguest hates this, because it smells “too hospital-y”.  Seriously.

Screw the fact that I can’t breathe with the scented crap she keeps trying to sneak in !

So, as we’re on lockdown / shelter-in-place, the houseguest is becoming increasingly paranoid, not wanting to go out, not wanting to be in the fresh air (even away from people!), and she decides that “we” need to do a better job of cleaning with a disinfectant.  Seriously.

As always, she’s free to use whatever she wants in her bedroom (not my concern, as long as it doesn’t travel to the rest of the house), but I have had to put my foot down again and again that the crap that she wants to use – when she actually bestirs herself to clean our common areas – may smell better, but works WORSE than my affordable and very effective solution.  To back up my belief that alcohol is better with scientific references:

Isophoprol Kill Rate

What makes me crazy is that most of the crap she wishes to use, because it’s all about what the media has “educated” her via commercials, takes 2-10 minutes to be effective in terms of truly disinfecting a surface, while straight alcohol at 60% concentration or above, kills in 10-30 SECONDS.

For someone who has made an art form out of how to survive, 10-30 SECONDS for cleaning / killing / sanitizing effective rate sounds much more livable for me than waiting 2-10 minutes for something to take effect, never mind the habit that we all have of wiping / drying a surface vs. letting it dry for 2-10 minutes…

Lysol cleaning time

Lysol Neutra Air vs. other

Lysol Deodorizer

Clorox Bleach

Lysol Tub and Bath

Why in the world would I want a slower-effective product, especially an aerosol that messes with my breathing ability, to be used in place of alcohol???  Never mind the fact that I have limited energy and already need to take frequent breaks when cleaning, so why extend the time involved in cleaning properly?

And, why pay for a brand name when the product exists, cheaper, in the first-aid aisle (and there’s no run on this aisle in the stores as most people buy into the ads vs. truly understanding the difference between ethanol, alcohol, and over the counter / OTC commercial products)???  When I tell her that 70% alcohol works better and doesn’t hurt me, I get an argument that I’m a know-it-all from someone who refuses to hear that this is my house, and that she’s lucky to stay here and be having these debates, especially considering she is a guest.  She refuses to back up her beliefs by showing me, with outside scientific opinion, that I am mistaken.  So, we’re at a stalemate.

No bueno.  Pouty temper tantrum and back into her bedroom she goes…  I am living with a 64 year old teenager who wants what she wants, regardless of its impact on my ability to survive.  Exhausting.  And that’s before we get into how exhausting it is for me to do anything on a regular schedule, never mind when it’s deep cleaning (vs. simply picking up clutter and thinking that a space is “clean”).

Having this shelter-in-place edict extended out to May 3rd may just end up killing us both.  I can put up with a lot, but her nerves are getting on my last nerve.

cleaning-stuff

 

 

FOOD WARS

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If the passive aggressive fight over cleaning standards doesn’t end in violence, the foot long brown hairs in the fridge and space for each of our food needs is going to end in violence.

Seriously, it’s only Day 6 of California’s shelter-in-place edict, and we’re mostly keeping our distance and finding out after-the-fact what the other person did to get on our last nerve.

700 square feet of living space is VERY tight quarters when 100 square feet belongs to each bedroom (thankfully at opposite ends of the house!), leaving 500 square feet of communal space for skirmishes or negative, passive-aggressive drivebys.

It’s especially brutal, though, when one is the homeowner, trying to make a homeless house guest feel welcome.  And, when the houseguest is 64-going-on-16, and entitled.

Immunocompromised, I’m fighting for my life after already contracting bacterial pneumonia from this guest after she brought a nasty cold home from her visit to her grandchild over President’s Day Weekend.  She doesn’t understand why I’m on disability as I look well enough.  So, she takes risks, uncaring and indifferent to the reality that I may pay a price from her choices or actions. (the image at the top of this blog shows dishes fully covered with hot water, soaking in soap, before I begin washing the dishes).

This image shows her typical preparations for dish washing, in cold water, with minimal soap:

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She can’t wash dishes worth a damn, refusing to soak them – totally covered – in hot, hot water for a bit before scrubbing them, and insisting on rinsing the still-crusty dishes in cold water.  Never mind using a disposable pan again and again, because she’s claimed it as hers, when I don’t want crust-covered items put back among the clean dishes.

Oh my freaking gawd !

My Mom used to BOIL the dishes water before we had an actual dish washing machine, so I think I’m being reasonable in insisting they merely sit for 30 minutes or so in 140 degree hot / hot water before leaving the dish rinse water on to achieve the necessary warm-to-hot dish rinse water.  (This is an old, old house, and it takes time for the hot water to make it to the sink from the heater).  No burning of skin on hands, you understand, but pretty close.  Just call me “Marilla”, LOL.  (Marilla from the Netflix series, “Anne with an E” in the frustrated homemaker on the right).

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I’ve been going on walks around the fields near my home, trying to stay busy and healthy and not exchange the harsh words hiding behind my teeth as we endure month 9 together.

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But, the food wars and related cleanup may be my breaking point.

My food storage is getting shoved to the side, touched with unwashed hands (yet another point of difference in our habits), and as she crawls in and out of the fridge shoving more and more food into the fridge that doesn’t require refrigeration as this pandemic is stroking all of her fears of being helpless and starving, leaving foot long spider’s web hairs tangled among the condiments and tripping me up when I’m reaching for something, I’m reaching my breaking point.

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(her frozen items are to the left, as her ice creams and other foods crowd my homemade, healthier, food, and I’ve had to remind her that I only get paid once a month, and she is NOT to take all my food storage space as I eat my way through my stored meals).

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(I have the upper left, with water and thawing frozen, 1 cup meals.  Then, my omelet making materials – more protein – is getting squeezed out on the right on the second shelf.  And, the bottom shelf is getting more and more hers as she stores every kind of bread known to man in there, and it’s pressing all my buttons in this petty fight for reasonable access to space).  Now I understand why the Real World MTV series fights were always about food and the kitchen !

We aren’t Jewish, and I don’t run a Kosher kitchen.  But, it might be pretty close by some standards.  And my OCD for order in the fridge, and cleanliness, are getting on my last nerve – never mind hers.

We *will* get through this passive aggressive war for space, but is it so wrong to know that I’m counting the days until she finds subsidized housing – anywhere but with me! – sooner rather than later?

Sadly, with the disabled and elderly on the list of most likely to pass, I’m also hoping for a bright side to someone else’s misfortune.  Puhleeze, if there is a God, let this pandemic get my houseguest higher up on the waiting list to get a place of her own.  We will both thank whatever powers-that-be…