Monday, December 27, 2010

Mission: Accomplished.

So my Christmas wish was to wake up on Christmas morning and find that there was nothing left to do in the bathrooms but stare at what I'd accomplished... And that wish came true. Mind you, I was a VERY busy bee in the last couple of days before Christmas, but that's really nothing out of the ordinary. I am a project-motivated person... I like being busy and I like achieving my goals in time to sit back and relax for a weekend before tackling another new project.

This week has been about the holidays. Obviously. But in the evenings I have taken to shifting around bedroom furniture trying to find something that better suits me than the configuration my grandparents had for 40+ years. It's an ongoing process... moving a few things around, seeing how it functions for a day or so, and then shifting things again as needed.

I would keep going on about all of this but I think I have even bored myself with this post. (If you started reading this only to find yourself picking your face up off of your keyboard, hoping you didn't drool on the keys, and having lost a couple hours with this giant snooze of a post, I apologize.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bathroom follies... (UPDATED.)

Ok, this is not a post about what typically goes on in a bathroom. This is about what is going on in MY bathroom lately... And don't worry, I'm not going to tell some horrific story involving explosive diarrhea.

So I have pretty well finished the downstairs bath. And a few problematic touch-ups on problems created by previous owners aside, it looks awesome. May post pictures soon. The upstairs bath should be done by Christmas if I get my ass in gear... Though I admit that lacquering the light fixtures is taking longer than I had initially planned on... I think it's an issue of humidity making the dry time longer, and as a result we are experiencing undesired texture issues in the finish. The former electrician who originally wired those things was SERIOUS about not having anyone undo his work, though I must say with regard to the mountings, he did a shitty job. (The wiring part I will approve though.) So I've had to re-do the mounting brackets and because that electrician was so protective of his wiring, I spent more time than I should have needed on undoing the wiring. (Re-doing it should be a snap though!)

I will say this; thank god I haven't run into anyone I know lately while out running the odd errand. Because I've been constantly dressed like a schlub, never wearing makeup, and either had wallpaper scrapings stuck in my hair or was covered in some form of paint or plaster pretty much every day for the last few weeks. It's not a look I expect to see strolling on the runways of Milan in the spring.

And with that, I will leave you because I've got to get back to my task if I want this thing done by Christmas!

Oh, and P.S. - Whoever thought it would be a great idea to have swivel brackets on these stationary light fixtures, YOU WERE WRONG! (SO INDESCRIBABLY AND HORRIBLY WRONG.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We're working on it...

Template changes are clearly underway. I'm not sure if I am sticking with this theme, but I rather like it SO FAR. (It is a work in progress)

I have lost the links in my sidebar, but I think I will be putting updated links in there at some point in the near future.

In the process, I also lost my comments because I used a comment gadget other than the standard blogger comments. So please feel free to re-comment as you like.

More changes to come, ...I think.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Here's what we're going to do...

I understand that I have a rather limited audience these days. I've gone through too many starts and fits to expect otherwise, and frankly blogging is becoming passe, so I'm not attracting new readers through word of mouth, and linkage the way I used to. An episode of my current favorite TV show, "House," (the only show that I block off time for,) recently did an episode about a blogger/patient, and the writers made some salient points about the concept of blogging. I won't bore you with all the details, but until I can find someone else who wants to publish my writing for a mass audience, this is my outlet.

That said, I'm remodeling my home, so I'm remodeling my blog as well. There will be a template change, as the current model is a little outdated for my current lifestyle, (I'm no longer the drinker and party girl I once was) and so, like a predictable girl after a bad breakup, we're getting a new look. I am going to take some time to find exactly what I want, so the change might not be immediate, but it is impending, and it will be rather sweeping.

All of that said, and knowing I have a limited audience, I am turning the reigns over to the readership for a bit.

You tell me what you want to know, and I will try to spin it as only I know how. The subject matter around here has been pretty boundless for a long time, and I don't see that changing... So if you've got a question, and you want my opinion, let me know and I will try to accommodate you. If it is personal or lengthy and you don't want it all out there in the comments, feel free to send an email to and I will sort out the details and then post a reply. If it is something simple and you just want an expansion from my point of view, leave it in the comments and I will find it there too. If it is something I don't feel comfortable answering for whatever reason, I simply won't answer it. (But there isn't much I'm not willing to take on here, so have at it.)

Don't get me wrong here, I'm still going to inject my own topics and interests, and daily misadventures on a regular basis, but in an effort to be more accommodating to the few readers I have left, I'm essentially opening the floor for a little Q & A time.

Ok, so now it's your turn!

Monday, December 06, 2010

I should write them a thank you note!

After that tirade about the peeling of the wallpaper (2 posts down) and the painted wallpaper, (which, in my opinion, should be considered a treasonous act of hostility against all future possible owners of a property, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of laws yet to be written,) I did a little homework.

I went to the websites of the assorted home improvement stores. I googled effective removal methods. I even searched for reviews of the products I found. The mixed reviews of the "Paper Tiger" seemed to indicate, (often in broken english -- which led me to believe that the users who wrote some of these reviews didn't possess the literacy level necessary to comprehend the directions for proper use,) that this was the tool I needed.

So I dropped by ye olde home depot. I looked through the aisle alongside the zip-strip and fancy $30.00 scrapers. (For thirty bucks, that shit better have an ivory handle and do half of the scraping by itself while you're on the couch clutching your third martini!) And there, on a peg not 6 inches from the floor of the aisle, (well out of range of the headliner products that the store REALLY wants you to buy and thus puts them on shelves at eye-level). It was seven dollars and forty nine cents. And as far as this home improvement project goes, it was easily the best seven and a half dollars spent so far!

I returned home with my new-found toy and restored hope, and idly gave it a quick twirl in a small area on the wall. My mother, drawn in by the curious noises produced in said twirl, came to observe.

For those of you not familiar with this product, it's a small dome-shaped tool that fits easily in the palm of the user. Under the dome are two small wheels with teeth set at an angle that tear tiny perforations into the surface of the offending wallpaper... and if used correctly, not deeply enough to damage the wall surface below. Admittedly, it makes a horrid screeching noise as you twirl it over the wall, because the edges of the dome are dragging on the wall surface, but that is a small price to pay when faced with the prospect of slowly and painfully scratching through and lifting away painted wallpaper one square inch at a time. (After all, with the benefit of an ipod turned up to eleven, you're not going to notice the screeching nearly as much.)

My mother was amused by patterns left by my screeching new toy. She readily encouraged a brief foray into using it to graffiti by scratching out our names onto the wall before we got serious about using the thing to its full and honest capacity.

After a few minutes, distractions deterred me from continuing. Dinner was ready, and there was something on TV that I think I was actually vaguely interested in watching. And then I came down with a cold and felt like garbage, so the last thing I wanted to do was go to town screeching this thing over the wall... So our names remained on the wall for a couple of days. But since I was feeling better and needed a sense of purpose in my day, I got to work this afternoon, while also doing three loads of laundry, and cooking dinner, (after three days of being miserable and non-productive, I was jumping back in with both feet) I got to work showing that painted wallpaper who was boss.

After doing about 60 square feet in total, and then squirting it all with a windex bottle full of water rather than any fancy over-priced stripping product, I took my trusty old $2.00 scraper and wouldn't you know, that nonsense came off like butter! And so a large portion of the wall just needs a good rinse and wipe to get minimal glue residue off, and it'll be ready for paint! (I don't think it's necessary to tell you that at this point in the game, taping out the tile and window will be no problem and the painting portion will be tantamount to receiving a puppy as a Christmas present... Pure, unadulterated joy. (I would've compared it to getting a pony, but let's be real here... None of us has ever gotten a pony for Christmas. And if you tell me you did, I'm going to call you a liar and demand documentation from your parents and video proof that it happened on Christmas... A puppy on the other hand is far more plausible and likely.)

Anyway, it might seem like a simple thing to you, but these days I deal in little victories.

I think I'm going to get to working on that thank you note for the maker of that fine product... And a letter to my parents asking why I never got a pony on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

We're talking about the wrong things...

(This post is entirely editorial in perspective and content.)

I have felt for a long time that we are talking about all the wrong things.

People focus on the other people. We focus on the banal concepts that give allow for conversation rather than discourse. We talk about the weather. We talk about sports. We talk about the boss' daughter's overpriced wedding. We talk about the Kardashians and other obscenely unimportant gossip of the day.

The ibid and common quote goes: "Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people." And in my experience we have all become small people.

I admit that I have become as guilty as most anyone, being a regular observer of as one of my daily web visits. But I also ascribe to a higher aspiration. I also visit,, and as a point of daily ritual and intent on seeking relevant news and information for my daily input. (The latter of which is HIGHLY UNDER-RATED, and in my opinion should be high on most people's list of informative sites, as it seems to encompass most any political and social view in features and editorial pieces.)

The fact is that we as a people have become far too complacent in ourselves. We scrutinize the latest update on the impending royal wedding in England (Something that we are not invited to, and doesn't even impact the U.S. economy, aside from raising airfares to Europe for spring 2011,) and the latest update on about the most current sports scandal, (which will serve no purpose other than to be further divisive to drive up ticket prices for our chosen favorite teams). Does it impact our daily lives? NO. Does it influence how I am going to make ends meet on an annual basis? NO. Does it do anything other than inflate or deflate my opinion of myself and or my opinion of the celebrity or sports affiliations I tend to root for? NO. Meanwhile, we're not teaching people about ACTUAL civics, or math, or important concepts of language... Why just this week, I LITERALLY (YES, LITERALLY) had to take twenty-five minutes out of my unemployed day and explain to someone in their late 30s (who makes $40 an hour) how cause and effect relationships work... I'm not kidding. This person is nearly 40, and I had to spend nearly half an hour explaining what cause and effect was, and how it operates in language theory and reality. Yet, I am the unemployed idiot, and they take home upwards of 80 grand a year. (Do the math.)

Like I said right out of the gate... We're talking about the wrong things.

Politics. The economy. Money. Job satisfaction. Quality of life... If we delve into these topics on more than a surface-level basis, they are considered TABOO! We don't want to upset anyone. We don't want to rock the boat. We don't want anyone at the office to talk about their pay grade or benefits package for fear that someone else is catching a raw deal. We might imply that we are open about these things, but we're not. This politically correct atmosphere we've established as a cultural norm is something that is running us into the ground and damaging people's lives along the way.

We're not talking about the person who is assisting the dentist cleaning my teeth... she might only have a high school diploma and some limited in office training. I don't begrudge her the job she does, but I do take issue with the fact that she makes more for turning on a machine to sterilize the instruments going into my mouth and taking notes on a chart than someone with a college degree in social work who spends their days going into poop houses and supervising visits between child molesters and the kids they abused.

Think about it.

It should enrage you. I'm not just talking about dental assistants. I'm also talking about Hollywood starlets, celebutantes, agents, marketing directors, cash-flow analysts, unionized auto workers, finance magnates, celebrity chefs, Las Vegas pit bosses, and a thousand other jobs... I could very easily spend my time memorizing a script and decide I am better off improvising a few lines, or looking at a chart and saying, "Yeah, that's likely to be profitable" or saying, "I'm calling my agent and getting a cover on US Weekly about a crazy pregnancy rumor!" I could easily screw in five bolts per car on ten cars an hour. (Hell for $80 an hour, you can step it up to 12 cars an hour and I'm pretty sure I still wouldn't complain too loudly!) I could spend years in a kitchen studying the exact conditions necessary to yield a perfectly cooked steak and how to pair it with pan seared scallops and a potato puree that would make your mouth water. I could stand and watch people deal cards and decide when a player is getting too hot and costing my boss too much money that we need to switch out the dealer and the cards... And I could get paid obscene amounts of money for any of it. But I don't. And do you know why?

I didn't think it was worth tangible value. And there are others out there too!

They don't get paid obscene amounts of money for what they do because teachers and policemen, and firemen, and public defenders, and social workers went to school and decided that people were their currency. (Hell, there are greens keepers that make more in a week than a public school teacher makes in a month!)

I don't mean that they trade in people... That's slavery... Highly illegal and generally frowned upon pretty much no matter who you talk to.

I mean that we consistently culturally value the wrong things. We value the wrong things because we are focused on and continue talking about all the wrong things.

Don't get me wrong... I know that those movie stars are making $20 million a movie for their efforts at entertaining the masses while teachers and social workers are touching just a few lives at a time... But how hard are those Hollywood actors working for it? I mean how many hours a day do they have to put in to figure out that a specific line isn't working, or that their character is going to be more believable to a mass audience if they weighed 140 lbs rather than 95,(or vise versa depending on the role). That's not rocket science. You know who should be making that money? ROCKET SCIENTISTS! (Or engineers who figure out how to make a zero emissions car, or people responsible for educating the next generation to enter the work force, or UN peacekeepers...etc.)

Basically I think we need to be far more concerned with where this country is headed than the weekend box office returns, or the next new gaming system? Do you know how many hectares are in an acre? Do you know how many sides a dodecahedron has? Do you know what bodily systems are most impacted by hypoproteinemia? HELL, DO YOU UNDERSTAND CAUSE AND EFFECT? For example; The cause is, "We are culturally concerned with ALL THE WRONG THINGS!" What is the effect? -- To be determined.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear previous home owners...

(And this is actually an open letter only directed to the folks who previously owned MY home. And I am entirely skipping the grandparents' ownership, although there is not sufficient evidence to indicate whether or not they had a hand in this too... But the parts where I get verbally abusive are not directed at my grandparents, they were good folks. That said, let's just launch into it.)

You ASSHATS!! Your cockshinery and blatant laziness is going to cost me way more time, sweat, and money than would have otherwise been necessary!

First off... I'm pretty sure that you were drunk when you went to pick out your wallpaper. How else would you be able to explain the eagle, lantern, powder horn, laurel branch, rooster, and schoolhouse pattern you seem to have originally picked? There is no excuse for that mess. NONE. And don't you dare give me, "Oh, it was just lovely at the time!" Because I am calling shenanigans on your asses! You were drunk, or you were going for some kind of "folksy-americana-traditional" or you were deliberately trying to make some kind of satirical statement with your wallpaper selection. And let me just say that if it was the latter, then you are even bigger idiots than I gave you credit for, as there are and were better ways to make satirical statements than with your selection of wallpaper in your suburban Indiana kitchen.

Secondly, it appears that in between the first and second rounds of wallpaper you decided it would be a great idea to put plaster over the wallpaper. How in god's creation you managed to get that to work is a mystery in the physics of plaster and wallpaper, but you did it. And after you did it, you appeared to leave that plaster naked and apply a new layer of hideous wallpaper over it. Turquoise floral and diamond patterned paper? REALLY? This is marginally better than your first choice, but I am pretty sure you were still a little buzzed when making that selection too.

The selections were bad enough, but then you apparently elected to paint over that mess... And somewhere along the line, someone decided that wasn't going to do, so you started to scrape at some of it. But in a consistent run of amateur moves, you scraped haphazardly, and DEEPLY gouging out not only the paint, plaster, and bad wallpaper you put up, but also the plaster walls! This leaves all future attempts at any finish other than wallpaper pretty much out of the question unless we are willing to dump god knows how many paychecks into getting this problem solved properly.

And then there is the half-bath... Good God! The bottom-most layer appears to be a shade of paint that resembles "Tiffany blue" which would be fine in small doses, but doesn't seem to pair all that well with the seafoam green tiles you have in there. You painted over that with white, which was arguably a better choice and I would have been fine with. But then you wallpapered over that with a pattern of ferns and grasses, and palm fronds... Again, I don't know how those greens ever went with the seafoam tile, but hey, what do I know? Apparently, you agreed with me at some point and painted white over that mess... And while white would've been fine, YOU PAINTED THE WALLPAPER AGAIN! Come on! Do you really hate all of humanity THAT MUCH? The white paint was then covered with a floral pattern of wallpaper... Not the worst choice, but hell, if I want to see flowers, you know where I think I should go? (Hint: It's not the bathroom!)

Basically, you can see I am very busy undoing the handiwork of the past. And when I was asked if I would rather just put up wallpaper to cover all of this, my response was, "No. I don't hate anyone that much... Kim Jong Il or Osama Bin Laden could buy this house tomorrow and I still wouldn't have the audacity to wallpaper over this shit!"

A steamer and scraper are the items I will keep close at hand for now... I am very glad that only a few rooms of this place were wallpapered. And I am pretty sure that the full bath has only the one layer... Though I haven't sufficiently peeked under the edges to verify that fact.

I knew going into this that there was work to be done, but undoing the shoddy work that lay hidden underneath all of this for so long is far more than I had initially counted on. It's going to be a LONG LONG road to redemption on this one, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Per your request...

I do read the comments here, and the lone comment on the last post requested that I tell you about some of the more amusing gems that have been recovered in the "big dig." Happy to oblige.

First off, let me reiterate that my grandparents were not hoarders. They did save all their letters, a large assortment of junk mail and out-dated large-print editions of Reader's Digest and otherwise, mostly things that had some general use, and loads of stuff where the use was not readily apparent to me, but still, generally speaking, this was relatively useful stuff. You're not going to find me featured on an episode of "hoarders" needing professional help with this particular clean up effort... My nomadic lifestyle has really honed my sensibilities to a fine art of spartan utilitarianism. (I do admit to being girly enough that I do love decorator items, and unique ones at that, so, I am not totally utilitarian in lifestyle, but I know going into my projects exactly what will and won't be useful.) If an item has been bested by a new technology, and that technology can be found elsewhere in the residence, for the most part, the original item goes. The exception to this is predominantly in the tool department. Yes, I admit that we currently have an overabundance of hammers and screwdrivers, but in that regard, I also adhere to the "you never have the one you need when you need it" philosophy. So the tools have remained. This also means we've got a SERIOUSLY old school lawn mower. And by "SERIOUSLY OLD SCHOOL" I mean it's one step up from a goat. It's the old rotary push mower that requires no electricity or gas,running solely on the kinetic energy provided by the person pushing, and is merely a series of rotating blades which are totally open for hands and feet to get caught in. Fortunately, I have no small children, so this open-blade variety, in addition to being very environmentally friendly, and noise pollution free, is totally acceptable to me as a kept item.

In the more amusing, and often somewhat disturbing categories of finds, I also discovered multiple home enema kits, way more glycerin-suppository laxatives than anyone other than a severe bulimic or Hollywood starlet could ever hope to need in a lifetime, and other outdated home remedies for assorted maladies that can be treated by methods with a simple trip for currently approved treatments sold at a Walgreens or CVS rather than shoving something in your back door. Those items were rather rapidly tossed, because I have no intention of using them, perhaps largely because,(call me a prude,) I think of my back door as an exclusive "EXIT ONLY."

I also found a few boxes of at-home perms that, judging by the packaging were not sold anytime after 1978, and were never used in those intervening years... Those also found their way to the dump, along with a rainbow-colored assortment of ugly hair clips, scrunchies, and cloth headbands that no rational person with a choice and capacity to exercise free will would ever sport in public.

Having taken over the master bedroom, it was also my unfortunate duty to sort through... well... master bedroom type things. Having found a tube of KY jelly very early on in the process, I knew I was very likely to encounter at least a few shudder-and-or-nightmare-inducing items. The black crotchless panties were found and discarded shortly thereafter. Admittedly, there was one piece of lingerie that made me chuckle in addition to the obligatory shudder. A pair of white bikini underwear with a lion stitched just above the crotch that was also lovingly stitched with the letters "GRRRRRR!" (Again, chuckle, shudder, trash.)

There was also a... I guess we can call it marital aid, in the form of a handbook, apparently one given to my grandparents by some member of the clergy either shortly before or shortly after they wed. It specifically noted on the first page not to let this book fall into the hands of children, or the "perverted of mind." Falling into both of these categories based solely on the timing of my birth and the social acceptability of certain things relevant at the time this little manual was published, I turned this over to my mother who found it endlessly entertaining and whom I often found in riotous fits of laughter as she proceeded to read the ensuing passages. I assume it was funny by today's standards of what is acceptable in the bedroom, (married or not,) and let it be.

Another helpful guidebook recovered from the dig was a very out-dated manual on "how to help the problem drinker" which was, rather amusingly stored in the liquor cabinet. I read the first couple of pages and laughed uncontrollably at references to drinkers in general as "sad sacks" and the recovering alcoholics as a (and this is a DIRECT QUOTE,) "group of folks sitting around singing 'how dry I am' while holding each other back from gulping down whiskey, and preaching to others about the evils of the 'DEMON RUM.'"

That one was always going to be a tough one to top, and still ranks in the top three finds, but then while clearing out the bathroom cabinets, I ran across an unopened box containing 10 individual packets, marked "LE FUNELLE!" The packets were then further marked, "For when you're out on the town and cannot sit down!" Yes, that's right, it was a funnel for the ladies to use in bathrooms they deemed unsanitary, so they could pee while standing. I laughed heartily at that, and proceeded to wrap it and give it as a gift to my best friend. I think the odds are good that I will get it back for Christmas, and that she will get it back for her birthday in the spring. It's just one of those gifts.

I also ran across a couple of decks of vintage playing cards with naked ladies on them, and seeing as I don't have a pen pal on death row who would get ready use out of those, I simply passed them along to the more appreciative men in the family, who proceeded to jokingly fight about who would get the deck featuring the blonde, and who got the brunette. (They then decided to mix the decks by suit so they both got some of each.)

That's a random sampling of the more worthwhile finds so far. I will let you all know if anything more interesting turns up!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Cut to Tom Petty singing "Refugee"

Ok, so in the last post we covered the fact that I am a person who seeks geographical solutions to life's problems.

I'm not comfortable with calling it "running away from my problems" because I am not so much running to or from anywhere, but rather, rolling up the homestead, packing it in the ol' wagon, and rolling back to the roots more often than not. Basically, with minimal effort involved, my problems would have no trouble finding me.

That said, I admit that I have spent a healthy chunk of cash on u-hauls, pizza, and cases of beer to compensate helpful friends in the last few years... Much more than I would like. And yes, I have thought quite a bit about how my nomadic lifestyle has kept me from pursuing certain things, and probably a few relationships. But it has also provided me with interesting opportunities, random jobs, and some really great friendships that I would have lacked otherwise.

Living like a refugee has some definite pros and cons.

This most recent move has not only landed me back in my hometown, but in the house where my grandparents lived. This particular situation, too, has pros and cons. For example: Living in hometown - Con for night life, pro for cost of living. The house is paid off - DEFINITE PRO. The grandparents lived here for more than 50 years and didn't throw much away in all that time - MOSTLY CON, with the occasional random found object becoming just amusing enough to be register as a pro.

Yes, I could go on with that list for a while, but I have a feeling I am already starting to bore all two of you whom I have retained as readers, so I will stop.

The point of this is, when I talk to the friends I have amassed elsewhere, and they ask how the new place is, or if I have found work yet, or the other run of the mill questions you get from people who don't see you everyday, I do have things to tell them despite living like a shut-in at present.

The new place is lovely, despite being full of all kinds of crap. No I haven't found work yet, though I admit to busying myself with other endeavors instead of REALLY hunting for that next job. Essentially, I look at the job ads for a little while and then I busy myself with what I refer to as the big dig. I have spent weeks digging through every drawer, cabinet, closet, nook, and cranny of this place, shuffling through mountains of papers, photos, odd little knickknacks, boxes upon boxes of utter nonsense, and pretty much anything else you can imagine amassing in more than 50 years while living in the same house.

I should probably explain something. No, my grandparents were not hoarders. They were, however, children in the depression era. This led them to save things that were vaguely useful just in case they might be needed later. Also, they saved newspaper clippings from 1974, (and every other year,) not because they were particularly interesting, but because at the end of a full page article covering some local event in great depth and detail, my grandmother's name appeared for some banal reason one paragraph from the bottom. This would be fine if there were just one or two of those, but we are talking about tons of loose little newsprint clippings that aren't mounted for preservation because they have some great significance, but rather stuffed in an envelope, and dropped in a drawer because my grandfather ranked fourth that week in a local golf outing in 1958. Apparently this was worth remembering... Just not important enough to actually do anything with any of it.

To boot, in a world before email and that ever-so-convenient delete button, my grandparents were tireless correspondents. They retained their pen-pals from all over the place for decades. Unfortunately, they also retained every letter from every person who ever wrote them anything. I suppose as pros or cons go, this one could go either way, because some of it is vaguely amusing, but for the most part it is just heaps of crap that must be sorted one piece at a time... But now I know that my aunt had tennis elbow in the spring of '74, and that my great aunt had some money troubles back in '53, and I also know that all too frequently many of these letters contained pictures. Mind you none of these pictures qualify to compete with Annie Liebowitz, or Ansel Adams... We're just talking about the run of the mill shots of the back of my cousin's head, or my mother falling asleep at the dining room table, or some random house in Dayton, Ohio, or snow on some residential street somewhere in Vermont. (Riveting, I know.)

Don't get me wrong. Some of it is great. I do have the advantage of being lucky enough to live in a house that is paid off, so I can take the time to sort through all of this, and some of it does admittedly shine a light into the more darkened corners of my family history, but at the same time, I don't really care about the vast majority of it, and yet ALL of it still has to be painstakingly examined and sorted, one piece at a time.

You're probably saying to yourself, "Just chuck it all and start fresh!" And as far as I am concerned that would be the ideal. And perhaps this is my nomadic-refugee lifestyle piping up, but seeing as I lived without all of this other stuff all these years, having it all thrust upon me now seems silly. And if it were up to me, I would most likely give the majority of it a general once-over and chuck most of it... But you see, there is a fly in the ointment. My family knows I am here. They know what I am doing here. Some have readily embraced it and encouraged me to do anything in my power to make this house my own. Which would mean purging many of the the remnants of the past. But there are others... OH YES... OTHERS.

The others are the rather nutty (not in a good way) members of the family. The ones who essentially think that this house ought to stand as is, and essentially be a shrine to the former residents. They seem to believe that nothing should be touched or moved, or (GASP!) thrown out because at some point my grandparents thought it was important to keep.

I'm sorry, but I don't look at a user's manual for a toaster purchased in 1964 and think to myself, "This is truly a precious heirloom! It must be preserved and handed down to future generations!" (That seems to be the thinking of the "OTHERS.") Meanwhile my thinking is, "Jesus, what the hell is this doing here? It is clearly in with other manuals and instructions... Including the manual for the 1976 model toaster that replaced the old '64... (12 years is a pretty good run for a toaster if I do say so myself) And the envelope all of this is in is clearly only a few years old, so someone had to look at all of this... WHY DID WE SAVE IT? Why do we still have assembly instructions for a weed whacker? It's two screws on the handle and then you move the little lever and pop on the wire spool at the bottom... Did we save that in case one of the screws fell out and a mentally handicapped person was recruited to do the repair job? I don't think we need the assembly instructions anymore... WAIT, THERE ARE THREE SEPARATE WEED WHACKER MANUALS... WE ONLY HAVE ONE WEED WHACKER, AND IT ISN'T ANY ONE OF THESE!" Clearly my thinking, while much more long-winded, is also much more logical and rational. Upon completion of examining all the manuals contained in the manual envelopes, my next thought was, "Why was this all stored in the dining room in the cabinet with the nice table linens, and why is there also a cache of incandescent light bulbs and three rotary phones in here too?"

There isn't any real rhyme or reason to any of this, or how any of it was stored. Heap on 8 grandkids and 5 great grandkids all sending every little art project imaginable, and obituary clippings and funeral cards for anyone who you ever breathed on and you're starting to see how things add up.

You can see how I have occupied my time lately.

In the words of Shakespeare, "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more..."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little like the old school nintendo...

So a few months ago I lost my sister. You all know that.

I admittedly retreated into my shell for a little while. Admittedly the hiatus lasted longer than planned. I will attribute that (at least in part) to a complete computer meltdown among other assorted personal crap.

But in a future post intended to detail the things that need a little fleshing-out, I plan to give you the highlights and low-lights of those missing months. Suffice it to say that I made like I did with my old-school original nintendo system, and hit the ol' "RESET" button.

Yes, as you may or may not have inferred by the very presence of this post, I have managed to reset my computer. After my own futile attempts to recover minimal function (and dubiously yet desperately hoping to recover all of my other useful hard drive information) I let my computer-nerd friends have a whack at it. No luck. I even took it to the store that I bought it from, (because for once I actually purchased a warranty...) That conversation went a little something like this:

"Hey, my computer won't work. I bought the warranty though."

"Ok, let's have a look. ...Oh, yeah, you do have a warranty, but it only covers physical damage. Clearly you've got a software issue, and your warranty only covers damages to the hardware."

"Uhh... Ok. That bit was left out of the warranty pitch. So since you think this is a software issue, and that's not covered, what is this going to cost me?"

"Well, if you want us to back up what's left of your hard drive, it'll be at least $70.00, possibly a lot more if you have a lot of data on there."

"Well, yes, there is a lot of data on there. It's primarily music though, and I can always get that back. And I email all my documents to myself, so I have backups of those. You're basically telling me that I am going to lose any extra programs, but in this case they are all easily replaced. I have the disks. So without a backup, what is this going to cost me to fix?"

"Umm, depending on the extent of the problem, $150.00 to $300.00 or so."

Astounded at the figure he just quoted relative to the cost of brand new computers chilling on the shelves a mere 20 yards away, I replied, "Believe me when I tell you that I don't mean to shoot the messenger on this one, because I know it's not your personal policy, but rather, the store's policy, but that is ridiculous and frankly your pricing is obscene!"

"I know. Sorry. So what do you want to do?"

"Give me a minute."

The more I stood there mentally fuming with (and plotting the "mysterious" death) of the asshole who sold me the warranty without mentioning the fact that it didn't at all include the all-too-common software-related crashes, and debating the relative merits of parting with a healthy chunk of my next paycheck, something dawned on me. So I called over my helpful neighborhood price-gouger, and asked him a question.

"So you're telling me that my computer is suffering from a software malfunction, and that in order to fix it, I will have to part with a chunk of cash in order to get it working, because the warranty that I already dumped a big chunk of cash on when I bought the damn thing doesn't cover a software problem? Am I right so far?"


"But, if I were to say... 'ACCIDENTALLY' drop it from the roof of a six-story building like the one I work in, or go out into the parking lot here and 'WOOPS!' back over it with my car, my warranty kicks in, and you fix it for free?"

"Well, yeah."

"Doesn't that seem a little asinine?"


"Stupid. Your policy is stupid, agreed?"

"Well, maybe."

"Trust me, it is."

In lieu of physically jacking up my computer for the sake of costing the shadily-shrewd jerkfaces at least the cost of the my warranty in replacement hardware and parts alone, I opted for what I thought was a more rational option. [*It should be noted that the next time I have a problem I am going to hurl this thing into the path of an oncoming Mack truck, to ensure that they cover the cost for maximum damages!(And for the techie-nerds out there, I had already tried running a recovery from the partition, but it had somehow managed to become corrupted.)] I borrowed a system recovery disk from my friend who incidentally has almost the exact same system. And it worked... For about three days. Deceptively, the disk I had used did manage to recover my system. But upon rebooting, it figured out that my computer was ever so slightly different from the one I used the disk from, (differing in serial number alone is apparently enough to be detected by this shit show... sneaky bastards!) And after that second breakdown, I gave up for a little while.

I didn't touch my computer at all for about a month and a half, except when it was in the way, and I had to move it to gain additional seating for guests. I didn't think about it at all when I came home from work. I traveled and visited friends and family on weekends. I got my sports scores texted to my phone. As the two month mark rolled around, and I gave notice at my apartment complex and my job, having a working computer suddenly became a whole lot more important. So I ordered the disk for my computer. Only to find that the recovery disk buffoons sent it to my billing address, and not my shipping address. Two frustrating weeks later, I got the damn thing. I popped it in, let it run, only to find that it wasn't getting anywhere.

I even let it run overnight. Nada.

I tried running a recovery using any combination of the limited options to see if any of them got any further. Let those options run every night, still nothing. (This brings us up to about a week ago.) After one simple question to an IT guy friend of mine, it was up and running in under 3 hours.

Luckily I didn't feel totally stupid though, because it was a legit question, he said he'd never seen it happen that way, and I did still need the disk to fix this shit show.

Long story short, (WAYYYY too late, I know,) I lost all my music, because apparently my backup system saved the song listings, but apparently not the songs themselves. This really wasn't a total disaster, as I do have an arsenal of CDs that I can easily reload much of my music from. The rest can be recreated by a combination of info gleaned from my as-yet-un-synched ipod, and the song listings saved from the backups that apparently ran for three to five hours at a time and yet somehow still never really backed anything up.

So The computer is reset.

A few of you, (I say that like I have more than one or two readers left,) might have caught a quick little unexplained phrase up there a few paragraphs ago. I should probably also note that I kind of hit the reset button on the rest of my life too. I quit my shitty job. And yes, I moved back to my hometown, because apparently I seek geographical solutions to my problems, and with the sister thing, it seemed like a good idea to get back to the ol' roots for a while.

No matter how desperate I get, I won't go back to the job I had the last time I lived here... Though now that I think about it, I never did finish the "Poop House Chronicles..." And I know the few of you who remain loyal to me for some as-yet- unknown reason probably want a genuine conclusion to that horrible mess. I'll see what I can do.

My ridiculous ass is back though. Hopefully this reset and return will stick for a fat minute.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It has been a very long time...

I have good reasons. I know that many people have just given up on the blogging altogether lately, and announced their retirements, but I assure you, while it has admittedly crossed my mind, I am not retiring just yet.

The truth is, back in April, one of my sisters passed away unexpectedly. In addition to working through issues that were going on long before that happened, the addition of that loss, and the grief that goes along with it have occupied a large chunk of my time and attention.


Back soon.

I left money for pizza on the counter, and the number for where I'll be is on the fridge. No prank calls, and no playing ball in the house.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Apparently despite my best efforts I'm turning out to be a good person.

My mom called last night, and said that when she went to church she saw a girl I went to grade school and high school with. Her name is Adrienne. All through our youth she was a cute, petite little size 2 cheerleader. She was actually not a total prostitute, and strangely a very intelligent cheerleader, (that lone exception to the rule) so I had no beef with her because she wasn't interested in getting busy with my older brother (a rarity among the cheerleaders,) ... I am pretty sure she ended up going to Notre Dame… But anyway, mom said that she saw Adrienne going up the aisle to be a eucharistic minister at mass, and apparently the poor girl has gained some weight. To quote the conversation directly:

"Hey, you remember Adrienne?"

"Yeah, why?"

"She used to be very cute and petite, right?"


"Well, I saw her at mass tonight, and that girl has got a rump on her now!"


"I'm not kidding! She's got a butt on her that goes on for days! It looked like two bulldogs fighting in a bag!"


"Well she does!"

"Well, I know you're telling me this to make me feel better about myself, but I never had any issue with her… I don't delight in news of her new giant ass!"

"I just thought you should know."

"Noted. Thanks."

"I mean if you both show up at your class reunion, you'll be the one who has held up better!"

"Mom, it is never about that. High school reunions are to make fun of the girls who got trapped in loveless marriages by shotgun weddings, and to poke fun at their horrible choices of 'Baby-daddies' … And to make fun of said horrible baby-daddies, and the fact that some of the wealthier classmates got cut off by their rich parents and ended up working at the deli counter in the grocery store on a long-term basis because they didn't think they'd ever have to worry about a degree and supporting themselves for real."

"At my age it's about who died since the last reunion."

"You don't ever go to your reunions."

"Well neither do you."

"We've only had one so far… and a few people in my class have died since that one."

"Well, you haven't! Which is why I thought you'd enjoy knowing that one of your classmates now has an unnaturally large ass!"

"Well, I appreciate the thought, but my ass is plenty big enough that I don't take joy from the same issues in other people. It's called compassion… Golden rule and all. AND YOU NOTICED THIS IN CHURCH! You need to go to confession. You should have been too busy praying to notice and judge the flaws of others."

"You're probably right."

"I love you, mom."

"Yeah, I love you too… killjoy."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Apologies of a misanthrope...

I am miserable.

I think about updating all the time, and then I don't. Part of it is to ensure that I don't drag you through the mud and mire of my misery just to say that I posted something. I don't want to do that to you. I don't want to be that Debbie Downer, because not only is it no fun for me to live in real-time, it's no fun for anyone to read after the fact, and it's not why you come here.

In short, my job makes me hate life, and it finds new and interesting ways to do so on a daily basis. I mean I love the people I work with, but there is a lot to hate aside from that, and I'm not one to whine over something stupid like not having my own staple remover, or having to borrow someone else's scissors.

There is good news though. There is a change in the wind. A big change.

You see, my friends, I'm looking at putting my nomadic lifestyle behind me... I'm looking at buying myself a house. I know, I know... It's crazy talk for the Lizzle to speak of settling down in one place for long, and in the politically conservative south, no less! I never thought it would happen either. Mind you I'm not pregnant, nor even romantically attached enough to get pregnant, and it might be really stupid of me to go looking for a house when I hate my job as much as I do, but jobs will come and go, and I am fed up with dumping rent to pay someone else's mortgage payment and having nothing to show for it but walls I'm not allowed to paint.

Mom says I can get a puppy too! (Any she's right, and that excites me, because I've wanted a puppy for a long time.) But we're going to take things one step at a time. Because there are other things up in the air at this point, and I don't want to get in over my head... But the times are kind of exciting, though with house hunting, and other issues that drag me out of town on the weekend I am busy with things other than posting. I know that's not an excuse, because it only takes a few minutes to provide an update, but in saving for a down payment on a house, I'm not paying for internet at my apartment, so I have to leave and go elsewhere to post updates and that's a hassle, but I promise to make more of an effort to keep you updated.


I really will try harder!