Wednesday, September 25, 2013

canned monkeys

I’m on strike. It’s a personal strike. There’s been enough drama at work today. Now I’m going to sit and do NOTHING. Nothing except write a blog post while I wait on some people to be notified via automated processes that it’s time to create more drama. How in the hell did I get myself into this line of work? I must have been a crack baby. There, I’ll blame my mother…as if crack fathers are no matter at all. Their sperm must be genuine grade A perfection regardless of how much crack they use – you never hear about a crack father. But God forbid you should be one of those scummy skanky crack ho’s putting out those poor little sick babies into the world.

Well, I wasn’t a poor little sick baby, so it must be that my mother wasn’t on crack when I was born. Lucky for me. It’s also lucky I wasn’t born in the Middle East or somewhere that permits fathers to kill their daughters for embarrassing them, or where women are stoned to death, or drowned, or hung for making decisions for themselves. I probably wouldn’t have lived to see my age reach double digits. I bet Middle Eastern girls have nightmares about their mamas saying, “Just wait until your father gets home!” I’m not sure I ever used that phrase with any of my girls (perhaps they were always so perfectly well-behaved it was never necessary to threaten with a higher power….or perhaps the father was not the higher power in our house).


This morning at work, all hell broke loose. John Prine wrote a rather-depressing song about Sam Stone, a Viet Nam veteran who returned home from war as a morphine addict and finally died of an overdose. There’s a line in the song that always comes to mind on days like today – climbing walls while sitting in a chair. That was me today, monkeys in a can.  Things didn’t get any better until about 4:15, and it’s not over yet. 

Our new refrigerator was installed yesterday. It’s a magnificent example of modern technology. LED lighting makes everything look clean and sanitary (hmmmm…maybe because everything really is still clean). It has the same cubic feet as the old side-by-side fridge, but wow – it holds so much more! It’s safe to say all inhabitants of our house are impressed. Getting the old fridge out and new fridge in was very difficult. The delivery guys had to take the doors off the fridges to get them through the kitchen doorway. Someday, I imagine we will use 3D printers and nanotechnology to produce a new refrigerator right on site. No need to haul such a large item. That doesn’t take care of getting rid of the old one though.  It's not a perfect world.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Some people say that three is a charmed number.  Some say that bad things come in threes. 

I do hope the run of bad luck ends at three.  Last month, my laptop croaked and I had to buy a new one.  It was no more than ordered when the transmission and some other parts went bad on my van.  And now… this week???  Our refrigerator, the most expensive appliance in the house (other than heating/air conditioning) has gone out on strike.  It’s damned unhandy having no refrigeration, and finding a new fridge will be no easy task in our small town.  It may be weeks before we can have one shipped in and installed.    

I used to be very uptight about money and my budget.  What a lucky woman I am now, a person who can pay the bills, cough up extra thousands when things break, and still make plans for going places and doing fun things.  As much as I hate my job, I’m grateful to have it.  Life was not always so easy.

Back in the days when I first left home and went off to college, money was very, VERY tight.  I grew up with grandparents who had lived through a great depression, and who lived during the world war when many things were rationed.  We didn’t have a lot, but we never went hungry or without things we really needed.  It was good that I was brought up that way; it made me willing to make do with less.  It made me think going without things was normal.  Well, it is normal for most people.

So maybe three big expenditures will be the end of my bad luck for a while. But maybe it wasn’t bad luck at all.  Everything that broke can be replaced or repaired.  Maybe it was good luck after all.             

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I have a van again.  Hooray!!  I picked it up from the garage Friday evening and gave it a good test drive yesterday – to Lexington with the family for the Scarefest Convention.  The van is running fine, but is has a different sound, seems a bit hesitant to start, and I think overall there’s a bit more vibration.  Hopefully it’s nothing to worry about, but I will call and ask tomorrow. 

Scarefest was interesting.  People of all ages, some dressed up in all sorts of costumes, lots of goth and aliens, tattoos on many.  Vendors were selling all things related to zombies, vampires, paranormal, horror, devil-worship, palm reading, magic, space aliens, etc.  It was kind of like a giant flea market.  Erin and Emily wanted to go, so we went.  My favorite thing to look at were dolls that had been modified and/or mutilated. Who buys that stuff?  Not me.
So this afternoon, I was itching to get back out in my kayak.  Summer will be gone soon, but today was mostly sunny and nearly 80F.  The air was calm, so the water on Greenbo Lake was like glass.  Hardly anyone was out there so paradise was all mine (so it seemed).  Today, I went to one side at the widest part of the lake, spied a sign on the other side, and paddled as hard and fast as I could go toward that sign.  I wanted to see how fast my kayak could go.  Pretty fast!  When close enough to the sign to read it, I smiled to read “IDLE SPEED ONLY.”  That means slow - no wake.  When I got close to shore, I turned my kayak perpendicular to the wake I had created, just so it would rock my boat a bit…which is always kind of fun.  Perhaps the coast guard would have ticketed me if they had been patrolling today (or not J).

Back in a cove today, I set my paddle across the front and just sat back and took in the peace and sounds of nature.  We still have jar flies, but I could also hear squirrels barking to each other, woodpeckers, and turkeys.  It occurred to me that heaven couldn’t possibly be any more beautiful or perfect than this place.  I sat so still that the fish came all around my boat to investigate.  After a little more time, buzzards began circling overhead.  I watched their reflections in the water.  I would have stayed longer but hikers in the woods invaded and the tranquility dissipated immediately.  People spoil everything in this world.  Sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. 

It’s late.  Tomorrow is Monday.  Returning to that place-which-shall-not-be-named is nothing like heaven, or peace, or tranquility. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


There has been just much too much going on lately, but things are getting better…at least as far as my personal life goes.  My work life has been the lowest pit of hell lately.  Just when I thought there would be time to start catching up on some projects I’m months behind on, I got notice yesterday of another  new high-priority initiative that will require months of my time to test everything I support, change whatever crap doesn’t work, and migrate to new servers.  From now on, that will be the-place-which-shall-not-be-named (because thinking about that place just puts me in a bad mood).    

My laptop crapped out completely a few weeks ago.   The new one was supposed to be delivered today, but they attempted to deliver it yesterday while nobody was home.  They left a waiver on the door that I could sign, telling them to deliver it with nobody home and if any damage occurred during shipping, they aren’t responsible.  Um, no.  I took today off work and will wait here all day long until they come back.  I’m giddy at the thought of opening a (my) brand new laptop, and besides that, staying home is much nicer than spending another day at the-place-which-shall-not-be-named.

Two days after I ordered a new computer, my van crapped out.  Of course this happened in a terrible place – two lane road with no place to get off, in the middle of a national forest with absolutely no cell phone service for miles around.  A very sad, long story short, it took more than 3 hours to get a tow truck.  Not only is the van getting a new transmission, new timing belt, new water pump, new front and rear brakes, it’s getting an oil change.  The bad news - $$$$$$$$$$.  The good news is that it’s supposed to be ready to pick up tomorrow.        

I’m graduating in less than three weeks.  The regalia (cap and gown) arrived a few weeks ago.  When I got a look in the mirror…well…words just can’t express the thoughts that were whipping around in my brain.  Am I clown?  A peacock?  A wallflower just can’t blend in enough wearing this get-up.  I don’t  know what to say about it.  The stripes down the front and gigantic sleeves give the appearance of an extra wide load.
Sunday, Erin and I visited Miss Sarah – it was a day full of adventure.  Not only did we visit cows, and play with chickens and kitties, we explored a giant cemetery.  The most interesting thing there was an old crypt that was caving in; you could see old caskets in there.  Old tomb stones are so much fancier and imaginative than modern ones.  This cemetery had graves marked in the 1700s and some men who died in the revolutionary war.    Some of stones are so smooth and eroded you can’t make out names or dates.  Sarah showed us her favorite tree.  It has multiple trunks that are twisted together, which just invites a person to climb (and act goofy…of course).  I hope no dead people minded that we had fun in their final resting place.  I wish it could stay just as lovely forever as it was on Sunday.  

silly girls playing in the tree posed for a photo
The books says "In loving memory of a noble useful life."
My favorite stone.  If I have a grave stone, give me a grisly skeleton with vines growing through it. 
Many old headstones look like logs.  All the ones I saw were from the late 1800s.