Sears repairman just left

In the ever exciting news of my day, the Sears repairman just left. He ordered two parts and a repairman will be here on Wednesday (if the parts arrive) to install them. He said it was an easy fix but also told me the Samsung I have is a horrid machine. In so many words. We’ve not had trouble with it, but if the “bearing” goes out, as it does on many of them, it’s an over $800 fix. So if the bearing goes out, it damn sure better wait another year until I have the money to buy a new one. He doesn’t like the brand, doesn’t like front loading washers, doesn’t think anyone should buy them. Jane bought a top-loader and can wash an immense amount of clothing at one time, a week’s worth of two boys laundry. At one time. Amazing. It’s a huge machine.

We’ve had the Samsung for about 5 years, if I remember correctly, maybe even longer than that, yeah … longer than that. So it’s not tearing up and it’s not a bad machine. Of course, we don’t do huge loads, that may be why it’s not messing up. I caused the recent mess by removing the filters from the hoses, trying to get more water pressure, which was stupid because now silt covered the sensor for filling up. He said it was an easy fix. Yeah for that. Yeah for Jane and Andy for giving me the $$ to get it fixed as a Mother’s Day present. What a wonderful gift.

The parts should be here on Wed and then a repair man will come to finish the paid in full job. He said I could use the machine if I just shut off the water after the spin cycle but the dryer isn’t plugged in and I don’t have clothesline, so that ain’t happening. Wow, a post about washing machines, how droll.

I bought my first washing machine from Ronnie Eastburn in Hot Springs, AR back around 1980 when I was pregnant with Caroline. I brought that machine with me here to Washington and used it for at least 12 years before buying a new one for the house on Main St. I think we bought a new one because we had to leave the old one in the Weyerhauser house for the next occupants. We had to buy a microwave too, if I recall …

When we moved into this house, it had a washer, so we gave ours to Peggy’s daughter who had no machine. We probably would still be using the Ronnie washer if it was here. Those old machines didn’t break down, they were just motors and gears and knobs. No special computers, no singing songs when they were finished. That’s what Melanie was remembering about her old washer, it was avocado and she bets it’s still running somewhere. She had a Samsung and got rid of it after 2-3 years because it kept breaking down. We haven’t had that problem, thank god, this is the first repair we’ve needed. I hope this machine will last at least a couple more years… we’ll have to replace it with another front loader and the repairman really didn’t have anything nice to say about front loaders.

Oh well. Such is life. The machine we bought had high consumer satisfaction ratings and was said to be top of the line when we researched it. It was also half price. Caroline used her Lowe’s card to pay for it and we made the payments each month. Less than $800 for the pair. And they’re blue.

Jane’s new Maytag is huge. Her dryer is so big, Emmett can fit in it. Not smart, putting that much weight on the tub, but hey, it’s not my call — he thinks it’s really funny.

They lost the feral cat Lucky when thew new HVAC was installed. No big loss in my mind, the cat picked on the other cats. It’s much more peaceful there with the dumpster-found cat gone.

At their core, a healthy amount of daydreaming and reflection enable memory consolidation, and they allow non-linear connections to form, which both help our ability to break down and target issues and look at them through a new lens. — just read that.

Get this:

Jane’s been posting instagram photos of Emmett baking over the last 5 years. He’s 12 now, started baking at a very early age.

She always does #thekidbakes for the pictures. Lots and lots of photos over time…

The FOOD NETWORK found them! He’s auditioning, via Skype, for the Kids Bake-Off show. Can you believe it?

We’re dying laughing about it, because Emmett never met a person he doesn’t know, goes full bore 24/7 and can outtalk anyone. He’s perfect for it. He’s also extremely photogenic… a real cute little kid, he looks younger than 12 but he’s all personality.

So, he auditions via Skype on Monday at 5:30. I can’t wait to see how this all turns out. Jane says, “so what if he’s the first kid voted off, the experience alone will be worth it.” They’re going to bake all weekend, to up his skill level but he’s been baking cakes since he was 4 or 5 with us. None of it is new to him, he can make croissants, cinnamon rolls — you name it. He’s not big on decorating with fondant and Jane says that might be his downfall but how knows?

so that’s your fun news for the day.


learning of friend dying

I learned to day that a friend of mine died and I didn’t even know it until her husband died and she was mentioned in the obituary. I feel just awful. It’s just the knowing that we need to feel, not always the attending of the funeral but I would have sent a card, made some acknowledgment if I’d known she died. And now he’s dead. At 75, not really old in today’s terms. Maybe living without his wife of 50 years just proved too difficult because it says he died suddenly.

Dying suddenly is the way to go now. I notice the obituary didn’t say “passed away” a sorry euphemism for death in the south. We don’t die, we pass. It’s silly. I don’t say it any more, and that’s difficult — to say “died” sounds harsh in my head but it’s even worse to say “passed” so I have changed my vocabulary to fit the occasion.

I never remember to put only one “s” in occasion, and am so thankful for spellcheck in this day and age. I grew up in the 1960s-1970s when we used typewriters, not even electric ones, in typing class. I learned to type quickly and accurately but my quickness is often blighted by typos. Thanks be to spellcheck because teh and the never seem to come out right. True that, eh?

Today is Sears appliance repair day. The Sears guy (I assume it’s a guy, no slight meant to women here but I don’t think I’ve ever had a woman repair person in my 63 years on this earth, so guy seems appropriate) is coming some time this afternoon. Sears has the wrong phone number for me, so I’m hoping they’re not calling to confirm because it’s not happening. I received a n/a text message this morning which I’m sure was a Sears confirmation text, hope the answer to wasn’t necessary to facilitate the appointment. I can’t wait until I get a smart phone that actually functions.

My phone is basically a flip phone, no camera, no receiving anything but standard text. I can check the internet but it’s 2004 on the phone. Oddly enough, I check my horoscope every day online on the phone because it’s a splendid horoscope. Don’t know who does it but it’s usually spot-on and very detailed. Today is says my brain is working really well and I need to get down to tasks — so I’m remembering this blog and adding to it — knowing full well no one will ever read it and my words are safe here.

If you’ve found this blog and are reading it, good for you. I have a lot to say but most of it is trivial and relates to my family and me.

We are in year 3 of waiting  for VA compensation for my Air Force husband who was raped while in the service of his country. It’s a horrid story, just mind-numbing and he deserves to be compensated for the assault. We have a slam-dunk case, supported by more than three psychiatrists and VA as well as independent analysis of his inability to function (schizo-affective disorder, OCD, general anxiety disorder and more to go with this PTSD he suffers from) His madness is held in check by proper medications –which is apparent by his years of inaction before the meds. He tried to commit suicide by taking too many drugs, he wasn’t even aware he was doing it, back in Sept when he was hospitalized for a week.

We are now entering the RAMP phase of discovery, the final step in his disability claim. He also has an August hearing for social security disability for his mental illness. We don’t know where but we do know when and we have an attorney conversation in July to prep him for the appointment. He comes across as ok to me, it’s when I try to view him through the eyes of others, I see the dysfunction

gotta’ let the dogs out, back later. ok, that was easy. on with my stream of consciousness reflections here. We live on less than $750 a month now. It’s like a bad dream coming true. We were able to convince the mortgage holder on our house to take half a payment until this is resolved and he’s allowed it for almost a year. I await his pronouncement, his need for more cash and Rob having to beg him to hang on for a little longer. The RAMP decision, according to Carol Ponton, our attorney, can happen in as little as 3 months. So we’ve got that plus Individual Unemployability claim coming up … as I said before, and perhaps he (the mortgage holder) will be happy until then.

Living in such poverty is strange. We buy nothing extra except toilet paper and dog food. Luckily, the dogs do well on Purina One and it costs less than $15 a month for a bag of food. I don’t know how I’m going to afford flea spray for them this summer but I do still have some flea shampoo left over from last year that will help. Giving them a bath is a legendary experience. They certainly don’t like it.

The kitchen sink has become the only sink the downstairs of the house. We didn’t have enough money to repair the one in the downstairs bathroom/utility room so I put in shelves in front of where it belongs. There are no closets in this 100 year old house so everything is on shelves and out in the open. I’m used to it but I’m sure it’s overwhelming to anyone who’s ever come into the kitchen or who looks at our living room. We don’t hoard, we have objects we love and they are on display. Upstairs is another story.

Back to the kitchen sink. So we brush out teeth there, rather than go upstairs to the bathroom sink that’s available. I think this is lazy in one sense but necessary in another since my climbing stairs can result in real damage to my physical self. We moved the bedroom downstairs a couple years ago because our aging Jack Russell couldn’t climb the stairs any more. We took the bed apart and put the mattress/box springs on the floor for him. We had a really nice bedroom upstairs and it was the only room with a closet.

but we’ll do anything for our dogs. Thompson died last year, along with Roxanne, a Shar-Pei/Rottweiler mix. She was only 7, Thompson, the man, was 17. He was blind and needed Roxie to show him where to go and we think her dying sped up his process …

something just went BANG and the electricity went out for a second. Everything is rebooting, including the internet router, so this isn’t being saved. I suppose it will all be ok in a few minutes. The BANG came from nearby so I expect city trucks to arrive to check it out eventually. I got a warning from the AirPort router, saying it had no DNS server, which means Suddenlink (our service provider) was affected by the big bang. so this still isn’t being saved and yet I type on. I have faith in the system… it will fix itself soon, I hope. I think the reboot takes about 4 or 5 minutes to completely cycle back on.

It’s all back. Good job, Suddenlink. Good job, airPort router. You have been plugging along for a long time and we salute you. We pay the extra buck or two to Suddenlink so we don’t have to pay for router problems or cable problems when they make a house call. It seems a smart thing to do. The internet/cable bill is about the same as the utility bill for our house but we don’t really need cable, it’s just something that comes with the internet. I lowered the bill by lowering our data transfer rate and we don’t even notice it’s slower.

wow, I’m really just emptying my mind. This is like the Three Pages the artist workbook recommended. Everything just dumps out and then, the exhaustion of telling it all completes the cycle. Like my therapist days, with Melanie, where I spend an hour just exhausting myself talking about the same things, every week for over a year. How I’m anxious and nervous, how the boys are doing, what Jane and Andy are up to and how Caroline is ill but I don’t really talk about Caroline as much as I see her and think about her. I just realized that. And she is so very on my mind. When the money is here, we can make her life better.

It’s hard to imagine living on $6K a month and how it will change our lives. I don’t think I’d be doing anything different than what I’m doing now if I had the money. I might be in a more comfortable chair, although this one is pretty damn just right for me but I am wearing it out, but I’d still be typing away, dumping my thoughts at noon on a Thursday while I await the Sears Man.

Caroline had EDS, Ehlos-Daners syndrome and it occupies her mind as well as her physical self. She can’t find a physician to help her manage it and it consumes her, the quest. She seemed actually surprised that no one local knows anything about it, the local orthopedist refused to make an appointment with her, recommended she call eastern Ortho in Greenville but suggested her quest would likely be fulfilled by visiting a doctor in Raleigh or the Triangle area that specializes in the syndrome. She is depressed, fatigued all the time and only rarely shows that zest for life that she used to display. Money problems plague her, make her insane and cause much of her discontent. I think it’s more than finding a doctor that will help her, I think it’s our eventually $1K a month (which we plan to give her) and the new roof we’ll put on their house that will change her life. I think the mildew in the house probably contributes to her ill health and a new roof will fix that.

Rob wants to do something really big for Dave when the money comes in. I suggested a new roof and he likes that. If we get a new car, we’ll get the AC fixed on the Volvo and other fixes and give it to C4, I think. I’m not sure. Jane and Andy have dreams of it being Oliver’s high school car and it would make a really good, heavy, safe one, so maybe we just pay to get everything fixed on C4’s truck and offer to make repay some of Dave’s debt so he can afford a car payment — that will probably be the best idea — and save our Volvo for Oliver.

Caroline is deeply in debt so we’ll pay that all off, her credit cards and her current $$ problems, paying the accountant and paying for her renter’s insurance policy, also her taxes, the business ones, if any are due. If this mess would just be resolved, it will have such a trickle down effect on so many people. Even the company we hire to paint the outside of the house. That means employment, so it even helps. It’s such a relief to know we don’t have to help Jane and her family. Knowing they are financially stable creates a sense of well-being I didn’t know existed. Their inheritance will secure them, make them able to have decent retirement $$, make them able to afford what the boys need, and as an added bonus, they’ll spend money on the house, fixing it up and making it a showplace. I’m really excited about that… the kitchen remodel and the exterior paint. Although, Jane seems to want to paint the house barn red, which sounds so awful to me, with black and white trim, I just can’t imagine it. It’s the same color scheme she’s using in her kitchen but I don’t think it will work on a Victorian house. We shall see. It might be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I’m up to over 2000 words now and still it spills out. No one reading this helps, and knowing it exists, just for me, makes me happy inside. I just ate some cottage cheese, something to tide me over until I can go to grocery store. Today, the SNAP card reloads and we have our monthly food budget. It lasts us, it sustains us. Without it, we couldn’t survive. I can feed us on $75 a week, I just have to be careful. We don’t buy Oreos or a lot of processed food, aside from frozen chicken nuggets, frozen burritos, and the occasional brownie mix (which costs around a buck, so it’s not a real splurge) Sometimes I buy nabs at 2 for $5 for Rob to eat at night before bed. yes I could buy cheese, cut it up, use Ritz cracker (store brand) but I think it would cost more in the long run to do that. And so I splurge on the most insignificant of things.

Back to Fluffy dying. He was a kind and funny man. Worked at Weyerhauser in the safety department for, I think, decades. Carol, his wife, was a school teacher. They lived in Washington for around 25 years, must have come here just after I did. I’ve been here for 30 years now and that is hard to wrap my head around. Remembering the beginning years here is a pleasant remembering, and you’d think I’d be bitter but I’m not in the least. The halcyon days of little kids needing attention, fixing up everything so mom could live here, then moving Ann here and her boys. Everyone is scattered to the winds except my girls — or dead, like Annie and Mom. Her sons are in Raleigh, CT and Brooklyn. they seem to be doing well, if the little info I can get be trusted. They each have 2 kids, Matt is wealthy, Forrest is a hard working guy and Alex is in some form of banking or trust or something. I don’t feel the need to know more but if they ever extended the hand of friendship — I’d grab on and never let go. Especially Matt. I do miss him and I know I could open up the doors to a relationship if I wanted to. Some day we’ll see him again…

We see Doug sporadically and he’s always friendly and smiling. Some day … we’ll talk of Annie and it will be a good thing. I couldn’t be here for her funeral and I know it was awful for them for me to not be here (with C4 and Rob) but we had just driven to Pittsburgh and couldn’t drive right back, we had Caroline’s divorce to finish, we had to capture a moment with Jamie and get the divorce settlement done. Without us being there, she’d never have rec’d the house, the tuition money to finish her final semester of school or even the car. He didn’t have to “give” her anything, according to Penn. law. How could we leave her, trying to deal with all that and him threatening to leave for St Martin any moment? Some day I’ll tell Doug all about it. The conversation will be for me, not for him.

I think I’m about tapped out for now and it’s time to prepare for the repair guy, time to feed the dogs, time to clean up the house a bit for Amanda’s eventual arrival. I can’t wait to see her, she’ll have photos of her house, they’re redecorating, new floors, new furniture, new TV. Gotta’ go. Will write more to myself soon.


Fix it and go hmmmmm. The translator that the Vatican hired to do the translation on the Old Testament …. they didn’t like the literal translation at all. Interesting website, I recommend it.

The car is now ours. The DMV experience took less than 45 minutes, probably close to half an hour. This is what living in a small southern town can do for you. Rural has its benefits. No “take a number and sit down” waiting periods. Just a few minutes in a line and then the administrative part is done. It was amazing — knowing the car is ours now and we are true and complete owners of a car — after three years.

Now we’re off to pick up a 79 year old friend who is hosting his own retrospective — photography over the last 40? or more years. We’re going to get his photos (framed) and put them on the wall at the Arts Council. His show is on Friday. He’s got the food planned, sent out real invitations to the event and we’re hopeful to have a crowd of 25-30 people show up. He’s obviously nervous about the event. Is going to Walmart to buy new jeans and a new shirt for the event! His name will be on the Arts Council marquee and that, I believe, is the crowning achievement of his whole lifetime.

I spoke with the director of the Arts Council over a month ago about the name on the marquee thing and she was so enthusiastic about it. I hope they come through with their marquee promise.

We hung the over 30 photographs and the arts council walls are glorious. His photographs really shine, his talent is obvious. He seemed very gratified by the placement and the outlay of the photographs. Each one is framed. They are not truly for sale, but he’d sell anything, just like the rest of us, if someone wanted it. He can always reprint, well, in most cases he can reprint. Some of the photos are from film camera days, back when we all used 35MM cameras.

Now that the car is mine, in my name, the responsibility rests upon me in the way it was considered resting for the last six months. Here I thought responsibility for the car was with the legal owner, but oh no, it was with me, despite my not owning it. They could have saved a few insurance bucks if they’d done this sooner, but they care not about trivial amounts of what is spare change to them.

Now comes the cleaning out of the house. The benefactor’s home is filled with model trains, worthless coin collections (he bought those advertised “gold” mint coins that many people are sucked into buying, suffering under the false illusion the coins will increase in value. We have an 88 year old friend who also suffers from the same false belief and he buys them every month. Something should be done to stop this type of sale but it’s legal, so onward it goes) beds with good mattresses that need to go to the sons of the daughter and more. She and he will sort it all out in due fashion, it’s hard to be motivated into going through such a large amount of stuff and it’s all just that, STUFF.

The idea of emptying the benefactor’s home struck me right where I live. Literally. I feel a great amount of sorrow (ha) for whomever goes through my home when I pass away, as they say, but I say, when I die. I feel sorry that the daughters don’t know why some of this stuff is significant, the seemingly innocuous little Asian figurine that — came from my Uncle Floyd’s time living in Thailand right after WWII. Or the blue horses, the amazing blue horses, that mother nurtured and gently moved … I never thought to ask her where they came from, all those years with the horses being the objects of primary worth in her china cabinet, never thought to do anything but admire them.

And whatever happened to dad’s model of the Robert E. Lee paddlewheel? It was extraordinary and it disappeared when they left Fort Smith for Hot Springs back in 1980s. Why do we have certain books? Well, many of those old volumes were my grandfather’s college textbooks and he graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1899 so they’re old. Not perhaps worth any appreciable amount, but in terms of family worth, they’re priceless. The daughters won’t care, unless I begin to catalog these objects. Yes, I will, even though it seem overwhelming, I can do it. I need to catalog why, when, what, who owned it, why we still have it. Create a database and photos, I suppose, although that seems an easy task, in practice, it will take time. I’d do it lickety split if it was on paper, the digital idea sounds quick but hell… I should set it up and go to town on it. I would enjoy it. Cataloging mom and dad, grand parents and more.

That’s enough for today, less than 900 words. Today is  therapist day so I must prepare my brain for such conversation. I am also attending step-granddaughter’s track meet, the regional competition, after I go to therapy. It’s lovely outside, in the mid 80s, just fine and dandy for such an event. She will invariably win her competitions, as she usually does, unless something’s happened to interfere with her forward winning motion! I’m so proud of her, she’s a truly good kid at 16, perhaps a bit lonely but what a survivor. Next year she gets to be in band (started/transferred to this school too late in the year to join band but next year she will be in it, I’ve been assured). She has had a horrid childhood, when she lived with her mother, but is now with her father and my daughter, a stable, conservative in a good way, life. Conservative life means not going overboard, eating dinner together every night, not over spending, maintaining loving relationships — I will adapt that term, think of another to represent what I’m saying but I mean it in this way — living life without excess (spending, character traits, whatehave you). Excess that leads to over-extension. Excess that leads to stress. No screaming or arguing, sticking with each other through thick and thin.

Boy, I really went off on that. I’m proud of both daughters for living the life I showed them. Family dinners are monumental, social science studies prove that over and over again. Being available, listening, to your children — so important. Providing a stable environment, something step-granddaughter sorely needed, and other daughter has always provided for sons, these are important aspects of a successful childhood, the foundations of raising decent adults. Not that kids can’t surmount the obstacles in their path when they don’t have these things – just saying – having stable living conditions, knowing who your parents are from day to day, these are reasonably and arguably the most important aspects of raising kids right. I’m rambling. My blood sugar is level, I think, just had Greek yogurt, honey, blueberries and banana so that ought to be ok. We eat the same thing every day for breakfast.

Wow, now I’m up to over 1200 words. Today’s rambling truly went off the rails. From step-granddaughter to Greek yogurt in 400 words or less. True mind dump.

Speaking of dump — how about what’s going on in Washington? It’s not to drain the swamp, it’s to continue piling garbage on the dump we call government.

Clever. You can have that, whoever you are, you random unknown person reading this blog. If you are reading this, good for you. It is the mind dump of a 63 year old woman who has to clear her brain before moving forward each morning or sometimes afternoon. I leave the page open, type on it randomly for about 24 hours, then I close it and start a new page/entry. I know these aren’t pages, I understand blog terminology but it appears as a page when I’m typing on it, so suck it.

Daughter and husband are going to beach for weekend and leaving children at home to fend for themselves. Unbelievable. I keep my tongue firmly placed behind my teeth rather than say what I feel which is “Are you crazy?”. They leave Friday at 2:30, take ferry to island, come back Sunday morning. Boys are 12 and 13 and 12 year old has very many oppositional defiance disorders problems. Oldest is a sweetheart who tries to care for irrational 12 year old. Twelve year old is a consummate liar, knows how to cry on demand and manipulate all who come into contact with him. And yet, and yet, I adore him. I see through his failings and see a wonderful boy with a huge imagination.

Enough for today. I rest my case.


Bliss Returns As Battery Charges

Turns out, the battery went kerplunk. Relatively new one, so it just needed a charge. Daughter, ever handy on the spot, came over with charger and wham bam thank the goo, it caught and ran like a top. She’s a good girl, that 2007 Volvo XC90. She was a Christmas present from daughter who got new Volvo station wagon for a present. We haven’t had a car for three years, so the gift is/was much appreciated.

Going without a car for three years caused many challenges. It humbles one, it truly does. Especially in a very tiny rural town with no public transportation other than an expensive cab service. Driving again, in my own car, not a vehicle borrowed for the occasion, makes me feel 16 again. A new experience, rather fearful.

The daughter’s husband inherited an untold sum from a loved uncle who passed away suddenly just before Halloween. This uncle apparently played the market with money for the nephew and came out ahead. Riding the crest of good investments in mutual funds and money markets, he provided for the grandson’s college and more. Hence her new Volvo. Hence the beautiful Colorado pickup truck, which he only put around 5K miles on it. Also a Corvette which was gifted to another nephew since it wasn’t specifically mentioned in will as going to him.

Going from living off regular work for regular company to having wealth has been a strange journey for them all. They’re refurbishing, updating their Victorian house. It needs doing. Daughter was able to stop working her grueling job, a baker with 10 hour shifts on her feet for the last 3 years. I’m relieved she can now parent instead of make pies and croissants. She still bakes, loves cooking — it’s her soul — preparing food.

Why daughter jump starting car and not neighbor? Well …

My neighbor is 80. She fell and broke her femur and the doctors put a metal rod in her leg to stabilize it. She’s back on her feet, no cane, and swimming at the local health center. What an amazing woman. Her mother turned 106 last week and she celebrated with her family down in SC. It would be improper to ask her for automative assistance.

The other neighbors are a 40 something couple, male is a rural mail carrier, wife a grade school teacher. They seem to be kind and  contentious, loving and normal. We don’t know them well but we appreciate them and their nice yard.

The other neighbors are white trash hooligans with little appetite for the norms of society. They scream at each other, burn trash in their back yard as some sort of pagan ritual, and don’t mow their yard. Once, a child of six or seven climbed onto the roof of the house to retrieve something thrown, maybe a frisbee. The mother came out and screamed at him, “Do you want to meet Jesus? Well, that’s how you do it, get down here now or you’re going to be meeting him sooner than you want to!” There used to be a huge Confederate flag hanging over the garage door but they took it down, thank goodness.

The house behind us is an AirBNB or whatever it’s called house. The owner lives on the other side of the house. It’s smallish little bungalow and we miss the former owners, an unremarkable gay couple who were kind and mellow. It’s odd having it empty so often. I don’t think it gets rented out on any type of frequent basis.

This blog is an attempt to get me writing again. I just write whatever is on my mind. It’s a way to jump start my creativity. It’s working. I’m thinking in words again and writing here instead of in long rambling incoherent emails to my friend in RI. She can only stand so much! Better to chronicle life here on an unread blog.

WordPress tells me people like my blog. This is bullshit. No one reads this. I want to go back to writing on Medium and maybe getting paid for it. It will happen. I do have followers on there and am set up to receive payment, little bits, like $.26 for a month of work but it makes me write and writing makes me whole again.


Fix the Bulb, lose the engine

so we replaced the little, insignificant lightbulb above the license plate. There are two of them, so the plate is lit except when you need to get the car inspected, then they dun you for not having all working lights. So we fixed it. Replaced it. Took a while because it just wouldn’t turn on, then we changed one for the other, switched places and it stayed lit. Now the car won’t start.

Honest to God. Now the car won’t start. It’s ridiculous. We’re going to try to jump start it, see if that helps. Right now it just tick-ticks and doesn’t turn over. The Volvo is 10 years old and often auto-heals itself. I’m hoping this happens now. Daughter is coming over to jump start it. She knows how to do everything. She’s brilliant at solving any problem. I depend on her very much, knowing she’ll come put out any fire that starts.

I used to be a reactionary person. As I aged, I think it’s as I lost Mom and no longer had small children to knee-jerk react to — I lost that reactionary stance. I became a stand back and watch person. A wait and see person.

Judgement suspended. It’s difficult to know what’s better. It seems to be best to figure out, if you can, what kind of person to be at the time in your life — what needs doing. To be in a constant state of “reactionary bliss” leads to confusion (eventually) because you over load your adrenalin reflexes. Everything is on fire, therefore, you’re in a constant state of stress.

Ya gotta’ temper one with the other. Like when I was rear-ended last week. Not being reactionary, taking it calmly, but realizing I could have hurt my back, I allowed the EMTs to load me into an ambulance for CT scan and X-rays. The woman who hit me was absolutely hysterical. She lost her shit big time and it was a small accident. She didn’t want to call the police but sorry, madame, police it must be. I fear for her, bless her heart, I actually don’t care about her a bit. I will fight, hence reactionary moment, to recover the towing fee I had to make last week but any other mess from the wreck — well there simply isn’t anything else…

I can’t have a cigarette this morning, or today, because I’m going to the dentist. Gotta’ keep up appearances, although the dental tech told me she could tell I smoked from something — probably my tongue — so dentist will know too. I am not ashamed of smoking but I am disappointed in myself. Smoking is stupid. I smoke around 3 cigs a day, sometimes 4 if I’m stressed. Not a terrific amount but too many. Rob, on the other hand, smokes until there are no more. This is why we can’t afford to smoke. He would smoke a pack a day, instead of the preferred pack a week.

I went out to try to start car and it responded a little more robustly. The clock light still didn’t come on, but the tick tick was a bit more tickyticky. Rob wanted to have another cigarette, so we sit and wait again.

Meanwhile. I made a Guest Book log for Fred. He is our dear friend who is having a photography retrospective at the Arts Council starting this Friday. On Tuesday we take his framed photos downtown. This is all based on the assumption that jump starting the car will heal it of all its woes. I stand firmly behind the idea of it being healed. I will not give in to panic. It’s 10:00 now and we will need to be out of here for our appointments by 11:30 . I don’t see this happening. I will not give in to panic. Will not.

Okay, I’m panicked. I really need to get to dentist, they truly frown upon broken appointments. Will not give in to panic. Rob is in a panic. If I take on any other attitude but “calm strength” my stomach will implode and I will start walking in circles. That’s what I do, but I try to temper that impulse with weeding, impulsive pulling up of small green plants and making piles of them. It’s a healthy foil to panic, eh?

I have announced to friends that I will not allow the universe to conduct experiments upon my psyche. I know how not to respond. I understand a calm countenance and shall remain so. It sure as hell sounds like I’m panicking when I re-read this whole thing,

Guess I am panicking. It comes from owning this POS Volvo, 3 years ago. We eventually sold a car worth over $8K for $2500 because it had electrical problems. We never knew when it was going to start. It left me/us stranded all over eastern NC at the most inopportune times — well, come to think of it, when it is a good time to have your car not start? Having been stranded dozens of times by that car, having to sell it because it wasn’t worth having, really played a number on my brain. Years of abuse suffered at the hands of a vehicle then selling it and going THREE years without a vehicle.

My daughter gave me this 10 year old Volvo for Christmas. She and her husband. They got a new Volvo for themselves and very nicely. very thoughtfully. gave us their old car rather than using it for a trade-in. I realize it’s my car now, despite it not being titled in my name, but in their mind, it’s my car, not theirs. In my mind, it was still their car because the title was in their name.

Today I needed to go get the car inspected. Hence the fixing of the inconsequential license plate bulb, needed for car to pass inspection. Mess with one end and the other end revolts. Now we’ve been waiting for daughter for over 30 minutes so of course we are in adrenalin mode. It will pass once the car starts. We think, in hindsight, that the battery is old and running just the lights for a while may have set it over the edge. Don’t have the money for a new battery, damn it.

And then there was the woman who rear-ended me last week. There’s another long story. She was taking out her teeth when she hit me. Yup. Taking out her teeth. I forgot to mention that in the original report, didn’t I? She got a ticket for failure to maintain distance, too bad for her. I got stuck with a $425 tow/storage bill. Who lost in that fight? I hope Andy takes it seriously when they call and gets my tow bill money back. I fear he’ll not respond correctly as I have the receipt and he doesn’t have a clue about the amount. All this comes from me thinking the car was still theirs and them believing the car is ours. I took the legalistic outlook, who owns titles, who pays insurance and they took a possession is 9/10ths of the law outlook.

The universe is trying to mess me up. I had a positive attitude, can-do-it outlook this weekend. Then the universe started throwing things at me. Light bulbs, car won’t start, doctors appointments that cannot be made, and I have one again tomorrow morning. we really need a car this week, it better start and be ok. I will wait another hour and then call dentist. Like I said, they won’t be pleased.

This stream of consciousness, no one is going to read this, blog approach really helps my brain. If anyone does ever decide to read through this? Well, God bless them, bless their hearts. Really. Who would want to go through the rambling of me, the 63 year old panic stricken trying to stay in control woman of eastern NC?

The rivers are rising. The River of Strange has lost its tranquil waters and the banks are soon to be overtopped when the levee breaks and I start to truly lose my shit.

Wind is heavier than air

Today will be a good day. It’s see the therapist day so I get to unleash my inner-thoughts and share with someone who is paid to listen. She has to hear me. It is both perplexing and a relief to have someone listen. My friends listen but they haven’t “heard” me talk about poverty and our trials for two years. They’ve listened to me talk about how we cope. How we have hope that the VA will render its decision soon (it’s been over 2.5 years since we filed) and even though common wisdom says 3-4 years, we live in the hope that we’ll be the exception, we’ll have less than 3 years of waiting.

Currently, we live on the SNAP program, on Medicare/Medicaid, on social security disability for me (only) and on a dwindling savings account from the sale of our 1972 Buick Riviera (sold on Craigslist). We are able to make 1/2 a mortgage payment and for now, that seems to molify our mortgagee. Molify, that’s a word? Or is it Mollify? two L’s, thank you spellcheck. Blogging can increase my vocabulary, it’s one reason I do it. To wake up my brain and to just blab on about useless and sometimes boring realities.

Bryson Jones is running for NC House from our district. I hope to help his campaign. There’s a candidate meet/greet tomorrow night at the Civic’s Center but unfortunately, Jane is getting her gall bladder out tomorrow so I may be at the hospital, whether they want me there or not. I mean, how can I not go there?

The Haunting

Sometimes what I have to tell  you is so complicated that therein lies the difficulty in the telling. Where to start, what details to tell, where to end the tale?


Such is the story of the Wilmington  haunted house. It belongs to a friend who recently began to occupy the dwelling. The first night, drawers opened in empty rooms, lost objects appeared in plain sight on the couch and other anomalies occurred. Of course, being the little shit that I am, mocking ensued. Disbelief. My humorous outlook multiplied tenfold when the haunting entities included a goat. Yes, a goat haunting.

Someone heard a goat.

Now, I don’t know about you but it seems rather difficult, for the layman, to differentiate between a goat and say … a sheep. Both bleat rather convincingly and even a google search of representational sounds of said animals rendered me mute with confusion. I shall learn the ways of the goat, this haunting makes me more fond of the creatures. The house is in the woods, a scant dozen feet from a swamp. Also, a hundred feet from the backdoor are horses. Apparently these horses are known for their ability to murder dogs. Four dogs to be precise. Kicked to death. One can’t help but wonder if the goat fell victim to such killers and now haunts the swamp at night, bleating its terror as murder … yes … mur – dehr … as the TV would announce.

The Goat Murder would also create panic in the minds of the current owners/occupants of the house.

So, here we are, just scant 244 words into the story and we have a haunted house with objects moved and changed, followed by a murdered goat who roams the countryside, bleating its terror as it is ruthlessly stomped to death by rogue horses.

The next chapter in this sordid tale?

Ghost Hunters. Real ones. From UNC-Wilmington. Spent a night in the house. Recorded residual hauntings … but that’s the not real story, oh no not yet.

Enter the Priest who will exorcise the house. His quest to cleanse the area is hindered though. How so, you ask? I mean, they already know of the residual haunt. Well, truth be told, the Priest is cobbled by language. Does the ghost OR THE GOAT speak English? If the haunting is done by native Americans, then English will not exorcise them. The Priest must communicate with the spirits — thus the language barrier could prove onerous.

I pray the goat speaks English. What more can I hope for besides the goat being granted eternal rest once it communicates with the Priest?

This is a true story. Swear on my mother’s ghost.

Thanks for not reading. See you in the funny papers.