Saturday, May 20, 2017

High as Well, You Know

Friday morn I went out early to start weeding and mulching the front flower garden before moving to the vegetable garden and my mini orchard. I figured I'd make more progress in the cool of the day before it hit the miserable mid-90s again. It's no wonder I have a sinus/ear infection thing that just refuses to go even with meds.

Trying to clean my big hedge clippers before getting started with the flower garden I somehow managed to cut one of my fingers rather deeply with the rusty clippers. And I cannot remember when the last time I had a tetanus shot was. Around 2000, I think.

So it was change out of my ratty gardening clothes into something sleeveless and comfortable, while trying to avoid bleeding my stupid blood everywhere at the same time. Why is it that even tiny papercuts on your fingers bleed so profusely that your bathroom can end up looking like a scene in a slasher-movie?

Down to urgent care, where I lucked out and got a doctor that would sometimes and help out with the patient load at my old General Practice doctors office and the clinic I worked at. He's a good doctor but due to some of the constraints our state and the new health care laws placed on single providers, like electronica medical records he went to work for the big company that owns the chain of Doc In The Box urgent care clinics around here. Better deal for him. Less paperwork to deal with, perks and extras with someone else dealing with the regulator crap and a much less stressful work schedule.

I was happy to see him because going to urgent care is kind of a crap-shoot, you're really rolling the dice. Do you get the nice Mennonite young man who is a Physician's Assistant that can prescribe what you need and has awesome diagnostic skills, or do you get the doctor who seems like something of a dullard doing a job that a monkey with a bottle of Tylenol and a box of bandaids would be just as, if not better than.

Got there and started complaining that my sinus infection was returning after a mere three days of finishing up my antibiotics. I was explaining about the damn close to migraine headaches I'd been having with the sinus infection and Dr. Friendly told me he'd heard about my international move and he thought I was having tension or stress headaches if he had to guess not sinus headaches.

I know the difference. I really do. I get the very rare true migraine every two or three or four years where I see wavy lines, smell weird orders, get suddenly very intolerant of light and sounds, know I have to take the damn imitrex and go sleep it off in a cold dark silent room.

So while I'm 99.99% certain that this is my annual hard to kill spring sinus infection hell involving high pollen levels, fluctuating temps and copious rain I also ended up with a big old bottle of Xanax and the orders to take it easy for a few days while swallowing a few Xanaxes.

I came on home, took one and ended up giggling and sitting on a piece of lawn furniture in the living room in front of the television binge-watching season 3 of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt' while itching to crochet. I did nothing... and I was glorious. I feel completely unlaxed today without taking one of those Mother's Helpers, or what they at my old church would likely term 'The Devil's Pills'

Have to admit I've never done a move without them before. Before the Opiod-noids ruined it for everyone if I was going through the huge overwhelming thing like moving I'd get a few xanax or ativan to get through it, not many, a week or two's worth. This it going to make the last few things to do to finish the house easier to do and it's given me a  lovely reprieve to my lack of sleeping in the past month.

Today I spent with my two youngest kids and sig-os touring apartment buildings in Falls Church. The guys are tired of a one hour commute from Centreville and my daughter can use Metro to do the reverse commute from Falls Church. We looked, the places were lovely and an improvement on their townhouse. But it did one thing for me, made me realize I was correct to bring in an interior designer for advice on painting and carpeting the house. The apartments were all in off white and I was reminded again why artists and beige do not get along.





See my current abode? I'm living in the dining room with a cot and lawn furniture and discovering as long a I kept my possessions to a minimum I could probably love living in a tiny home considering the long dining room/kitchen/downstairs bath are about the size of a tiny home. So happy with the shade of blue gray we used in the house and think I could live with it, unlike beige. Beige is good for some folks, but I love love love color. Didn't know this color would be the closest to neutral I could live with.

Not sure I'm liking the carpeting quite so much but I'll be replacing it with more wood flooring when we move back, that's if we ever move back.




My xanax is kicking in again and there's a crochet hook calling my name. I've realized I need to do something with my hands when I watch television to relax, but there's really a limit to the number of awful and crazy things you can make from string and a hook.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Funerals and Mulch

This morning I started on the front flower beds, weeding and mulching. But the temps climbed to an unseasonably high degrees for mid-May in the Piedmont, the mid-ninties, so by the time I'd pulled up weeds and schlepped and spread ten bags of mulch on the right half of the front of the house I was just done, done with the heat and hauling.

Today I concentrated all my efforts after lunch on patching walls, sanding and painting many of the places Cletus and Bubbe botched last week. Tomorrow I'm going to continue with that and try to get outside first thing in the morning to get the flower bed on the left half of the house done because it turns nasty hot again.

Jim and I are still slightly knocking heads. He's worriedly contacted our pastor to explain I'm falling apart from the situation with the first painters and getting the garden done, asking for help for me.

As if! These Methodists at this church seem to be all about mission trips to third world countries, gabbling and babbling about their own personal righteousness with a copious amount of Bible studies/potluck dinners thrown in without giving a rat's ass what happens to the church members.

This is one of those few things I really miss about Possum Creek. Moving? People would volunteer to help, or just show up without even being asked. I cannot tell you the times I was hospitalized where church members showed up here at our house with casseroles clutched firmly to hand over to my family so I wouldn't have to get out of the bed and cook. The members took care of the other members quite well, sometime so much so that you'd feel just a little bit overwhelmed at times. That is something that Possum Creek did well that the Methodical ones haven't a clue about.

Jim contacted the Methodists 2 days ago and I've heard nothing yet. I'm just marching on. Talked to a pile of licensed and insured painters today to start getting someone in here to paint my bedroom and repair a few of the more boneheaded mistakes of the dynamic painting duo.

This evening brought a sad chore. I went with Laura to a funeral of a lady she once worked with at the credit union she worked at during high school and the first few years of college. I think it really drove home to her that she'd made the right decision in leaving our small podunk Southern town to continue her education and work towards her masters in business degree. I admit, I still am annoyed by the branch manager attempting to get Laura to drop out of college to work full time at the credit union, telling her that a career didn't matter. Tonight after the funeral the same bunch started asking her why she wasn't married yet. We got a good laugh out of that. While she's changed and matured I don't think many of the ladies there have changed at all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dust, Carpets and Weeding

The last few days I've had to scrub my house, get rid of the piles of sanding dust from the lackidasical haphazard wall repair and general disorganization wreaked by Cletus and Bubba. Two days to get the house clean and dust free, trek out all the bags of trash and organize.

Before they'd arrived I'd stacked the shipping boxes from each room neatly in the center of each room. By the time they were done the boxes were tossed this way and that. Part of that cleaning was clearing a central space to put the boxes and corralling them all together for the shipper to pick up soon.

Toting boxes, dusting, scrubbed the paint spilled and tracked over the floors took the better part of two days. I also set up to live in the dining room because today the new carpeting went in and I started weeding my massive garden.

I am so tired right now, but pleased with the carpeting.

One thing I have noticed is that if I'm dealing with a construction company using a large Hispanic staff that the job is done quickly and right with minimum fuss. I don't want to hear any more Trumplestillskins complaining about Hispanics taking all the good jobs when they work to a higher standard I've not seen amount the locals.

If there's a fly in the ointment of this move it' my husband getting online to nag me relentlessly each day to hurry up and get everything done, either unable or unwilling to understand I'm not superhuman and I cannot control others. It's so frustrating that I usually end up dissolving into fits of weeping every time we talk on Skype. He's just adding more stress to a frustrating situation. I'm tempted right now not to go to Costa Rica at all. It's just too much.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Continuing Adventures of Cletus and Bubba - Or Rednecks Ruined My House!

This last week has been so awful and so bat-shit crazy at the same time I hardly know where to start. Let's back up to the arrival of Cletus and Bubba, the local painters with a local bend who keep saying that they will do this or that but never do.

It gradually went sideways, just like my inner voice was warning all along.

They showed up bright and early on Monday morning and hopped right to it, with Bubba painting the ceilings and Cletus smearing the uneven bits on the walls with plaster and sanding. Everything seemed to be going well, they acted normal, well as normal as they ever get.

Except they look a very long lunch break, worked another hour and packed it in at 3 pm, telling me one of them had an emergency dental appointment and the other one had to get home to mow his grass.

This after all the verklempting and complaining that they were going to have to work 16 hour days to finish on time?

The only real bit of weirdness was that every time I left the house they cranked the radio up to 11. That very first day I came home from running errands to the police at my home warning the duo that my neighbor was complaining about the volume. After years of loving classic rock before the week was over I came to hate it.

I was pleased that my asthma didn't seem to be reacting to the paint much at all because I knew I wasn't dealing with the sharpest guys and I needed to be there to make sure they did what they were supposed to do.

The next morning I got up and noticed that the ceiling bit over one of the bedrooms and adjoining bath had not been painted correctly. A year before Jim had tried to run a snake to unclog the tub drain in the master bath upstairs and broken the pipe. We had the pipe fixed immediately by our plumber friend, but never bothered to paint knowing we were leaving soon and would paint then. It left a water mark in the hall and downstairs bed and bath.

Cletus and Bubba, in all their unknown mental lack of prowess just simply painted over the stains without using Kilz or any other primer and I was looking up at a water stain coming right through the freshly painted ceilings. When the dynamic duo arrived that morning I pointed out that it needed to be sealed and repainted they reacted like we'd never pointed it out or asked for it to be painted with Kilz or sealer and said 'Oh'. All painting stopped so they could buy a can of Kilz.

We had a number of weird conversations during the week, including things like them claiming that the contract stating that they were going to paint the entire interior of the house did not mean they were to paint the insides of closets, or any built in shelving. 

Once they started with the Kilz my asthma went rogue hardcore and I found myself struggling to breath as I finished packing my suitcases and hastily decamping for my friend's home for the week. We talked about my letting them in and out of the house in the mornings and evenings.

Came back to lock up at  5pm and they had long gone. But everything looked good still. Walked around and looked at the progress they made, mostly pleased.

The next morning they had another crew member with them, a woman that looked like she'd led a hard life and she went to town scrubbing wall paper paste from the walls while the guys continued on. I pointed out some incorrectly done spots and spent most of the day outside dealing with the overgrown garden. I noticed again a two hour lunch and they knocked off around  3 pm again. While they were eating lunch on my front lawn I overheard the first of the complaints of Cletus. He was upset, claiming he'd seriously underbid the job, that my husband and I had been pressuring them to do more and more and he wasn't happy.

Remember that I'd originally asked him when he did the estimate for additional things to be done, and told him to price it out accordingly to get these small other things done, repair a few seams in our Pergo floor, take down a ceiling fan and several light fixtures. I'd passed on getting him to install the kitchen counter top and a few other things after discovering that he didn't know how to do those things, even if his truck had a long list of repair work he did and listed those things.

But at the last minute we'd decided to ask them to strip all the wall paper in our bedroom and paint it as well. Cletus went back and forth on that at least four times, saying yes, saying no and apply, rinse, repeat.

By the end of the third day I could see they were getting sloppy as hell. I went around that afternoon and wiped down a few places where the paint had been so thickly and sloppily applied it was running in rivulets down the wall. My eldest daughter had spent the day with me, both of us holing up in my bedroom doing the last of the cleaning and packing. As Cletus and friends were preparing to leave he told me that he'd changed his mind again and he was not going to take the paper off my bedroom and paint it. My daughter made me laugh because she said 'Good!' and started removing the paper in front of Cletus with abandon, leaving him open mouthed and stunned looking, like a toad that had been hit with an electric prod.

On Thursday morning the guys from the kitchen counter top company came to measure and tell me that the factory was three weeks behind on all the orders so instead of it being installed next week it was going to be first week of June.

I noticed that Cletus and Bubba were working slower than ever, getting even more sloppy, taking longer breaks and less care. When I walked into the kitchen I caught Cletus telling the measuring crew how unhappy he was that he'd under estimated the job and I was screwing him in this deal.

After an afternoon in Charlottesville picking up my new VPAP machine I stopped back around 3 pm. No Cletus, no Bubba, no rough looking female friend. Some hard work, huh?

I'm observing on my nightly walkthrus that they aren't getting much done.

I'd started leaving the key for them after Tuesday and usually wasn't there when they arrived or left. I slept in on Friday, went by to check on them around 10:30 am. They weren't there. I didn't get a chance to go back later, as I got sucked into some drama with the couple I was staying with (they are sniping at each other over money troubles while I was there) when they both turned on me and stared chewing me out over something said by Jim on Facebook over his rejecting of the only available rental house in the tiny town he's teaching English in. They kept at it all afternoon nattering at me that Jim was showing how he didn't love me by refusing to rent that house and how little I mattered to him.

I know they're both broke and pretty unhappy right now. I think their misery is the thing driving their turning to me like that. I was also having to go home to shower after Cletus and Bubba left because the house I was staying at had the pump to the well break that week and water was sporadic. Their business isn't doing too well, their basement where the water pump resides is so filled with junk that the plumber cannot get back there to fix it until the man of the house sorts it out. I'm getting the typical fundigelical misdirected passive agressiveness combined with a pile of 'Come to Jesus's thrown in. Relearning again that life outside of that fundigelical bubble that does not allow you to directly talk about being frustrated or upset is much much better! I decide to move back into my house on Saturday or Sunday as the bickering is getting to me and I don't seem to be reacting to the paint any longer.

Saturday morning I arrive and the dynamic duo is working. I'm seeing more and more things very poorly done. They painted right over the wall paper glue instead of removing it. The repair of the Pergo looks like someone simply shoved dogshit into the seams. I ask them how much longer before they finish the repairs and redos and they tell me that they will be finished by some point on Sunday afternoon and I should have my checkbook ready.

Around 10:30 am that very morning, Saturday, the two of them come up into the bedroom where I am peeling wallpaper between asking emails and present me with an itemized bill. I'd told them I would pay for their third helpers time and the extra supplies they needed, but this bill was almost double what the original contract stated. They'd bid it at 3,100 and were now asking for 5,400 dollars! Told them both there was no way on God's green earth I was paying that much, that I hadn't agreed to it. I sat down with a pen and started slashing items off their bill. I refused to pay the $300 for the Pergo repair, but did offer to pay for the repair kit. They were clearly trying to gouge me for every penny they could, listing repairs we'd talked about and that they decided not to do along with inflated prices for things like extra paint and Kilz, clearly not remembering I bought the original paint and knew what it ran. Plus I deducted because they broke my expensive floor lamp and other items, including most of my person tools walking out of the house.

Feast your eyes on what the dog shit colored Pergo repair ended up looking like. Those huge blackish blotches...

...and it all went downhill from there. I refused to pay a dime until they sanded off the paint runs, repaired where they painted over the paste and neglected to mud and sand. No repairing their fuck ups, no check.

When they both started making menacing moves towards me and one of them said something about he knew I was living here by myself and it would be ashamed if something happened to me I started to get seriously scared! They backed me into a corner and instead of continuing the confrontation I offered to just go ahead and pay them, the original contract, the additional supplies and the wages for the lady. I decided it was just safer to deescalation the situation and get them the fuck out of my house.

They left. After they did I went to the police station and filed a report about them threatening me and came home to change the locks. I've moved back in now and it makes me nervous knowing they are out there still. Now I'm hiring someone else to fix their screw ups. I am never ignoring my inner voice ever again since it kept screaming at me in the week leading up to the painting that they were a bad thing.

Tomorrow the carpet is installed, even if I have some repairing of the old paint job. I'm continuing on waiting for the counter top and cleaning up after this dumbass duo.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Goat Rodeo Time!

You remember that capacious bragging I was doing about getting more done faster with Jim gone? Nope. Not happening.

First it was crazy asthma from high pollen and mold levels. Then on Monday night I tried a new body wash, a natural one with lots of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Getting out of the tub I slipped and fell ass over teakettle backwards into the tub. I got up and everything hurt but seemed to work right, so I went to bed.

Middle of the night - extreme pain. Hospital. X-rays. I refractured a few old fractures, like some ribs, chipped a few things and managed to rack up a concussion. Then the migraines started.

Next day feverish and in more pain. Off to the doctor and more tests. The sinus infection that's been coming and going I've been trying to kill off with garlic pills had decided to go insano. Migraines galore and I'm not sure if it's sinus infection or bumping my noggin like that. But at least I have prescription pain pills, my migraine meds refilled and something for the sinus infection. Today the pain of the headache finally lifted enough to ditch the migraine stuff and the narcotic pain pills.

Oddly enough once the seeing wavy lines, wanting to murder the source of every annoying noise and head in the vice pain started the ribs, knee and elbow stopped throbbing. I guess it's correct what Dr. House was saying, the worst pain turns off the brain's ability to feel other pains. One of those days I mowed the yard with our push mower having that stupid headache and hairline fractures.

I'm getting extremely annoyed with the drunken hillbillies Jim hired to paint. One of them promised Jim he'd help me by using his truck to haul furniture hither and yon, that he'd start doing the remainder of the wall paper removal asap and he'd start doing the wall prep and primer. He has done none of that.

He also is not returning many of my calls. Finally he called and said to meet him at the paint place at a certain time. A good ninety minutes later he showed up with no explanation as to why he was so late. I bought all the paint and supplies and he acted very weird, like he was nervous or guilty. He kept complaining that he was going to have to work Then he told me that he had a few side jobs to do sixteen hour days to paint our house because of his schedule, but if it rained he'd show up on those days last week and prime and prep. It rained three days, no Cletus. I called him up all of those days, no call back, no Cletus. We'd even discussed where I'd leave the house key for him if I had to go out.

Robert, my friend who's done repairs for us over many years, including lining up the roof replace, got me the contact on replacement painters if this does not pan out. Today another set of friends gave me contact information on their painter. So I've gotten some prices and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

I'll have zero qualms about firing Cletus and Bubba if they show up late or not at all. Cletus did call this evening and tell me they would be here to paint the house at eight am sharp. We will see. I'm officially disgusted by them at this moment, but Jim wants me to treat them with kid gloves and get them to do it.

It just irks me because I've been trying to get them to schedule a hard and fast painting date for six long weeks now.

He is not the only one behaving badly on the remodel front. That kitchen counter top I ordered I was promised that the counter top installers would schedule the final measurements by three days after the order. We're now a week and a half later and no word from them. I have heard from the plumbers and they are ready to go. I've called Home Depot to complain that the installers seem to be mia and nothing has happened yet. I can see I'm going to have to show up tomorrow and tell them they have to do something.

At the same time I cannot get an accurate measurement of the counter without the new stone sink ordered the same day and charged to my charge card. One day after it was supposed to arrive here, promised to me, I called Lowes, the place I ordered the sink and copper faucet from. Turns out my order had never been processed while my card was charged and I had several confirmation emails from Lowes claiming it was on it's way. They straightened it out and shipped both items. Supposed to have the sink tomorrow. When I went to pick up the faucet on Saturday customer service said they didn't have it. Turns out it was in the back unpacked from a day or two before.

I cannot say how disappointed I am by Lowes right now. Between that screw up, buying a set of light shades in glass and having the cashier pack them all together with no wrapping or double bagging so that they were all broken before I got home. But the capper of all of this was finding out that their carpet salesman put down Jim's phone number as the primary contact after we'd both said several times to him that my phone number had to be primary because he would be turned off as soon as he arrived in Costa Rica. He ignored what we said and put Jim's phone as primary, which because when I discovered it late in the week it pushes the carpet install even further back. Damn good thing I don't have a hard and firm arrival date!

Friday I took off and spent the day with my youngest daughter. She's not having the happiest of times right now and has some big decisions to make in the future. I think she's still at least a little freaked out by the idea and mom and dad will be so far from her.

Saturday she and her brother came down to help me wrangle old furniture to the dump, that thing that Cletus told my husband he would do and didn't. My son, I have to say how happy and proud of him I am. He's a hard worker, both this weekend and on his job. He was recently promoted at work. Big helper.

Sadly my baby, my youngest daughter was distracted and sad, laying my bed and texting much of the day instead of helping tote furniture. We went out to a new restaurant in town and I had the most decadent lunch ever. A cheeseburger on a doughnut. Crazy good but crazy insane sugary at the same time, followed by a deep fried twinkie. We had a favorite dish for an appetizer - poutine made properly with good brown gravy and real cheese curds. I haven't had poutine this good since my last visit to Toronto.

On the Jim front the language school in the remote mountains of Costa Rica had most of the volunteers quit this week. So now instead of the 15 hours per week he was scheduled to teach he's pulling ALL of the classes for a workload of 50 per week until they get more volunteers in. The area is isolated and remote. The photos he's posting on Facebook look like something out of a third world country, not the beautiful vacation spot I love.

He's tried to get me to agree to live in that single room they got for him right behind the town snack bar, but I had to tell him I don't care if it is free and they provide all our meals I am not staying there! It is tiny, run down and has one of those unique Central America Showers of Death by Electrocution. Our own apartment please!

He's eager to have me fly down there, but has no idea of the gargantuan task he's left me with.

Today I had to step into his old role at church and handle the counting team tasks. It was a huge clusterfuck that pushes me farther and farther away from organized religion. I'll talk about it on another day as I need to get to bed so I can be bright eyed, bushy tailed and horribly bitchy if the painters do not show up.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

In Which I Am Apparently A Bitch, A Wheezing Ranty Bitch

The guttering guys showed up yesterday, a day later than scheduled. When I asked them why they were a day late I was told I should have known they don't work when it looks like it might rain. Granted, Thursday was breezy and overcast but it never did rain. A phone call would have been nice.

We definitely got off on a very wrong foot!

A half hour later I was sitting in my office working on NLQ, and working on planning an overhaul of NLQ when I heard the gutter crew supervisor talking. They were all up on ladders right up against the office, just outside the window from me. He started complaining that the builder of our home didn't use enough nails/screws/fasteners on the fascia of the roof line and that their ladders were bending up the fascia. One of the guys on the crew said something about me enough of a bitch that I was going to blame them for the dents and loose fascia. He. Called. Me. A. Bitch---with me just inside the window listening to every word. Hey, I wasn't even rude or ugly when I complained about coming a day late.

Well, sir, I opened the window and stuck my head out and yelled that I could hear every damn word they were saying. The crew fell silent before the supervisor apologized, and from then on it was 'Yes, ma'am' and 'No ma'am' They ended up fixing the tiny dents in the fascia and securing it down before putting the new gutters up.

What is up with all this blatant disrespect of women I've been experiencing since starting the remodel?

The new gutters went up in a hurry and are a vast improvement on the ones that were original with the house. The only problem I have now is that the roof and gutters are sparkly new and the soffits and siding looks old next to it.

Today I've done nothing after running out to pick up a laminate countertop for the laundry room. Someone on one of the local online yard sale site had a big sheet of dark brown laminate they wanted to sell for twenty bucks. I met the lady and took it home. It's the exact right size to sit on top of the washer and dryer as a folding table top.

The only problem with running out is that the pollen level are brutal right now and by the time I got home I was wheezing like a fool. It's been all laying down, chugging drugs and liquids all day. I didn't get a damn thing done. My oxygen level was at 91 a few minutes ago when I checked. When it gets in the low 91s it affects what I am capable of, messes with my mind and ability to talk and think. If it gets to 90 I will need to take a trip to the ER to get a little oxygen. I hope it goes up. The last thing I need is a hospitalization in the middle of moving.

Jim is still sparring with his brother over the mess of the Maw in Laws. He wrote a pretty nasty email to Robby Boy this morning in which he said he was sorry I ever apologized to the SiL last year for my list of supposed crimes. I'm trying to stay out of it totally.

One nice thing about Jim being gone is that I'm mostly removed from that drama and I'll be able to play hooky from church. In the last few years I've seen that the United Methodist Church we landed at ten years ago post-fundytown has start to turn mean, hateful to homosexuals and immigrants. It's changing for the worse. Our church has lost a ton of members and last weekend I heard what the re organizational team from the state level is proposing and some of the recent ugliness being thrown at our worship leader, a sweet girl the same age as my youngest. I know this young woman well. Her mother was one of my best friends at the old church and she was my daughter's best friend for years. The church needs to stop with the toxic things happening there lately. I'm done with them on so many levels. American Christianity seems to have universally changed into one of the most unsafe spaces without anything in common with the words of Jesus.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Contractors, Peeing, the Paranormal and Hypocrites

I finally got that counter top ordered and paid for. Ended up with a very bright and light sand colored quartz top with tiny little darker circles and a few dashes of blue. Ordered a darker sand colored stone sink and a beautiful set of antique-looking  copper taps for the sink. Happy even if this ran more than we initially planned to spend. It's going to be gorgeous!

On a down note a contractor was supposed to show up this morning to do a little work on the back door trim, a contractor that makes gutters was scheduled for this morning and the painter was supposed to be mudding like a fool. NONE of them showed up and so far no one has returned my calls. While I have signed contracts with all three I've not paid them a dime. I hope I see someone tomorrow or it's likely back to the drawing board on Monday. Why can't they show up when scheduled, or just call me and let me know they aren't showing up. Hung me up a long time today when I could have been toting things to the thrift shop, the senior center and dump.

For the last few days I've struggled to collect Jim's clothing from every room of the house, get it in those Space Bags before storing it on the shelves of my china cabinet that's going to be living in the storage room. I ran out just long enough to pick up more Space Bags at that most hated of places, Wal Mart. Which led me to discover that while my blood sugar levels, asthma and lung problems are better I now have something going on with my bladder. Going to the urologist might need to happen before I leave for the big CR. I pissed my pants in Wal Mart. I guess that now makes me a Wal Martian fully earning my spot in the People of Wal Mart site. It wasn't a flood, just a tiny trickle, but something is way wrong, LOL.I'm supposed to be a grown assed woman fully capable of holding my urine.

It's not quite been three years since we had to put down our ancient cat Little Bit. Little Bit came around at night to say 'hi' for a few days after his death. He's returned the last few nights. Usually when he appears the first sign is I feel him walking across our waterbed, shaking the waves, before I hear him purring and he settles down next to me for awhile. I cannot see him, but I can feel the shaking of the bed, hear his purrs and feel the heat of him next to me. I can only think he's reappearing now because he knows the hard depressing time I'm going through dealing with all this crapola while Jim is living it up in Costa Rica.

Actually, Jim's not living it up. Jim is living in one room of a small house with a local family near the school. He's enjoying himself, but has already complained about the lack of all hot water in the shower and wants me to bring him a few comforts from home. I think I'll surprise him with some of those sugary Little Debbie cakes he loves so much.

The reappearance of Little Bit makes me wonder if I'm making a mistake putting in quartz and stone in the kitchen. If you know anything about 'Stone Tape' theory and the paranormal then you know that stone can hold and record emotions and memories. It is frequently found at the most haunted spots. I hope it does not increase the activity here, which right now is merely two of my pets that have passed on coming back to say hello once in a while. That I can handle. More than that will unnerving. Only once has something followed me back to the house.

But my week has been made and filled with laughter after hearing about the total and complete hypocrisy of an old flame from many years ago. Apparently he's upset that one of his kids is now dating the kid of the person he was cheating on me with, calling it 'unseemly'. Delicious delicious karma and schadenfreude. I don't wish bad things on him, but I admit to enjoying the spectacle from the sidelines. The only way this could be better is if it involved Tom Smith.

Damn, rereading this I sound crazy. Maybe I'm going nuts with this move?

After packing up eight shoeboxes with Jim's ties I have informed him that he no longer can criticize my shoe collection. I have far fewer shoes than he has ties. He better hope I don't start showing at one of the great shoe sites online.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Scrambling and Rambling

Jim left. He flew out yesterday and is in Costa Rica at the school he'll be teaching at. I've heard from him every single time I've logged into Facebook. He seems to be happy.

I am not so happy. Sunday night before he left the contractors that are going to be painting and installing the kitchen counter top stopped by to say it would be 3 weeks before they could paint. When I started talking to the one who was handling the kitchen counter top install things got weird. He confessed he'd never done one before except for the counter top manufactured just for that dimensions. He does not have the right tools to cut any of it. Why tell me now? Because I decided to go with the lengths you can buy pre made and cut to size. Then I find out he does not know what the hell he's doing! And he came so highly recommended for all around handy work and painting.

So guess what I've been doing? Yep, trying to hire someone else.

I made the mistake of going onto Lowes find a contractor site - Porch.com and it was a huge mistake. My phone and email box blew up with calls and emails from other companies that farm out jobs to subcontractors, no actual contractors.

This morning I ended up at another home improvement store than Lowes getting another quote. Thankfully, unlike Lowes, they offer installation on laminate counter tops. So tomorrow I have to run by with a check and order it, right down to the sink and fixtures I want.

Tomorrow I have to deal with the toothless redneck painter's helper who will be doing all the mudding of the holes and wall repair before painting.

In the meantime I got Laura's room completely emptied, got the wood flooring up, the underlayment up and to the dump, everything packed away and the floor swept, ready for painting and carpeting. I managed to pack away a lot of Jim's clothes and started on the final packing for Andy's room. Our bedroom is nearly empty, except for the bed. I got beautiful glass tiles to eek out the left over tiles from the bath that I need to do a little replacement of a few cracked ones and regrout the entire floor in there. I am making progress now that Jim is gone.

He left me with a huge load of stuff to do. But I'm not tripping over him so all is well.

Last night I stayed up to the wee hours shredding twenty years of tax returns and saved bills. Filled about six garbage bags with shredding.

Tomorrow I'm going to finish up the bedrooms and start on the garage. Fun, fun, fun.

Looks like I'm here for the next month.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Side Job?

I have to laugh my ass off. Over the last week I'm getting a spate of text messages from phone numbers near Annapolis, Maryland asking if I'm available that night or day and what my fees are.  When I reply that they clearly have the wrong number because I'm old and gray and not a hooker the reactions range from sheepish to 'Who said anything about sex?' huffy.

Dude, your text message asked how much I charged to get together and 'party' - I seriously doubt you think you're reaching out to the local Tupperware dealer asking her to bring by her Harvest Tumblers and burping lid storage containers. If it's not Tupperware or Pampered Chef and you're asking me how much I charge to party my mind is always going to go horizontal fellowship.

The first time it happened I thought it was a misdial. Now it's pretty obvious someone has gotten my phone number out there. Mistake or on purpose it does not matter.  Joke's on them, in a week or less my mobile phone is going bye-bye when I jet off to Costa Rica.

Sitting here in my flannel nightgown, graying hair tumbling around my shoulders, wearing my schmexy sweater with the holes in it and fuzzy slippers just laughing. Hooking indeed. Maybe hooking a crochet project or two.

This was a laugh I needed. Today we took a lot of things to the dump, including our oh so comfortable but sprouting stuffing feather stuffed sofa and love seat. I have to get the landscaping done, some more of the furniture moved and clean out the garage after Jim leaves. I'm already pretty tired. I think I'm going to have to hire some help after he leaves. Today was getting so many things into the storage room over the garage. Looks like I'm playing real life Tetris.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Cicular Logic and Connections

My antique piano finally left the house this morning. It went to a very lovely young couple with young kids. As you remember I have agonized over the family piano and the ancient history connected to it, not wanting to let it go.

But once the young mother started telling me a story of her piano growing up, family dysfunction and how one of her family members sold it without telling her I realized how close to my own history that was. It feels very right that she is ending up with my piano, like some sort of karmic realignment, or what we used to call a 'God moment'. Something happening adjusting the world to rights again, redressing old wrongs. A very calm, perfect and circular moment, past and futures connected.

Very happy that my piano has landed with this family. Healing.

But then the rest of the day was a struggle. Ran out to order the carpet again since we had trouble last week with the original carpet company-- that went alright and allowed me to pick up some small supplies I need, like better shower curtain rods, some grout and grout sealant to do a little work in the baths.

The afternoon was taken up clearing out Laura's toys from the storage closets in her room. I had a melt down when I found the stuffed Meeko raccoon from the movie 'Pocahontas'. I bought it for Laura that first terrible day in the hospital when we almost lost her to ITP. She was four and it was her constant companion for about two or three years. Going to the doctor's office? Must have Meeko. Going to church? So is Meeko. Going to school or preschool? Meeko is coming along. Ready for dinner or bed? So is Meeko. I had to customize Meeko with a piece of iron on name tag on his butt with Laura's name on it and sew on a piece of velcro to connect him to her backpack.

One day he was put aside. It happened so suddenly. I don't quite know why. Laura must have outgrown her need to have him with her constantly and he's lived in that closet ever since. Seeing him again just opened the flood gates for me. I miss my kids being little and having them with me all the time.  Between the nice family taking the piano and seeing echos of the past I cannot help but think that when you're in the midst of it, the guts and blood of raising your children, it never dawns on you that some day they will flee the nest and you'll not have them around you every day. You miss them.

I know from some of the conversations I've had with my adult children that they're upset and unnerved by our remodel of the house and our moving away. Life is sure of one thing, change.

The SiL is busy fighting the change since her husband signed everything over to Jim. She's fighting as much of a losing battle as I am trying to hang onto my children. Eventually the waves sweep you far from the shore no matter how hard you fight them.


Roofs and Random Middle of the Night Thoughts

So here it is. 3 am and I cannot sleep. I've just taken one of my carefully horded emergency Ativan that I have for those panic attacks that accompany my worst asthma attacks. Once it kicks in I'm going to make another attempt to sleep. Too much on my mind and too much to accomplish when Jim flies out for Costa Rica on Monday. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought that I have to ride herd on the contractors for the remaining work, deal with the shippers, finish the packing and everything else.

Oh, I'll get everything done much faster once Jim leaves since I will not be dealing with him too. My father always called my husband The Nutty Professor since he's so educated and book smart, but does not have a clue about practicalities of things like painting the house or landscaping. Right now he and I are sort of tripping over each other and sometimes at cross purposes, like when he tried to haul the three boxes of supplies for our home in Costa Rica I packed that are clearly marked 'Living Room Box 1', 'Kitchen Box 2' and 'Kitchen Box 3' out to the car for a trip to Goodwill. I caught him in time to stop him from giving away my breadmachine and other small appliances and the box holding the television remotes and assorted lamps. We need those.

Today was roofing day. Six Mexicans from the roofing company with nail guns and shingles first tearing off the old roof and scrambling at a furious pace to put the new one on before the rains came. It's gorgeous. Pictures tomorrow when the rains stop. The roof is the same shades of blue as the siding and the house shutters and doors.

It gave me another good opportunity to practice my bastard pigeon Spanish again since most of the crew didn't speak English. I'm sure I mangled their language terribly, but I'm trying to make my brain switch from my default foreign language. Usually what happens is someone will speak to me in Spanish and my brain tries to make me reply in German.

Watch those guys today I have to wonder how all these ICE round ups are going to affect not just the big farms and commercial agricultural enterprises, but it's also going to affect the construction industry. Here many of the construction crews are staffed with these guys, hard working and family oriented. Going to make not only the price of food go up, but it could also put a big hurting on the housing and home improvement industry.

Just setting aside the issue of if they are here legally or illegally I have to say in my observation that they are some of the hardest working folks I've ever seen, taking a lot of jobs that no one here seems to want. Our nation is going to have a very hard time functioning if we remove them all. Very short sided of Trump and sort of hypocritical since his businesses employ a lot of Hispanics from other countries in their construction and the maintenance of his golf courses. His vineyard here in Virginia recently asked the Dept. of Labor for permission to import a number of foreign workers to take care of the grapevines.

I'm just not sure how you can employ the labor of a people and still speak in rhetoric against them while deporting them. Confusing. Or maybe that silly Ativan is finally kicking in. Goodnight.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

If It's Not One Thing, It's Your In-Laws

So while we're dealing with the move and the remodel of our home another looming crisis has been starting to boil. My Maw in Law's investment accounts.

The brother in law hired a broker three years ago to handle all the Maw in Law's money, and it is a substantial sum, into seven figures. The way it was supposed to be set up was that my husband and his brother were both holders of the power of attorney, supposed to make decisions on investments, meet with the broker, and just generally protect the Maw in Law's life savings.

That's not quite how it worked out. My husband was given the run-around, not allowed to see statements and the broker would not talk to him.

Before moving the money to this broker it was set up in both brothers names somewhere else. Why and how this went from the two of them to only his brother no one seems to know, or will admit to.

Jim's getting understandably nervous about this in light of his relocation next week to Costa Rica and he's been pressing his brother to move the entire portfolio to the same financial investment firm we use, into safer funds and investments and set up again in both names, both brothers having equal access and say in the funds.

This is everything my Maw in Law and later Paw in Law worked hard and saved over the years. Literally their life savings. It's important that it be maintained for her benefit more than anyone else. She has plenty of income to cover her living expenses, so there's no need to touch this money unless something dire happens, which is unlikely. But it's hers, for her use. She's 94 now, living in an assisted living facility and has no interest in handling her investments.

Jim started to worry about the money after he found out back in early January that the broker is taking high fees out of the portfolio to manage it and that the broker is a raving lunatic Trump backer that lectures others about the wonder of Trump. One of her stocks earned about 20% points last year and she only got 8% after the brokers fees. Jim and his brother agreed that the money needs to be moved asap away from the Trumplestillskin broker, yet his brother has taken no action while Jim has begged, pleaded and cajoled.

Why? I think it's the fault of my hateful new sister in law, who I've now dubbed a quite nasty name that combines a rude word for vagina and a Japanese monster's name. Too vulgar for here. Yeah, the same woman that created the whole Christmas from Hell scenario out of the blue back in December of 2015. 

Recently Jim's been messaging, emailing and calling his brother to try and find out if the money has been moved yet, only to be ignored or told that Bro in Law would do it next week. Well, the ultimate 'next week' is here and we discovered that the move is finally in progress.

Keep in mind that the Bro in Law moved his own personal money immediately after telling Jim about the crazy of the broker and the high fees. His mother's life savings? Hmmm, he's been in something less of a hurry. Here we are nearly 4 months after he moved his and 5 months after he told Jim that the broker was up to no good.

Several days ago Jim asked about a telephone meeting with the new investment firm, the same one we are using and the Bro in Law is using. He was told that TwatZilla and the Bro in Law had a phone conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Jim told them he wanted to be part of that and BiL reluctantly agreed. Time set up, and it was a go.

But this left us with questions in the meantime, like if this involved the Maw in Law's money then what was the new SiL doing in the decision-making loop at all? I'm not involved, but I don't want to be involved because I recognize this really just needs to be between Jim and the BiL since it involves their mother. I would not expect Jim to have any role in making decisions about my mother's money.

I had a very bad feeling about this telephone conference, knowing that if my therapist's ideas of what's wrong with my SiL were anywhere near right then it was going to morph into a goat rodeo quickly. It did.

Jim got on the phone with the new investment banker and lo and behold the BiL was 'too busy' in a meeting to come to the phone, which meant that it was Jim and the SiL only in the meeting. She proceeded to fight with Jim on the phone, told him she did not care what he thought and that they were going to do the investments the way she thought they should done. She accused Jim of being a liar, claiming he had full power of attorney to see the investment information all along. She also informed Jim that my Maw in Law's money was 'small potatoes' and said a number of horrible things when Jim asked to see beginning balances from three years ago. It went poorly.

I did not participate, but I was in the next room doing another massive Ebay auction of possessions while this was going on, and I clearly heard what was going on via speaker phone. Again, what they do with the Maw in Law's money is not my business. I really don't want to know, but could not help hearing.

Jim was upset afterward, and we went to have a picnic in the park, walk around the park and feed the ducks because it had been a busy and stressful day even before the phone conference. I reiterated yet again what form of mental illness I believe that the SiL suffers from, and now Jim sees it too. She kept texting Jim while we were at the park, asking him why he wasn't responding to emails.

We got home last night at sunset to a set of nasty, demeaning, vituperative emails to my husband, you know the kind, the ones with the CAPITALS and bolded and underlined words and italics sprinkled in for ranty emphasis. She went as far as to claim yet again that the Maw in Law's investment were 'Chicken Feed' and how INSULTED she is by the way my husband spoke to her.

Listen, lady! I heard the entire conversation and the only one raising their voice, using disrespectful words, being demeaning and insulting was the SiL. She was so incensed in these emails that when she shared the starting figure of the transferred investment she ran it as one long number with no commas or periods.

Since Jim is now viewing her the same way that myself and my therapist do he took my advice and answered her arias of irritation and paranoia with the simple phrase 'Thanks for the information.' That's it, short and sweet.

Jim barely slept last night after worrying about this most of the night and today he called up his brother, read portions of those poison pen emails to the BiL, pointed out that TwatZilla should not have any say in the investments of their mother, that I don't mettle like that and that the kids and I want nothing to do with either of them we're so insulted still by the way they behaved Christmas of 2015.

Good for you, baby! Standing up to BiL like that. The upshot is that the primary person who will be handling all the investments now will be Jim. BiL is signing it all over to him after some arguing and back and forth between the two brothers. Between the two brothers is how all this needs to be, not me, not her.

I'm betting that TwatZilla is having a tantrum and torturing the BiL right now. Mmmmuhahaha!

TwatZilla. I like that name!

What I've learned through this long experience dealing with those outlaw in-laws. Red flags to watch out for in those that are determined to dominate and control the elderly.

  • Someone that denies allowing the elderly their own money to spend is up to no good.
  • If you ask someone a direct question and they either change the subject, act like you are attacking them when asking for a hard and fast number, or attack you are hiding something.
  • People that seek to control every aspect of someone's lifes is up to no good.
  • If they cannot get along with their own children (all of them), leave an ex spouse destitute and broken and lie to try and get what they want you need to get away from them.
  • Someone eager to spend an elderly person's money on stupid things while telling that elderly person that they cannot afford a new computer or hearing aids is up to no good.
  • If every time you talk to that person they have a huge pile of negative stories about that elderly person, yet every time you talk to that elderly person they seem exactly the opposite of what was said it's just another form of controlling, gas lighting and abuse.
  • If you oppose someone with certain types of mental problems even in the mildest and most polite ways and they always blow up and then attempt to invent stories about you then you should likely never involve them in your life.
  • If someone is constantly attempting to seek praise, is upset that no one thanks them in a way that they think they should be thanks you need to run away from them.
  • If someone always overreacts massively to the slightest thing it's them that have the issues.
I could continue on all night, but I don't have enough time. There are so many red flags in my SiL's behavior that are so troubling in retrospect that I do not feel safe around her. I wish we could convince the Maw in Law to move in with us because I'm afraid for her having this angry and frustrated woman seeing to her needs.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Strange Lawn Ornamentation

Last night shortly after I wrote yesterday's blog post Jim got a Facetime phone call from Mr. Steak about the cats. He showed a very confused looking Kiki looking around the basement. Once Jim started talking to Kiki I sort of melted down and started crying again. Poor Kiki does not understand why he's so far from home. It's breaking my heart. No sign of Mary or Pedro.

So now we have a roll off dumpster on our front lawn. It's for the kitchen remodel, some of the other work, the rest of the roofing job and assorted stuff coming out of the house. It was just getting too much to make the long run to the dump every day.

It looks incongruous sitting among the daffodils and tulips.

I feel like I've spent today either on the phone or running errands. Piano movers scheduling coming to take the piano away to its new home. Faxing documents here and there. Taking books around to various places that need them. Boxing up most of our children's childhood possessions to store in the attic. Making arrangements with a company to forward our mail and the ever present cleaning, boxing and sorting to ready for the painters at the end of the week.

One of the big tasks of today was doing what I used to term 'Mount Laundry'. When my son was here yesterday he cleaned out his closet and dresser. Both were stuffed with clothing from high school and college. The high school clothes way too big now and the ones he wore in college too small. Most everything was in good shape so I spent the day washing, folding and packing into crates to go to the second hand place.

Most people don't shrink after high school. My son did. He was always plump, but decided senior year to work out and eat right. Lucky thing dropped so much weight over the course of a summer, leading to a new wardrobe. Since then he's kept a lot of the weight off, but has gone up a size. If you're local be on the lookout for an expensive ski jacket, dress slacks and a pile of trendy tees and hipster button up shirts coming to a thrift store near you.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Contractors, Creepy Steaks, Tears, Skin Flakes and Extreme Loss

Today was bang up in some not so good ways and better ways. Definitely the strangest Easter we've had, well, maybe the year I was still in the hospital after a total hysterectomy on Easter might have been odder, but not by much.

Confirmation calls from the roofer, the plumbers and kitchen guys. Copper sink, copper faucet set and solid kitchen countertop in creams, greys and coppers in and ready to be installed after they rip out the old near the end of next week. Roofer dropping off dumpster and all the shingles in the front yard first thing in the morning. Big progress. Almost ready for the painters.

That kitchen is going to be so beautiful when they finish. I cannot wait.

We still have to touch base with the painters and scheduling folks at the carpet places. After some scheduling snafus, a disappearing roofer and the old bait and switch with the first carpeting company we're just about swinging into high gear for the final push on the remodel. I'm considering getting some small work down on the master bath, new faucets and a shower glass door installs, plus I'm considering getting the ac guy to come out and install a digital thermostat.

Dealing with estimates, chasing down the copper sink and bait and switching flooring issues took up most of the week leading to this Easter weekend.

This morning started badly when I was awakened by Jim and Mr. Steak having problems getting our kitty Mary into the crate. Mr. Steak was trying to leave with our cats since he's the only person that wanted to foster our cats who actually would not be put out by it until we get settled enough in Costa Rica to fly them in. Mary bloodied Mr. Steak up pretty badly and did the same with Jim.

I was almost laughing over that because on Friday morn when I was crating Kiki for his vet visit and shot update Mr. Steak told me I had no idea how to properly crate a cat.

Bullshit! I got all three including an extremely scared Pedro crated in less than five minutes.

I cried pretty hard as they left, when I stuck my head into his car to say goodbye I got three different kitty voices begging me to not do this. I felt so damn guilty and have been crying much of the day. It hits me in waves.

After a few hours on the road Mr. Steak called and said everyone was fine but he'd been thinking. He was not going to foster our guys and put them on a plane in a month. He says he's going to KEEP them now. I went nuclear and his sudden decision has just about killed me. I had already agreed to leave 17 year old arthritic Mary with him because she likely would not do well with the plane flight and the move. But the agreement was that he was going to put Kiki and Pedro on the plane to us. Looks likely now that I will have to fly into Detroit, pick up the cats and wrangle them back to Costa Rica.

Losing the cats, even temporarily, is just breaking my heart in the worst way. I feel so guilty. Last night when I was hugging and cuddling Pedro at bedtime I was begging him to forgive me and I even started trying to bargain with God, a God I am no longer sure exists or cares if he does exist. Another unanswered prayer and now the possibility that I cannot get my two younger guys back.

I spent yesterday afternoon when he was out and most of the morning scrubbing the house after Mr. Steak left. The bedroom he used was liberally sprinkled with lots of skin flakes from his diseased legs and feet. Vacuumed the room repeatedly. After talking to him and asking a nurse friend I have to think that he has poor circulation in his feet and legs because he's never taken decent care of his diabetes. His legs look scalded and, along with his feet, are swollen up to twice their size. I don't think he's long for this world if he does not get his circulation issues, heart issues and blood sugars under control. I would not be surprised if they don't end up amputating his feet.

So what does Mr. Steak claim is wrong with his feet and legs? He says it is something to do with his car accident last year and that he's having circulation issues. Nice try. I saw his metformin bottle. He's another poorly controlled diabetic who refuses to monitor daily blood sugars with a meter.

Even knowing he cannot help shedding all that shredding skin does not make it any less gross to clean it up. I would not even use the bathroom he used, scrubbing it up shiny today along with washing and bleaching all the bedding he used. It too was a sea of skin flakes.

I'm very paranoid of catching something due to his illnesses. I'm on immunio suppression meds for the asthma. Getting over almost a year of MRSA outbreaks was hard enough. I don't want to catch any possible virus or bacteria that's lurking on those diseased legs. Hence all the sanitizing.

Our kids showed up right after church and I cooked a simple dinner we had in between both of them cleaning out their closets and packing away their things. I cannot handle packing up their things and my own without their help.

I was glad because it was a good distraction from finding out Mr. Creepy Steak wasn't going to put Pedro and Kiki on the plane to us. I stopped crying for awhile.

For the first time I got the sense that our young adult children have finally made peace with our decision to go and are supportive. Their father and I reminded them that they will always have a home with us where ever we go. With the dire warnings of war this might be ever more important. We told both of them not to screw around if things got bad in the States, but to gather their sig-os and come down to Costa Rica with us.

It sure did not feel like Easter. Particularly when my daughter and I ran out to Walmart for more cardboard boxes for packing and ended up buying a pile of things. I'm getting all the personal care stuff that will be hard to score in Costa Rica.

Going to bed in a few since I have slept very little in the past two nights. It will be the first night sleeping without Pedro cuddling me most of the night in six years.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Kill It With Fire and Torment

So my husband's friend that invited himself over for Easter weekend after we'd gotten rid of all our beds, sheets and covers is here and I'm seriously tempted to kill him.

I'm torn between utter annoyance with him and pity, at least until today. So far today I have been the recipient of 4 nasty comments about oral sex and at least a half dozen comments about the nudity during Mardi Gras in my home town. All whenever my husband is out of the room of course.

Before Jim took him off to tour Monticello this afternoon we had a hasty conversation where I was hissing under my breath to Jim about this commentary and threatening bloodshed if he does not deal with this dirty-mouthed and minded 300 pound guy with swollen feet who has been picking his skin off his peeling shins and discarding it on the coffee table. Yes, I did also insist Jim remove the gross pile of skin so I could sanitize the coffee table.

I see why he's unmarried with no girlfriend.

I see why he has no real friends where he lives.

I've turned a deaf ear and refused to even acknowledge his crude remarks. Pretending I did not hear them.

I'm so glad I blocked him on Facebook years ago for other inappropriate remarks.

He's a Trump fan with about the same reasoning ability and intellect of the bottom third of the Trumpen-Lumpens. I've been biting my tongue for two days now.

It wasn't enough that he had to show up stalker-like at 5:30 am sitting in his car just outside our house on Friday morning.

Maybe I'm just still super cranky from the lack of sleep at the UVA Sleep Lab last night. I learned something from the lab, always, and I mean ALWAYS, check out the sleep lab and ask to see the accommodations before you book. Eighteen years ago at my first sleep lab I went to UVA when the sleep lab consisted of a small dept of four glass-fronted rooms with no restrooms that would have been appropriate in an old Soviet gulag. Five years ago I went for a sleep lab here locally and it was like staying in a luxury hotel, plush, comfortable, catering to every need you could have with a shower attached to each room --- so useful the next morning when you're trying to wash away the pounds of goop they attach the monitors to your scalp with. Last night was a huge left down after five years ago. It's better than their original lab, but not by much. Noisy, not conductive to sleeping at all. I woke up so many times it was pathetic. There was a shower, but the pressure and temps of the water didn't do much to remove the goop. I just came back from buying a scalp brush and a big bottle of Redken Remove to get this rapidly hardening crap out of my hair.

I did find out one good thing. My weight loss was enough that my apnea is no longer bad enough to need treatment. I am going from a 19 setting to no machine. Just like getting off the blood pressure meds and Metformin. I'm much better.

Too bad my mood is still homicidal towards McCreepy. This afternoon he started leaving me alone when I put on the soundtrack to 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' and started singing this ditty while cleaning the kitchen.


Guess I'll need to recite the Communist Manifesto and other dire anti-Trump things to get through the night without committing murder. Thankfully he is leaving in the morning. I cannot WAIT to discuss in lurid detail to my husband all the dirty remarks after Mr. Steak leaves.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Broken Toes, Twisted Knees and Too Much Drama!

Been another crazy week in the build up to the move. I'm trying to make sure our wills are updated and all three of the kids know where all the keys and documents are so I was in town this weekend meeting with them to accomplish this.

Before that I had two different appointments at UVA. First with my endocrinologist. Numbers so good over the last five months that I'm going to be weaning off metformin once I get to Costa Rica. As long as the numbers stay good. If not I have to find a primary care down there that will continue to fill the metformin. But I'm going to try to get off and control the numbers by what I eat.

Had the first appointment with the sleep lab folks and I'll be going inpatient on Friday night for another sleep lab. It's been five years since I was checked and my VPAP is not working right. Cannot wait.

Part of the reason I'm looking forward to Friday night in the hospital is that one of Jim's friends, Mr. Creep, nicknamed after a steak, will be spending the night at our house. Yes, he invited himself over for Easter weekend after the clusterfuck of Saturday morning.

Saturday morn, bright and early, Jim tells me that Mr. Steak started spamming him porn photos again and he does not know what to do. I told Jim he needs to tell Mr. Steak a) that is not acceptable and b) block him on social media. He does, but then Mr. Steak calls, whining and crying he has no one for the holidays and offering to foster our three cats until we get settled. He's claiming he'll treasure them, along with his three cats and he'll put them on the airplane to us as soon as we have an apartment rented.

I hate this guy! Hate, hate, H-A-T-E him. So much so that I had trouble keeping my hateful fucking mouth shut when he visited D.C. in February and we went to dinner with him. Mr. Steak is creepy trouble. So..... going for tests in the hospital for the majority of the time he's going to be here is a win-win. He'll be leaving with the cat carriers not long after I get back.

When I found out he was coming this weekend I wasn't pleased at all, even if I do appreciate his offer to foster the cats. I had two friends locally who'd offered, but I know there are cat-allergic people in both of their households so it wasn't an ideal situation. The local Siamese cat rescue was refusing to help me find a foster for Pedro and I cannot simply fly them with us to Costa Rica right away because we'll be living as a guest in a local's home for a month or so that does not allow pets.

The problematic nature of Mr. Steak visiting is that all the beds with the exception of the one Jim and I sleep in have long since gone off to the second hand shop and the antique store. All the various sized sheets gone to Goodwill and the bedrooms are stripped. We had to scramble to borrow a rollaway bed and sheets from friends.

We're still moving things in and out, but I came damn near close to killing Jim yesterday. We were struggling with the heavy oak hutch top half of our dresser, moving it downstairs to take away. I kept telling Jim he was moving way too fast down the stairs on his end and that I couldn't get a good grip on my end due to the glass doors. He ignored me, kept moving fast, I lost my grip and down it slammed, like a huge oak log barrelling down the stairs, slamming into him and knocking his 260 pounds of tall self down the stairs and onto the floor before landing on top his his leg. His knee is messed up now.

Today was my turn for stupid injuries. We were wrestling the bottom part of the dresser down the same staircase going slower this time when Jim yanked it down a few steps and it landed on my big toe. Gonna lose the nail on my right big toe. Broken. Had to yank it back into pointing the right way, taped it and soldiered on before tripping over the snow shovels in the storage room and falling down. I look like I've been beaten, goose egged head, bruised jaw from chin to jaw joint, twisted knee and hurt back.

I am beginning to think that Jim has some form of ADD watching how he packs things or moves them around plus his still going back and forth and sideways with the contractors. The weirdest thing has happened with the roofing contractor - agreed to the price and the dude is nowhere to be seen, not asking emails or phone calls, office shut down, etc. So it's back to the drawing board again for picking a roofing company. So so weird!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Won't You Take Me To... Fundytown!

The newest painting estimate goes exactly like I fear it might. The guy shows up, 45 minutes late, no apology, no explanation. Yes, I do know him, yes he is a fundagelical church hopper associated with all the town toxic fundies from my old church Possum Creek.

 I thought I'd avoid him by running a few errands at the time he was supposed to be here, but no such luck. He was very late, arriving after I got back from Walgreens with toiletries.

I'm already miffed at the very idea of this guy being in my home and make it clear right up front that I've picked the paint shades and paint grade and what needs to happen. Flat white for the ceiling, high grade satin in the lightest blue-gray and semi gloss white trim.

He completely ignores that, walks over to my husband and declares that he only paints in flat white or off white for rental homes. He only paints the ceiling and the walls the exact same color. I hiss out that idea is extremely unacceptable and that the only time I don't mind him using a sprayer to paint with is to put down the primer in Andy's room since it's paprika red and will need a couple of coats of primer.

Mr. Asshole Fundy still ignores my words, talking only to my husband repeating forcefully what he can offer us. Spray painting on everything in white or off white. I explode, yell at him before stomping off outside clutching my purse.

Jim and I have that conversation again after he leaves and while going to the local building supply store to check on a new sink we're ordering installed next. We have one of those standard stainless steel sinks and I would like to put in a white porcelain one.  I point out to him again that he's encountered another Bible-thumping asshole out to charge us a pile of money while thinning the paint with water and using a few very light coats of the cheapest grade paint.

Here's something I have learned in my fifty plus years. If a contractor or business loudly brays what good Christians they are then your potential for them trying to rip you off or take some shortcut jumps up exponentially.

When Mr. Asshole left I barely restrained myself from naughty words and bird flipping. I'm sure he's going to tell all those earnest well-scrubbed people we both know about my unsubmissive rebellious behavior. I know where he can stick that. He's never going to paint for us.

Here's what I learned the short time I sold cars and when selling other high end items - most of the time the final approval for high ticket items comes from the wife. Which is why in high end sales situations and I have a married couple I will direct the bulk of my attention to the wife instead of the husband.




Shaping Up

Today is clearly on track to be a cluster-you-know-what.

Jim just told me that the last of the painting contractors giving us bids is coming late this afternoon to give us his bid. Once I heard the guy's name I have abandoned all hope. The guy is a friend of my bete noire at the old church, Tom Smith.

He's a fundy, he's a fundy church hopper and he's linked up with all the toxic evangelical fundamentalist people in this area. Letting him in the door is akin to allowing all those hateful gum-beaters new gossip.

Jim can deal with him, I'm, um, er, going shopping for whatever during that visit later.

On a positive note I'm being squeezed into UVAs sleep study lab very quickly so I can have a newer better functioning machine before we move.

If you want to read the entire crazy history of how I joined and unjoined my old toxic church and my interactions with Tom Smith here it is in its fully insane glory.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Just Who is the Customer Here?

So here we are, three short weeks before Jim flies to Costa Rica, and he decides he needs to get TWO more estimates for painters when I thought we'd finally settled on the painter and almost settled on the carpeting guys and the kitchen countertop. Roofing, wallpaper removal, gutters, landscaping and just general repairs dealt with now.

It does not go well. The guy drives up in a fanciful painted Smartcar with his business logo on it, steps out, shakes my hand and knocks me over with his cologne. I immediately react with asthma to his cologne and it all just goes downhill from there.

I'm calling this guy Mr. Boston because he's got that whole extreme Boston accent of 'bah-cah-mah' going on even if he's lived in the deepest recesses of the Blue Ridge for forty years now. That's not a problem, I enjoy listening to people with differing accents than mine. The problem was all the sheerly awful ideas and disrespect spilling from his lips.

He stated right up front that he didn't want to do brushes and rollers and would only do the interior paint job by paint sprayer. Then Mr. Boston informed me that he would only paint the inside of the house 'Almond', painting the ceiling and the walls this off off white while keeping the trim all sparkling white. Didn't want to hear my request for a light blue gray with white trim and ceilings.

I have to say I'm taken aback whenever I run into one of the contractors that has such strong ideas about what needs to be done that he's willing to run rough shod over my requests. This idea of mixing a buff-bisque toned off white with white trim just horrifies the fine arts major inside of me that would never sign off on that mismatched color scheme. A darker white on the ceiling of our small cottage style home sounds like a horrible idea to me, but Mr. Boston said to my remarks on that 'Hey, the ceiling is always gonna look like a different colah than the walls anyhows..'

Nope.

Bad vibes. Disrespect and a guy that has long since forgotten who pays his bills.

In my years growing up with my dad I've personally observed a few times that spray painting the interior of a house is rarely a good idea. Yeah, it's something contractors might do when building a new house or townhome or apartment complex, but just not done in repaints. It puts down a thinner coat of paint, meaning the contractor is using less paint than you are quoted and paying for. He pockets the money. It goes on not entirely easily, is prone to uneven paint application and problem spots on the wall. Roller and brush with a high quality paint will get you a better looking application every time.

I had to have the same conversation with Jim about how this is just a time/cost of materials savings that the contractor wants. He does not give a rat's ass what we want, he made that abundantly clear to us. I'm more concerned with having it done right the first time, done in a color I can live with if we come back and created a beautiful rental cottage that whoever ends up here with appreciate (and take care of,) Getting maximum rent from the right tenant, making the place appealing is the name of the game. Not some cologne-stinking contractor's attempts to squeeze a little extra money out of the bid.

We're sticking with the first guys. They made be mostly toothless locals who like their beer, but I have a feeling they'll do an excellent job. At least they'll let me pick the color.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

No Longer In Use

I don't think I can keep going to church anymore. Today was sort of the end. I don't know if I'll continue for the rest of the month or so that I'll be here.

Today was revealing.

In the past ten years since I left my old church my faith has undergone something of a sea-change. The endless mountains of attacks, disrespect and deriding I've had to endure from people at my old church wore me pretty far down after a few years. The last ten years at the new mainstream church hasn't improved my faith either, in fact, I'm thinking from everything I am observing, reading and experiencing that Americans in general have the Christian faith very wrong.

One of my oldest friends, who also came out of the old church, made the observation to me that I was actually very sweet and kind inside, but that I wear my sarcasm like a shield to keep others away. There's a lot of truth to that, but here's the problem. In my old faith community I was pretty sarcasm-free, not the sappy wit that always had a snappy answer. Certainly not the eye-rolling wretch that likes to skewer hypocrites.

What did it get me? Hurt. Very hurt because I was open and vulnerable to people who didn't deserve it, who took my openness and trust and used it against me, used me to advance their own agenda.

When I got to the new church after a lifetime of having trust issues and having my boundaries trampled I morphed back into my old sarcastic masked self. I let almost no one in the new church near the real me. I'm still hiding from most of them.

That hasn't stopped people there from trying to press me into some usage. But as I've started to critically examine what the Bible says, what faith is and how far from the words of Jesus the church has gone I've become less willing to be a slave to religion. Add in some historical reading and enough Bart Erhrman and I cannot decide if I'm agnostic or downright atheist. I believe in a higher power, but it looks nothing like what the Evangelical church thinks it should, so I guess that rules out being an atheist. I don't know. I'm still on my journey.

Today at church was an illustration to me on a bunch of different levels how hypocritical many of the folks there that scream the loudest that they are UBER CHRISTIAN.

Yes, it's been a bad asthma day. Yes, I got up cranky again, but had to go into church to do the counting of the Almighty offering. While I was there my oxygen levels started to tank, I could feel it. I took the usual actions I always take when the levels are low. I did my deep breathing exercises that the physio taught me, I medicated and I even lay down for awhile between services. When it wasn't getting any better I got up and walked slowly around the church, leaving the other team members to fill my slot.

At one point I walked past two of the most prominent 'Look At MEEEEEEE Christians' in the church that always volunteer for the most visible leadership roles and go on lots of mission trips-cum-vacations to 3rd world countries. Both couples looked at me and one of them remarked I was white as a sheet and asked if I was sick. I said I was, that my oxygen levels had dropped very low (around 88 right then) and I was lightheaded.

You could have dropped a pin and heard it echoing in that vast silence. No 'Hope you feel better,' 'Can I pray for you?' or even a simple 'I'm sorry is there anything I can do for you.' De nada, nope, nothing, neine, nix, not jackshit. Right back to their faux righteous conversation.

This all on a day when others clearly seeing me struggle approached to ask if I would do this or that thing, lead this, pray for this person, or cook, volunteer, you-name-it.

I'm done being used by ungrateful people. I am done putting my needs last. I'm done with all this fake concern, phony behavior and mouthing platitudes while behaving like your faith is really all about you. Begging prayers focusing on getting God to pay off like some holy slot machine to benefit you. Disgusting.

My inner voice was right. There's plenty of reasons to keep my mask up and not let it down there. This church, just like the crazy one, is a seriously unsafe place that uses people up in a thankless fashion. I'll go on worshiping and communing with the divine out away from the church. They can shove that fancy painted stained glass building. I'm not counting the 50K per week any longer. I'm not doing another thing for any of them.

I'll spend my efforts on those who really need it. Like the local homeless and the elderly, like I have done for years now.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Taking Zero Crap From Anyone and Asthma

Been a crazy day and I'm about to go crash till morning.

I've slept in really late the last three mornings. My insomnia finally broke and I've been in the bed 12 hours a night for the last three nights. So I was a big late getting up before one of the contractors we'd gotten an estimate from was stopping by with the head guy from his painting crew to discuss and schedule the painting of the entire interior of the house. We're gotten all the wallpaint off save for the border on the upper soffit area of the kitchen. I put that border up almost 28 years ago when we first moved in and when I tried to remove it after 11 years it wasn't going anywhere, resisting all efforts to remove. It's still there, so we had to tell the painters that they would definitely need to remove that particular paper with the steamer.

So Jim is talking to the guys and I'm sitting in my office working on No Longer Quivering when I hear one of the two guys in the painting company suddenly start to claim that the wallpaper border had been put up wrong. Another one of those blood boiling moments. I was out of that chair, across the house and yelling at those guys that I DID NOT INCORRECTLY INSTALL THAT WALLPAPER and right into a rant. I'd used wallpaper sizing on the wall and I've even sanded a few spots perfectly smooth, used the right glue. The paper fit perfectly. It looked lovely for years, I actually tired of looking at it when I discovered I could not remove it and I merely papered right over it.

I realized about five minutes into the rant that I could almost hear the painting guys balls retracting up into their bodies. I know I shocked them, but quite frankly I'm pretty sick of guys thinking that there is no way a woman could possibly ever do something in the building trade right. For years I was the one in our family holding the plumbers wrench, paint brush and hammer. My father taught me how to do these things as a girl, whereas my husband Jim is someone my Dad always referred to as 'The Nutty Professor' - intellectual, educated and filled with book smarts, lacking even a lick of common sense and ability in things like that. Well, he does have common sense in some ways, just not in anything to do with house maintenance and repair.

Through the years I'm the one that not only did the home repair but I'm also the one that called the professionals in when something was clearly beyond my changing out a light fixture, painting, wallpapering and miscellaneous plumbing abilities. I can change the wax seal out on a toilet, unclog a toilet, change out a sink and run a snake with the best of them.

So I'm the one that will likely be supervising these guys. I think they just had a rude awakening about me, realizing I can be the stern taskmaster and I don't take ridiculous stereotyping from men. Poor little woman. I might only be five foot three inches but I pack a whole lot of stubborn in my short size.

I have a close friend that's also doing a house remodel and she's shared her frustrations with sexist building trades people who try to treat her like the helpless brainless little woman. I doubt I'm going to have that problem again with these guys. I don't get treating your female clients this way. Our money is just as green and spends just as well as that paid by men. This is being paid for by our joint savings, which both of us have contributed to.

I have noticed that most of the contractors we've gotten estimates and work from automatically defer to my husband Jim, which is hysterically funny because he's stated again and again that he hates dealing with these kinds of things and to pick out what I think would look best. I ran around with the measurements and got the kitchen redo estimates, but I dealt entirely with women, female interior designer and staff and women in the kitchen remodel studio. I'm glad I did because this is coming together beautifully in the house. I'm sorry someone else is coming in to rent the place and get the full advantage of my planning.

But I should have known if I get insta-angry I'm due for an asthma attack. The mood shift has started to become the most accurate pre-attack warning now. I'm going to start measuring my oxygen levels when I start getting like that. The attack did come a few hours later. It came right on schedule just after lunch and just like that the day was mostly over for me. I excused myself from our guest (friend of Jim's from work) and spent most of the day pushing in meds and doing the caffeine thing.

Amusing note with the guest. Very introverted guy who seems emotionally stuck back in the 1950s. He turned to me after my asthma attack and asked me if I'd ever tried marijuana for my asthma. He's the last person I would ever have thought might come up with that solution. You just never know about people.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Medical Misadventures, Packing and a Big Old Fuck You to Lori Alexander

Week has been busy and rather stressful. We're still packing. I took a day to breakdown and clean every surface in the house because it's gotten too dirty for me with the contractors in and out, the things coming in and out of the house and everything being drug away from walls and removed. I've been sick most of the last week too, some miserable virus I picked up, leading me to experience that horrible phenomenon of 'Which end do I throw on the toilet?'

Wednesday, the last full day I felt faint and dizzy every time I stood up and could not keep food in, I had to go to UVA to have tests run and see my newish lung doctor. The tests proved to be quite the bizarre scenario. Picture, if you will, me already very shambling and dizzy, like a dyspeptic zombie with a bad hair day, being strapped with medical devices measuring heart action, lung action, oxygen levels and other things and told 'Walk as fast as you can for six minutes here in the hallway' I had to ask 'You want that with or without puking?'

Started having a bout of exercised induced asthma during one of the test and I had to stop myself from laughing and asking the tech if they ever bothered to look at my chart. I've had issues with deep drops in my O2 stats during exercise since early childhood. I'd only be surprised if I didn't. 

The tests and appointments took all day.

I haven't heard back on the tests yet, but I know from the years I worked at the clinic that not hearing back on your test results immediately means that it's usually good news. What happens when you go to your hospital and get tests run is if it's bad, very bad, the tech running the test will immediately phone the ordering physician before faxing or emailing over the preliminary results to the doctor and you ending up with an immediate phone call from the doctor. None of that. Good.

This week after we got home and resumed packing Jim found a box filled with a slaughtered forest of paper holding some of the world's most cringe-worthy fan fiction I'd written nearly twenty years ago. I was mortified. I thought I'd thrown all of that away years ago. That silly fiction was a reaction of some of the internal rebellion going on during my years at the old church. My dirty little secret and my reaction to being forced into an unnatural role in a tiny box.

Which leads me to being annoyed with the writings of one Lori Alexander of The Transformed Wife. In the course of lining up posts for No Longer Quivering this week and still being slammed with packing and cleaning and dealing with the remodel a post of Lori's popped up on my computer. She was claiming that many women brag about keeping an unclean house. That's the biggest bunch of bullshit I've read in a long damn time.

Even at my sickest while I was bouncing vomit off the tiles, or right now dodging wallpaper shreds and packing boxes I've never been happy about having any messiness at the house. I don't think anyone is happy to have a untidy or dirty house enough to brag about it.

In fact, I'd venture to say no one has bragged about keeping an unorganized home. It's pure Pearl made up idea and claim. 

What it is, at least for myself and many folks I know, is that the cleanliness index of the home depends on a large number of factors. Who's there, who's trekking in and out, the activities of the family, the needs of the family and the whole time factor. Most people are somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes of the sterile perfect eat off the floor level of cleanliness Lori thinks everyone should have, and the show she's cited as an example of what not to do 'Hoarders'. Most people are fine with being in a state of flux, knowing that every single day is different and they aren't stuck in some frustrating set of must-dos.

You'd think someone with serious medical concerns like Alexander might understand that life is about more than being able to safely lick the floor and not pick up germs. Oh yeah, I forgot, she had a nanny and a domestic. Easy to keep the house looking showroom fresh when the paid help does it.

Fuck you Lori for trying to place impossible to fulfill standards on things you yourself do not even do.  You know what you can do with my leftover box of Swiffer pads from mopping earlier today.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Too Real Now

So today Jim was offered a position with a school in Costa Rica and he accepted it. It's up in the mountains, but around 30 minutes from the beach. We'll end up with the best of both worlds. The fresh mountain air for my asthma but the nearby ocean for swimming a couple of times a week.

Now I'm scared. It's too real now.

Not taking tons of things to the second hand stores made it real. Not even having one of the antique stores stop by to pick up some of the furnishing they both from us. But the job offer makes it real, scary real.

Even as I really want to go I feel devastated and sad for unexamined reasons. Nail biting time.

I think it's because I'm the worrier, and he is the eternal optimist. I hope he's right and we're not making a big mistake here. I guess even if we go and it sucks horribly we're only committed for a 90 day stretch. You can do just about anything for 90 days.

If it does not work out we have a freshly painted and carpeted refreshed home with a new kitchen to come home to. That could work.

The school has arranged a room for us at a local family's home for the first month and has promised to help us find an apartment for rent. But it's pretty apparent that Jim is going to have to fly out to take the position while I stay behind to finish up the packing and home renovations plus shipping out our things.

Nervous now.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Presidents, Paper, Ponies and Puzzling

Been an interesting and extremely busy few weeks again.

Yes, we're still engaged in the epic struggle to remove all wallpaper, but we've finished the stairwells, hallways, landings and living room. The most challenging part. We've moved onto the dining room, next the kitchen area and then master bedroom. More area but a much less challenging job. Twenty or so years ago when I'd taken down the living room wall paper and decided to paint my father came to visit. Thinking he was helping me while I was at work he painted, painting over all the still on the wall wallpaper paste I'd not removed. The result was a horrible mess. So in addition to pulling paper and dissolving the glue I've had to scrape down in the areas of paint over glue right down to the bare wallboard.

Took last Friday off because we had the opportunity to see the President of Costa Rica speak at George Mason University while he was in the US to meet with the new administration. Here's the thing I found puzzling about all of this. Trump, the president, did not meet with the leader of a country that has lots of financial ties with our country and imports a great deal of stuff from the USA. President Solis. Solis was palmed off on Mike Pence.

I've reached a sort of zen state of giving zero fucks now about my possessions after fighting, crying and zealously guarding them. Now I cannot haul stuff off to Goodwill fast enough. Thursday one of the second hand store that uses what they raise to fund many of our local social services programs is coming to get the beds, some of the dressers and a few piece of heavy furniture we're not taking with us.

Part of that grand things purge has been running Ebay auctions every week. Last week I sold my entire worship flag collection, with the exception of a few I'm keeping for myself. I thought last week was nutty, dealing with the types of Evangelical Christians that buy flags on Ebay always is nutty. I used to sell a lot of them on Ebay and dealt with haggling, whining and people copying my designs. I got the haggling and crying and whining only. So far none of the other makers of worship flags on Ebay has stolen my original designs.

Well, sir, I forgot about an even stranger bunch of consumers, model horse people. Something like 13 or 14 years ago my youngest daughter joined my eldest in her hobby of buying Breyer and Peter Stone model horses and going around to shows throughout the Eastern US to compete on who had the best models. My youngest only did it less than a year. The two sisters fought the entire time, it was stressful and unpleasant as a result so those horses have been locked in a series of plastic crates lo these many years.

During our listing of stuff on Ebay I offered to list the horses as she has at least four rare high dollar value models and about ten more that are decent models. I'd forgotten what that world was like and now I'm being deluged in constant questions through Ebay over the smallest nit-picky details, things like asking why I posed the horses a certain way in the photographs and questions about who the manufacturer was for a custom stand one of them sits on and it goes downhill from there. Every single day since Saturday I've had to revise the auctions and put the information requested in the auction. I'm looking forward to this week's auction being finished. People that buy my listed art supplies, books and china do not ask a million questions.

If you get the chance you should watch the documentary on the oddness of the model horse competitive world - Not Just Plastic Horses. It's both entertaining and eye-opening. I cannot find it any longer anywhere but it exposes the just plain weird over-the-top crazy folks that spend huge amounts of money to have their horses - which are in reality just childrens toys - judged by those they are paying for the privilege.

Yeah, I know, I collect thimbles so I have no room to talk. But I don't spend tons of money on thimbles, I don't take them to shows and pay to have their quality judged. I know people need hobbies, but sometimes there are folks that just take it a little too far.