Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Trivia Night

 My sister has a friend who is in a band (I guess I'm friends with him too now?) and during the pandemic he has been hosting trivia nights on Zoom on Tuesdays. He has partnered with a friend in England who does the same questions the next day, only earlier on our calendar. 

Tuesday nights at 9pm I'm pretty toasty and done for the day, and 4pm GMT on Wednesdays is while I am still working. I have not gone every week, probably once a month, and I always have a great time. 

The questions are a lot of pop culture or deep pop content, like tonight we went into the 70s into things like Super Dave and when Albert Brooks was a ventriloquist. 

It's always a laugh riot, and I should make myself do these things. I should target the time, and set myself apart from the things and just go. 

It is hard though. I am sick of sitting in front of a computer and working, so now I'm sitting in front of a computer and playing. One week I continued to do helpdesk tickets while playing and someone asked if I was googling answers because the reflection in my glasses was a big white screen - and I was trying to fix something, so I wasn't even paying attention to the questions at that point. 

I feel like I need to just learn how to not work.

Sop Trivia night is a good way to do that, and I was playing D&D with a bunch of people but that fell apart at the end of the summer. We have gone literally 6 weeks without playing and I miss that. I felt like our story was really developing. And I kind of wish I knew how to DM because I'd ask if I could take the game, but, then I wouldn't be able to play my awesome character. 

Knowing how to disconnect and do other things is important.

I have not been using social media nearly as much as I used to. It used to be fun, but now it is just toxic and not a lot of fun. I started reading more. I finished one good book written by my friend Jim and started another that I was not sure I'd enjoy and had put off, but I am almost done with it, and can't wait to keep reading (like why am I writing this right now? I could be reading!) 

Taking myself away from the social medias and focusing on other things is important. I'm finding that my heart is lighter, and books are there, and if I need to be in front of a computer, well I have projects I can be working on like Aaron's website and all. 

Tonight's trivia night was fun. Let's put a pin in it for next Tuesday, shall we? and I'll promise to play. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Goodbye to the Essie

Today, we said goodbye to the VW. The "Essie Mobile." 

When my aunt Esther died, my cousin Joe sold us her car. Shortly after we moved here, we found ourselves in need of two new cars. 

The Lincoln had been sideswiped, knocking the side view mirrors off, and our Chevy Blazer was on its last legs. 

Neither vehicle would pass Maryland state inspection. 

Doug sold the Blazer, got the Pontiac. And Joe didn't have a need for this car,  so after my aunt's funeral, we went over his place and bought it from him, then traded the Lincoln in for cash. 

The Essie was a good car - just what Geoff needed for driving to work every day. Small and zippy. Good mileage. Not a looker but a doer. Sturdy. 

I always like the unique sound of a VW door closing. It is firm and solid. Not flimsy like some other car doors. 

And I had a soft spot for the Essie. Having my aunt's rosary beads, which used to dangle from the rear view mirror relocated into the driver's side door made me feel like she was with us in the car, guiding and guarding.

We recently noted a heavy smell of exhaust coming into the car, we had the tailpipe replaced and another part of the exhaust patched. But that only fixed things for a little while. 

As Geoff was the primary driver of this car, he never complained. The car went. He got to work, and if the exhaust was annoying he rolled the windows down for fresh air. 

The check engine light was on, the car didn't have the usual pep. It backfired on me when I was driving it to the market. And the exhaust stink was a bit much.

On Monday I took the car to the guy who had fixed the tailpipe for us, and he said the catalytic converter was shot. Replacing it, and the exhaust parts it would require would run about $1200 without the labor. 

"Chris," he says, "The car is maybe worth $600 and I'd recommend not doing this replacement and just letting it go." 

So we decided to do just that. We went out and bought a used Jeep Liberty which we're going to pick up on Wednesday. And we sold the VW for parts to a local shop. 

We got about 300 bucks for her. I felt a little sad, but a parts car isn't like selling a car that is going to go to auction and make another family happy. The parts are going elsewhere. 

Everything except the catalytic converter, I guess. 

While the mechanic was going over the car, taking photos of the VIN and the odometer, and the engine. I stood off to the side watching, playing Pokemon. 

A cardinal flew into the tree beside me and chirped loudly at me over and over again. He  was very vocal, very loud. And I had to laugh because of course it did. I haven't seen a cardinal for months, but here we were. Visited by a talisman. The concept of a cardinal as a visit from a loved one looking over you hit on me. Oh hello. You are not happy with me selling your car, Essie? Or are you happy that we had it. We still have you. You're still with us. 

He sat in the only tree in the parking area that had converted to the fall colors. His bright red body stood out among the orange leaves. He held quite the conversation. I'm still not sure if I was chastised or told it was okay. Either way, he took off and we signed the paperwork to transfer the title.

Essie will still be with us.  The rosary beads will go into the new Jeep to keep us company. And I hope this new ride does Geoff well for his needs. Up the highway and back. 

And he can probably fit a kayak on this one, so that should make him very happy. Kayaks don't fit on VW Passats.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

I'm your vehicle baby, I'll take you anywhere you want to go

"I'm your vehicle woman, by now I'm sure you know that I love you, 
I need you, I want you, I've got to have you child. Great God in heaven you know I love you."
-Ides of March "Vehicle"  



Flashing you back to the 70s, this song is stuck in my head right now, for a lot of good reasons. First off, it's an absolute banger. I never knew the name of the band until I went to find the link, and I watched about 6 versions before picking this one of a much older ensemble, I think this is from 2014 maybe, compared to their 1970 version. Second, that horn section. Shut up anyone who can't get behind this. And finally. It's a banger. 

Doug and I are looking for a new car right now to replace the VW. And we may have to replace the Pontiac too. 

For long time readers, you know that the VW Passat was sold to us on the cheap by my cousin when my aunt died. We call it the Essie Mobile in honor of her. It has been having some exhaust issues, and the catalytic converter is dying. We had someone at a local shop weld the pipe in place to the converter last year, and since our state has rules like "you don't have to have it inspected again ever" this is no big issue. The car has run fine.

But the pipe and the converter are no longer friends, and we find ourselves with an exhaust leak into the car, power and acceleration issues, and a check engine light. The estimate on the catalytic converter was 1200.00, and KBB says value of the car is about 700 bucks. 

Ha. 

Looked up the Pontiac on KBB too and trade in value on that isn't even 300.00 so I'm dying laughing. Oh, cars. 

Anyway, Doug and I have very different opinions on car shopping. I've drawn the line on him buying any more cars from some guy at his house. We lucked out with the Lincoln that we got from the guy in NH who was dying. I would like for us to go to a dealership and buy a used car from a dealership. 

Dealerships are required to make sure the vehicle passes inspection (you only gotta do it once!) without it costing the buyer any money. So that's on them. I like that. Second, I'm willing to take out a loan, but Doug has his life-long "I'm never getting a loan because a bank is not going to get a fucking penny out of me in interest." But. We could get a 0% financing loan - and the bank would very much not get a fucking penny out of him. 

We have a good amount of money in the bank, so we could put a decent down payment on a car, and pay a small monthly payment but pay it off faster the way I've been paying bills. But he's vetoed that and wants to buy a car outright. 

Add to the fact that I want a hatchback if we get another dog, because I didn't like having the dog ride in the back seat and fall all over the place when we took turns. It wasn't fair to any of our dogs once we didn't have a hatchback. So I told him he better buy one. When we have to replace the Pontiac, if he wants some sort of another pimpmobile, he can get a pimpmobile. 

And, I've gotten spoiled with having the rental car in Oregon, and a rental car now while we're shopping, and I want bluetooth. Living in Radio Jail is the worst, and being able to listen to all the stuff I want to (mostly Guster related) 

And, I would like a car made in this millennium. Not partying like Prince wanted us to in 1999. 

He asked me how much I thought we should spend. Knowing that a new subaru would be like 45,000 dollars, and that's just insane, and knowing what I kind of want, I told him I was prepared to put down 8000 and get a loan for the rest for a car made 2016 or later. Like, a 20,000 car. 

He clutched his heart like he was Fred Sandford and he was going to join is wife in heaven. 

He said he could do better, still make me almost happy (probably not the bluetooth part) and spend a fraction of what I thought we should spend.

While I for sure respect the no bank's gonna get a fucking penny out of me philosophy, I really feel like we're getting too old for this shit, and I'm a pretty princess who deserves bluetooth, and a hatchback for her yet non-existent dog. 

So we will see what we end up with. He's deep in his research and is looking at dealerships (thank goodness). He may have found something for his price that meets what I'm hoping for and we'll maybe go see it tomorrow afternoon. 

More to come. I am sure.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Emmily

 

I keep thinking about Emmily. 

When we met six years ago at the wedding we hit it off great. As usual, as Jess often observes, I have a tendency to set fire to children, and Emm was no different. 

Within minutes Aaron was trying to reel her in while I just encouraged shenanigans and hilarity. Classic.

Going out there to visit, it was right after her 12th birthday, and what a joy it was to visit with her and spend time again. She opted to ride with us everywhere (to give us directions to places that we knew how to get to), and she told us all kinds of great stuff about her friends, and music she likes, and just talking to us about life. 

She told me that she's kind of lonely, and not going to school in person is hard but she's doing the best she can. 

And being the Big Sister to a newborn, there is a lot of pressure on her to help out. She rises to that challenge, and she does an amazing job. The baby responds so well to her, and she sings BTS songs to him and dances with him, and he absolutely loves it. But I could feel it, she is kind of isolated, and at 12 you need your people. 

I bought her this sweatshirt as a gift - taught her about the Maryland State Flag and how wacky it is. She loved it. When we went out to dinner that night, she wore it just to show it to me. 

Emmily wants to go to medical school and also minor in dance. I can imagine a Doctor or Physician's Assistant grooving into an exam room, beautiful red hair flying and great moves - right before asking "so why are we here today?" 

We were riding in the car over the Astoria-Megler bridge on the way to the boat, looking out the window at the Columbia river. She told me it was boring living there, and I thought how can you look out the window at this, looking east up river at the ships, the sky, the mountains, the beauty of it all, and then looking west to the Pacific, where a storm was out there, but not yet over here. 

I told her to be thankful when she can, to look at these things and realize she's actually in the thick of gorgeousness. There is nothing boring about where she lives, just where she feels. Don't blame the scenery if she feels bored. 


I'd love for her to come visit. I'll show her some of the most boring scenery she'll ever imagine and she'll go back west and suddenly awaken to the truth that it spectacular there. 

Kidding, she'll probably still think everything is boring. 

I made dinner tonight, and she loves spicy food. When we were at a restaurant she had ramen with extra spice. The chef even told the waitress to ask her if she was certain she wanted that amount of spice. And she did. We sat there, I watched her smile and sweat through the soup. And she was exceptionally proud of how she loved this soup. Tonight's dinner would have made her super happy. I'll have to remember how I made it and serve it up for her. Sweating through my own dinner it put a smile on my face. 

She's a good egg, and when Aaron said he'd give us the friends & family discount, she was surprised "oh! He called you family!" 

yes. And you are too.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

The weird dreams of this week

A few times since returning from Oregon, I've had dreams about water travel. 

I dreamed that I worked on Aaron's boat, that I was the tour guide while he drove the boat. Six people were in the salon with me, and I was telling them stories about the Columbia River and history like I really knew what I was talking about. Everyone was looking out the windows, and hanging on my stories. I was taking photos with a tablet device, so I could automatically upload them to social media during the tour.

Get this: I'm such a nerd, you guys, that even in my dream I gave people photo release forms at the beginning of the cruise and made sure those who didn't want their pictures included in social media were protected from having their images shared. 

How weird is that detail? 

At the end of the cruise, back at the dock, Aaron and I helped people disembark and the smiling passengers shook Aaron's hand, and they hugged me. Catch that fact - people... hugged me. 

I dreamed about a world where I could get hugs from strangers without thinking about "this person is closer than 6 feet, this person is touching me, none of us are wearing masks." 

Aaron and I were talking the other day and he said he would love it if I was the tour guide. Long time readers of this blog know that Aaron and I throw a good party. We plan really fun things. I really do bet we'd have one hell of a great tour with him cruising up the river, and me telling stories. 

Upon waking, I wondered if I truly hate my job. I mean, I love my job. But if I'm dreaming about other jobs where I think I'd have more fun, or I'd be happier, that's telling. Even a job that would probably pay a pittance of what I earn now. 

A lot of my co-workers have relocated to other spots. My boss moved to Vermont. One co-worker is staying in his mom's condo on the Eastern shore, because she can't Air BnB it and so he's paying rent to her to keep the place from going into foreclosure. Someone asked me if I would move to Astoria and work from there. I have been fantasy shopping for house rentals - nothing is available in my price range with 1.5 baths. Gotta have that second shitter, yo. 

It's a tempting prospect. I could work my job, and then do tours in the afternoon out there (long after East Coast Hours are over) or weekends. 

Huh. Hmmmm.... yeah. 

I've had a rough couple weeks. The first week back from vacation was alright. Last week was an epic shit-show and I made a terrible mistake of something, I avoided people who wanted to ask me questions, I found out one of my very favorite people in the "building" (we're not in the building, and who knows when we ever would be) gave his notice, and twice last week he postponed having a little time with me. 

It was an emotional week for sure, but not an "I'm going to quit my job because this is the most worst." 

Last night I had a dream where we are in a car, Doug is driving, and there are people in the car with us, and the car is driving on the water. So kind of like a boat. Jess was in the front seat, I was in the back, and the other people in the car were identified as new next door neighbors to a house we'd just moved into. 

I have no idea where we were going but they were talking very hatefully about homosexuality and trans people. I was calling them out on it, Doug was trying to keep the car steady, and Jess was incredibly uncomfortable. 

I woke up from that very angry that I couldn't get them to shut up and stop being so cruel. There's no reason for it - it's no skin off your rosy nose if someone's whatever they are. Just let them be. 

The vehicles on the water thing is very interesting to me. It seems to imply journeymaking, having a destination somewhere. The social aspect of being in a vessel with people outside of my family (and even Jess, who does not want to travel or have us come up to visit because we're in a pandemic and all that) means I probably am longing for people and company. 

But in one dream the people were all fantastic, and in the next they were horrid. It is a true fact, well known across the nations.

In another dream, no cars, no boats no water, we were moving into a new house. Strangely, the house was an old colonial, so it couldn't be an Oregon house. No such thing there, really. 

It was similar to the brown house we lost to bankofassholica years ago, but more modern. There was a giant hearth in the dining room, and the dining room bled into the living room - no walls separating them. So you could look from the dining table straight forward to the giant double windows in the livingroom. Doug was setting up a flat screen TV against the wall of the staircase going up to the second floor. 

I was setting the dining table for dinner, and walking back to the kitchen which was on the other side of the hearth. The hearth was central - you could walk to the left or right, and get to the kitchen either way. To the right was a nice wall of windows looking at the yard. On the left, if you went that way, there was a butler's pantry you'd have to walk through, with lots of storage and shelves and it made me think a little of the kitchens in places like the mansions of Newport, RI, only much smaller. 

The hearth had two openings, which was super cool, I've always liked that look. In the kitchen, the walls were all grey, white and black tile. There was a six burner gas stove, double-door fridge from Sub Zero, giant butchers block in the center, ample counter space. 

Jess' friends from high school came down a second set of stairs into the kitchen, Byron (Jess and Byron aren't really friends anymore since Byron dumped her best friend/his fiancé a while back) and Nick. They both did Shakespeare camp with Jess back in 2010. I like both of them (even if Byron flaked out on Molly, but ... she dodged a bullet there I think). They were doing a reenactment of some Monty Python sketches, and I was laughing pretty hard. 

The wall of windows by the hearth had a sliding glass door out to the garden, it was wide open. There were two dogs coming in and out - no screen to stop them. I didn't get a good look at them but they were happy.

We have to move in March, and I guess I'm also fantasizing about houses. And dogs. And again, people I have not seen in a long time, people I love and miss. 

My mind is doing interesting things and going interesting places without me. 


Friday, October 09, 2020

Oh, Technology...

I bought myself a new personal computer. I got an HP laptop, as I couldn't justify getting a Mac. 650.00 vs. 2100.00, it was a no brainer for me financially. 

Set the whole thing up and was super excited to download the pictures off my camera from not just my past vacation, but a couple trips we took to West Virginia and the Shenandoah valley. 

I said to myself "you should drag that folder into drop box..." but I figured I wanted to buy photoshop, install it the next day, and then work over the pictures... and then I'd upload everything to drop box. 

Windows updates needed to run, so I set them up and went to bed. It was late. So I just let it run and figured out I'd have a fun time in the morning.

The following morning, the PC was asleep, and would not come out of sleep mode no matter what I tried. Called support for the laptop, and they wanted me to ship it back for factory reset. 

But. 

I'll lose all my photos. I specifically took great photos of Aaron's boat for him, for his website and marketing materials. The tech and I discussed it and he told me to take it to Best Buy and see if they can get the photos off the hard drive. 

If they can, great. If they can't.... they're lost and gone forever. Either way. 

It has to go back. I'll get it replaced or reset. And fingers are crossed that my date with a Geek at Best Buy on Monday night will get good results. 

On top of everything with the personal computer, my work (Mac) keyboard decided it wanted to just start flinging extra letters out while I type like a monkey throws poop. It is a known issue, covered under our agreement with Apple, so it gets fixed. 

Me: Hey IT guy what do I do?
IT guy: go to apple, they'll ship it out and get it fixed. Do you have a computer that you can work on in the meantime?
Me [looking at my dead brand new laptop]: Well, not really. I'll tell you a funny story...

IT guy tried his best to walk me through getting it to wake up and ended up saying the same thing as the person who helped me from HP. 

So I didn't have a computer. Doug had bought us a computer last year for us to share, but since he's been working from home, that's the computer he uses. I was out of luck. 

IT guy hooked me up with a loaner and I went to pick it up yesterday. It was weird going back down to the office. The neighborhood was kind of a mess, lots of weeds, no one cleaning up the sidewalks. It was a ghost town, no dogs at the dog park, and just a feeling of drab abandonment. 

I miss the office. I love working at home, but seeing the building and knowing how many wonderful people I know who I haven't seen in forever, it bummed me out. 

Waiting for the Mac to come back hopefully next week. I'll return the PC right after I get used to using it, and then ship my HP laptop off for some love and care to get that back eventually. 

sigh. 

That's about it for an update. Nothing really important going on other than the possibility of losing all those photos. I'm happy I have the day off on Monday. Doug does not, but the weather is supposed to be awful, so I'm going to be happy to just hang out and maybe read. 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Washington to Washington to Washington

A Warning: Long and epic post to follow. 

So we did it. We went on vacation. I had my reservations about doing this, no pun intended. I was worried about being on a plane, being near other people, and bringing my East Coast body to a very stable West Coast county. I was worried about the baby. I was worried about entering their house. I think though, everything is alright. And we're alright. And they're alright. That's how I feel.

We flew out super early in the morning on Friday (September 18). Flying back in time is nice, and we landed at a time where we'd be relatively awake, alert, alive on the East Coast, so it worked well for the West. 

Doug had flown us into Seattle, even though it is over 3 hours from Aaron's. It was 200 dollars cheaper to fly there than to Portland. And we could enjoy a scenic drive. They were expecting us around dinner time, so we had time to burn. It was before noon, so let's explore. 

We drove kind of west and north and west, dancing over Puget Sound's bridges, and headed towards Harstine island where Doug saw signs for Jarrell Cove State Park. 

Doug followed the signs. 

We got out, took a stroll in the drizzle, enjoyed the beautiful green trees, the green water, the low tide. People thought we worked there and asked us questions. 

We must look the part? 

The island that the park is on has its fair share of beautiful views, and really fancy gated communities with soaring iron gates and barbed wires. I thought it weird to see how much high-tech and sharp protection these communities had put into place. 

I wondered what exactly they were protecting themselves from. What kind of predators. What is it like being this wealthy, this close to Seattle? [read more after the break]

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

West Coast Yes Please

Last night my husband talked to his mom, and she told us she didn't want us to come help her with the move to the condo, yet. She waved us off while telling us how much stuff there is to do. 

She closed in August. she's been measuring, looking at things, astonished that the furniture she wants which is hand made will take 6 weeks to build (Ohio Amish). Had she just, I don't know, taken a tape measure and measured the space back in oh, July, like I told her to, she'd have furniture being delivered now. 

She's complaining about how many things need to be done, but our willing hearts and hands I guess aren't the ones she wants right now. 

The first time she did this, Doug and I were frustrated with her, but we are over it. She's doing things at her pace. She has time to do it. She doesn't have to be out of her house for a closing or anything, so .... more power to her.  I don't like being at her beck and call. I think it is ridiculous for us to not come up there now, and do all the cleaning; to have Doug help with things in the yard at the original house. 

There is a lot that can be done. But whatever.

The issue is, her indecision messes up our planning. We canceled a trip up there in August, now we are canceling September. Doug is not even planning ahead for October. We can go up there alone for a weekend or some shit, when she is ready.

Doug just booked us flights to Seattle on a Friday morning, 

The plan pretty much is to rent an RV/Camper Van in Seattle and then make our way down to Vegas to arrive 8 days later, return the van, spend a night there, and fly home on the Monday following. 

His fantasy trip that I wrote about a couple weeks ago is now slightly different. I've never been to Seattle, we'll hopefully see Aaron and the new baby, and many friends and vistas along the way. 

We are going to have a blast and a half. 

I love vacation planning Doug. Even if we just go away for the weekend, I love him plotting and picking things to do and places to see. Basically we gotta go see the baby. After that, everything is whatever until we get to Vegas. 

My cousin and his wife live near Salem, OR. I would love to see them. We went to college in Ashland, OR so I'd kind of like to possibly visit there. I have a friend in Reno, NV and I'd really love to see him. 

Aside from that, show me mountains, big skies, and stars, and let's hope we don't have to drive around some big fires along the way. 

And wish me luck for when it is my turn to drive the camper van.


Monday, September 07, 2020

And that's why, your honor, I had to kill him

(There is a lot of me swearing in this post. If that kind of writing does not delight you, dear friend, move along).  

In my last entry I mentioned that I got mad at Doug and at my mom. 

I'll start with Doug. 

We got home from the vet and he did his flurry of de-Brodifying the living room. That didn't bother me. I fully understood the why. I even appreciated it. 

I got mad about the stuff getting put on the porch. 

We discussed his thoughts and my opinions. He said for now that's where it is all going. Dejected,  I took my sad ass to the bedroom and laid down, sheets over my body, fan on to drown out noise. Perchance to dream?

The day before all this happened, he had broken the blinds on his side of the bedroom. He had set them in the corner to fix later. Which I presume would be, based on previous experience with him, November. 

No. 

He picks right then. Literally right then, while I am attempting to hide from him and all manner of things. 

A piece had fallen off of the holder doohickey up in the window frame, so he had to find it. Which entailed moving his side table.

Oh, and he found it but now. Hmmmm. It's kind of a mess over here, isn't it? It hasn't been cleaned in a while. So let's pick now to clean it!

Now. Let's rummage around for tape for 20 minutes and then ask Chris (who is now playing with her phone because why not) where the good tape is. 

It is in the basement on the shelf in the laundry room where all the tools, glue, tape, things belong. Always look there first because if I find stuff like that all around the house, that's where it goes when I find it. 

He comes back with tape. 

Instead of taking the tape, the broken piece, and the blinds out into the back porch where I usually work, and getting out of my fucking space, he sits on the floor. Makes all the noise pulling the tape apart, futzing with the tape, making noise with the blinds, muttering under his breath. 

I got up and went to the guest room. 

The blind repair didn't go too well, but the blind is in place and cannot be pulled up or down, lest the same thing happens. 

He comes in to tell me that like I intend on going in and pulling the blinds up and down. I look like I want to fucking do that right now. Don't I?  

My sister and her husband fight a lot more than Doug and I ever do. So when I'm mad about something Doug is doing, has done, will do, might do, it is extremely rare. But my sister always will say in the midst of her fights with Ronnie, "And that's why, your honor, I had to kill him." Sometimes when they are in the midst of something I will yell that and they will both laugh. 

And that's why.... your honor.... 

He then tells me that we've gotten to the "Cloves and Tom Collins Mix" level of groceries, that he is going to the store. 

He went to Aldi, and did bring me back a monkey that is solar powered so it swings by its tail. 

I think that he just wanted to be with me and not be alone, but unfortunately I am a cranky baby and needed to be alone and thus got to murdery levels with him. And I don't recognize that is what he wanted. And I'm sorry that I was mad and didn't make space for his feelings and the manner in which he attempted to communicate them to me. 

While he was at the market, I called my mom to let her know we let Brodie go. 

"Good, it's about time." 

Oh okay. Thanks. "I'm sorry" would have been nice. 

"Oh, yeah I'm sorry. She was a good dog. How old was she?" 

14 and a half, I said with a sigh. 

"Good long life. You didn't tell me when it would be good to call Doug's phone to test if calls go through."

Backtrack to Wednesday, I was having some sort of problem with my phone, where folks calling me would get some recording after a couple of rings. They'd hang up, try again, the call would go through. No big deal.

I was having a problem making outgoing calls. Ring, disconnect. Ring, disconnect, Ring, success.  She calls my sister who texts me to let me know that mom is having a hard time reaching me. I call (have to call twice) and talk to her about whatever it was she wanted to talk about. She told me about what was happening and I told her maybe we can test with Doug's phone on Friday. 

I'm thinking to myself, oh Jesus. I do not fucking care about the phone right now. I do not give two shits if calls are going through, or if you have to rough it and make a second call. I JUST PUT MY DOG TO SLEEP FOR FUCKING FUCK'S SAKE I DO NOT WANT TO PLAY TECH SUPPORT RIGHT NOW! 

I didn't say that to her in quite those harsh of terms, but I did say that it wasn't a priority for me to test things right then, so we could try later. 

She called me on Saturday to let me know that after we'd gotten off the phone the night before, she immediately went to tell her neighbor Ernie that we put Brodie down. First, she tells people my business, so I literally don't tell her anything. But she knew about this for a month or so and kept asking me when we were going to put her down. 

"When we are ready," was my reply. "As long as she can pee and poop outside, as long as she is eating and drinking, and as long as she isn't in pain, then it isn't time." Time came on really fast. We went from Wednesday to Friday and the decision to do so was unanimous. 

"Ernie said you kept her alive too long, and you should have done this sooner, so he said good. It was about time." 

What I should have said was Fuck him, and fucking stay out of my decisions to do things. You weren't on this walk with her, either of you, so keep my name out of your mouths. And my dog's. And shut up. Forever. 

I don't have a "and that's why, your honor..." for my mom. It's annoying to not have been supported by my mom right now when I needed it. Friends and acquaintances on Facebook were unbelievably supportive and loving. I got over 600 posts with pictures of friends' pets (or ducks, or squirrels, or small children who are like small pets). 

It's all been exhausting.


Greetings from the Sad Couch

Hello readers, all three of you. It is Monday, Labor Day weekend. I knew my heart would be broken, and I'd be mopey and sad. So I've ruined everything for everyone on earth by just wanting to sit here on the couch or tidy things up and then getting mad because people are in my way.

That's an exaggeration. I haven't ruined everything for everyone but I certainly have been pathetic, and I know that is allowed. Folks don't have to tell me. This is the fifth dog-related heartbreak I've done. I'll be okay. 

But for right now.

I've burst into tears over dumb ass things (keep reading). And I've slept a lot. 

Friday was, obviously, hard. I cried throughout the evening and sat on my bed. I got mad at Doug and my mom, that's an entry of itself. 

I don't remember dinner. 

When we got home, Doug spent time tidying up all of the Brodie things, cleaned out her dog food bin (it was all 3 dogs' dog food bin at one point, we've had this rubbermaid container since the Brown House, so ... 13 years? )

He packaged up the leashes, washed and dried the dishes and bowls, ziplocked the cookies, cleaned the brushes, the nail clippers, the collars, the harness that she had been wearing for two months that really helped us help her. He packed up the dog bed, which I had washed just on Thursday after a rough night on Wednesday. 

I should have been thankful and appreciative. But I was a bitch about it all. Not about the swiftness that he went through cleaning everything up with, but... 

He put all of the items in the back porch. 

I didn't want them on the back porch, where I work all day, sitting there and looking at me. I also didn't want them on the back porch because things get a musty back there if you're not vigilant. I should know - I work back there every day.

I cried a lot and told him not to do that. 

I wanted to give away the fresh bag of dog food I bought 2 weeks ago (optimistic on my part), and the dog cookies. I wanted to throw her dog bed away but he wanted to keep it, saying "we might need it." No, I said. Another dog isn't going to want to sleep on her 3 year old flattened dog bed, I'd like to give a new dog its own fresh, lovely bed if a new dog comes to my house. 

"Well maybe we'll buy the same style and we can have covers to switch back and forth?" He is sometimes cheap and practical. So, I lost that battle. 

Geoff just moved all of the items into the basement for me so I don't have to look at them whille tryiinig to focus on work tomorrow. It is cool and dry down there, and we can just deal with things later on.  

I don't remember much from Saturday, either. It wasn't a lost day because I was drunk or anything - I just literally don't remember what I did. I remember Doug making burgers on the grill, and he asked me to make coleslaw. That's literally the only thing I remember fully from Saturday.

I think one thing I tried doing was cleaning in the living room. Doug decided to flop on the couch in the middle of everything where I wanted to put Guster on YoutubeTV and just clean and clean. Flopping in the living room to read turns into taking a nap. And so I knew I wasn't going to be able to do all the things I wanted to do at the volume I wanted to do it. 

Fuck it whatever I'll just go and lie down too. 

Yesterday, Geoff was aching to go out somewhere and use some of the pent up energy he has. Doug suggested we go to the Maryland side of the Great Falls, to Olmsted Island. He and I had gone there before, I think it was literally right before the pandemic. We had parked to the south at the Old Angler's Inn and walked up to the Visitors' Center and the overlook, about 3 miles each way. We came back in the dark and sat at the patio at OAI, had some overpriced (very) appetizers and two beers to congratulate ourselves on a 6 mile walk. 

Sure, okay. Yeah. Let's go back. We parked at the visitors' center instead of OAI because we didn't want a six mile round trip hike this time.

We got out of the car and I realized I didn't have my mask in my pants pocket. 

I had decided not to bring my purse, which is usually where the mask safely lives.  I had pulled the mask out, and thought it went into my pocket. 

It was nowhere in the car, and not on my person. 

I started crying, like fuck - the one thing I actually need and I don't have it. I looked around the very crowded parking lot and the very crowded trail and knew that I'd want a face covering. 

Doug offered to cut his bandana in half, he was being very kind and supportive and laughing like baby, it's okay. In his very Doug way.

It was not okay. I was not okay. I just started bawling.  This was not funny. I should just stay here at the car. You guys go. I suck. I am the worst. How can I let this happen when literally on the way out the door I shoulded to Geoff "do you have a mask or bandana?" 

We rummaged about in the car and found a pair of clean gym socks (I knew they were clean because they were balled the way I do them when I fold laundry) which Geoff must have left in the trunk at some point back when he was going to the gym regularly (March?). Doug found a long piece of rope (about 6 feet) that we use to tie the trunk closed sometimes if there's a need. He wrapped the rope behind my head and tied the sock to my face, laughing and smiling like "there you go babe! All set!" I tucked the length of the rope into my pocket and we went for our walk. 

I felt like a complete tool. 

Crap on a cracker, I've got a fucking sock tied to my face. Then, I realized how many people did not have face coverings on, were not practicing any kind of social distancing, and I started to get angry at them. 

I tied a gym sock to my face you shit heels and you can't wear a mask? The fuck is wrong with you all! 

I think my eyes may have told that story, especially to the asshole in the Baltimore Ravens disgusting purple ugly nylon golf shirt who walked past me without a mask on an snickered. Every other person in his family had one on, but not him, not ole Natty Boh Old Bay stink boy. Fuck you, ya motherfucker. 

As you can tell, your humble narrator was having a moment. 

The overlook was lovely, too crowded, we didn't spend long. I did volunteer to take a picture for a couple who were trying to selfie with their baby. 

The thing I do.

Doug and Geoff walked further down trail to the north end trailhead of Billy Goat Trail. Geoff said he'd like to take that sometime. I told him he needs to be prepared and in good shape, with plenty of water. 

Geoff seemed to really enjoy going here, which made me happy in the end, sock tied to my dumb stupid face and all. 

I kind of feel like we should drop him off there, and let him walk to Lock 7 near Glen Echo while we sit at the Irish Inn and wait. What's a 7 mile walk for him? He'd love it. It's flat. He can just go and go. 

He ran up a side trail into the woods just to see where it went while Doug and I were resting back at the visitor center. He came back with a smile on his face, said it reminded him so much of Boy Scouts and being out in the woods with the Troop. 

I didn't take pictures at the overlook or on the boardwalk there, which I did last time we went. The Great Falls trail to the island is really cool, and the overlook is neat. I did like seeing this lock boat sitting, ignored and neglected, it made me think of an old song by Brooks Williams called "Inland Sailor." 

Not exactly the ocean journey he sings of for this boat normally pulled by towpath mules, but seeing all the grass grown up about it, I couldn't help but take my mind there. 

Today I did some house cleaning, still working on the living room, which for months was basically Brodie's room. Vacuuming, dusting, moving around places where there was a dog bed, and other obstacles. Will tackle my coffee table and table where the mail lands, which has been neglected for a few months. Will sweep where I moved a bookshelf. May move into the dining room which Geoff has kind of claimed as his for school and homework.  For sure will load and run the dishwasher. 

Celebrating Labor Day like a boss.