The Good, Bad and Ugly

Hello, WordPress community!   You thought I died, right?  Santa arrived early at my house and I’m the proud owner of a new computer with Windows 8 – more about that later (and less on the endless gripes I have regarding it, because, after all, I do love you guys!)

So much has happened since my dear old, 6 year computer crashed, I could keep you reading for 3 days straight – alas, I’ll try to keep it short-n-sweet, and fill you in.

Because of the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks, I thought I’d split out my update into Categories…

The Good

I have a computer – as an early Christmas gift from my ex-hubbie.   Remember when I told you there are many reasons I still love that man?   Remember when I poured out my heartache at my perception of betrayal?  Yeah…. He’s human, but he is still, so often, my knight in shining armor.

Jerusalem Artichokes are in the ground – right on the west side of the house, which was slated for Cottage Herb Garden.   I kept trying to figure out where to put them, and then realized, they are the perfect answer for protection from summer sun and leaving western wall open for radiant heat in winter and so, I have perennial beds outside my kitchen door.

Soon after getting my new computer, I awoke one day to sub-zero temps and pain – spent the morning plotting out my garden beds and have the plans all ready to follow, as infrastructure for the east side is done…. Finally….   West side of my 4 lot place is slated for cultivation in 2015 – –

The fescue grass planted this year is still green and beautiful – without water since September and no mowing.   Excited to plant more in non-garden areas next spring.   This year’s work will result in 2/3rd’s less mowing/weeding come next summer.

Fence has been put up to expand Oakley’s room thanks to the generous help of a dear, dear friend.   Fence post driving is hard work for me and I got 4 posts a day done, with 10-day rest periods in between! LOL  Thanks, Dick!   Never could have done it without you!

I”m no longer “Unemployed”

First, I was invited to a community weekly dinner that is primarily attended by retired senior citizens – then I’m asked if I would be interested in cleaning up after said weekly dinner each week – 1 hour/week @ $10/hr.

Then, the local library advertised for a part-time aide (10 hours a week/ 2 hours a day) – I applied, interviewed and did my skills test.   I got the call offering me the job.   I was ecstatic!   Me, working in a primary source of information and getting to help others in their quest for knowledge – Could anything be more perfect?!?

On a side note, a weight I had been unconsciously carrying fell away when I received the call.   Until I got the job offer, I didn’t even realize that behind my angst over, “Will I ever be well enough to return to work?” lay the even deeper anxiety, “Will anyone ever want to hire me again?”

One week at the library and wouldn’t ya know, a friend who is as passionate about nutrition and locavorism as I am, decided to buy the local cafe and offered me a part-time job.   Actually, she asked me some questions, I asked if I could help, offered to work more hours than God placed in a week when she said, “Yes”, and got the response:

“I would love to have you there everyday, but I do not want to be the cause of you having a set-back in your health.   I’m thinking 3-4 shifts a week, (four hours) and we’ll play it by ear on how you get along.”

So, between the three, Local Jobs, I will soon be employed 27 hours a week by folks who appreciate what I have to offer and who often take the time to look out for my health better than I do….

Which I consider a success – if I can’t learn to put myself first, at least I’m learning to form relationships with people who know that about me and look out for me, even when I don’t do it for myself.

A quick blessing on all those wonderful folks, in person and online, who are so good to me.  (blessings for those who cause me pain is in the Bad/Ugly sections – sorry, a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots overnight….)

My family decided to buy a washer/dryer combo for me as a Christmas gift.   While I love my Wonder Washer, the joint pain in my hands left me unenthused over wringing out heavyweight clothes once I no longer had my Spin Dryer to do it for me.  I’m over the moon at having a modern day laundering mechanism again.   Will report on my new tool as soon as I have a month’s worth of electric and water bills to report on – cuz you know, some things aren’t a bargain, even if you get them for free….   LOL  My Dad listed horses as one of these items….though he got me one, anyways…

I woke up today, totally pain free.   I’ve been trying different things and have been struggling since the pneumonia in September.   How apropo that I awoke, at last, to pain-free living on Thanksgiving.

The Bad

I had huge set-backs in my health after the pneumonia fiasco – another bout with it, then an abscess that had to be sliced and drained.   This time, I didn’t wait until it spread to hell and gone, so the slice and dice did not include gauze packing in the amount of a trip to the moon and back.

(See?  I’m learning – should have put this one in the Good section….) 

AND, if you are pro-active and go to the doctor early enough, without a designated driver, they can do local numbing shots, instead of saying, “Either you call someone to pick you up and we’ll put you under or you cuss while we slice – – ”   I was very grateful to get this taken care of without having to bite-a-bullet.

Then, the lovely return of neck/back pain that preceded my stroke back in 2011.

(Which sent me into a gale of emotional storms, praying that I could live at least until my son graduates from high school). 

This latest set-back confused and bemused me….   But it also stretched my horizons in my learning and what to do for myself.   Can’t say that I regret the new information I now know, but Lord, someday I would like to learn this stuff an easier way.

Windows 8 – I gave it 10 days before I whispered even one word to the outside world about not liking it.   As much as I embrace change as an offensive player in so many venues of life, I admit to being a defense player when it comes to computers and software – I get tired of learning new stuff all the time to perform the same old functions.

I’ve engaged in learning about Open Source Options for what all I do and am preparing to take the dive on eradicating Bill Gates from my computer – – which means, if I mess it up, you may not hear from me for another long period…..again….

The first week of working at the library coincided with my new-found activities of volunteering at a local food bank.   Which I  found when I asked if I could trade work for food when my wall furnace started lagging on lighting and then turned into a flame-thrower.

Acutally, if I hadn’t been worried about killing us all in the middle of the night, the wall-furnace-turned-flame-thrower was kinda cool to watch – a long hiss, followed by a mini-explosion and blue-gold light bursting from the wall – – alas, I’m a parent and have to be responsible – I got it fixed…using my grocery budget….

The gals who run the food bank are awesome.  And they seem happy to have manual labor show up regularly – They helped me out during a hard month and I get to help with the food bank garden next year!  Yay!

(This, too, should be in good, as should everything in this post, but, it still confounds me that I must learn the Good by experiencing the Bad – – Have you seen “Life of Pi?” yet – No?   Okay, watch it and you’ll ask why I’m still separating things out into Categories, even after having this epiphany….)

By week’s end, I was exhausted and I had momentary doubts about my ability to rejoin the world.   But I took self-care seriously during the weekend and, quite frankly, basked in the glow of working for/with people who know my health history and actually give a damn about it…  A new concept and this last part should be in the Good, but I trust you to understand.

An elderly man, who knows me because I went to school with his sons, attended one of the community dinners.  Here’s his line of interrogation (aka small chit-chat that small communities engage in) that sent me racing for my self-tranquilizers of choice – (nicotine)  I do not hold him personally responsible – I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt – but no kidding, how can anyone hit everyone of my triggers in less than 3 minutes?  Seriously!

“Who was your dad?  Oh, I knew him – but I didn’t recognize you – you’ve changed!” (Yeah, bozo, I still have about 30 lbs to lose to get to my pre-stroke/pre-thyroid weight)

“How many kids do you have?   Didn’t you have a boy shortly after you graduated?” (Yes, yes, my oldest son, who you knew, is dead – here’s how he died – yes, what a shock and shame, thank you for bringing it up)

“So, where’s your husband?” (Far away, separate household – yes, yes, he decided on a different path for his life that didn’t include us – but, thankfully, this has not left me hot-to-trot or any other stories you have about divorced females and their rampaging sex drives – you’re safe, cuz if I never have to deal with a man again, I’ll thank God for eternity.)

“My son got a job and they’re paying him $18.50 an hour – I’m happy for him, but you kids are entitled and ask for too much” (Okay, if I strip you of everything you own other than the clothes on your back, I’d like to see you survive on minimum wage and do ya know, I was earning $18/hour as a no-degree, straight out of highschool, unskilled temp in 1988, less than 50 miles from where we are sitting – in the face of high unemployment, employers will pay whatever they damn well please and if you gripe they can find a dozen others who would just love to work for peanuts.)

“Why aren’t you volunteering at the local Thrift Store?” (Because I only have so much energy in a day – because I volunteer for the local booster club, because I offer low cost websites/hosting for small businesses and don’t charge them for extra work I do,  because I chose to volunteer at the food bank – because I’m on a limited income and creating my own garden and home grown food seems a priority for me, because I give something, everyday, for free to someone else, even when I don’t know how I’m going to pay my own water bill….)

Now, the reason I shared this with you is this conversation took place in under 5 minutes – and sent me into such a whirlwind of emotions (anger, mostly) that I excused myself and went home to have a cigarette (which I had been weaning myself back off of, since falling off the non-smoking wagon this fall)

I sat at home, ingesting higher levels of nicotine than I’ve used in over 3 years, and wondered if I’ll ever be fit for polite society again.   We all have our blind spots.   We all live with a perception of the world that may not be true for someone else.

But, DAMN, if it isn’t hard remembering that when someone is pushing your buttons.

This is included in Bad section because I see how intolerant I’ve become by being a semi-hermit and not having to deal with a wide-range of personalities on a day-to-day basis.

The Ugly

Inheritances Update – All my added chapters and the formatting of the entire manuscript managed to get corrupted during my “Save” and “Backup” operations of my writing.  I managed to retrieve my text file, but only the back-up from late July.

(See?!?  See how long I babied my old computer along… sigh… the greatest gift of life is learning to Let Go.)

One beta-reader returned my pre-computer-crash printed manuscript marked with  front page notation, “Compelling and beautiful –  Rework structure as fiction – story engaging, but not a non-fiction How-To.”

Ill health, damaged files and feedback indicating change needed – all combined-  induced me to return the ‘pre-order’ sale funds to those who supported Inheritances, with a promise of a free copy once it was actually done.    I haven’t had responses from you two, so please, let me know if you got the PayPal refund and if you’re mad at me forever or not….

This is in Ugly, because I let customers down – had I not put Inheritances up for sale prior to it’s release, this would be listed under “Bad, but Doable” – Alas, someday, Inheritances will be born – I will not, however, again try to Induce Labor by putting a work up for Advance Copy Sale – too many bad things happen when I try that route.


So there it is – a nearly 2,500 word treatise to catch up since I’ve been gone – and I didn’t even include it all…

But I’ve missed you – I’ve missed writing – I’ve missed all of it –

And just as soon as the manure is spread on garden beds, home-made Christmas presents are done and I’ve adjusted to working for someone else several hours a day, I shall return with my shorter, more subject restricted posts….

Until then, may you and yours be comfortable, fed and happy!   Whatever holidays you celebrate during this time of year, I wish you the brightest of them.

Until We Meet Again….