Sleepless night

First Coldof the season

I think I’ve got the first cold of the season or yet one more thing is blooming that has my sinuses trying to kill me.

I was feeling so puny last night that I went to bed around 9:30. I’m laying there listening to some music and just drifting off when the sweet, but dumb as a post, dog decided to step over the dog that has been recovering from a hip sprain, and start panting in my face.

I tell him it’s OK and expected him to go on his way. He didn’t, instead he laid down in a spot that I’m surprised could accommodate his fat ass. I wonder if dogs somehow manage to warp space when they lay down.

That doesn’t follow. If they climb onto the bed with you, then they somehow manage occupy the entire bed. Humm maybe it does track, maybe the rule is they occupy all available space in a given area regardless of the volume of that space.

I start another album playing and start to drift off again.

The other half comes to bed about 11. I start to drift off again. Snoring erupts from the other side of the bed. It’s 11:15, a few well placed jabs in the ribs and a rough approximation of silence prevails. Then the sweet dog starts farting. 

Snake Oil

I swear I could bottle that stuff. Dr. Carney’s sure fire sinus opener and paint remover. 

But in addition to the farting, he’s gone all OCD on licking and rattling the closet door in the process. Then the snoring starts from the other side of the bed again!  It’s 11:25

Okay! I’m awake! Unfortunately, I’m also spun up. There’s no going back to sleep for a while. And I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck with body aches, and a jackhammer of a headache.

They say if you’re awake and can’t go back to sleep, you should get out of bed and do something constructive until you’re ready to sleep. 

MartyMcFly Guitar

“Okay, well the house does need to be vacuumed. I’m behind on my guitar practice, I could practice that Metallica riff I’ve been trying to master,” picturing Marty McFly in Back to the Future.  I think to myself, “That’s just me being cranky.” 

I instead tried to write a blog post which ended up in this mornings trash. Trying to write when you’ve got a headache that makes you wonder if the movie Scanners was for real and if you’re currently being scanned, is a really bad idea.

Scanners

Suffice it to say that the trash is too good for that blog, it should’ve been completely erased from existence at the moment of creation. 

So here I am, awake this morning, feeling better although my sinuses are still pissed off.

The sweet dumb dog is trying to make it up to me but he clearly doesn’t understand what my problem was. Nor should he, he was just being his normal sweet self, the problem was all mine and there wasn’t anything he could have done to help. (Aside from perhaps sleeping on his cushion with his behind pointed toward the open sliding door.)

I did finally get some sleep. Eventually, I laid down on the bed in the spare room and drifted off.

I’m having a second cup of coffee and trying to decide what I want for breakfast.

I think I’m taking today very easy.

Whoops! Down the rabbit hole

receiptsample

It was a simple enough thing. Find a receipt so that we could claim the warranty replacement / repair.

“No problem,” says I, heading toward my computer. And that’s when it all fell down.

I’ve been keeping electronic receipts on my computer for years. There’s something like 2700 emails that are all in a nice neat folder in my email client. I started doing that because for years Mac Email did a great job of indexing and allowing me to find important emails like receipts.

Except today!

Today, I stumbled again over an indexing problem in Mac Mail. It’s been rearing it’s head from time to time.  I’ve done all the corrective actions specified TWICE! Still the search and indexing functions are all but useless in Mail.

The Final Solution, the Apple Web Site is recommending, which is the final solution on any computer is to re-install the OS. 

I’m thinking I’ll wait on that. In a couple of months, Apple is releasing a new OS and at that point my plan is to rework my computer anyway. 

Rather than go through this process twice in a short period of time, I’d rather combine the pain.

This leaves me with the initial problem… finding that receipt!

GRRRRR

Searching one email at a time isn’t cutting it. Sorting the emails in the folder should narrow my efforts… working working, working, working.

A couple of hours later…

Other half, “What are you doing?”

“Looking for that receipt”

Other half “Oh, um that problem is taken care of. Hours ago! I called the rewards program and they emailed me a copy of the receipt. I’m leaving now to drop the whatsit at the repair place.”

Some days, I’m too stupid to use a crayon!

“GRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrr!” Pounding head on desk.

“Okay, drive careful, could you pick up some aspirin while you’re out? I’m going to need it.”

I forget the damdest things.

Nostalgia

Nostalgia can whitewash a lot of things 

We forget why we left an area. Or how glad we were when we left a job. Soldiers forget how happy they were the first day they put on their official uniform, or how relieved they were to take that uniform off.  Mothers “forget” the 28 hours of labor, and focus instead on the joy of bringing another life into the world, until child number 2 is a month late & it’s August and 104F in the shade; Then it’s “what was I thinking?”

Uh Oh Morning After

Divorcees sometimes forget the reason they got divorced until they wake up in bed together and all the old patterns start re-asserting themselves.

I have a friend who had a rough breakup with a long term lover, many years ago. I cared about both of them and considered them both my friends.

The guy in this couple has been and still is my friend and for that I’m grateful beyond words.

NoToxicFriends

While I’d known my male friend the longest, nonetheless I reached out to the female half of the couple in friendship, and pulled back a stump where my hand had been.  Then I remembered that I’d always thought she was a bit toxic. I realized that her toxicity level had gotten out of control and that was probably why they broke up.

I sometimes wonder how she’s doing but it’s not important enough for me to track her down. Given her toxicity, it’s probably not worth my effort.  I remember the good times, hope she’s well,  appreciate the years of kindness and laughs prior to their breakup. My mind automatically glosses over the bad spots.

Generally, when we meet people who are toxic to us, we don’t hang around them. Sometimes we allow them in our lives because of others who are important to us. The toxic wife, or husband of a family member or best friend for example.

Punching Bag (c) nataliedee.com

Sometimes people we love aren’t toxic when we meet them. Then we fall in love, or build a friendship and that person becomes toxic to us or we to them. That’s the hardest situation.  We can choose not to see an aunt that’s a bitch, the people we’ve purposefully allowed to get close to us on the other hand are far more difficult to deal with. 

Our emotions are confused and we think about the effort and time we have invested and we think, “Maybe it’s something that will pass.” Often the toxic behavior does pass and things go back to a comfortable loving supportive relationship.

Other times, acceptance of the toxicity is treated as “Signing up for a full seven courses.” 

Either the other person thinks you’re saying they’re right, or they give it no thought at all and continue using you as a punching bag. It’s a no win situation, and once that behavior becomes the norm, no amount of love, correction, resistance, disagreement or all of the above is going to change it.   The path from there on is simply pain and more pain. It’s possible to love and care for someone but be unable to take the pain.  

Words have Effects

I’ve found myself in that situation several times in my life and I’m always slow to let go. I keep hoping for things to get better. The reality is that they don’t.

I’ve recently re-evaluated several relationships and have concluded that they’re toxic to me.

This re-evaluation was funny (in a gallows humor way) because I floated what I was thinking by a couple of friends who said, “OH THANK GOD!”  

They didn’t want to interfere in my business because they knew I had a great deal of love for these toxic people but as outside observers they could always tell when I’d had toxic contact because I wasn’t myself.  One friend suggested that over the years I’d given these relationships too much weight and spent way too much time trying to win approval. “Approval,” they added, “that would NEVER be forthcoming.”  

toxicwaste

As an example, they asked, “When have you been complimented on, congratulated about, or encouraged in, any of your successes or endeavors by these people? If they’re just tearing you down or making you feel bad about yourself, they’re bad to have in your life.”

It’s a valid point.

“What about love?” I asked.

“Love is encouragement and validation. Love is someone caring about you and liking you for who you are right this moment and also who you were in the past and seeing the difference. Love is someone telling you you’re wrong and forgiving you in the same moment for your mistake. Love is empathy, compassion, joy, and happiness when the phone rings, or an email arrives showing that person’s ID”

Kind people

“Love is not dread, or always being made to feel like there’s something wrong with you.”

We forget why we distanced ourselves from certain people too.

I’d purposefully kept these toxic folks at arms length because I’m pretty generally happy with who I am, and they in the past have tended to bring me down.  Finally, after many years and a lot of patience and soul searching, I’m letting go of the toxic people in my life.   I realize that toxicity runs both ways. I may be toxic to some people but not others, I’ll understand if you don’t have me on your holiday card list. It’s Okay I get it, no hard feelings.

We should surround ourselves with people that bring out the best in us, and in whom we bring out the best.

That’s what I’m going to do from here on out.

OH! For God’s SAKE! Water Pistols?

Standard Water Pistol

The Boy Scouts of America has banned water pistols. It’s been on their books for a while but resurfaces each summer because the BSA reminds folks of the rules in preparation for the season’s activities.

BUT REALLY? I’m caught by the memories of my family and my friends and their families playing with squirt guns.

Across America during the summer folks are playing with super soakers, and hose nozzles and generally having a good time POINTING things at each other.

The Boy Scouts have also banned Nerf Guns, Lazer Tag, Paintball, Airsoft etc, too. (You can shoot at a non-living, non humanform target.) I guess that I can kind of, see banning projectiles.

Lazer Tag is a bit of a stretch. (Stealth, and learning when to dive for cover may be far more relevant to us all in the near future.)

BSA Logo

Lazer Tag is about moving, maintaining cover, and shooting accurately… Ok, maybe that is a bit warlike.

Water pistols???? I can’t help but remember summer outings with scouts where the scoutmaster tried to get us with a bucket of water and we buzzed around him like angry hornets fast and with accuracy that had HIM drenched while we were mostly dry.

No-one gets into a water pistol fight when it’s 100° F thinking tactics or anything other than “Got YA!” with a lot of running around and laughter. 

Water pistols are about the most benign, inexpensive, fun you can have as a child. Who doesn’t have fond memories of loading up a water pistol with Icy water from the ice chest at a family outing?

SCAN0072

I pity anyone who doesn’t remember catching an adult male in the crossfire and thinking, “We’re done for…” only to have that adult whip out a bigger badder squirt gun and chase all the kids, joining in the mayhem. Eventually everyone comes back soaked, laughing, and having made a memory that will put a smile on their face for the rest of their lives.

Some boys in my generation wouldn’t have had the opportunity to build those memories without Scouts. Those boys would never have had a chance to see adult males playing. Moreover, those boys, as they became young men wouldn’t have learned that restraint and letting the little kids “win” is also part of being a man. 

All boys need that kind of experience. It doesn’t matter that they might not get it from their fathers, what matters is that they get it from somewhere.  Scouting should be about those lessons, not legitimizing silly policies in the name of political correctness.

I fondly remember many lessons being taught to me on long warm summer days in the South. 

It seems like we’re stripping away what it is to be children. 

Even worse, it seems like we’re forgetting the simple beauty and joy of Adult Males showing children that it’s ok to play, be silly, and even “lose” a game.

I can tell you as an uncle, it’s really tough to “lose” a game without the children catching on.

You want to build their confidence with the “win”,  but make them work hard for their success. You never want them to feel that you threw the game.

That was a lesson I learned one particular summer in Tennessee just outside of Cookeville. I was watching my father play a game with my little brother. They were whooping and hollering in a pasture, playing some hybrid game of tag.

fireflies aka lightning bugs

I was sitting on a rock smiling as they tussled. I couldn’t join in because I had a big ass bandage on my foot.

Lightning bugs were blinking in the tall grass when Dad came out of the pasture carrying my nearly exhausted brother. Dad had been “caught” 10 times and that was the end of the game. 

As Dad came toward me he stopped. “Son, put your arm around my neck,” he said, helping me get on my feet. “Just keep your weight off your foot as best you can, lean on me, yeah that’s the ticket.” Dad carried his 5 year old and acted like a crutch for his 15 year old, bringing us both in to dinner. 

This would be MY Mom too!

MovieTheater3Dglasses

I was spanked, I was swatted and once or twice is was slapped openhanded by my Mom for mouthing off. I’d say I deserved it.

I threw a punch at my Dad. He avoided it easily and punched me back. After I became an adult I realized and marveled at his restraint. He punched me with enough force that I was jarred, shocked, surprised, and knocked back. No real damage was done… But we had each other’s undivided attention.

I’d thrown the punch out of anger and frustration. (about what, I don’t recall.)  Dad wasn’t really hearing me, he was dismissing me without consideration.

Once we had each other’s attention… our relationship changed. We became more adult in our interactions. I was still wrong a lot of the time, I just wasn’t childishly wrong. The “wrongness” was lack of experience, not lack of logic.

spanking

That’s a really big difference for a young man. 

By todays standards my childhood was fraught with child abuse.

Mental image of my mom standing at a stove. “Honey don’t touch that cup it’s hot.”

Little hands reaching for her tea cup. “NO! you’ll burn yourself.”

Mommy sipping drink from cup then putting it further away.

Little hands reaching toward cup in it’s new location. “You’ll hurt yourself. I’m telling you it’s going to hurt…”

Cup moved again, Mommy looking at stove.  Little fingers goal achieved, making contact with hot cup… PAIN! it hurts! Crying begins.

Daddy comes in holding Coffee cup in big hands, “Whats happened?”

“He wouldn’t leave my tea alone and the cup was too hot for him.”

“Did you move it away from him?”

“Of course I did, but he wouldn’t stop.  The cup isn’t hot enough or full enough to hurt him. Maybe he’ll learn, better this than him ignoring me with the stove!”

“Um, Ok. Hey kiddo do you want daddy’s cup?”  Little hands tucked safely behind back.

“Let Daddy see your hands.” Little hands timidly reaching out. Daddy’s big hands inspecting fingers, then he kisses them and scoops me up, making funny noises on tummy with his mouth. Giggling… lesson learned.  “No really meant No”

Heck I was once spanked with a belt off the rack in a JCPenny’s.

Through it all,  I knew my parents loved me. Even when I tried to convince myself that I HATED them.

One thing my parents weren’t interested in was making a weak person. They wanted me to be strong and independent and somehow they managed to balance my independence with their wishes EVEN when I wasn’t going the way they’d have preferred.

Moral compass 120626

When I became an adult, they wanted my moral compass to always point North. Throughout my childhood that  compass was calibrated by whatever means was necessary and effective. (Sending me to my room was pointless… I had plenty of books and loved to read.)

They made sure I understood the difference between right and wrong, and more so, they made sure that I understood how to make the value judgements that allow me to evaluate a new situation and decide right from wrong in grey areas. (Something more of our politicians should have been taught.)

Even as an adult I’ll reach out to my parents for their opinion about those grey zones. My Mom and I often disagree, but we always come away from a discussion with insight.

Mom is very liberal and I’m obviously less so. Immigration reform for example can really get us both going. Her experience is different from mine because of where she lives. She looks at the issue through the lens of an educator and seeing children learning and discovering new things, and ultimately reaching their full potential.

Children don’t call her racist… they call her Teacher. Their parents call anyone who disagrees with allowing illegal immigrants to “Jump the line” Racist, to shut down any discussion of illegal behavior.

Mom and I had a “Spirited discussion” about it. She brought part of our family into it,  “Would you deport your nieces and nephews?”

“Uh nope, Mom they were born here as was their father and his parents immigrated legally and became citizens, just like our branches of the family did.” 

I think that’s when she realized it’s not about country of origin with me, its about responsibility, the manner in which you come to the country, and the choice between waiting your turn and not gaming the system and being an asshole. If I were to choose to immigrate to Germany, I’d go to the German consulate and ask how this is done. Then I’d follow the instructions and wait my turn.

I’d want to arrive in Germany with a clean slate and be welcomed as a German citizen when I’d passed all the requirements. It’s about honesty and integrity.

We don’t discuss immigration reform anymore EVER.

At least my Mom isn’t mad at me about it, and apparently doesn’t think I’m a monster anymore.

At the very least… She knows that her basic moral /ethical teachings stuck and, hopefully that is some consolation.


All of this is fresh in my mind because of the rioting in Baltimore last night.  

BaltimorePD

We watched the news with grim fascination. We saw the police and the protesters squaring off. We all saw how it would end, visions of the devastation wrought in Ferguson sprang unbidden into my mind’s eye.

The rocks & bottles started flying. 

Transfixed I watched and wondered how much of Baltimore would be sacrificed to the insanity of “Mob Justice”. The crowd fled before the SWAT team, they moved like a swarm into the CVS and a liquor store.

I reached for the TV remote, I had no desire to see what happened next.  Then, there was a sign that perhaps this might be different.

A yellow clad super hero streaked across my TV. Her hair flying back as she took charge of the person she was responsible for, and obviously loved.

 

Her phone in one hand, and her other hand grabbing her kid after she’d seen him throwing rocks at the police.

heromom

She could have been my Mom! She isn’t, but she was in full on Pissed-off MOM Mode!

Having been on the receiving end of that particular mode once or twice in my life (ahem), I cringed a bit.

I felt a bit of empathy for her son, he got what he deserved. I know that his punishment will be long, arduous, and will make an impression.  I wondered if he’d have preferred to be arrested by the police. In his position… I’m not sure where I come down. 

A friend suggested that maybe Moms dressed in yellow should be on patrol tonight with the police.

Moms Patrolling with switches tonight sounds like a rioters nightmare.

I hope she doesn’t get hauled in for child abuse by Child Protective Services.  She was smacking him in the face. Technically i think that counts as child abuse because you can’t hit your kid at all these days.

trashingpolicecar

I got me to thinking, if all kids today, had a little more of the hand of justice applied to their bottoms and a little less privilege, would there be rioting at all?

Meaning if there was more respect for authority; Parents, Teachers, Police, and kids knew there was a price for their misbehavior would they be more or less likely to even be in a situation other than a peaceful encounter with police on career day?

I guess I’m questioning if it’s a matter of escalation.

We acknowledge that we have bad guys. So we have police.

We acknowledge more bad guys, we add more cops quicker to anger and hotter tempered. We see more violent encounters, so we add more police who are younger and trained faster,  on & on till we’re here with Ferguson and Baltimore.

Could any or even, a lot of this have been avoided if parents hadn’t been intimidated into not disciplining their children by an agency (CPS) which calls any physical pain a crime?


baltimorecleanup

Another set of heros showed up in Baltimore this morning too.

The folks who just showed up and started cleaning up.

WOW! 

That was so heartwarming. They all said that the riots shouldn’t have happened.

One guy said something like “The children made a mess, it’s up to the adults to clear it up.”

That sums it up perfectly.

Looting and Riots don’t communicate a message they delay a solution, and double the work.

You know you’ve been in a relationship too long when…

Ceiling Fan

You almost fight on Christmas Eve about the direction a ceiling fan is going.

Yep, you read that right.

Here’s the deal, I had to flip a breaker so that I could replace a broken light switch.

As an aside, this light switch was a $50 motion sensing complicated deal made in China. As usual all I could think about was the line from Mr Scott in one of the Star Trek movies. “The more you overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the works.”

Anyhow, once again I discover that the electrician the builder contracted while this house was being built, had been hit by 220V once too often. The single breaker, turns off all the overhead lighting fixtures, and the sockets that feed the network closet. It’s a miracle that the breaker doesn’t trip when I flip on a light. 

ClockwiseAnticlockwise

However, this configuration also means that the overhead fan in the dining area got turned off.  Because it’s a “smart machine”, it had forgotten which direction it was set for by the time I flipped the breaker back on.

Which led to this exchange between myself and the Other Half.

OH: “Turn the fan off so that you can set the direction.”

ME: “Why?”

OH: “So you can set the fan to rotate clockwise for winter.”

ME: “It’s already turning clockwise.”

OH: “No it isn’t. The fan always resets after a power outage.”

ME: “I know, but I’m looking at it right now, the fan is turning clockwise.”

OH: “No it isn’t.” (Turning the fan off and hitting the reverse button)

ME: “What direction is clockwise sweetie?”

Me Thinking this would be resolved when the other half re-evaluated that clockwise is something spinning from left to right. Instead, the other half points to fan and starts calling off 12, 3, 6, 9. Indicating a clockwise motion from left to right.

ME: “Sweetie, what direction are the fan blades turning?” Indicating the slowing fan blades of the now powered off fan

OH: “Clockwise”

ME: “So we didn’t need to reverse the fan.”

OH: “Yes we did.”

Clockface

ME: “Ok are you looking at the fan from the top or bottom?”

OH: “From the bottom.”

ME: “So we didn’t need to reverse the fan.”

OH: “Yes we did.”

I take off my watch, I hold it face down in front of the fan whose blades are now moving very slowly. 

ME: “Clockwise is the direction that the clock hands move right?”

OH: Gives me dirty look

ME: “Are the fan blades moving the same direction as the second hand of my very expensive swiss watch?”

OH: “Why are you being an ass?”

ME: “I’m honestly not trying to be an ass. I’m trying to make sure that we’re working from a common set of reference points so that when you tell me to make the fans in the house go Clockwise, I get it right. Alternatively, if I’m telling you how to tighten a screw if I say clockwise to tighten, you are successful. I’m actually trying to adapt my internal programming to accommodate your needs.” 

OH: Stomps out of house, “I’m going to the grocery store! Reverse the damn fan!”

Trying to put this to bed I go down to the basement, get the ladder so I can get to the switches on the fans in the bedrooms and I reverse all the fans in the house.

Based on the data obtained in our conversation prior to the other half stomping out, I’ve set all the units spinning in a direction I call Counterclockwise.

One hour later… 

OH: “I told you to reverse the fans!”

ME: “I did.”

OH: “No you didn’t, they’re spinning clockwise!”

ME: Facepalm