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a bit of 'traveling music' please...

Saturday, January 23, 2010
I have been 'on the road again'. Went up to Decatur on Wednesday morning to spend the day with the Birthday Girl even though The Day was not until Thursday. She had to work on the actual birthday, and had done so much advertising, it would have been more appropriately called a 'birth-month' instead of birthday, since she has somehow managed to have the celebrating on-going for weeks. She seems to have perfected the skill of 'self-promotion' as she apparently got lots of congrats, pats, hugs, attention, affections, various birthday greetings, cakes, cards, general acknowldegement of being a Really Special Person from sundry admirers.

Came back to Columbus by way of Macon, where I stopped to visit my dad's cousin I don't see often enough. He is a great respository of much family history, that one of his daughters has begun to get put into print.

Went today to Americus, about an hour south of here, to a Benson family gathering. I had been to visit this previously un-met cousin last January, when she contacted my auntie in south GA about trying to get relatives to meet at her house. And went to see her again back in the fall, just to visit. I conclude it takes getting to a certain age, or point of reflection, in life to be interested in making the effort required to get together with long-lost, or possibly unknown relatives. So though I did not stay long, it was good to see them, and hear talk about fore-bears.

It was a pleasant drive through the country, enjoyed seeing the bare trees,and fallow fields of middle Georgia. Pondering life and being thankful for everyday blessings.

He just loaded up and left...

Thursday, January 14, 2010
He has been wanting to go to Biloxi to visit his friends at the Palace Casino, especially when they call and say how much they have been missing seeing him, wanting to know when he is coming back because they want to see him again.

He thought he was going between Christmas and New Years, but plans fell through when co-travlers had to make an emergency trip to the land of ice and snow due to a funeral in Pennsylvania. And has been trying to recruit someone to make the drive with him since... including me, who hopefully is gracious when declining.

But he just called me to come and help fold up some shirts so they would fit into his suitcase, zipped it shut, rolled it to the car and left.

I had actually been encouraging him to go, which is likely how I kept getting invitations. But I was hoping/expecting he would gradually, incrementally, slowly decide to go over the weekend and actually put it into action next week.

I just got back from south GA last night - and He just loaded up and left!

a little bit of 'work', (term very loosely applied)

I have had two days of substitute teaching since schools started back in session on Jan. 5. I am not sure my conscience feels really 'clear' about accepting the pay for the little effort that was involved, so I would like to take this opportunity to give it a little 'rinse cycle' and 'fluff dry' to get over feeling like I did not actually deserve to be paid for my time (especially since I have been saying for years that school bus drivers and sub. teachers are the most underpaid and underappreciated people on the planet, actually thinking that Whatever They Are Paying: Ain't Enough!)

One of the days was me getting a call, long after the computer generated sub. finder system should have gone to sleep (only calls between 6a-9a, then again 6p-9p looking for replacments) one morning when I was sitting at the keyboard emailing in my pajamas. So I took the job, but called the school to be sure the position has not been filled before I even got dressed to head out in the cold. I put on layers and layers, made a lunch and loaded up, actually getting to the school at nearly 10:00 am. to do the teacher's aide job up on the northside in a pre-K. class. It was not a bad day, even though the 'teacher' was a substitue as well, but she had been in the class often enough to know the schedule, students, manage them well.

The other job was across town, almost to Ft. Benning, as far south as you can go and still be within the boundaries of the Muscogee County School District. There were only five kids in the class: you guessed it... Special Ed. The school secretary actually called me the night before saying the 'sub-finder' was down and she was searching for teachers. I told her I had no experience, was not trained, had not qualifications but I would give it a shot if she could promise me lots of 'support personnel'. She said there are usually two other people with them, and sometimes three, plus their teacher (who has been out a lot in the past year on sick leave).

I don't think those five little guys will ever acquire the basic skills they need to live independently in society. I spent the whole day torn between feeling really sad pondering their individual and collective futures - and - being so frustrated when they could not sit still, focus, do very basic assignments, follow instructions, locate paper, pencil or books, generally function in a fifth grade classroom. I think about families, and people who are their support system/home life and how they must all feel the same way: knowing these guys have chronic, severe developmental problems, will likely never get to the point of having a sense of 'success' or competence in their lives. And this is just five adolescents in one little elementary school...

We were talking this morning about a recent news cast, how all of the ten or so local crimes were attributed to (alleged perp.)young black males. I'm thinking: babies, conceivced in eleven-year old kids, who are consorting with irresponsible adolescent guys influenced by alcohol or drugs with their own major LD problems to pass along in the DNA, being raised by aunties or great-grandma, sitting in front of the TV until they get old enough to go to lottery-funded pre-K programs. How do those babies stand a chance of becoming productive members of our society, or hope of ever having any sense of accomplishment, success, feeling good about themselves?

I'm Ready!

Monday, January 4, 2010
I have been really diligent for most of the past year (maybe not so much 'really', as I think 'eventually' is probably more applicable):

Keeping up with expenses for the IRS. I have a list of all the things that will be legit. deductions, and (though already questioned by my spouse) feel like I have the documentation to back it all up. I have been unusually conscientious about keeping receipts and noting volunteered hours/miles for work with non-profits.

I told him several days ago, as I was re-adding my numbers for the third time (as the math-impaired are prone to find necessary) that if ever we would be checked, this is going to be The Year. Due lots of changes in our lives. So hopefully, I'm prepared to meet Guys In Suits. I doubt they will be as entertaining as The Men In Black (Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones freaking people out).

He has been doing some organizing for the past few days, and came in Sunday afternoon and to say: 'I'm ready'. So we await the paperwork that has to come in the mail, to deliver it all to the accountant.

There have been many, plenty, abundant occasions in life when I have been so anxious I could not function, dreading the future. But worrying about what IRS may or may not do, is not something that I plan to loose any sleep over. He recently admited to being a 'worry wart' (re: bad weather, a tree fallling on the roof, leaving Christmas tree lights plugged in, spontaneous fires in the clothes dryer, me traveling alone, me out after dark, me walking on the sidewalk, things he cannot possibly control), and amusingly, blamed it on his genetic history, saying his mother was The Queen of Worry-warts.

We all know what a great movitating factor Guilt can be, and how easily one gets swamped by generational 'coulda/woulda/shouldas': I won't say it's a 'resolution' but I am choosing to not go down that path. When I was dealing with issues related to family health problems years ago, I came to realize that there was only so much I was capable of doing/controlling and, sadly, surprised by discovering there would always be limitations to what I could do to impact/assist other people.

Over time, I came to the less than desirable realization, but very true fact (axiom? Murphey's Law addition?): "All you can do is all you can do". This applies to Life in general. But in this case my personal little 'truism' means that I can't fret over the tax guys in advance.

...and by the way - 'I'm Ready' for the Rapture too! :)

other people's leavings...

If you will be patient, it will get amusing, in a perverse sort of way...

Paul had these people renting his office building. Sorta-, semi-, kinda renting, as I think he reported having paid the Sheriff's Office four separate times to serve warrants for non-payment since they moved in about a year ago. As you can tell by the verb tense, we are no l onger doingbusiness with these folks, as they have moved on to more fertile sucker-land, and likely non-paying where-ever they are currently 'doing business' with the utilities regularly being suspended, the landlord constantly pounding on the door.

He had to get the building re-painted after their year's tennancy, and do some other repairs, including (this is really gross) having to call a plumber after the utilities were discontinued (read: no water coming into the building) and the workers continued to use the facilities... I will let you read between the lines to figure out how uniquely, distinctly disgusting that could become.

Paul was so astounded at the volume of trash the 'renters' (term applied Very loosely) did not bother to clean up, when he went in the building (after having to get a locksmith to open the door and change the locks), he came home to get the camera and 'document' the situation. He even printed the pictures on 8x11 paper to get the most disgusting effect.

And then wanted to take people in to view the condition in the bathroom. When I said I did not need to actually see what they had not flushed, he got really upset: but I held my ground/nose and did not venture past the front room.

In order to assure that you will continue to read my musings, and hopefully get a laugh: the funny part is what they left behind...He called a repair guy to fix the pull down stairs going into the attic, as the 'door' part that fits flat up against the ceiling had been damaged. Repairman said it was not fixable, but would have to be replaced. So he did. But when he was up in the attic, he commented that the "'formerly know as' renters" had left a number of vacuum cleaners up there. You can imagine the expresssion on my face when I heard this :o

So I went up in the attic the first of last week, and got down eleven (11) old, discarded, non-sucking mal-functioning vacuums left by the people who I assume took them as 'trade-ins' when they sold their un-suspecting victims shiny new ones, giving them some small amount of 'credit' toward the full-powered, energetic, multi-tool, Rainbow of their dreams. It was astounding. I cannot begin to fathom why they would go to the trouble, effort to drag 30 pound vacuums up those narrow folding stairs to squirrel away in the dust and insulation of the attic.

I told Paul I did not want to put them out by the street for the city to come by and load on the house-hold trash truck. But called a local non-profit to come and pick them up, hoping they have people in need of work who can repair with enough baling wire and duct tape to put in their re-sale shop and find someone in need of the used appliances. Plus: tax deduction!!! because the receipt has Dec. 31 on it.

It gets better: in addition to the (nearly) dozen deceased vacuum-cleaner corpses, there were thirty-seven (37) empty boxes that the huge vacuums are packed in for shipping from the factory. What????? So, I went back up in the attic last Saturday, and got all those boxes down, plus a variety of misc. parts, hoses, orphaned wheels, attachments that had come unattached to the mother-ship-vacuum. Thirty-seven empty boxes. And another huge one from a flat-screen TV they must have used for training videos, and several smaller ones they were too sorry/lazy to take out to the street as trash (but willing to shove up in the ceiling!)

I took all the boxes across the parking lot, two by two, and neatly stacked them up along the curb for the city to pick up when trash trucks get back on their routes this week. Paul wondered how long it would be before someone came along and thought they had hit the winning lottery number, was willing to go through all those boxes in hope that there would actually be a useful appliance left in one by mistake. Those people who work out of surrounding buildings there in the office park probably had a large bovine (as in: Holy Cow!)when they turned into the parking lot this morning, confronted with the 37 empty boxes from the Kirby vacuum company stacked up like dominos.

Hard to imagine people so consistently appallingly sorry/lazy/uncaring...

"true confessions"

Friday, January 1, 2010
This is so bad, but so funny, I need to share it.

Paul sent Paula and Chad to the 'package store' last week, when they were here and wanted to build a fire in the back yard to 'test' their fire pit. It is apparently an essential part of fire-building to have beer handy when sitting around the campfire. (Definitely not something we learned in Girl Scouts, but what do we know?) They were going to buy a six-pack, so Paul gave them money for the beer and a small bottle of 'spirits'. My assignment was to go to the grocery store for the making for "s'more"s.

When we got home, the fire was starting to crackle and look cheery. Paul had his beverage (90 proof with diet Coke). The old people got cold and went inside, him to his remote/TV and me to bed. They stayed up visiting with friends pretty late, so could not get motivated to go to early church.

When we got home about 10:30 Sunday morning they had started packing everything in her car to go back to TN. I sent all the left-over "s'more" ingredients with them, as well as the bottle of Mr. Daniels. I only had a couple of seconds of hesitation about putting an open bottle of alcohol in the car (open container law) because I could not imagine anyone digging through all that load to get down to the box where the alcohol was located. So off they went, laden with Gwen, gifts, a week's worth of dirty laundry... back to Tennessee. And taking Paul's bottle of whiskey.

When it got to be New Year's Eve, and he was asking if we had any Coke around, he said he was going to have a drink to celebrate. I said I gave his bottle away. He got really ticked, saying he had paid for it. I said I would get him another one. So: I bought him a replacement half-pint at "Boo's" package store (say it out loud). This particular 'bottle store' is located in a shopping center across the parking lot from a Christian Bookstore where I had something I needed to pick up. So I put the half-pint in my pocket and went in the Bible bookstore and got my special order. Fortunately there were no Bapists standing by the door to 'frisk' me when I went in, nor a security check-point to see if I had a bottle of liquid that was over 3 ounces on my person when I walked in.

You have to give me credit for the fact that it was not premediated, but when I think about it: pretty funny. Or maybe it was premediated...???

He never did have that drink. I even made a trip to Publix to get him a diet soda to mix the liquor with, and picked up his insulin Rx that says: "when taking this medication Do Not Drink Alcoholic Beverages".

A tale of semi-woe...

When I left home for a couple of days last week, I (mistakenly) thought I had done a reasonably good job of hiding my chocolate 'stash'. Someone came over Christmas and left a great quantity of Toffee (a half-full half-gallon zipper bag definitely qualifies as 'too much'). I felt like it was secure on the floor, in the back, under the shelf, in the dark pantry from someone. As stated earlier, I was mistaken. My 'stash' has been 'out-ed' and now if I try to re-arrange things, he knows it exists, and will be asking 'Where?' Also (thinks he :) I have been really conscientious about (not) eating junk, so any attempts to convince him that it's all gone as a result of my loss of self-control is so remotely unlikely to be completely unbelieveable.

So the 'semi-woe' part is that the man who takes five insulin shots a day knows there is bad-chocolate-sugar-butter-toffee on the premisies that was inadequatedly disguised under a bag of pecans. The good news is that since he will be eating most of it, I won't be burning off those calories. The bad news is that he will be eating it.

The good news is that since he just walked out the door, I can eat it while I am sitting here multi-tasking, and before I go to walk to start burning it off. If you walk in the really cold, do you burn more calories from chattering teeth and chronically running nose, and knocking knees and cold shivers?