Friday, May 25, 2018

Lack of Information

Ok, so I'm grumpy. I was working on a website, the one I do for WORK, fixing broken links. Fixing broken links is the job from hell that we all have to do from time to time.

And I was making every effort to track down items that had been moved due to website URL name changes (the bane of my existence!) even to the point of writing to the individuals who were named in articles where the link no longer worked.

Tracking down, finding, cleaning up. Keeping everything neat and tidy and running smoothly.

One of the people I reached out to runs another website within the same institution, and they very kindly answered me with the correct link, and then...

And then said:
 "I find that when the search function on the website isn't working a good solution can be to search it on google instead!"
Very kind. Except this kind of stuff makes my head explode!

What is so difficult about maintaining your website? So that people don't have to "google it." I fundamentally disagree that the simplest solution is to leave the site a mess and hope to goodness good ole' google can find it.

That's like leaving all your clothes in a pile on the floor and hoping your RFID tags will tell you where your favourite pair of undies is. 

By far the SIMPLEST solution is to CLEAN IT THE FUCK UP.

grrrrrrr...




Monday, April 30, 2018

Washing windows in the rain

So, I slept through my alarm this morning, which resulted in a great "woof-woof-woofing" on the part of the Dog when the Window Washing Gentlemen arrived.

And I couldn't find my glasses, and the Dog had become the Hound of the Baskervilles, but we were finally able to converse peaceably, when the Gentleman came in, and the Dog wagged her tail and sniffed at him like there was no tomorrow.

And as he made his way to the truck to get his partner, of course I (stupidly) put the dog on her leash.

Dogs on leashes become very protective. She raced and nipped at his ankles before he could get away. That's the moment when I remembered the stupid Dog nips at people's ankles when she's on her leash.

Fortunately the Gentleman wasn't scratched and he bravely soldiered on, and I put the Hound of the Baskervilles in the basement, where she can do no more harm. Where she lies happily on the futon, missing only a fire in the fireplace to be totally comfortable.

I had intended, had I woken to my alarm, to get up and move stuff out of the way so the windows could get washed. So I had to run from room to room doing just that while the Gentlemen got to work.

My god, I can see out of the windows like they were new! Like there's no glass in them!

Between Hubby's fear of ladders, Boyfriend's hectic schedule, and my disintegrating neck...I'm glad I had this done, even if the poor Gentlemen end up stepping in dog-do.

I didn't warn them of this, I hope they're bright enough to figure it out for themselves. They're young, they have good eyesight...

Worth every penny. About twenty-five years ago I went for a bike ride around where we live, and found myself wondering if EVERYONE in our community had changed their windows, they were all so clean a new-looking!

And then it hit me - other people WASHED their windows.

Well, now ours are clean too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How many cats do you see?

There are Stepson's cats, which Hubby is housing and feeding till (hopefully) July, when Stepson and his Girlfriend will take them away from here...

And there are my cats, which previously had the run of our home and ruled the roost unchallenged.

Stepson's cats are bullies. I checked with a Feline Behavioural Veterinarian. The "top cat," the most gorgeous little thing I've ever seen, has fur that looks like gold wrapped in a black stocking. She's the bully. She runs down the hall on three legs, with the other front paw raised and cocked for swatting! She wants all the attention, all the treats, all the toys, and access to all the rooms. Her sidekick gets everything in her wake.

We carved out one single room, our bedroom, to be a sanctuary for our two much-beleaugered pussies, and try valiantly to keep the main bully and her sidekick from attacking our fur babies on sight.

We often fail. We have literally picked up chunks of fur off our bedroom floor after a spat. Our cat's black fur. No sign of gold. The little beggar.

Well, this lovely morning I was having my cereal and Gold Kitty jumped up to nuzzle me. She wants me, too. My adoration and obedience, possibly a bit of my cereal. I duly offered the finger to be dunted and skritched her behind the royal ears. Then I said to her, "Why do you beat up on my kitties like that? You're not alone here any more, you know."

And then I said the (almost) famous line to her (you won't get this unless you've watched Star Trek):

THERE–ARE–FOUR–CATS!

Write to me if you want an explanation.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Must be spring or something...

Fist I chopped the ice off the sidewalk. And I got my hair permed. And I found myself actually considering wearing makeup - which I haven't done for twenty years!

Yep, that means it's spring, at least in my head.

My latest adventure is cooking up a storm. I have an e-book: The Indian Family Kitchen. (Oh, and I don't recommend trying to follow recipies on e-books, by the way! Invariably the list of ingredients is two pages back from the instructions!)

But it appears I've become jaded with my normal staples. Spaghetti. Lasagna (which is just a different kind of spaghetti, in my current frame of mind.) Caesar salad, chicken caesar salad. Salad. Potatoes. Ground beef in any form. Pork chops. Pork roast. Roast beef. Chicken.

My tastebuds are going "bleah."

So I opened up my Indian Family Kitchen, and I've been knocking myself out in the kitchen this past week and weekend.

The goal was to get some leftovers I could bring to work, but that's not what happened - yet. The first batch of Dhal, not from that cookbook but off the internet, went down very well and I did get one lunch out of it.

Yesterday's recipe of Tadja Dhal received a less-than-enthusiastic reception from the two Men. Hubby dipped his nan bread in it, and when the bread was gone he handed over the bowl to me. Boyfriend nobly had a second bowl, but I think it was more from hunger than from enjoyment.

However, I thought it was the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted! So there's none left, and I had to start over today if I hoped for leftovers.

For the first time in my life I'm actually tasting the different spices within Indian cooking - mostly because the dishes are NOT super-spicy. Once my tongue is burning, I can't taste anything! But these dishes are amazing!

Today's adventure were two dishes, called "One-pot Chicken with Smoked Spices" and "Chai Chickpeas." Chai chickpeas is cooked in TEA for gosh sakes! It's almost suppertime now and I can't wait to dig in!

Did you know that cardamom comes in a) pods, b) seeds, and c) ground? Did you know it comes in two different colors? And the different colors taste different!

The other day I made some potato pancakes, I think they were called "Tikki Aloo," but don't quote me! When you boil potatoes for mashing, try adding a tablespoon of ground turmeric and the rinds of a lemon! They turn wonderfully golden and you can taste the lemon!

Well, I don't know what the reaction from the Men will be tonight - hopefully slightly more enthusiastic than last night, so just in case, I made fudge.

That'll put a smile on their (diabetic) faces!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Ice Dam

Today was a very productive day! Hubby was off looking at motorcycles, and Boyfriend and I cleaned. Quite satisfactorily, if I do say so myself! Apparently we missed vacuuming last week...and thereby hangs a tale...

I often gag at cleaning product commercials on television. "Who would ever let their house get so dirty!" I snort in derision.

Well, with four cats and a dog, it takes a week.

One week for the hair to become so pervasive, that a single pass with the vacuum leaves a definite trail. The "black" carpet is grey, except for that one pass.

Sigh.

Just prior to beginning the vacuum process, I emptied the dishwasher and began a recipe of oatmeal bread. I haven't made bread in ages, and I get so tired of commercial breads...

The vacuum did its thing while the bread rose in the dishwasher - a great place to proof bread! Except for the fact that your dirty dishes have to stay somewhere else for at least three hours!

The the bread went in, and I went outside to hack at the four-inch thick glacier that is our front walk, surrounded by eight-foot high snowbanks on either side.

I'm sure my poor Daughter can hear me talking to myself..."In my day, my Grandpa would NEVER have let this ice build up! He'd go out while it was snowing, he'd go out while the freezing rain was falling, and keep sweeping and shovelling everything off in order to keep that path cleared down to the cement! We never had slippery steps! Grandpa would turn over in his grave to see this mess! Those men in there oughta be ashamed of themselves..."

Etc etc etc.

I used an iron rod with a chisel tip on one end, the rod weighs about thirty pounds. I used a tool on a very short handle that looked like it would help break up ice, and it did so nicely. And I found Grandpa's very own aluminum shovel, no longer straight across the bottom from all the times he and I have used it to break up ice...

And I DID it!

The walkway is clear all the way to the street, with four-inch sides. I'm not sure how much damage I did to my crumbling neck or my aching wrists, but I don't have to fear for my life any more while walking to the car!

Then I came in, died a bit on the couch, a got up for a lovely slice of still-warm oatmeal bread.

*sigh of contentment

Sunday, November 19, 2017

She's Baaaaaaaack!

So, in a nutshell, Boyfriend and I are moving...into Hubby's house.

Pretty much everybody looks at us with the same quizzical look your face just made, dear reader! And quite honestly, we three are also wearing the same questions marks on our faces!

How did this happen? When did this happen? Why did this happen?

All good, solid, unanswered lines of inquiry! Like when people asked me how long it took to write the only good poem I've ever written, it depends on when you want to start. I've been sobbing every year of my life each and every time I saw the Canada Geese coming back in the spring or leaving in the fall. But one day when I was in my twenties, after bursting into tears seeing the geese leave, I ran into the house and wrote my poem.

So it either took twenty years, or twenty minutes, depending on where you want to start!

So it is with this latest move. How did this happen? And Why? And When? It depends how far back you want to start!

The short answer is, Boyfriend and I have run out of money because he's been out of work, and we've had to sell our house.

Before that, we thought he'd land another job tout de suite, no problemo! It took fourteen long months for both of us to be astonished that no job turned up. (And yes, before you get all "helpful" and start asking, he did EVERYTHING he was told to do, by numerous advisors and government officials and head hunters.)

His real crime is being over 50 years old. So let's get back to the matter at hand, which is that we will starve if we don't sell. So that was that, and we put the house up for sale, and at the time of writing it's mostly in the bag.

Now, we've been wondering and thinking and planning and worrying about our future during this whole time, and of late one fact began to dawn on me: namely, that I do not make enough money for us to rent a place of our own AND eat. It's one or the other.

This situation did not escape my beloved Hubby's notice. And he has opened his home to us, given us a rock to climb on to catch our breath, so to speak.

Now, however unusual this turn of events may seem (because separated couples don't usually do this for their exes and their Boyfriends, for example) readers of this blog will no doubt be overjoyed, because it means that there will be more blogs, because, well because of...

Hubby!


If you recall, the glory days of my blog happened when Hubby and I were living together, because Hubby creates in me the need to tell the world what is going on. And Hubby is funny! Because he's an Irishman, and therefore stubborn and resistant to change, and because each and every day he leaves himself open to ridicule due to the strangeness of his opinions and sayings!

Our future together is uncertain, but my writing career will take off once more!

See, already several things have happened that were blog-worthy, I've just been too busy to publicize them!

One of the finest moments happened when I urged said Hubby to abandon his (formerly) pink leather couch and loveseat in favour of a new (for him) second-hand black leather couch. And a dogbed for the dog, who has so far refused to sit on it.

I got such a celtic "black look" from Hubby I nearly quavered in my determination to get that damned thing out of his living room!

His black look said "Hey. What the hell is this? Am I...getting the WIFE back?"

Hello Hubby, your wife is back! And this time, she's brought a helper! Someone strong enough to move stuff!

Boyfriend has been cautioning me to contain myself, and go easy on "the big lug."

"He's giving us a play to stay, Deb! For goodness sake don't make him regret it" (Subtext: At least not before we get there!)

I don't think he'll regret it. I think he needs us. So far he's ditched the broken loveseat that Stepson had manhandled in the basement, got rid of the now blackened pink atrocious set from his livingroom and received, for free, a black leather sectional. He's got a nice new tempo that's 50% longer than his was AND had help setting it up. Oh, and each and every time a job gets done, Boyfriend cleans up, because Boyfriend doesn't like clutter and likes to be able to find things rather than fall over them.

The removal of the couch and loveseats also netted him several dollars in loose change, some tools and cutlery, and Stepson's long-lost expensive vape thingy.

Who knows what we'll unearth when we move Stepdaughter's furniture to the basement, or when we clean up the laundry room?!

So far, Hubby is definitely ahead in this deal! He's also getting a new mattress out of it - a beautiful firm mattress that will fit his hand made bed frame, as opposed to the smelly futon that's now 20 years old and never fit the bed frame from day one. The smell came from the dog, who has now been bathed, and who will continue to be bathed regularly from now on.

So yes, Hubby, your Wife is coming back, with reinforcements...and with thankfulness and love...but with no less determination to get you to clear out your junk than she ever had! But best of all, Hubby will be written up in the blog once again, and I look forward to telling you, dear readers, all the latest foibles and fumbles! In a phrase...

He's baaaaaaaack!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Opinions

I was out playing cards with friends, and happened to mention that the reason I hadn't printed our usual scoring paper, and instead was working on a hand-drawn paper, was that we were out of printer paper at home.

And it began...

"Well," said my friend D, "you certainly don't need to be buying printer paper, given your circumstances!"

(Said circumstances being that A is still looking for work, and we are facing having to sell our home, or go bankrupt.)

I didn't reply - I was stunned. An awful lot of things were running through my head, like, "you're kidding, right?" or "printer paper! It's a necessity, D!" or "what would you have me use instead?"

My friend S rescued me and said simply, "Well certainly if A has to print a resume, he needs to have some paper for his printer, D!"

D later said, "Well, it's not my business, but I wouldn't be wasting my money on paper if I were in your circumstances..."

And the card game went on. But my inner turmoil had just begun...

We - the generic, universal we - all have our opinions concerning the less fortunate. How they got themselves into the mess they are in. How they have no one but themselves to blame. How they are inherently lazy, untrustworthy, less intelligent than "we" are...

Until it happens to US.

These kinds of arguments about "the poor" have been going on forever, and they are all complete bunk. It's called paranoia: blaming situations on somebody or something else, instead of looking inward to find the source of the problem.

Our society has more and more people walking the knife's edge of poverty. We now have the "working poor," households where both adults work but still have to use a food bank. The gap between the richest people in our society and what used to be the middle class is widening at a frightening pace, and nobody wants to face how really close to that knife's edge they are living. Or do the work of making the rich stop fleecing the rest of us, because they're powerful and scary and we keep hoping if we're nice and obedient that they'll let us be. And maybe let more money trickle down.

But when someone falls on the wrong side of that knife's edge, judgements fall like hailstones.

I've been on the receiving end of judgements many, many times in my life. Growing up in fundamentalism will do that to you. I had to fight really hard to free myself from that kind of mindset - the mindset that judges others. That says "I don't think you should be doing this or that," or, "I don't think you should be spending your money this way or that way." That's judging. And it has a thin edge, but a steep, slippery slope.

It starts with my printer paper. Should someone "like me" be allowed to buy printer paper? Kleenex? Paper towels? Toilet paper? Are you going to tell me I have to start using single ply?

Then on to food. Do I have to stop buying fresh food, switch to canned only? And buy only the cheapest brands?

Cheap, by the way, does not equal economical! Or even healthy!

But let's continue on the list of things we decide for others: can the poor visit a dentist? On the same day he lost his job over a year ago, A cancelled his dentist appointment. But he kept an appointment for a car tune-up.

He could understand the value of maintaining the automobile, but not of maintaining his teeth. My protests that dental health impacts heart health went unheeded - no one had ever suggested such a thing to him before, so he saw no reason to believe me!

So, do poor people automatically have bad teeth? Should they let their teeth rot, because they shouldn't be spending their money on frivolities? After all, teeth are largely cosmetic...

What about no car insurance? Or are their cars dirty, because they can't pay to have them washed - and we already know they are too lazy to wash them themselves!

Glasses? Shampoo? Body wash? Books? Cable TV? Restaurants?

Where do we draw the line, when we criticize another person's choices?

Well, you say, if they hadn't made poor choices, they wouldn't be in their current predicament!

Aye, and there's the rub. You see, we are ALL victims of our own choices. We are ALL our own undoing. Just some of us haven't come undone - yet.

We all "make our own beds" or "dig our own graves." We make choices every single day of our lives that we either don't think twice about, or that we deliberate over for weeks. It doesn't matter. Because whatever choices we make change the direction of our lives, and random chance happens and we can end up on the wrong side of that knife in a heartbeat, wondering what the hell happened.

If A and I go bankrupt, I assure you, I'm not getting rid of my cats. I will find ways to have fun in life. Less expensive fun, perhaps, than I might have at one time, but I'm not dead and I'm not going to act like it until it actually happens.

I remember being on the receiving end of a Christmas basket, when my Daughter was very young - the Christmas she was 2, in fact. I stubbornly was trying to turn the givers away when I saw that there were chocolate candies in the basket, and I realized that I could not afford to buy my child any chocolate for Christmas, and that if she was going to have anything nice like that, I had to swallow my pride and accept it.

I remember Welcome Hall Mission saying that if we wanted to give something for the men, that chocolate was appreciated, because they could usually cover the necessities, but it was nice to be able to offer them a treat.

Even the poor deserve a treat. Some kindness. Something nice. Even though they've made different choices in their lives and had different experiences, they still deserve kindness and a treat and some goodness.

Nobody needs to be harangued by judgmental voices saying "you shouldn't do this" or "you shouldn't spend that" - or worse, "you shouldn't have done this..." foremost because those voices are within each of us all the time anyway, and there is no getting away from them. We don't need to add our judgmental voices to anyone's personal demons.