Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Midnight Laundry

So last night it was very hot, and I was in that uncomfortable state of being too miserable to remedy my situation.  You are familiar with this, I hope -- I hope I am not the only human who falls prey to this --  and will recognize the feeling that kept me, sweaty and unhappy, from merely getting up and going to bed in the air-conditioned bedroom. 

I was sitting in my living room, watching a movie on my laptop, and it was about 11:30 at night.  The lights were off in my place, since they reflect on the screen, otherwise -- and I was sitting next to the open window that looks down into the laundry room.  My ear was first caught by a clinking sound which caused me to turn my head and look -- I recognized the sound as being something to do with the washing machine as I did so -- and I saw an arm stretched across the top of the machine.  "Goodness," I thought idly to myself, looking back at my movie, "That is a very tanned arm.  Who is that tanned, among us?"  This niggled at me, and I frowned and looked back into the basement window.

I was looking at a man, age indeterminate, with reddish, raggedy hair and a greying beard, very tan all over (open, tattered denim shirt), with a dark, greasy ballcap and no teeth.  He was sliding the (now empty) coin box back into the washing machine.  In the brightly lit basement laundry room.

I was momentarily baffled -- my mind did not make the necessary jump, but was instead trying to figure out a reasonable explanation for this creature to be in my apartment house.  Repairman?  Nonsense -- it's nearly midnight.  Friend of somebody's, doing a favor for Linda?  Ridiculous -- she wouldn't ask such a favor of someone's random friend at nearly midnight.  Thief!

I was wearing very little, shorts and a tank, in an attempt (which had failed utterly) at being, if not cool, at least less hot, but still was too little to venture out in, so I couldn't think of what to do for a moment.  Then I leaned closer to the window and yelled, "What are you DOING?!" 

As Pooh and Piglet would say, "Did he run? No, no."  He did not run, jump, blench, or even look around for the voice, but merely replied, in an obviously-attempting-lightheartedness, (and clearly toothless) voice, "Just doing my laundry!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Giant abalone shell

So -- I've had my first bad experience at UCP.  It wasn't even bad, as far as bad could possibly go, in this job, but it was very unpleasant for such as I. 

I got a call from Brenda, an Assistant Team Leader, as I was parking at Leilani's apartment at 8:30 in the morning, yesterday.  Brenda told me that she had rearranged my afternoon, so that my final two med passes would be handled by others, so that I could go and spend three hours with a woman I had not yet met.  She had dementia, could not spend any time alone, and was recently returned from an emergency hospitalization due to liver failure.  She had diabetes and was having difficulty adjusting to her return to her apartment.  I was very hesitant to just show up without being introduced and trained by someone, but it was an emergency, and I was the Eastside weekender.  So I got it.

It was not a good time.  I could do nothing right.  She was unable to wrap her mind around my being in her apartment ("Who let you IN?  Who let you into MY HOUSE?") and did not want me to help her to get up, get dressed, or go to the bathroom, did not want me in her kitchen,("You are STEALING my FOOD!") or to touch her television set, or to assist her into or out of her wheelchair.  She could not hear anything I said, and if I approached her to speak loudly close to her ear, she would shrink back ("Get AWAY from me!  Who ARE you?"). She would stare up at the corners of the ceiling, and then slowly look down and if her eyes met mine, she grew angry immediately ("Who ARE you?  How did you get IN here?")

When her regular live-in assistant arrived, I was feeling like crying -- I didn't!  I was just feeling like it -- and I fled immediately.  I still feel fairly freaked out when I think of it.

The weather, praise be to a merciful providence, is slightly cooler.  The evenings are cooler than the days, and the nights are very nearly cool enough to sleep in.  I am looking forward with eagerness to my coming weekend (hooray!) to get some housecleaning done, but you will be glad to know that I have not merely been waiting for the days off.  I am not merely existing in sweaty exhaustion amid a welter of books, crumbs, wrappers, torn envelopes and tea cups.  I have already cleared off my dresser (piles!) changed the sheets on my bed, cleaned out the vacuum cleaner (that thing has three places where filters have to be removed and cleaned out, besides emptying the main chamber), washed two drainers full of dishes, and dusted the living room.  More will be accomplished over the next few days, as long as the thermometer stays below 90!  Just waiting for the rains to come, for my apartment to rise slowly up, cool and glowing, like a giant abalone shell, pearl-like, out of greasy, trash-filled harbor waters.  Yes.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Days Are Here Again

Hmmm -- I'm sitting up in bed this morning, listening to the quietly occasional twittering of birds, and enjoying the cool ocean air,  And then I realize I've been hearing that distant shuddery thump -- not unlike the scene in Jurassic Park where you see the water in the glass tremble? -- for awhile now.  It isn't rhythmic, so I'm reasonably sure that no T-Rex is about to burst through the undergrowth and shriek-bellow with rage.  It can't be anything firework-related, can it?  It would be like someone lighting sticks of dynamite at a distance.  But this is close enough to make the floor vibrate, and yet not loud.  Very T-Rex!  Any ideas?  

So I'm quietly happy this morning, for several reasons.  Firstly, I'm up at the Retirement Home, and I love it here.  There is always a little more progress made on the house, that I can admire and enjoy, I love the weather and the location (ocean ocean ocean) and it is always an enjoyable visit.  Even when my dad starts talking about things I cannot argue with him about, although I want to, and I know he hopes I will -- but my arguments would all contain  things I know would wound him, and I'm just not willing to do that.  And eating Mom's cooking always makes me feel like a kid again, plus I made an exceptionally delicious peach and strawberry pie.  Mmmmm -- gonna eat some more for breakfast.  What?  I'm getting my fruits and vegetables!

Secondly, I was offered the job I was hoping for, as a Support Service person for United Cerebral Palsy.  And yesterday I called my boss and gave notice.  So that is excellent news, and  the only bad part easily taken care of.  And now I only have a week and a half that I have to spend with CoWorker for the rest of my life.  The rest of my life!  Hooray!  Huzzah, huzzah, oh, that is such a relief.  I'm beaming as I think of it.  Sometimes the meek DO inherit the earth, or if not the earth, per se, at least a very different section of the earth than those unmeek people.  

Goodness, that thumping is getting closer.  Is there a giant lost in the woods?  A slow-moving but very heavy giant, who can only take one step at a time?

Thinking it over, I realize that a part of my joy in this job-situation is this: other times in my life when I have been looking for work, I have spent a long time and a lot of effort at it before even getting an interview.  And then the interviews themselves were a strain and a blight.   And this time I sent  an e-mail -- written pretty casually -- and attached my resume, and heard back within two days.  Had an interview two days later, and was offered the job a week after that. Since I had been looking at each new day with dread at RHP, the length of time I was sure it was going to take me to find a new job was making me gloomy.  But then, instead of heading for the Administrative section, I thought about it and opened up the Non-Profit Sector instead.  Since I can't count on my abilities in the office to pass muster, if the company is going to be staffed by young people, (what does a Social Media Advisor do, actually? All day long?)  but I can count on my interpersonal skills.

Hmm, One-Legged Giant has stopped his massive thumping. Wonder what that was?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday in June

It's a beautiful day!  At least, so far; the media is threatening that the cool grey beauty of this morning is going to "burn off" and be miserable hot heat for the rest of the day, and they may be right, but at the moment, it is purely gorgeous outside.

I'm at the library, which is cool and quiet (except for the woman next to me, who is trying unsuccessfully to keep her laughter under her breath as she listens to Shia LeBeouf on headphones )  My mouth is a little sore, day two of wearing my brand new bridge, which I am so very grateful for and glad to have! And I feel fairly certain that the soreness is going to wear off, as I grow accustomed to this presence in my mouth.

Talked to Sarah on the phone this morning!  My older sister, who, since she has lived in Mexico speaking Spanish to everyone for the past 25 years or so, has a definite difference to her pronunciation of English and style of speech.  It's the first time we've spoken on the phone for about five years, and I really enjoyed it.  Her second son was just married last month, and she is still recuperating.  I wish I could have been there for it!  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bad Craziness

So -- I don't believe I have mentioned anything about my ex's recent behavior...?  With Joe, his son who deserves a much better father than the one he got.  Okay, so Joe had been getting messages on Facebook from Ex,  saying things like,  "Son, call your old papa -- I have no bad feelings for you,  and I hope you can overcome your hard feelings..." , "I want you to be best man at my wedding," along with a picture of a pouting twenty-something, and "I know an old guy who wants to give you some rifles!" along with a picture of him in a sombrero.

Joe has been ignoring them, although talking them over with me (he is offended by the marriage one, I think on my behalf, although I could NOT care less about that;  I am offended on his behalf over the "no bad feelings" one -- where the hell does Ex get off implying that he has any right to have bad feelings toward Joe?) and musing over whether it would be wise or foolish to drive up to Kelso and see his father.  He (loudly) wanted the chance to spit in his dad's face if he wasn't appropriately behaved, and he (secretly) really hoped for a father he could love. 

But then he got a call from Dylan, a young man who is the son of one of Ex's high school buddies.  He and Joe are Facebook friends and see each other every so often, and Dylan was at his dad's house when Ex came over for a visit.  Ex was talking to him and said something about where Joe lived, in a negative way, and Dylan responded, immediately, with the information that Joe did not live there any more, Joe lived here.  When he got home, he called Joe, very apologetically, saying, "Man, I'm sorry!  I didn't mean to, but I told your dad where you live!"

So Joe was at least slightly prepared for the FB message he got from his father next.  It said, rather confusedly, that Joe had better watch his back, because Ex was coming to kick his ass, and bringing with him, "my Aryan Brotherhood boys," all of whom had "done time for the Big One," and they were all coming to wreak unspecified havoc on Joe and his surroundings.  Not for any mentioned reason, you understand.  Just because.  This devolved into an online slanging match with Joe getting pugnacious and specifically asking his father to pick a time and place for them to sort this out between them once and for all.  In the crossfire, Joe said that he knew about a certain crime that Ex had committed, which I know Ex was devoutly pretending had never happened, and was earnestly believing would never see the light of day.   Anyway, Ex stopped responding when Joe asked for him to name his seconds, basically, and has not sent Joe any more messages.

HOWEVER!  The story does not end there.  I got a call from Abdullah, telling me that he had been hearing from Ex about Joe.  Which, considering that Abdullah and Joe have always been very close, seems so crazy to me, that I'm thinking Ex must be back on drugs.  Ex called him, in a pretend panic, telling him that he needed to get in touch with me since I was the only one who had any control over Joe, and could possibly save his life.  How, what, why? said Abdullah.  It seems, (said Ex)  that Joe had gone up to Canada (of all places) and from there had called his Granny Marcia -- Ex's Evil Mother, whom Joe has not seen since he was maybe eleven? -- and spun her some big yarn about being in undeserved trouble with the law up there, which was really the fault of these two other guys, who had set him up in some unspecified way, and could she send him $1900, and save him from jail time?  And she had done so, but now Joe was being charged with Elder Abuse, and theft, and mail fraud or something, and could Abdullah get in touch with me and get me to save Joe from jail?  So Abdullah tried to call me, at home and at work, just to say WHAT the HELL, but of course I had just changed my number and changed my job, so he was unable.  And when Ex called him back, he had to tell him that.

"Oh, no, because the police were here," said Ex.  "The police were here, wanting to track down Joe, who is apparently on a huge crime spree up there in Canada, just wreaking total undescribed havoc in the great white north."  Abdullah tried to get more details out of him, which Ex seemed to be providing, but they were very vague, and seemed to center on Elder Abuse, $1900 wired to Joe in Canada, and the police, who were very sternly looking for this young miscreant, who needed to be protected from his behavior, and was Abdullah SURE  that he couldn't get in touch with me? 

Then the last call was on the same day that Joe had been trying to get his father to name the day and choose his weapons.  Ex called Abdullah, and said, "Good news, it was all a mistake, the police came back and told us that the phone number that called  Granny Marcia from Canada was a very familiar one to them -- it belonged to some Big Daddy Mail Fraud and Confidence Trickster who constantly called little old ladies and pretended to be their grandchildren, and asked them to send him money.  So it wasn't Joe!  All a big mistake!  Whew!"

Abdullah tried to get some information on why Marcia would have thought this unidentified man on the phone was her grandson, and Ex said, "She said, 'But he called me Granny!  No one else calls me Granny!' so she knew it was him."

So there you have it.  Abdullah still cannot accept the Complete Liar diagnosis of Ex, although he has tried, and so he was trying to make some sort of sense of this behavior.  To me, it was all too familiar, and I'll bet money that Ex has some fresh track marks.  That might be an unkind thing to say, but I feel quite, quite certain that I am right.  Any other suggestions?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Housecleaning, and criticism

At last, at last, FINALLY!  I finally have the urge to clean my house.  Yes, indeed, perhaps y'all are different from me in this, but if I am not feeling this particular drive, I can let the house get into a very un-lovely state.   I just -- well, I don't want to say I can't, since of course I know I could, but when this apathy takes hold, I really, really don't do any cleaning of the homestead.  Dishes pile up.  Laundry sits around in wobbly tilting stacks in the bedroom.  Dust builds up on shelves in the bathroom.  And worst of all, I feel no shame or distress at this dreadful situation.  I just look at it and register it like it was a sunny day, or clouds in the sky.  "Huh," my brain goes. "Yup, that dust is getting thick."

So I came home from work on Friday night and chatted with my neighbors for half an hour or so, and then went in, planning to sit in my chair with some dinner and read.  But while I was in the kitchen, adding some teriyaki sauce to the pork chops browning in my favorite frying pan, I looked over at the sink.  And then turned on the hot water and squirted some soap, and washed those dishes, while keeping an eye on the pan and the progress of the chops.  Oh, the relief!
Since then, I've done two drainer loads of dishes, taken out the garbage, washed the floor, and straightened out the contents of the pantry cupboard, and the feeling of need-to-be-cleaning has not gone away.  I am sitting at the office, planning on where I am going to attack when I get home.  Such an excellent feeling to be having!  Perhaps it will stay with me this time!

Just finished reading a Nelson DeMille called "The Quest" -- not one of his best, cuz he has written a couple of really good, interesting and imaginative books.  Really, he has.  I have read and re-read "The Charm School," and found that the story line and the characterization made up -- mostly -- for the sort of schlocky themes, and paternalistic viewpoint. 

This one was a compilation of all the DeMille standards, tied together around a very old and threadbare plot.  I had started reading it while waiting for a computer to open up, and then I kept reading it because there it was in my hand, even while the Me of my brain kept asking, "Why are you reading this garbage?  This is garbage!  Why are you continuing to run your eyes down the page and then turn to the next one?"

The two-men-and-one-woman idea was there, slightly more pronounced than usual.  There was nothing particularly interesting about the woman, except that she was one -- she had soft skin and long hair -- but that made her worth introducing to the story, just to give the two men, only one of whom we cared about or believed in, something to fight over and show off for.  And the plot was tiny, and unbelievable by anyone, and had been done by many and frequently far better.  The bad guy was very, very bad, and seemed crazed with it, except he wasn't, he was quite sane.  But that degree of badness is so very easy to hate and shy away from. 

Mr. DeMille was doing his DeMille thing of careful description of the action being performed by the people -- so all along this journey to find the Grail (yes that's right) he was describing the way palm leaves shift in the lightest breeze so that it is very difficult to know exactly what shapes they may be concealing -- but then lost interest, or gave up, or something, and the climactic scene was about three-quarters of a page.  Really.  Much more attention was paid to the description of the cell which held the priest who told them the story that started them along this quest.  Much more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watch yourself

I am in the library, at the computer table.

Homeless Man: (suddenly and loudly, lurching forward to stare at me)

"Did you know the family was guilty of treason?"

Me: " I did NOT know that."

Homeless Man: "True story. Better watch yourself, sister."