Yesterday was … a day. It was a Monday that fell on a Tuesday and a Friday the 13th that fell on the 29th. Yeah, that kind.
Or maybe it wasn’t really so bad but my hermitty, deadlining writer self just doesn’t deal well with the particular type of chaos that involves people in and out of the house all day, asking questions, wanting to chat, making alarming saw, hammer, and cuss noises, and hauling mounds of deconstruction rubble through my living room.
All for one little ex-bathroom. But bathrooms are complicated, and therein lies where I got to look cool, calm, collected and smart without even trying.
Mid-afternoon, just when things seemed to be calming down, the guy gutting the bathroom went under the house to see if water pipes were still connected before moving the tub. Most of the pipes in that room weren’t (the room hasn’t been used in years), so I wasn’t surprised when he came to the front door a moment later and said, “There’s no pipe connected any more.”
I said, “No problem,” and he said, “No, you don’t understand. There is no pipe. There was a pipe and there was water running through it, but it just … disintegrated. It came apart in my hands! And now there’s water going all over the place!”
This guy is good at what he does, but tends to be defensive. He had already run a Sawz-All through a live electric wire about an hour earlier and not told me about it, so I think he was expecting to be in Big Trouble. The look on his face was TEOTWAWKI.
But stuff happens on construction sites and a plumber had previously Pronounced Dire Warnings about the ancient galvanized pipes under the house. So I just said, “Oh. Well, then. Here’s the meter key” (an uncommon tool I got to pull oh-so-coolly from behind a convenient door, as if every woman naturally keeps such things on hand). “You shut the water off while I call a plumber.” (Typical of older houses, this place has no master shut-off valve, in case you’re wondering why nobody just went and turned a handle.)
Once that was done, knowing that none of the local plumbers were likely to show up in the next few days, he asked, “Will you be okay without your water?”
Will I be okay. Ha. Will I be okay. “Of course. I’ve got at least a week’s supply on hand, and if I need running water, I’ll just go out and turn the meter back on for a few minutes then shut it off again.”
Now you and I know that this is just what people like us do. I’m not trying to sound like I’m hot stuff or anything. I know I’m not hot stuff.
But apparently I made an impression on him. Before he left he told me that I reminded him of some woman he knew in Alaska who split her own firewood and slaughtered her own hogs or whatever. (Baloney; if I were like that I’d be sawing through my own wiring and breaking my own plumbing pipes.) Then he thanked me for “understanding what happens on construction sites instead of going, ‘Eeeeeek! Eeeeek! Oh-no-panic!’”
The latter is a compliment I’ll accept, even though I know full well it has more to do with being of silver-haired age, having seen more than a few construction oopsies, and stocking a small number of supplies.
Still, having that meter key right behind the door did make me feel pretty damn slick. :-)
“Dogs are people, too.” At least in their abilities to feel and anticipate — something that will come as no surprise to anybody who’s lived with them, but is apparently news in neuroscience. (Tip o’ hat to MLS)
Federal theater of the absurd. (I also agree with Carl that the Crazy Horse monument is so superior to Mt. Rushmore in every way that even after the silly feddies remove the barriers I’d still just drive on past and watch free enterprise at work a few miles down the road.)
Erm … I don’t usually read Glamour. But I found this heartfelt smackdown of a money-hungry bride on a forum I frequent. Even as a young girl, I hated the notion of weddings; these days when they’ve become big excuses to put families into debt while the couple collects big cash gifts, this response from a guest is a touch of sanity.
Here’s another “non-journalist who wouldn’t be entitled to First Amendment freedom-of-press protections if TPTB have their way.
You may have heard that the dollar ain’t worth sh*t these days. Well ….
In addition to all the other “joys” you’ve been reading about Obamacare and its Three Stooges rollout, here’s this from a local guy. His family business has always provided great benefits despite employing just six people (and some of them part time).
1. I have always provided employee healthcare. Always.
2. Currently, we have a high deductible, health savings plan that in addition to paying 75% of the premiums, we fund a good chunk of money into their savings account each month. It works. Our employees like it. They have saved up money over the years. They don’t have health care stress.
3. Passing of Obamacare. Rates climb much higher. Fed support small business with “tax credits”, which almost offset the higher premiums so we can continue offering what we always have.
4. 2014. Obamacare comes “alive”. But not really. They have removed the tax credits unless you buy your business plans through the “SHOP” health care exchange (setup for businesses). Problem is that no product exists for [our county] or any other county in WA except Clark and Cowlitz. Only one insurer would play in their exchange so of course it’s those big bad private insurance companies that are screwing it up. Forget that we wanted to keep what we had!!!
5. What to do… 1. Keep current plan, pay the higher premiums caused by a system we never wanted and forego the “make it taste good” koolaid called tax credits, or 2. buy an imaginary product with koolaid attached, or last option – drop everyone and we are now wards of the state to get our plans from those fine exchanges setup for individuals who didn’t have healthcare. Love it.
Blog away. If you need clarification let me know. I suspect some IRS rule will come through to avoid the obvious you can’t give one tax payer a credit and deny me because I live in x county lawsuits, but eventually, this is where we are heading….We just have to be patient for them to make it work. LOL f-ing joke
IMHO, the promised tax credits and personal subsidies are among the worst aspects of Obamacare. They’re designed to make everybody who receives them dependent on government (as in, “We can’t go back to completely private health care! How would we afford it without government help?”). So when the Frankenstein monster of Obamacare doesn’t “work” we’ll be primed for single-payer.
But the Catch-22 this poor family company is caught in is … typical. For now.
We were all probably hoping and thinking that Glenn Greenwald and his partner David Miranda weren’t behaving stupidly while sending/transporting Snowden documents over international borders. Alas, perhaps they were.
Even if you’re in major anti-news mode, you’ve probably heard about or seen Miley Cyrus’ grotesque “twerking” performance a few days back. The ‘Net has been full of tsking about the way “Hannah Montana” turned on her little-girl fans with her crude display of sexuality. But everybody’s missing the point, you see. It’s not that Cyrus’ performance was over-sexualized. It’s that it was racist! Yes. Seriously. Racist. I think this sets a new low, not only for crude televised performances, but for what the left can twist into “racism.”
Speaking of racism, in all the hopped-up fooraw about this week’s 50th anniversary of the “Dream” march on Washington (and if you listen to NPR, as I do, it’s been “all March all the time” lately), what’s with editing Charlton Heston out of the coverage? Yes, folks, gun-owning white guys can be for civil liberties, too.
The Free State Wyoming project has a brand new forum hosted by my old friends at the Mental Militia. (UPDATE: Please see Mama Liberty’s correction in comments. The new Wyoming Mavericks forum has no official connection with the FSW.)
I know all the latest Bradley Manning talk is about him hoping to become Chelsea Manning. But I’m still struck by the words he spoke during his sentencing hearing. The ones all about the futility of one little individual making decisions for himself. Don’t they sound like the mumblings of someone who’s been brainwashed? Or — more optimistically — someone trying to convince his captors their brainwashing has worked?
You know that constant busy-ness that’s afflicted (or blessed) me since late spring? It culminates this week. Specifically tomorrow. After that, though there’s another week or two of “heightened activity”* as the folks at the NSA-CIA-DHS like to say, it is done.
I can go back to being my usual slug-lazy self** and poke around on the Tubz for good (and bad) stuff to blog.
But look for the blog to have a couple of quiet days. Of which today was one. Tomorrow will probably be even quieter. So I count on the Commentariat to pick up the flag and carry on in my absence.
Because of tomorrow being a Big Day, I decided to take the afternoon off to rest up and give the dogs some extra attention.
We took a longish drive to a logging road we used to walk a lot when we lived in Cabin Sweet Cabin. At first, I drove right past the road’s gate. Where I recalled a wide gravel parking area, there was now only a narrow, overgrown tunnel of greenery. Only after driving another half mile did I realize I must have missed it.
Once I found my way back to the gate, walking on the road was a strange experience. It was raining and bleak and otherworldly and while I recalled every turn, every uphill, every downslope on the path, nothing else was as I remembered.
“Wait. Didn’t this spot used to have a view?” It’s a grove of tall alders how.
“I know this is where we used to turn around. But where’s the … what was that old landmark, anyhow?” Not there any more, whatever it was. Or hidden beneath masses of creeping blackberry vines and morning glory. (The Pacific North WET is like a tropical rainforest — or at least it’s as fecund as a rainforest, but unfortunately without the “tropical” part.)
Once-open stretches of road were now as eerie as the forest from The Blair Witch Project. Strange, pungent wildflowers grew as tall as my shoulders.
The road itself was disappearing under a haze of tall grasses whose rain-laden blades soaked my tennis shoes and socks. Unless Weyerhaeuser opens the road again soon in a few more years it’ll disappear entirely.
Heading back I paused at the old spot (I know it must have been the old spot) where we used to stop and catch our breath before the last uphill trudge. And there it occurred to me that the old road is like this country.
The grounding is still there. Somebody who knew it well would recognize the fundamentals. But it’s all been overgrown — taken over — by strange and vaguely (or more than vaguely) ominous excrescences. And doomed to disappear altogether unless someone makes a determined effort.
The only thing about the surroundings that was pretty much the same as I remembered (and watch for it; this is Portentious and Deeply Significant) was that right near the beginning, where the road forks in several different directions, people had been setting up targets and shooting to their hearts’ delight.
*Dear NSA-CIA-DHS: Other than “heightened activity” I have nothing to do with anything you might be legitimately interested in. I know that won’t stop you. I’m just sayin’.
** It is one of my most sincere aims in life to become lazy. I try very hard. But actually I’m lying when I claim to have succeeded at becoming slug-like. I know me; when this long busy drudge is finally over, I’ll just find some other Giant Project.
I just finished a really terrific new book: Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas (a young man I suspect we’ll be hearing more of over the years).
I had heard somewhere that it was the memoir of a kid who got freaked out by his student debt and went debt-free by living in a van.
Sounded interesting enough. But it turns out that’s only about 1/10th what this book is about. It’s about a young, coddled, clueless suburban slacker who decides to grow himself up. It’s about the insanity of starting adult life so burdened with debt that you feel too constrained to make interesting choices. It’s about self discovery and hopeful possibilities in the “Screwed Generation.” It’s a bit of social commentary ala Thoreau with a large bit of self-deprecating humor thrown in.
Ilgunas writes well and colorfully and never hesitates to lay out his own youthful delusions of grandeur, juvenile habits, screwups, and lack of motivation. But as the best Amazon reviewer points out, this bored young slacker works harder and accomplishes more than a lot of workaholics.
The book is about how Ilgunas worked his way through his student debt (“only” $32,000, but a sum he saw as crushing, especially because he stumbled his way through school with no goals and came out with no career skills), then made it through a prestigious grad school on cash alone. That’s where the van finally comes in.
But before that, he tells a story of working in Alaska, hitchhiking across two countries, and trying to do good in a government program in the Deep South — all the while going from child to man.
Ilgunas self-identifies as a liberal and an environmentalist. But I perceive a young man on the freedomista road. Many of his observations hardly toe the PC line. And though he sometimes mocks the redneck views of his backwoods neighbors, he also admires many of them fiercely and learns eagerly from them. And when given a chance to try out some serious firepower, he doesn’t hesitate for a second (though his mention of the price of the gun made me wonder whether he was really shooting full-auto or just an UBR with a Hellfire trigger or some such.)
He does go “full Walden” in some of the latter parts of the book, giving social commentary that seems a mite pretentious for one so young. On the other hand, if any 20-something has earned the right to comment so sweepingly on life, society, and the hopes and troubles of his generation, Ilgunas is the guy.
Loved this book — and was both entertained and encouraged — from page one to the very end.