Friday, April 26, 2024

What should have been

 It always makes me a little sad when this image comes up in my On This Day in Facebook.  I really thought this would be my dream job.  I enjoyed going into the office, even though that was challenging with 2 two-year-olds that needed to be dropped off at daycare.

When things started going South I hoped I would make it to year 5 because that would be fully invested in the 401K match.  Not a huge deal but every bit helps.  I have been struggling to get new employment because of my age, my location, and my personality.

If I hadn't been laid off, would we still have moved down here?  Perhaps.  But maybe it would have been an anchor that would make it easier to move back.  We'll never know.  

Office Nemisis won.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

And Another Car Bites the Dust

After 12 years I finally decided it was time to say goodbye to my 2008 element (which has become a

money suck the last few years). Didn’t want to deal with a private sale and not purchase another car, so Carmax it is. 

I honestly feel I got a good deal and now there is more room in the garage

 I remember buying the car in January of 2012.  I wanted an Element because 1) Katness had one and she recommended it and 2) I had visions of Nightingale and I throwing our bikes in the back and hitting the trails.  We did that...once.  If you add in a few times that I took the car in for maintenance and used my bike to get around then it comes to about half a dozen times.

when we moved down here and I was forced to get a Mississippi license plate, I went with a vanity.  A variation of Chicago Forever.  My BIL Confederate Jethroy gave me a hard time because the abbreviation could be something else. By something else, only an inbred illiterate or a person trying t get a rise out of someone would think it meant.

In MS, your tag is based on some formula of how old your car is and how many miles it has.  The minimum is $50.  even with the vanity option, my plates cost less than standard in Illinois (1 point for Slytherin).  it was $83.85 that first year.  $67.65 last year.  I don't have the year in between but assume $8 more.  

When I returned my tags I got a whopping $8.50 that can be applied when we renew our next tags, likely the minivan.  I had to release the vanity plate but I'm positive no one is gonna take it in the next decade let alone five months before we renew our plates.

Sometime last summer, I forget the exact dates because time no longer has any meaning down here, 

The passenger side window on my Honda Element stopped working, in the down position.  The part only costs $30 but the Level of Effort is substantial.  I didn't want to take it on myself so I paid a local mechanic to fix it.  Of course, he charged me 3X the price of the part.

Then my muffler on the Element bit the dust.  it was fine on the drive to Home Depot but apparently, I hit something on the shitty Mississippi roads and it caused problems.

To keep this long story less long, I ended up at Midas.  They took me to the cleaners.  Nightingale pushed that we get new tires and brakes even though I wanted to wait.  It turns out, if I had waited a couple weeks, we could have sold the Element as is because her parents bought their neighbor's Honda CRV and lent it to us.

They bought it because they thought their Michigan Daughter wanted it for their kid.  There is some dispute over who said what and what level of commitment there was.  The Adamas could have backed out but didn't feel it was the right thing to do, because reasons.

So we have had three cars in our garages and driveways since last summer.  Until this weekend.  When the driver's side window stopped working, along with the windshield wiper, I just had to surrender.  

Monday, April 22, 2024

Small Town Errands

 Yesterday I had to run a few errands.  Two of these errands could only be completed on opposite ends of

town*.  The other two could be done at either Big Box Hardware and Chain store at either end.

Since one of the two landlocked errands was dropping off a check at Chase Bank which didn't open until 9 am, I opted to knock out the other three at the East End.

It took me less than an hour to complete all the errands on one side of town.  I stopped home to drop off the Water Jugs and Propane tank since it was on the way and I don't like driving with a Propane tank any longer than I have to.  

* I live in Olive Branch and the adjacent "city" is South Haven.  To me, they are seamless but they are separate municipalities.  So much so that when I first moved down here and was getting a haircut, the stylist -- making small talk as stylists do -- the conversation steered towards OB and I asked "What is there to do in OB?"

She said "I don't know, I work in OB, I live in South Haven"

The way she said it, you'd think I asked if I could have her spare kidney or something.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Never Stood a Chance

 There can be no mistaking it: I'm closer to the Neurodivergent (ND) end than the Neurotypical (NT) end of the spectrum.

That said, I could "navigate a standard educational system...learn skills like speaking, reading, and writing at the prescribed times during childhood. and kept up with my classmates, and graduated alongside them."

Nightingale cited a study or source, which I don't have right now, that said a Rule of Thumb is a Neurodivergent person is on average 75% behind the emotional development of a Neurotypical person of the same age.  And that is the average.  some are better but that means some are even lower!

I did some calculations using 75% of my age at given points and here is what I got:

Two things to note:  when you are really young, the difference isn't as noticeable.  That's why a 3-year-old NT and a 4-year-old ND can play together quite fine.  I mean they will have issues for other reasons.  

While it likely never goes completely away, at some point you do, hopefully, grow enough that it again not as noticeable.  Now that I'm in my 50s I like to think I'm fit to handle sitting with the adults.  

I cannot believe I managed to survive in a world this cruel.  It certainly explains why I failed at times and had trouble interacting with people.  

Often when I wake up in the middle of the night, I think about some past interactions that went South.  I was hopelessly, hilariously outgunned, and often times the other persons knew it.  They might not have known terms like Neurodivergent, but they knew I was not quite right and sometimes took advantage of it.

For instance, there is no way Mel didn't know that I would do anything for her and she took advantage when we were roommates in 1999.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

My Eclipse Report

 My Facebook feed is filled with friends showing off their pictures of Monday's Total Eclipse, and
rightfully so.  This is a rare enough event unless you chase these things down.  The next time we in the USA will be able to see one without much effort is 2044.  Hopefully, I'll be around to see it.

We went to Litle Rock, Arkansas to see the Eclipse because it was one of the nearest places to see the Totality.  Nightingale also found a place that had a good, cheap package that included food and activities like Rock (wall) Climbing, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and archery.  There were some STEM activities too.  I found these kind of annoying because the person running them was doing it in a Folksy performative manner.  That might just be the remnants of my city slicker ways.

Nightingale booked this trip a long time ago but at the two-week out point, the weather forecast wasn't good.  It was going to either be cloudy or thunderstorms, which would have made the Eclipse hard to see.  I wasn't worried because we still had some fun activities planned.  

As luck would have it, as we got close to The Tuesday, the forecast improved.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  It seems this was the case in a lot of places.  Bad weather was predicted but turned out favorable.  Maybe the moon blocking the Sun had some influence on that?  I dunno!

For this event, and presumably others, they divided us into groups with a schedule.  When we arrived Saturday evening, Nightingale was worried we'd get screwed out of fishing and canoeing because the rain that didn't come during the Eclipse was looking to arrive that afternoon.  However, it shifted to the evening but didn't actually arrive until we had gone to bed that night.

Dr Steven Smith

We had a guide who was pretty knowledgeable.  The only thing I will report is that both he and everyone else said "Y'All" more times during this trip than I have heard in my 3 years living in The South (yes, it pains me to write that).  

The also had a guy from NASA come and give a talk.  It was mind-blowing.  I learned a few things and enjoyed it very much.  We only stayed for an hour because our collective ADHD brains can only take so much.  

About the Arkansas 4-H Center: So the thing about this place is that apparently, it is a multifunction Center.  

It is a spectacular setting for your next conference or retreat. We provide a conference center available at reasonable rates for educational organizations, businesses, civic clubs, schools, church groups, government agencies and professional organizations. It is ideal for conferences, retreats, meetings, workshops, and training sessions

To be sure, it is quite affordable.  On Its website, it seems like it has great food options for normal events.  For this one, the food certainly wasn't 5-star.  Or even 4-star.  I'd say it was a step above school cafeteria and a step below hospital cafeteria food.  It was edible and the first night I had one of the best side salads I've ever seen in a cafeteria.  And most evenings they served chicken tenders which Boris would eat.  

About the Totality:  I've seen eclipses before, but I don't think I've ever experienced a Total Eclipse before.  It was truly amazing and worth the 3-hour drive.  A lot of people showed up with telescopes and other eclipse-viewing devices.  

The Chicago Style Hot Dog

When I was a kid in the late 70s and even the early 80s, I don't recall any issue with putting ketchup on a hot dog.  Most of the hotdog stands and burger joints I frequented could care less what you put on it once you paid for the item.

I suspect the Chicago Style Hot Dog was a marketing ploy and it got a little out of hand.  Sure, you don't need ketchup because you have the tomato already.  Just like if you are making Fettuccine alfredo, you don't use marinara sauce because that would be something else.  [You are allowed to use a different pasta than Fettichine because Grandma Mary is too tired to go back to the store and hasn't made homemade pasta since child #4.]

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Passport Missconnection

We need to get passports for our children.  We are going to Niagra Falls in the fall for a school field trip and because of the way things are, Passports are needed for entry to Canada.  Because our kids are minors,  both parents have to apply in person (or sign an affidavit).  

The post office here in Olive Branch only does that on weekdays.  Because Nightingale doesn't have a lot of PTO accrued yet, we don't want to spend it on something like this.  The hours are 10 - 3 so we also would have to take the kids out of school.  

We scheduled an appointment for last Saturday with a PO in Memphis because they had Saturday hours.  Obviously, they were booked a month out.  

Apparently, since we crossed State Lines to do this, we needed two forms of ID.  Nightingale read the instructions 4 times.  It didn't say anything about 2 pieces of ID.  Our trip was wasted because I only had my driver's license.  Spoiler Alert: it does say two forms are needed if you cross state lines.

We are so used to OB and Memphis being "one place" that we sometimes forget we are crossing state lines and subject to different rules.  Alcohol for instance is still not sold in Mississippi on Sundays.

I've never seen this anywhere else

And the thing is, I had a feeling I should just bring my passport along.  But I didn't.  Because I don't trust the little voices in my head anymore.  

We did have the option of submitting the form but the lady said it might come back asking for more proof.  She didn't suggest we run home, get my passport, and come back and I didn't ask if that was an option.  our appointment was at 12 and they close at 1 pm, so it would have been tight anyway.  But next time I will ask.

Olive Branch and South Haven Post Offices do take walk-ins and appointments during the week.  Nightingale doesn't want to use up her PTO on this but we are off next week for a trip anyway.  We think we can hit the PO on the way home and get this done.

It's very hard to make friends in adulthood

A blogger friend posted something that intrigued me.  Her blog is private so I cannot simply link to it.  I'd like to screenshot or quote because I was taught to give credit where credit is due, but I also understand her desire for privacy.  

(I also have noticed that when I VagueBook and come back to read something years later, I don't remember who I was speaking about).  Therefore I will link on the off chance she ever reverts her blog back to public.  [Ironically, when I started blogging, she told me that most people don't care about your little corner of the internet.]

So Alex wrote that she tried to make friends by joining a book club but it was unsuccessful for various reasons.  In no particular order, it wasn't the drink wine and forget about the book after 5 minutes type of B-club; She missed a few meetings because of work; She doesn't like Fiction and the members already have their Friends Slots filled and only want to discuss the book.

As someone who has both organized and participated in Adult Playground Activities, I can relate.  Sometimes no matter how friendly, engaging, and/or open you are, people just aren't receptive.  They have their TopFive Friends and don't have any slots left for anyone new.

Other times it's some minor criteria like you just weren't attractive enough.  Or you didn't show up consistently.  people don't want to invest in someone who isn't gonna show up next meeting.  

Sometimes the problem is more nuanced.  If you don't have that friend to tell you that you have no sense of humor or a stick up your butt, you're not gonna figure it out on your own.  Of course some friends don't see that side of you.  Or some friends do but they are friends for other reasons and that side isn't a liability.  Finally, people take the path of least resistance and it's easier just reducing your time with someone then telling them, "Why yes, you do have a stick up your butt".

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm so negative. My defensive self wants to argue that I'm just realistic and pragmatic, but that is self-defeating.  The truth is I'm negative but not always negative.  But once you get a reputation for being negative, people look at everything in a negative lens.

A friend posted something about a neighbor giving her a free meal.  I joked that now she has to listen to her speech about essential oils.  Is this negative?  everyone makes Essential oil jokes.  But said friend was working off years of other darker comments.  If we are being fair said friend is also a bag of crazy kittens herself.

It got me thinking about the P10s and other running groups I've been part of.  it didn't occur to Nirodivergent me at the time but there was definitely a hierarchy/caste system.   When certain people had parties, members would skip their parent's funeral to join.  But when I had one, I'd get some very ungracious responses.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Not Invited to Easter this year

On NYE 2017 I was added to a Group Text Chat.  Someone likely transposed a few numbers.  Contrary to popular belief, I don't always have my phone at my side so through the evening and next day I'd come back to some interesting messages.  I assumed after the holiday the chat would go dead.  

Boy was I wrong.  They kept it up for months.  based on messages and pictures, I can only conclude that it was a Filipino family with multiple Drama Llamas as pets.  

Anyway, on Easter, I decided to end a message and I guess my Eastern European sense of humor didn't win them over.