Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Double Nickels

I turned 55 last week.  Nightingale tells me stories about her dad and it might be true that girls marry a guy who is like their father, for better or worse.  He is 79 and his body started betraying him long ago.  He


can't really do much and what he can do takes 3x longer because of his physical limitations.  and I am scared shitless this will happen to me too.


I haven't even tried to go for a run in 2 years.  There are so many paths that are now closed to me.  The best I can do is focus on the ones still open, such as being the best parent I can be.  

My Current Existential Crisis

I've never been very good at setting boundaries and putting my foot down when it comes to the people I call friends.  I mean I eventually do it but by the time I do, it's too late.  They are like hey when I kicked you in the stomach last week you didn't say anything, why are you making a big deal about it now?

I wrote about this last year.

We talked in January for her birthday but not since.  I figured time just moved quickly for her and she was waiting for my birthday for our next live talk.    Her text didn't mention calling to chat, but her card did, so a few days later I texted about it.  She said she's on a crazy schedule for the next few weeks and would let me know when she catches a break.  

I got a birthday text and a card from Jewel last week.  In the card she wrote that it has been way too long since we talked and wants to catch up in 3 weeks after her daughter's wedding.  So let's unpack this.  She couldn't find a few minutes in the last 49 weeks to chat with me for 20-30 minutes and now is too busy for the next three weeks.  And then she will want to talk about her daughter's wedding.  

seems appropriate

A few years ago, when I lost my job at Big Audit, I sent an email to a small group of friends I thought gave a shit.  Most responded.  One person didn't.  But a month later I was on Gmail at the same time and she said "Sorry you lost your job."  if I hadn't been online at the exact same time I might never have heard from her.  

I get that email isn't her thing, though she works in Corporate America and certainly works with email.    She could reply with a "Hey sorry this happened, you know I'm not a big emailer but if you want to jump on Gchat, I'm available. "  But her way has to carry the day. 

Our friendship was damaged (technically a 2nd time but I won't go into that). 

Back to Jewel.  Chances are good it will slip her mind.  She's not big on Social Maintenance and perhaps once enough time passes, she will forget like last year.  On the other hand, she keeps the number of friends around her small because she's not big on Social Maintenance and Friendship Obligations.  She likely has bored to death anyone she interacts with Tales of Wedding Planning.  

And this is where I have to decide what I want to do.  I could take the call and the crumbs she throws me occasionally so that I have someone to talk to in my Southern Isolation.  Or I could punt it away with my own unavailability.  I could tell her how she hurt me but all that will happen is she might acknowledge, apologize, promise and then never reach out again.  


Wednesday, May 1, 2024

First Day of May

A freeloader has arrived
It's hard to believe that three short weeks ago, we actually had to turn on the heat in the mornings.  Then it was heat in the morning, AC in the afternoons.  Now it's AC on a moderate setting just to deal with the humidity.  By next week the AC will be running more regularly.

I need to note for the future that I should work on some outdoor/garage projects in late March or early April versus now because it is getting too hot.

There is so much I want to do around here but I lack the motivation to get started.  The detached garage is now empty enough that I could use it as a workshop.  I could theoretically epoxy the floor without too much trouble although I think I would rather outsource that task if I ever get employed again.

The attached garage needs a few more things to go away and I could definitely epoxy it as well.  I would like to use some of the leftover paint from the House Repaint to repaint the dirty and chipped walls.  

Three weeks from now the kids are done with school and I will have to entertain them.  In theory, that means we get to sleep in a bit.  in reality, Boris will be on his iPad as early as he can.  And once he's been awake for a bit, he gets hungry.  And if I don't feed him a proper breakfast, he will raid the cupboards in search of crackers, pretzel chips, or other unwise choices.

When they were kept home from school because of snow, way back in January, they discovered that a school friend lived kiddy corner from our lot line.  They have been hanging out with K ever since.  In fact, she has become our third child in a way.  She's the sister Natasha never had but always wanted.

Alas, she won't be here for the summer so another BFF bites the dust.  Fortunately, she gets to see her BFF from the old neighborhood in another month. 



We have plans to visit Chicago and Grosse Pointe, Michigan in June.  It pains me that we have to spend so much money to do so.  My mom's house isn't an option so we need hotels and/or friend's houses.  And it didn't need to be this way.

My mom could have sold her house and lived in our Portage Park home.  We could have worked something out so that the mortgage didn't change but her name could be on it.  

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.