Ask and You Shall Be Inundated

Thanks

The past couple of weeks have been hairy times. I truly didn’t know how we were going to pay the bills this month. Heck, the only reason we could pay them last month was because of an unexpected refund check.

I’d decided to do the Mystery Shopper thing, and if you follow me on FB (and everyone here except Dangerspouse does, far as I know), you know that turned out to be a big ol’ can of Oh HELL no. There was a lot more to it than just losing fifth gear when I was a hundred miles out of town. That was almost minor in comparison to some of the stuff that I had to contend with on that trip. What’s even worse is that because of the malfunctioning app, I could’t get paid. The trip was literally made for nothing, nada, zilch.

Thanks to a nasty allergic reaction on top of an already nasty infected foot that wouldn’t heal, I landed in the ER a couple of nights ago, too. No money and no insurance. Yee-haw! This week just kept gettin’ better, y’all.

Sooo… Contrary to how this entry began, it gets better. Trust me. Stick around.

First – the foot. Had a doc take a look and I’m now the proud owner of a triad of kick-ass meds, including a steroid to knock down the out-of-control swelling and inflammation. Yeah, it was bad. Not athlete’s foot, as it turned out, which is probably a good thing since the athlete’s foot med I used was what created the allergic reaction. The combined bill for the prescription topped $100 – except I had one of those useless prescription discount cards that turned out to be a lot more useful than I thought. Instead of $120-ish, I paid just under $35 for all three prescriptions. Still $35 I’d have preferred to save, but a lot better than $120-ish.

Hubby and I talked today, I checked the bank account expecting to see $XX – short of the mark but within spitting range. Umm.. no. I forgot an automatic payment that hit. So instead of $XX we had $.xx. So we brainstormed a bit and decided that there was no choice but to wipe out our yard sale money entirely, literally every penny of it, putting it with a small online sales payment we knew would hit tomorrow. As hubby pointed out, yeah it would be hard, but it wouldn’t be as hard as not having anyplace to live. I was just as determined not to do that except if there was absolutely no other alternative, because that’s literally our only semi-steady income right now.

We also both agreed, out loud, that our needs would be met and something would break open for us this month, in a big way.

As I mentioned, I knew already that as of tomorrow we’d have a payment hit the bank account, because our Etsy store recorded a few sales over the past few days. Not enough to cover the full space rent, but enough to make at least a dent. Then I decided to phone our old water company, which has owed us a refund for months and months. I got through, only to be told that the check was sent out today, to our old address. Not the end of the world since I knew it would show up in a week or two, since we have our mail forwarded, but sooner would’ve been better.

Over the next three hours, however, it got interesting.

First, that check mailed today, that couldn’t possibly have gotten here for at least another week? It was in our mailbox today. Forwarding and all.

Second, I got an urgent text message from a different mystery shopping company that wanted me to do a phone shop – literally the whole thing on my phone – that their original shopper dumped out on. No driving, no video, nothing to be recorded, just a written report and a phone call. Ka-CHING. Pays next month, I assume, but I’ll take it.

Third, talked to the mystery shopper company I DID drive for and they said to send what I got – as long as the audio is good enough they’ll take it, and that’s $150-ish I didn’t think I’d see.

I also got an email from someone I’d helped with book design and formatting – introducing me to two of her friends who needed design help. Those are one-off jobs, but MUCH better paying one-off jobs.

That’s not all, but those are the highlights. By mid afternoon, we knew we’d still have to borrow some from the yard sale money, but not enough to put us completely out of business. We’ve made another modest online sale that should be paying within the next week – enough to cover another bill – and so on. So the Universe provided again. The last-minute saves are a little bit nerve wracking, but I’m learning to take deep breaths and keep chugging along.

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Deep Seven-ed

I tried to be good. Truly, I did. I didn’t want to make political comments, snide remarks about our president-elect and his cronies, point fingers, and yet… How could I not?

Our situation in this nation is both unprecedented and horrifying. We have collectively elected a man who expects the world to be his sycophant. What’s more, he already gets that treatment from a huge swath of the world.

Despite all the Dems whining about how the election was stolen, American people DID vote for Trump. Millions of people, including a lot who I suspect will be blindsided when they start seeing the evidence that hey, maybe the liberals weren’t just “crying wolf” after all. I’m dumbfounded that people dismiss the reports, including videos, that paint a picture of a monster. They are convinced that the media is making this stuff up, or editing the videos into something that didn’t really happen that way.

I have news for you. As a former reporter, I admit it’s possible to edit an audio file to make someone say whatever you want. But when you start editing videos, it’s a very different animal. Furthermore, from my own personal experience with the political cesspool, the tougher part isn’t editing someone to make them sound like a despot or an idiot, anyway. No, the near-impossible part is editing a lot of these morons in office to KEEP them from sounding like – well, morons.

However, the reason for Trump’s election really boils down to one inescapable fact: the people are fed up with Washington’s business as usual, which is the business of systemic graft in the guise of public service. People know that DC is crooked, and are determined to put an end to career politicians whose sole purpose in office is to line their collective pockets. Joe and Jill Citizen want to stop being robbed of their tax money to pay for pet projects that benefit no one except the owners of our political regime, and the list goes on. They saw Hillary Trump as a continuation of the political status quo, and not without justification. The DNC’s rigging of the primary election put the nail in that coffin, darlin’, but good. I voted Dem in the general election, but have to tell you it was a crisis of conscience to go there, and still not convinced I shouldn’t have voted for Stein, all things considered.

Now, you and I know that electing Trump was trading the foxes in the hen house for a wolf in the hen house, hardly a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, desperation can drive people to ignore a lot of things, including the facts. It’s not the first time it’s happened, though here’s hoping it’s the last for a whopper of this scope. We’re repeating 1943, and while the clothes were cute, the politics weren’t. Oh, and I’m not talking about 1943 US; I’m talking 1943 Germany, in case you didn’t clue in on that little detail.

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I believe in reincarnation, and I’m not kidding when I say I believe that Donald Trump is Hitler reincarnated. I believe he is ACTUALLY Hitler reincarnated. I’m talking the same vacant soul, rotting beyond salvation within and without.

The physical resemblance aside, Trump’s policies and his ever-more-radical choices in advisors reinforce this daily. Whether you’re liberal or moderate, you can’t bury your head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. This isn’t a dream. It’s a nightmare: it’s just the kind of nightmare that happens to hemorrhage into reality, and it will in fact result in spilled blood.

If by some chance we manage to evade a second civil war, we will nonetheless see war as a direct result of this monster’s actions. I don’t know if he has his sights set on acquiring Canada, but wouldn’t put it past him. He doesn’t want Mexico, and I find it laughable that he wants to build the equivalent to about a third of the Great Wall of China and do it in my lifetime.

Got news for you, numbnuts. It took the Chinese a while longer to get it done, and they didn’t even have our current pretenses of freedom to dispense with ahead of the project.

Expect terrorism to escalate in direct response to the oppression of Muslims and other fringe groups in the US. Expect racial tensions to go nuclear. I truly can’t imagine that we won’t explode from within before outside interests bomb us, but it could potentially go either way. This time it’s going to be on American soil, and justifiably so. We’ve become so insulated from the world around us that most of us never even took a class on world history. What we know of it is derived from the sketchy presentations on the History Channel, the place where we also get, “I’m not saying it was aliens… But it was aliens.” Urg. Love the show as entertainment, hate that it’s passed off as history.

I digress.

There is so much at stake, and we’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole to hit the brakes now. We’ve got to ride this one out, honey. I’d quote the old movie about the bumpy night, but I’m too tired to be trite. I just hope by the time we come out on the other side, there’s enough scraps of integrity remaining for us to rebuild into a better place. As it stands now, the Great Democracy Experiment has failed spectacularly.

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Status No

Liberty Cries

I’m up to here with politics. There’s a reason I loath the entire industry (and it is an INDUSTRY, a money-making enterprise, don’t ever forget that.) This year exemplifies it with a row of neon exclamation points.

Given the downward spiral we’re witnessing, I’m struggling to keep separate the election itself, and the atrocities that ensued in its aftermath. I hold Donald Trump accountable for the things he’s done, the things he’s incited, and the things he is planning to do. However, I cannot give him all of the power. His grimy self wouldn’t have gotten through the primaries had he not peeled back the scab off a cesspool of humanity that was always with us. He didn’t make the idiots bigoted. Trump simply plastered them with a thin veneer of acceptance, which was all they needed to burst free and befoul the planet again.

The South said it would rise again. A while back, I wrote another treatise on how the southern mentality of elitism and entitlement was surging upward again. I think it’s one of many posts that bit the dust when my page crashed.

Only about 18 percent of eligible voters contributed to Trump’s victory, but it was a critical 18 percent. I don’t know how much of his win was due to Clinton supporters thinking their candidate had it in the bag, and how much was due to the mass exit of Dems and Independents on the heels of spring’s rigged and demeaning primary elections. It’s a moot point now. All we can do it try to cobble a life together while dealing with the madman and his cronies in charge. I may not live to see the end of his regime, but I have children and grandchildren who will have to deal with his administration, now and for generations to come. I have to try and raise my voice for them.

There’s one bit of karma I think we need to expect. Trump assumes he’ll take the reins and run with things like he runs his businesses. There’s a wee bit of difference in running a nation into the ground. I hope his GOP cronies are horrified enough to stop him before he initiates WW III, but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t think any of them can forestall a Civil War indefinitely. That might be a good thing. War is not a good thing, I don’t mean that. However, it is sometimes the only way to wipe the slate clean.

EDITED: I just went back through and re-read the brief remaining entries in this blog, and realized I didn’t ever post any of the semi-finished photos. We’re not done – our kitchen is still missing the pulls on a couple of drawers, we still don’t have baseboards, and God knows there are still boxes up the wazoo. However, I figured I’d pull together a few more photos from the process. We now have a stove and full size fridge, but no photos of them yet, for example. The kitchen table is stacked with stuff that I haven’t yet decided whether to keep, sell, or give away.

Living Room

This is our living room, looking out from the kitchen. The flooring is vinyl – we took a hard look at the viability of laminate (along with cost to install and other issues) and opted out of it. I love my vinyl flooring though. It frankly feels, looks, and even sounds like wood since it’s sitting atop a wood sub-floor.

Kitchen

We decided to go with “tuxedo” cabinets, the dark-and-light option. I’m very happy with how it turned out. While this doesn’t show it, we’ve since added brushed nickel handles to the cabinetry, a stove, fridge, and the same wood-look vinyl floor as in the living room.

Bathroom

Yeesh, I really need to update. This was before we hung the light fixture or the mirror. They’re both up now. Hubby did a variation of board-and batten on the walls to disguise the paneling seams. Ironically, we actually had to add paneling to the bathroom to make this work. The wallpapered wallboard was a joke.

Bathroom side

We also ended up having to replace the commode, which it turned out had a cracked tank. I can’t say I’m sorry. Not sure I could’ve ever gotten the original clean, plus the new one is super efficient. We did the base cabinets the same dark blue as the kitchen. And they’re still nekkid of handles, because reasons. The handles were my project but my body has been kicking my ass. Only this week it’s worse. I’m hobbling around on a walker like an old fart, because the foot apparently wasn’t enough: the knee went south again in a big way. Bleh!

I need to take more photos. We have curtains up in all but the spare bedroom (which is currently being used for tool storage anyway.) The floor is down throughout. We have furniture, albeit the sofa ain’t happening. The budget gave up the ghost before we could get it, thanks to a busted tooth and a busted car. Either one of them was enough to eat up the budget for the sofa. Put ’em both together and that puppy is gonna have to wait a while. Oh well. We have Internet and TV, and a roof over our heads, at least for the moment.

I did my first mystery shopper jobs this week. It literally cost me more for the gas than I made from them, but I needed to get something under my belt asap. The jobs are always posted at the end of the month for the following month, and the end of last month I couldn’t even get online and apply. It simply wasn’t going to happen. I can only hope and pray we can hang in there for a couple of more months. The Universe tends to supply just when we hit panic mode. That already happened this month, so I’m hoping for more of the same next month. It’s what it is, because nothing I could do would make this livable any faster

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C’est Fini

I’m not going to dwell forever on the outcome of the election. Anyone with an operable brain cell can foresee the fallout, and the rest will deny it ever happened, even when nuclear war is lighting up the skies directly overhead. America voted, and America gets to deal with it. I mourn for my grandchildren, who will pay the price for our putrid and rotting underbelly. I no longer have any hopes for their future unless it entails moving out of the country.

Moving out of the country is touted as a joke by some, but the subject was a pretty hot topic tonight on Facebook.

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It didn’t stay at the top for long, but it accompanied a crash of Canada’s immigration website, among other things. The irony is that I probably could in fact immigrate to Canada, for a number of reasons. I have someone who would sponsor me, and my husband has connections there as well. Physically feasible is another matter altogether, not to mention it’s not in me to abandon my children and grandchildren, who CAN’T pack up and move northward.

I say this because it’s that serious. As POTUS, Donald Trump doesn’t only have the capacity to make atrocious speeches and incite his supporters to violence. He has the will, and now the means, to curtail or eliminate free speech; to repeal or curtail significant civil rights on countless levels; to appoint the Supreme Court judges who will form the nation’s legal backbone; and to call out the military force against anyone who pisses him off, internationally or domestically.

I’ve talked to people who support him, who deny the evidence on display throughout his campaign. “He didn’t really mean it,” is followed by, “He tells it like it is.”

Well, which is it?

I sat down to dinner with a neighbor last night for whom the N word was peppered in a conversation where he also claimed to be a Christian. His comment about his own heritage was, “I don’t care as long as I don’t have any [N-word] in me.” This is the underlying rot that has festered for generations in the US, but until now it was held in check by civilization. As civilization crumbles, this personality oozes out from under the rocks.

I know there are people who are bigoted in this country. It’s sickening to see that they’re in charge again. I anticipate women’s rights to become a thing of the past, and expect seniors and other vulnerable adults and children to suffer. If you’re LGBT or black, God help you. I don’t know how immigration will go, but wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to a grinding halt, with those crossing the border used for target practice. I don’t love the violence spreading northward from Mexico’s drug wars, don’t get me wrong. Unfortunately those I foresee as victims are more apt to be families caught in the double nightmare of trying to escape the drug wars, and trying to dodge American bullets as well.

The layers of responsibility for this are deep and rotten to the core.

The GOP has become a cesspool of inbred good-ol’-boy entitlement, which is ironic considering how they preach against the “entitlement” of the unemployed and the poor. Their pompous attitude toward money sacrifices the nation in favor of profit. It makes perfect sense that they’d nominate the person whose name is synonymous with commerce.

The DNC is complicit in that they crowned their choice of candidates by means of election rigging and a gleeful disregard for the very people they needed to vote the party lines. The emails weren’t the nail in Hillary Clinton’s coffin, though they contributed. The Democratic Party did a better job for the Republicans than the Republicans did. There were hundreds of thousands of Democrats who abdicated as a direct result of DNC actions, and the DNC has no one to blame for that but itself.

And voters are responsible. I don’t know how much of the general election was rigged and how much was legitimate, but it’s a moot point now. In our disgust with the status quo, the nation en masse ignored warning sign after warning sign and chose someone just because he was a political outsider. We now have a President with no experience in foreign policy, God knows he’s got no diplomatic skills, and he’s exhibited about every possible WRONG behavior for the leader of a nation. Yet people voted for him, on purpose, electing a madman who literally raised the possibility of nuclear war in casual conversation. We the People did this, and We the People will likely pay the price for generations to come.

The one and ONLY positive outcome to this mess is the likely abolition of the so-called “Affordable Care Act”, which is an unmitigated disaster. It’s not affordable and never has been. It’s simply a fiscal boon for the insurance companies and another tax on the poor.

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Like Father, Like Son

I had the pleasure of hosting my husband’s family from Europe this week. It was chaotic here because we’re still moving, plus my body decided to kick my ass (more about that later), but still worth it. Hubby’s sister is older than he is by nearly a decade, but she’s shy and retiring, in contrast to his moments of sheer lunacy. His sister brought along one of her daughters, who (as it worked out) ended up being our driver for most of the week.

It was an interesting visit this time, the second time my sister-in-law has come to see us. Hubby was up to his eyeballs selling the various goodies he’d bought at yard sales, and I pointed out he was known to sell things from the house. Turns out it’s a family trait. Their dad was known to sell their living room furniture whenever their mother was out. (They owned the furniture store, so it wasn’t quite as catastrophic as would be the case for us if G were to go down that particular rabbit hole.) Apparently their dad was as addicted to the sales process as G is. It’s genetic.

We traipsed through rural Arizona, visiting the kinds of places that never make it to the tourist maps. My SIL and niece loved it – and I learned from it. For example, until now, I had no idea there was a German POW camp in the nearby city of Florence during WWII. Cool stuff.

I know my way around the area, and was the de facto tour guide for the week. We talked about the places to visit and I think the choices we made were the right ones. I had a blast with my phone camera, taking a ton of photos and videos. I also got to gloat over the fact that my little Android holds double the data of my niece’s much more expensive iPhone. Her phone was full after about fifty photos. Mine kept going with photos and video, long past that point. And my phone’s camera is higher-resolution, to boot.

three

Hubby is anal about not having his photo online, but since this doesn’t show his face (or his niece’s or his sister’s) he gave it a thumb’s up. I couldn’t help snapping this, because all three of them had their cameras out. Well, okay, all FOUR of us.

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This is Roosevelt Dam, in Central Arizona. With very few exceptions, Arizona’s lakes are artificial. This dam (and the lake it encloses) is the primary source of water for the Phoenix metro area. The dam was raised 20 feet a few years back. Before that, you drove over the top of the dam as part of the road to Payson. When the dam project happened, that road was replaced by a newer one, including this bridge:

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It’s a pretty drive, and this time of year the weather is superb. Unfortunately since it’s fall here, too, there’s very little by way of greenery. Not that there’s much, ever, but there’s normally a bit more than this shows. Matter of fact, the mountains across the lake in this picture are home to the tiny hamlet of Young, Arizona. The peaks are part of the Mogollon Rim, and they’re covered with massive Ponderosa pine forests.

We didn’t drive that far, because we simply ran out of time, but I love the pine forests of the higher elevations. I love forests, period. I spent many a past life there, and someday hope to live in the forest again – albeit in a house this time around!

When we moved to Arizona, I was surprised at how much plant life you see in the Sonora desert. I’d been conditioned to expect sand dunes and very little more. In this part of the desert, however, you get low mesquite scrub, prickly pear, saguaro, barrel cactus, cholla, Joshua trees, agave, desert fox grass, and God knows how much more. In terms of wildlife, we’ve got coyote, snakes, lizards, and lots of birds (from roadrunners – the real kind that don’t go “meep-meep” – to quail, eagles, hawks, sparrows, hummingbirds, ravens, and vultures, among others.) Up in the mountains we’ve got bobcats, mountain lions, bears, and probably a few other critters that haven’t been identified. I don’t think Bigfoot lives here, but who knows? We’ve got lots of other retirees, and he’s been around long enough to qualify.

For the majority of the week, the weather cooperated. Thursday during our trip, we got inundated. Hubby and I loved it, but our visitors were bummed because in northern Europe, rain isn’t exactly a novelty. Not only that, but the rain this time kept going for several hours, which is atypical for the desert but all too familiar to them. Oh well, at least it was only one day out of the week they were here. I thanked them for bringing rain in their suitcases!

My frustration was that while my knees were cooperating, my feet definitely WEREN’T. I had a foot infection that turned out to be the nastiest case of athlete’s foot I’ve seen, certainly the worst I’ve ever had. Between the move and the company, it’s been a challenge.

This has decided not to post, so we’ll see if it cooperates this time around. I’ve done everything short of starting over again to get it to work. If this doesn’t do it, I’m closing the blog for good.

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