Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Life: Seriously, knock it off already

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that somebody is just messin’ with me right now. Like, there’s some kind of Top Secret Experiment on, to see just how many things can be piled on top of me before I completely lose my cool.

We had the windshield crack on the van – like, from side to side. Thanks to insurance it was only $200, but it had to be a crack big enough that we needed a whole replacement…not a small crack that would have been filled free.

The car then developed a slow leak in one tire. Which we ignored, refilling the tire whenever it got too low, until it became a less-slow leak. And then we ended up with a whole new set of tires, because the ones we had were (as it turned out) fairly old and weather-beaten and also had slow leaks here and there.

Apparently, if you park a vehicle outside 24/7 for six years (or so), it can cause wear and tear on the tires. Who knew. (OK, yes, I did know that. What I hadn’t really understood was the passage of time part. I thought those tires were “pretty new, maybe what, two-three years old?” right up until they proved they were manufactured in 2001, and hadn’t been purchased since the new owners took over in 2004, soooo, were probably installed somewhere between 2001 and 2003-ish. Oh.)

Both of my ovens are now completely unreliable. They might heat up to the temperature you ask for…then again…they might not.. And if they do, they might not stay there. They might simply slowly lose heat, or they might drop a hundred degrees and then hasten to make amends.

This does not work well with a lot of baked goods. Which I make a lot of. Especially in times of stress and duress. Because nothing says everything is going to be JUST FINE like bread-stuffs. Copiously spiked with chocolate. And possibly butter. Or filled with dried cherries, apricots and cream cheese. Or…you know? I’m going to go ahead and stop now. (Tart cherries canned in Plain Old Water were on sale last week. I know, right? That’s, like, a supermarket miracle. Those suckers are never on sale, and the sugar-infused ones just don’t make pie quite the same.) (Wait, I thought I said I was going to stop a minute ago…)

The ovens too are “old,” as defined by Sears. I’ve had them repaired three times since we bought them, and each time was a greater ordeal. At this point, I suspect new parts are produced by monks living in Siberia, who hand-craft each part out of recycled inner tubes only in the brief Siberian summer, making five of them total each year.

And one of the burners on my gas range stopped working. I eventually got it working again through copious use of cuss words exotic tools (like unbent paperclips, wire brushes, pocket knives and chopsticks), but now I regard it with Great Suspicion because it still acts a little…funny, sometimes. Doesn’t want to light, or only wants to throw flames around three-quarters of the burner. Hmmmmm…

Plus the dishwasher – which has never done a particularly good job washing dishes – now does even less of a good job.

Yes. We have to wash the dishes before we put them in the dishwasher. If we do not, we end up with whatever was on each dish evenly sprayed on every other dish, and then baked on. For meals that last a lifetime.


My problem there, of course, is that I don’t want to “just” replace them. Oh no. What I want is…well. Something simple, and reliable, and it doesn’t have to be, you know, gold-plated or anything…but…well…maybe…just…{all in one breath} a pair of industrial wall ovens [at least one of them convection] plus a separate bread oven WITH humidity control and then for the range eight burners should do just fine only one of them has to be that dual-type where you can have either two regular sized or one GINORMOUS burner, and of course if you’re going to have THAT you really NEED to go ahead and replace that remarkably crappy refrigerator with maybe a walk-in restaurant-sized deal PLUS I could surely use two or even three dishwashers and a walk-in pantry with maybe a climate-controlled area that can be a ‘root cellar’ would be nice.

Hey. They can be either Viking of Wolfe – I’m not picky or anything. And, yeah, I guess we’ll have to go ahead and build a new addition onto the house, because I have no idea where we’d actually put all of that otherwise…

I am only about $27,999 short of the $28,000 I’d need to get those appliances. And we don’t discuss the cost of an addition, because I’ve already had one nosebleed today and don’t need another one. (Captain Adventure, who didn’t mean to – he was just throwing back his head and my nose got in the way. Ow.)

The husband’s commuter card won’t work. The money is there, but it won’t auto-load. We suspect there’s some kind of algorithm going on there where they’re trying to match months to each other or something. Argh.

Then the health card got suspended. Because $2.19 of one of the dental bills wasn’t “verifiable.” Wha?

Then we had the tri-annual psych exam for Captain Adventure. Which went pretty well, except that the psychiatrist says that while he’s super-extra-crazy smart and that this will probably help him blend in a bit, he’s actually more obviously autistic-autistic than he was three years ago. He’s going to go with the old method of scoring, though, which still drops him into the higher-functioning category. But in a few months, he expects, he would have to use this other one, which would drop him squarely into this bucket. Which is a hard bucket to get out of, so, let’s keep him in this one as long as we can.

And then we get the call that he has been deemed ineligible for services because he is too high functioning. Frankly, they’re right. We don’t actually use any of their services, precisely because he is too high functioning for them. We don’t need respite care for him, he doesn’t require intervention services from them, and pretty much, most of what they have to offer is stuff we have no use for because he just doesn’t need it.

The one thing that has me wincing is that we’re also losing that third party observer when we have school-stuff to deal with; because dudes, it can be hard to know whether something is a good idea or not. And right now, there’s naturally a lot of effort being poured into how do we NOT have to pay for anything. Budgets are tight, blah blah blah.

So it’s been nice to have somebody who actually knows both how this stuff works, and Captain Adventure, to call and say, “Hey, they wanna do this – is that crazy? Or the best idea in the history of ever?”

Kids: 1. Mommy: 0.

Danger Mouse is having a rough time in middle school. Epic. Fail. She’s smart, but soooooo ADHD. Without the teacher looming over her, she is back to kindergarten in terms of her ability to keep her business together. And naturally, she’s got a teacher who is a bit…less than proactive about giving us advanced notice about what-all is going on with her. We can’t get her current assignments from him, so we’re stuck trying to winkle that information from her…and since the whole problem is that her brain was dancing with squirrels in the Rainbow Princess Palace when the assignment was being written on the board…yeah. Problem. And, he doesn’t update the post-mortem in a timely fashion either, sooo, we “discover” that she’s failing when it is way too late to do anything about it.

Kids: 2. Mommy: 0.

THEN, Boo Bug got her usual winter cough. She has gotten this cough every winter, right when the heaters first start coming on round town (not that I have any suspicions around sources, mind you), without fail, since she was six weeks old. This year, though, she started complaining about it hurting to breathe, or that her tummy hurt, and that made me go, “…dude, wait, wha?”, so I dragged her to the doctor, who promptly slapped about five thousand kinds of inhalers into my hands, each with its own complicated set of directions, and now I’ve got an asthmatic in the house. And I’m supposed to get my carpets professionally cleaned and also my duct work, plus I have to run, well, pretty much everything through the washing machine, which should be set to “kill.”

But at least we already use the Extra Tiny Holed Filters for the central system, and change them regularly. So, there’s that.

Kids: 3. Mommy: 0.

Then Eldest came along and…wait. {thinks for a minute} Well. Other than being able to wear my clothes much better than I do, and causing the coffee to disappear faster than I expect lately (she doesn’t actually drink that much of it – she just likes making it, it’s her father and I that are benefitting suffering on this deal), Eldest has actually been really low maintenance all year. Good grades, good behavior, careful with her allowance money…the only thing I had to go, “ARRRRRGH!” about all year was that she was showing some anime to Danger Mouse that was…ahem…slightly questionable for a younger audience.

But only slightly and in a way that probably shot over Danger Mouse’s head like a rocket ship already at 45,000 feet.

So, Kids: 3. Mommy: 1. A come-from-behind victory is still possible! Woot!!!

My hip doesn’t like the change in the weather, which is throwing my sleeping patterns off. My back keeps getting thrown out over Silly Stuff, like reaching down to pick up a ball of yarn off the floor or something. (I can shovel. I can vacuum. I can vigorously scrub the walls and ceiling in the kitchen [don’t ask]. But picking up a rubber band, or a 2 ounce ball of baby yarn? {crrrrrack!!!} What the heck, Me?!?!)

The husband is trying to get coworkers to come here for a potluck chorus rehearsal. Here. I told him he is only allowed to have people over if he makes sure the house is clean, dammit. (Not merely clean. Clean dammit. I was very clear on this point.)

Prediction: There will still be piles of laundry on the dining room table, the drying rack full of Unmentionables will still be in the middle of the music room floor (!!!!), the children will have pulled every object from every drawer in the Den, and there will probably still be dishes from the weekend marinating on the counters. Betcha. (I will be leaving tomorrow at about 4:30 a.m., and won’t be home before about 7:00 p.m.. The rehearsers are arriving at around 5:30. In the Absence of Me…yeah. This place is going to be a wreck.) (MAYBE…I just won’t come home! That’s it! I shall run away! To somewhere tropical! I’ll change my name and dye my hair and no one will ever be the wiser, bwahahaha, it’s BRILLIANT, brilliant I tell you, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

And also there is all kinds of stuff I’m supposed to be doing for this same potluck. I do not have time for any of it. I shall have to invent the time. Fortunately, I have magic powers and do that sort of thing all the time.

Unfortunately, I usually wake up before I derive any actual good from all my magic workings. Curses, foiled again.

AND THEN, our nanny tosses off casually that she has an interview this morning. And then she got the job. And it’s “only” on the weekends and “only” impacts her a little bit on Fridays and Mondays, which we already had to arrange for one of us to be working from home on due to her school schedule.

And I swear to Dog, I had A Moment.

I want her to have this job. It’s better for her in terms of building her resume and all that. And we know full well we’ll lose her fairly soon-ish; she’s gotten her phlebotomy license, after all, and is about halfway through nursing school. This isn’t a Forever Job. This is a ‘get me through school’ job.

But I’m still just kind of…pouting. And feeling a bit sorry for myself. Don’t I have enough on my plate right now, Life? Seriously? Can you please just STOP with all the Drama for a while?

We need to get this into production by December 8…and this by December 6…and then the initial round of testing for That Really Big Huge Thing starts on January 9, so, you will have the whole thing recoded and ready to go by then, right…oh, and don’t forget this and that and the other and what the heck is this QC item…?

WORST OF ALL…I need to go to bed. There is no time to make cookies or tortillas or pies or anything. I will have to bear up without any fresh carbohydrates to see me through. WHEN WILL IT STOP, THE PAIN?!?!

(Oooooh, probably around…March 30. You know, when this contract expires and I’m no longer employed? So, um, yeah. There’s…that.)

(Seriously, I think…I need another Advil…)


Nicole said...

I feel for you! I very much enjoy following along, and have a tip for the gas burner. When mine conked out I used a small wire brush - almost like a toothbrush. I think it was my husbands for cleaning terminals on batteries (!?!) but whatever, it worked like a charm. And as for the dishwasher, try taking the bottom of the inside apart and cleaning it as much as possible. That limped ours along for about another year. Good Luck!

Layne Bushell said...

Yikes. Ouch. I'm sorry that instead of raining it's pouring. But if you care for some advice that you probably don't want to hear right now....it will work out. I so get stressed about this kind of stuff and it worries me. But take it one day at a time and somehow, someway, it will work out in the end.

PipneyJane said...

Tama, you need to read this: http://trishdoerrler.com/2008/12/autism-night-before-christmas-a-poem/ . I read it with tears in my eyes and thought you'd appreciate it. One of my friends posted it on Facebook - she's got a 9-year-old son with severe autism.

- Pam

The Elusive Thread said...

I am sorry things are being so wonky for you right now. I am completely sympathetic to the "life smacking you upside the head" thing.

I hope things improve rapidly for you!

Steph B said...

Don't you just wish you could smack Life right back? A good whack upside Life's head with a 2x4 would be a wonderful thing right now. Praying things slow down, cheer up, and so forth - soon!

Rena said...

good thing you're used to crazy town, or you'd be even more bat-sh## crazy than you already are. ;-)

you know I love you, Sis. Call me any time you need to scream, or need someone to run away with. How about we don pink wigs, change our names to "Sharon 1" and "Sharon 2" and play at Disneyland WITHOUT children, and after we've had a bottle of wine EACH in our hotel room.

Kerri Warmus said...

We refer to our dishwasher as a "dish sanitizer". It doesn't WASH the dishes, but hopefully it zaps the germs. Every once in a while hubby makes the mistake of thinking it will actually wash something that is DIRTY and then a good 12 hour soak will loosen the cooked on crud enough that I can scrub really, really hard and get it off. Yeah, I'm tired and hungry and not making a lot of sense right now. You can TOTALLY relate, right?