“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently
Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?” ~ Anne Carson, from “The Glass Essay”
Saturday afternoon. Cloudy, low 80’s, showers expected.
Yesterday I had to buy a new lawn mower. Ours finally died, and with Corey gone it was up to me to purchase a new one. I went to Sears and picked up a Craftsman with a Briggs and Stratton engine. I applied my little knowledge about mowers and mower engines, and rolled it around the floor to get a feel for it, and then dropped $231 plus tax (sale price). That means that within the last week I have spent $600 on unexpected, emergency purchases.
Do I even need to say how painful this was and is? That’s money that could have gone to catch up my health insurance payments. Money that could have gone towards ordering my much-needed glasses. Money that could have gone towards anything but plumbing and a mower.
Corey is really hard on mowers, and he goes through one every three years or so. This is kind of a foreign concept to me as the mower that I had before Corey )that’s how I categorize everything: before Corey and since Corey) was about 10 years old. I also had a lawn tractor that my dad bought me after my ex left. When I mowed the yard, and yes, I did indeed, I cleaned the mower after each use and put it back in the shed. I would really like for this mower to be stored in the shed, but that means that I need to go out there and make room in the shed, which resembles our garage: massive piles of who-knows-what seemingly placed by a tornado-force wind. I know this to be true because I just took a peek in there.
Disheartening, but hey, I have a new job, right? Right…………………..
“Hear how the mouth,
of longing for the world,
changes its shape?” ~ Mark Doty, from “Difference”
So while mower shopping, I took Brett to purchase some new clothes for school (with his money). He managed to spend $100 and got some new pants, a vest, and several t-shirts. I tried to explain to him that he got a lot for his money, but Brett is, well, thrifty. I understand why, and I suppose it’s good that someone in this family is so inclined as I’m always out there spending money on frivolous things like, say, a lawn mower, and food, and utility bills.
Sorry, a bit on the testy side today.
We stopped by Alexis’s apartment on the way home. She was having one of those days: Olivia is not taking to her new swing. I could not have survived without a baby swing. All of my kids loved it, especially Alexis, who would become calm as soon as the swing began to move, but with those old swings, you had to wind them to make them work, and just as she’d fall asleep, the swing would stop. I would wind it, which would wake her, and the whole process began again. Now, they plug in or use batteries and are so quiet. I really hope Olivia adjusts to hers as the swing is the one item that allowed me to actually begin to eat meals again like an adult, you know, sitting down with utensils, instead of standing and on the run.
While I was there I did her dishes, made formula, and gave Olivia a bath. Just these little things really help Lex, and it doesn’t take me any time at all. Of course, by the time I got home after the stress of shopping and spending money, I was beyond tired.
“If I expect as little as possible, I won’t be hurt.” ~ Susan Sontag in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980
Later that same day . . .
I took an extended break to do a few things: clean Capt. Jack’s fish bowl, clean Eamonn’s fish bowl, play ball with Tillie and Shakes, and bathe the dogs (well, Alfie was a half bath as he had one of his psychotic episodes, and I really didn’t feel like dealing with it). I’m really, really hoping that someone puts the lawn mower together today or tomorrow morning. Just as I’m hoping a different someone will clean out some space in the shed.
And I’m really, really hoping that neither of those someone’s are me, but I’m not holding my breath.
Wow. That was really passive/aggressive, wasn’t it? Oh well.
I love my sons, but they don’t take initiative, at least not at home. It reminds me of their father, which is unfortunate. He was great at helping his friends at a minute’s notice, but not so much around here, which is why I took it upon myself to learn some basics about doing things around the house. Not only did I mow the yard, but I used to edge and trim, wash my car, change my oil, and trim the bushes. I know how to change a fixture, do some basic plumbing, and clean gutters.
My mantra? It doesn’t take a penis to use a power tool.
Knowing is only half of it, unfortunately. Being able to do it is the other half, and that’s where I’m stymied. Corey, however, is super handy around the house, which is why things break when he’s away. Which principle is that? Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives (a corollary to Murphy’s Law): Anything that can go wrong will—at the worst possible moment. Yep, that’s how I live my life.
Oh, and by the way, resistentialism also applies (spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects): On the way to pick up Eamonn, the Rodeo’s “Check Engine Light” came on again. Is it not enough that I just spent $1200 on everything from brakes, to tires, to shocks, to oxygen sensors on that damned vehicle? Apparently not.
“there’s no chance
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.” ~ Charles Bukowski, from “Alone with Everybody”
Just a bit of a continuation on the last section: I went into the garage to check the laundry, and the washer is leaking. This is probably a direct result of my prior bragging about my plumbing skills; ergo, Sod’s Law, second law, actually: Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur. (For a complete list of all eponymous laws and adages, click here.
Anyway, today’s pictures relate to one of my obsessions: Lord Howe Island, in New South Wales, Australia. Apparently, this little bit of paradise is relatively untouched by the very things that tend to ruin island paradises: too much development, too much commercialism, and too may tourists. I want to go there some day, preferably sooner rather than later. I used to want to go to Hawaii, but time seems to have ruined the last state in the union: overdeveloped, overpriced, overcrowded.
Speaking of places, I was reading an article on The Daily Beast about the smartest cities in the country, and quell surprise?! Norfolk, VA ranks as #35 out of 55 listed. Norfolk’s 2009 ranking was 41st. Out of a metropolitan population of 1,675,792, 17 percent have bachelor’s degrees, and 10 percent have graduate degrees, as compared to #1, which is . . . Boston, MA with 24 and 18 percent, respectively.
According to the article, scores were compiled based on adults with degrees, as well as data collected from Lumos Labs, which was used to analyze cities in five cognitive areas: “memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. The median Lumos Labs score, presented as an estimated IQ score, was worth 50 percent of our final, weighted ranking.” Norfolk’s IQ score was 88.33, as compared to Boston’s score of 176.68.
Who would have ever thought it? I’m just full of irrelevant trivia today.
“I remember the first time I realized the world we are born into is not the one we leave.” ~ Mary Ruefle, from “I Remember, I Remember, On the handsome roofers, attentive cows, and sudden tears of youth”
And finally . . .
I want to send my love to Corey’s family in Ohio. Recent events have hit everyone hard, and I’m thinking of all of you. Corey’s Uncle Tom passed away this past week, and I know that my f-in-law John has been hit hard. Big hugs to Alana. Also, my m-in-law Joyce is having back surgery at the end of the month, so I’m wishing her well and hoping that she has good results.
I think that I’ll stop here for now with a few more glorious shots of Lord Howe Island, and the really intriguing Balls Pyramid, which was discovered in 1788. The former Pacific shield volcano juts out 1,843 feet, making it the world’s tallest sea stack. The first successful climb to the summit was made in 1965. Climbing has since been banned without permission from the minister of state.
Music by David J. Roch, “Skin and Bones”
Why We Must Struggle
If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense
the shape of our losses
or know what sustains
us longest or name
what change costs us,
saying how strange
it is that one sector
of the self can step in
for another in trouble,
how loss activates
a latent double, how
we can feed
as upon nectar
~ Kay Ryan
4 thoughts on ““These hands — the hands that care, the hands that mold; the hands that touch the lips, the lips that speak the words — the words that tell us we are whole.” ~ Douglas Coupland, Life After God”
When the dryer belt broke, I got on the Internet and watched a video of how to fix it – and relayed that information to Son #1… and he took it apart and easily replaced the belt. The washer has only once stopped working, due to a tiny part having to do with opening and closing the lid of the machine. It cost about $200. for a “service contract” so they could come out and fix it and, of course, Son #1 watched the entire process and thought how ridiculous it was to pay $200. for that small repair. You can bet he’ll at least try to fix it if it ever breaks again…
Ditto, the refrigerator… I search the Internet… Son #1 takes it apart… The guy at the repair shop here is great for free advice, so that helps. You can order a lot of the parts over amazon a lot cheaper than from the repair shop, but it takes a few days… (Meanwhile everything is in ice chests and you have to make trips to the convenience store….)
I plan to take the front of the washer sometime this weekend. Just girding my loins for the next challenge.
Sounds like a lot of resistentialism in your house lately.
A year or so back, I spent a large sum of money at a repair shop replacing one thing after another trying to get the “hot” light to stop flashing and setting the “check engine” light off in my car. Some of those things that were replaced had been replaced only a year or so earlier by a previous mechanic/boyfriend but weren’t written down, so I didn’t know. It turned out that the mechanic/ex-boyfriend surveyed what was done and had the idea that we could replace the car’s computer for about $100., which we did, and that was the end of the hot light flashing and setting the check engine light off. So – it was really nothing the whole time… Of course, on the other hand, the engine has so many new parts that it should be good for a few years.
Everything these days is designed to break often. Maybe they don’t even teach people how to repair things anymore. It’s ‘replace with a bigger, better, more energy efficient system’ that will cost 3 times what the last one cost and last a quarter of the time of the last one. People used to have the skills to fix things that broke, or, at least, many things. Now they don’t. You belong to a dying breed…
Even if the world turns around and becomes prosperous and job-laden again, a young person could save a lot of money by being thrifty AND by learning to fix things that break around the house. Every time my oldest tackles something, he worries in the beginning that he is getting in over his head – and so far he’s been amazed at how easy it was to fix. Every time he sees someone else fix something, he’s amazed at how much money we could have saved if we did it ourselves…
Enjoyed the photos… In some book I read, there was a small boat going past an uninhabited island. The boat stopped and there was a dog there. They brought the dog with them and notified a Coast Guard sort of agency and it turned out that the dog had fallen/jumped overboard and the family was heartbroken, thinking he perished, but he had managed to swim some distance to this island and survive for a good length of time and then end up running into these folks who picked him up and notified the right people… and was reunited with his family. I don’t know why Lord Howe’s Island rings a bell, maybe it was mentioned in the book…
Oh I just love a good dog story. How absolutely wonderful for the dog and his humans, and how wonderful that those people actually stopped and picked him up. Too many people would have kept going and just remarked on seeing a dog.
I hadn’t thought of the computer. I wonder if the computer that diagnoses problems tells you if the computer is broken. The rodeo really did need a lot of new parts. When Mike got into it he said that it looked like no work had ever been done on the vehicle. The woman I bought it from said that her ex-husband was a mechanic who took care of it. Perhaps because he was her ex he didn’t really take care of it. Who knows? I’m just so tired of fixing things.
When I saw the water in front of the washer last night, I just pretended that it wasn’t there, that I wasn’t again standing in a puddle. It worked last night . . . but I know that some part of me really wants to see what’s wrong. I’ve never taken apart a washer before. Hmm……..