This is the post that I was working on for Monday when the computer started to act out and then locked up. Nothing. Nada. Had to close everything, clean the hard drive and do a complete scan, all of which meant that there was no more writing for me. Tuesday was leftover crappiness, so no writing. I’m continuing this post for Wednesday.
Sorry about the disjointedness (word?) . . .
“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
‘Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
‘What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
‘I never know what you are thinking. Think.” ~ T. S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
Monday evening. Humid. Impending rain.
Tillie had another seizure last night. She was next to me on the bed when I noticed her moving frantically. At first I thought that she was chasing a hot spot, but then I realized that she was seizing. That’s the first one that’s happened in front of me in a while. Corey and I held her and spoke quietly to her during the episode, and thankfully, she seemed to come out of this one faster than before. Corey thinks that she is becoming a bit more accustomed to them so that she does not panic. This makes seven total.
It’s so frightening to see and so hard not to panic, but she would sense the panic. We had to get Alfie out of the room because he began to bark frantically, which was not helping things. Shakes hid under the bed until it was over. It’s odd how each dog knows that something is wrong and responds.
Today, we got the wonderful news that our entire tax refund has been gobbled up by a creditor. We aren’t getting a penny, and we owe on our state taxes, which are due at the end of April. That’s how the past few days have been: one bit of bad news after another. As I’ve said too many times before, sometimes, it’s just all too much, which is what leads me to the topic of this post: my daughter, Alexis.
Freundschaftsinsel, Potsdam, by Max Baur (Friendship Island)
“How secure have I felt seated at my desk in my house in the dark night, just watching the tip of my pencil in the lamplight following its shadow, as if of its own accord and with perfect fidelity, while that shadow moved regularly from left to right, line by line, over the ruled paper.” ~ W. G. Sebald, Austerlitz
If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .
Sitting in Eamonn’s room on Friday afternoon. A few days ago, I began the task of trying to clean this room, which means going through all of the various piles of crap that Eamonn has left here since moving to his Dad’s house.
I’ve only managed to clean the desk so far. We’re talking about countless binders, notebooks, and piles of paper from high school. Dead pens and broken pencils. Permanent markers that have completely dried up from having no cap. and all kinds of other unidentifiable stuff. Oh, and I also found the title to his Explorer, which Eamonn swore up and down that he had given me. Yep, that title, the one that he had to go to DMV to get a duplicate of so that he could junk the Explorer.
What possessed me to begin this cleaning project? Well, several things, the main one being that I’m using his computer while mine is dead, and I just couldn’t stand not having one clear space on which to place my Pepsi. That and the fact that if I continued to wait for Eamonn to come over and start to de-junk, I’d be waiting until 2020.
Corey and I are thinking about turning this bedroom into an office with a futon for guests, not that we ever have guests, nor do we have the money to purchase a futon, but one thing at a time.
“It is a strange life when I consider it,
how I endeavor to attain strength and clarity,
to mold these base materials into forms which will express me,
and my attitude, my joy and thankfulness.
I work alone,
who cares whether I produce anything or not,
or who appreciates it?
Yet I believe a good thing will not perish.” ~ Harlan Hubbard
Brett made it through his first week of college. Today’s classes were cancelled because of the hurricane. Although, all we’ve seen is rain. I know that schools and businesses try to be more proactive ever since that hurricane about five years ago that took out everything, and few people were prepared.
Our hurricane preparation? Flashlights and bottled water. I mean, there really isn’t anything else that we can do. We don’t have a generator, nor do we have anything else in the way of emergency equipment. Next year, though, I want to be sure to have flood insurance in place. In this area, homeowners cannot get a flood policy written once the first hurricane enters the Atlantic, so we’re out of luck for 2010, and even though we don’t live in a flood area, we are close enough to water that we should have it. Besides, regular homeowner’s insurance covers very little in the way of water damage, which means that if there is a massive storm surge, and our home becomes a wading pool, we may well be SOL.
So back to the whole college preparation thing: We finally got Brett a workable schedule. I ordered his books, only to have two of them kick back from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I mean I searched high and low to find the lowest possible prices on textbooks. One book is on backorder, with no projected shipment date. Another book is no longer available from the vendor from whom I originally ordered, which meant finding an alternative source, which (of course) was much more expensive.
Things that make a person scream ARGH.
“With writing, we have second chances.” ~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated
So an update on the various things that aren’t working:
My computer: The motherboard arrived, and Corey took my CPU and the motherboard to the Geeks, who then quoted him $99 after initially quoting him $49. Then the person with whom Corey was speaking uttered those horrible words (the words that IsaacMak had already prophesied): There’s a good chance that the computer will need to be reloaded with Vista, which means that you will lose everything on the hard drive . . .
It seems that Windows has implemented a new hitch with Vista and all subsequent windows versions: If the motherboard needs to be replaced, then the operating system has to be reloaded. This news, although not entirely unexpected, is more painful than I can express. The last time I did a total system backup was three years ago. Since then, I have approximately twice the data I had at that time. I won’t bother to mention (so, of course, I shall) how I pointed out to Corey months ago that we needed to get some kind of external hard drive so that all of the systems in the house could be backed up, you know, just in case . . .
Options for recovering and transferring my data include paying the Geeks to do it, which of course would be expensive. Or we can try to plug the computer in and download as much as possible onto the home network. That option depends on whether or not the computer will even boot.
Then there is the small problem with the home network, which isn’t working. As I’m typing this a guy from the local cable company is here checking our connections to see why the router/modem will not stay on. I mean, it’s cable, not FIOS. It’s not weather dependent.
Things just keep getting better and better.
“I am increasingly impressed by how nature permits human beings to make fools of themselves in vast numbers.” ~ William Glass
A few final tidbits:
Former Senator Alan Simpson, Republican co-chair of President Obama’s Deficit Commission has been in the news lately with his off-the-wall comments; most recently Simpson complained that Viet Nam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange are adding too much to the deficit. Simpson complained that these benefits run “contrary to efforts to control federal spending,” and even went as far as to say that “the irony” is that “the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess. My contention: Simpson is using too much air to fuel his waning grey cells.
After President Obama’s speech this past Tuesday acknowledging the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, the usual Republican/Tea Party talking heads lined up to criticize the president for not giving enough credit to W. For once, I am in almost complete agreement with McConnell, McCain, Palin, et al, with one teenie tiny exception: exchange the word blame for credit.
Yep. It’s all on W., but as usual, the right has been drinking the Kool-Ade. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, more credit should be given to W., who had the “determination and will to carry out the plan that made [this] announcement possible.”
Uh . . . sorry, just threw up a little in my throat . . .
W. had determination and will all right: the determination to circumvent the Constitution, the will to do more to impede basic freedoms in the name of anti-terrorism. And we are supposed to praise W. for making possibly the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the country? We are supposed to laud him for dragging our country into an unwinnable war based on a faulty premise that had nothing to do with the original post-September 11 mission to capture Osama bin Laden and wipe out the Taliban?
Don’t make me gag. Again.
Keith Olbermann did a better job on calling out the talking heads on the right on this particular issue:
Actually, no envelope, just seems fitting since it’s Emmy night.
And the winner is . . . the motherboard. Big applause everyone. The award for biggest money pit currently affecting the home front is My Computer. Accepting on behalf of My Computer is . . . well, no one, because it’s an inanimate object that happens to be sentient enough to know precisely when to cause more chaos in my life. Therefore, the award will be melted down and sold to buy parts.
Anyway, motherboard has been ordered. Should be here soon. Corey doesn’t think that he can install a mobo, though, so it may mean a return to the Geeks.
“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki
Greetings from my computer. Yes, my computer, as in the one belonging to me. Is my euphoria simply jumping off the page? Is there a big, goofy smile on my face?
That would be yes, on both counts.
But whoa, doggie. Too much happiness could be dangerous . . . as in the newly-fixed computer does not quite boot up correctly; it still reads a CPU fan error, and oh, yes, it shuts off without warning.
So why so much joy, you might ask . . . because I know that you are sitting there with bated breath just hanging on my every word so that you can be up-to-date with my life . . . not . . .
Simple, even with the remaining hiccups, it’s still my computer, my little corner of the world, my files, my keyboard, and my Bose speakers. I had to force myself to go to bed around 5 a.m. after downloading the temporary files that I had stored on Corey’s computer. Corey, ever diligent and attentive, took my glee in stride as I bounced around the bedroom and stopped him several times to make him listen to the sound coming from my speakers.
After not having it for a month and a half, having it—quirks and all—is bliss.
“…I am a water woman, not a vessel, not something you can sail or charter. I am instead the tributary, the river, the fluid source, and the sea itself. I am all her rainy implications. And what do you, with your rusted compass, know of love?” ~ Kate Braverman
So yes, it is a cloudy, drizzly day here. The pool water is green as there has been no need to clean for the past three days of rain. At least the temperatures are not ridiculously hot.
I spent several hours this afternoon cleaning my pseudo office area (also known as corner of the bedroom). It’s amazing how much clutter can accumulate when left to its own devices. I removed everything from the desktop, dusted the desk, wiped down the lamp, desk accessories, and dumped the critters from inside my keyboard. I also hung the clothes that I had tossed onto my chair, and threw out oodles of scraps of paper onto which I had written various notes that are now irrelevant.
In going through my post-it collection of notes, I found a password, an account number, a few quotes, a telephone number that I had been looking for, the name of the new phone that I want to get someday (of course, it will be outdated before I get it), and the titles of several books on my to-read list. Speaking of reading, now that my computer is accessible again, I need to catch up on my book reviews. I have four books sitting here waiting for reviews, two of which are notable, and two of which are forgettable.
“The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery.” ~ Carlos Castenada
On to other things . . . Eamonn finally got another car, a 1991 Honda. I had no input in this purchase (otherwise, I would have strongly advised against purchasing a car equal to my age unless it were a classic like a Bug or VW bus; but hey, what do I know?). Eldest son’s college classes started today. Unfortunately, the car, which he has owned less than a week, broke down on his way home. I completely understand his vanquished attitude.
Classes begin on August 30 for Brett. He is already beginning to stress. Nothing I can say will make him feel any better about this next big step in his life. He will have to begin and see where the months ahead take him. However, I did give him his starting college gift a few days early to try to assuage the fear: a beautiful pen. As with many other things, my children love good writing utensils as much as their mother.
Nothing (well, I exaggerate), beats a beautiful pen that glides across the page effortlessly.
In other news: I drank my last Pepsi this afternoon. Not nearly as traumatic as what my sons are experiencing, but my own personal hell. And Alfie is having withdrawal from spending the afternoon in my lap. I cannot work in my little corner and hold the little doggie, no matter how much he whines and protests. As I write this, he is sitting forlornly next to my chair glaring at me. Who said that dogs don’t have facial expressions?
“I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” ~ Hermann Hesse
Other than that, summer is winding down, and I feel as if I haven’t taken the time to enjoy it at all. Probably because I haven’t. Admittedly, it’s been a strange summer, and perhaps I feel as I haven’t really done anything because the computer has been out of commission for so long, and we had no deck parties at Anne’s when the Germans were here, and I haven’t spent much time floating around in the pool.
Not to mention that the continuing saga of health insurance, medication, and doctor’s visits has remain unchanged over the past two and a half months. In fact, I had yet another mix-up with a pharmaceutical company just today, which led to a very pleasant conversation with a Wal-Mart pharmacist. Perhaps I should be kinder as I do not know what kind of attitude I would have if I had to work at Wal-Mart, but it seems that most pharmacists are unpleasant on the telephone, except for the swing shift pharmacist at Walgreen’s who seems happy to be speaking with anyone.
Time to watch “Project Runway.” Don’t be envious—a working computer, a pouting dog, Bose speakers, unhappy children, and Project Runway—how much can one person have? Jealousy is not attractive on you.
More later. Peace.
Music by Dayplayer, “Neverending Summer,” kind of whimsical
“Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again . . .” ~ Frank O’Hara
Well, hey. How have you been? Long time no words between us . . .
First, my computer died, an unanticipated immediate death, requiring the ordering of parts and much finger crossing. Said computer is still sitting forlorn in the corner of the bedroom, collecting dust and serving as a clothes stand. Ah, such is life.
Then I appropriated Corey’s computer, which is no easy feat. Adjusted myself to his scratchy mouse and a different corner of the house, this one an apparent heat sink of a spot as all afternoon heat collects in this corner. Not to mention that his computer’s speakers sound tinny, an observation that made Corey reply haughtily, “Well, we can’t all have Bose speakers.” What? Was it something I said?
Then, the Internet was shut off, so between the breakage, moving, and lack of payment, my posting has been, shall we say, bereft?
In such a short space of time, summer is waning right outside my door. Oh, it’s still beastly hot, but leaves are beginning to appear on the surface of the pool. Speaking of which, my forays into the pool this summer have been few, not because I have developed an aversion to floating about on water but because the interminable headaches make it hard to be in the heat and bright sun. Tillie the Black Lab has been sure to jump into the pool as much as possible, and I’m sure that it’s only to make me feel better.
“She would never change, but one day at the touch of a fingertip, she would fall.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir
As I said in my brief post yesterday, I found my blog’s theme changed when I was finally able to log in. How disconcerting. Apparently, WordPress is updating some themes and deleting others. Mine, which I mistakenly believed was Pressrow, was Cutline, which (as Isaak Mak pointed out—thanks), has been morphed into Coraline. Progress is fine, but change is not always necessarily good. It took me almost two years to switch from the first theme that I had, and now I am breaking in a new theme again.
Granted for some people this would not present a problem, but I had everything where I wanted it, all of the widgets lined along the right side, a new header photo. Part of the problem, you see, is that I’m still not on my own computer, the repository of my vast folder of images, so I had to search for another image for my header last night. I settled on the one above, but it doesn’t seem quite right. And this blasted typeface seems incredibly big. I wonder if it is or if my eyes are rebelling?
It seems the family is experiencing its share of computer problems. Brett is supposed to submit a Writing Sample Placement Test to ODU before he can register for his freshman English class. He is most unhappy at this proposition as he believes that having survived several years of IB English should make him qualified to take freshman composition. I agree, but as I explained, everyone has to do it unless they tested out, which he did not.
To date, he has tried to take this test four times. He has written the essay two times. When he hits submit, the essay disappears, and he is locked out. The last time he wrote the essay I reminded him to copy it and paste it into a blank document so that he wouldn’t have to write it again. Brett, like his mother, becomes stymied by those things he deems unnecessary, this test being one of them. Multiply the process by four, and the result is a very unhappy son.
Meanwhile, the router, the thingy that connects all of the computers in the house to the Internet and to each other, yep that thingy—continues to go in and out.
“I want to write like August, to swim in it like a pool and forget the clock hands moving across summer’s face.” ~ Terresa Wellborn
What else is new on the home front? I would love to be able to say that I’ve been commissioned to write a screenplay, that Corey has been given his own boat, that my children are all content, that the dogs do not have fleas . . . I would love to be able to say these things, but we all know that I would be lying.
I’ve been commissioned to do nothing, so I’m thinking about selling Avon online as a way to make a spare bit of cash. Of course, I have to check with my disability people to see if I’m even allowed to do such a thing. Corey still has no boat to call his own, and he is working tirelessly at his port security job.
Alexis is frayed and exhausted from trying to take care of Jennifer’s paperwork, and son, and still be a good friend. She seems on the verge of tears most of the time, and her visits are just brief enough to drop off her laundry, which Corey has volunteered to do for her so that she has one less thing to worry about.
Jennifer is home from the hospital, and now, I suppose, we are all in wait mode. Alexis and Jennifer’s brother Christopher are trying to enroll Reilly in the grade school that is just around the corner from my house, which would allow me to walk over and pick him up from school any time needed, and Lex’s Aunt Ann has volunteered to be on the emergency list for Reilly as well.
I wish that I could say that the outlook is good, that Jennifer is rallying, and the doctors have predicted good things . . . If wishes were fishes . . .
“I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer . . . It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.” ~ Violette Leduc
Everything that I have written so far has been much ado about nothing. I realize that. I also realize that I am once again standing too close to a precipice to peer over the side. Too many things are stirring in the cosmos. Too many things are unsettled and being bandied about like a badminton shuttle (I’m certain that’s spelled correctly, but it looks funny).
My dreams of late have been filled with babies and confrontation, heated arguments with people in charge, those unknown faces of people who hold power over me. I wake up frantic and in pain after averting physical fights. Last night there was a knife, a group of teenagers who were shooting automatic weapons on a side street in Downtown Norfolk, and a long walk down an alley. I don’t need psychoanalysis to tell me what that means.
The end of summer used to have a curious coda to it: When I was teaching at ODU, August became a month of frenzied activity, getting ready for school, buying new clothes for everyone, trying to fit in as many activities as possible. Now, it is merely muggy and long. A part of me even misses the chaos of buying school supplies for Eamonn and Brett, the lists, the rush from store to store to find three-prong folders with pockets because all of the stores only have the ones with pockets. Buying a certain kind of pen for Brett, and another for Eamonn.
Corey, the boys, and I would try to fit in a trip to Busch Gardens, and maybe a trip to the Outer Banks. Those were heady summer days. It all seems to very far away.
“When you start to live outside of yourself, it all seems dangerous.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
Now, here with two-thirds of the year gone, I think back to the plans I made at the beginning of the new year, my resolution to myself that this would be the year that I finally did something, that I would make the telephone calls, that I would release the flow of words that are dammed within.
I have done nothing. I have moved through eight months without gaining any forward motion. If I were to disappear tomorrow, there would be nothing to show the world that I was here except as a mother, as someone’s spouse. My sense of self, though, that would disappear in an instant with me.
All of the worlds within my mind, all of the stories left untold, all of the lines left unwritten—they would cease to exist, and the fault would be mine alone, a result of my continual, ongoing paralysis of spirit.
Self-pity is heinous on a bright August afternoon.
Since I’ve been gone, my theme changed, as in this WordPress theme, you know, header, widgets, other stuff . . . I didn’t change it. Perhaps computer fairies changed it. Anyway, the theme that I was using does not seem to be available any longer, so I chose this one. I’ve tried to recreate my page as best as I can remember, which, if you know me, does not mean a lot.
I think that I replaced all of the widgets, links, etc. If any of you can think of anything that I may have left off the page, please let me know.
The computer repair is going slowly. We’ve replaced the CPU fan, and the power system, but the case fan is not working. Still getting a message about the CPU fan. Have ordered a case fan (luckily, under $10). Supposed to be here in a few days. With any luck, I’ll have my computer back by the end of the week.
Hermosa Beach Sunset, Guanacaste, Costa Rica by Josoroma
“Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.” ~ Bob Dylan
So I’m sitting here at Corey’s computer trying to put together a post. My own computer is still on the fritz. The part has been ordered, but has yet to arrive. I sat here yesterday to try to create a post, but the Internet kept shutting off, which eventually made me give up in my quest.
It’s been over two weeks since my last post, or rather notice about no posts. Thanks to those of you who contacted me to let me know that you were thinking about me and felt my pain. After one of my most prolific months on record (June), I now face July with very little time left and a loss of my rhythm. Posting on other people’s computers is indeed possible, but a bit annoying for several reasons:
All of my image files are on the dead computer
My bookmarks to my quote sites are on the dead computer
I am not used to Corey’s desk set up and find it very uncomfortable; i.e., his screen is far back on the deak and tilted at a strange angle; his chair does not have all of the squishiness of my chair; his keyboard is stiff not supple like mine, and he has no wrist wrest on which to perch my aching mouse wrist.
Yes, these are minor, somewhat silly things, but ask anyone who writes, and I would bet that to a person any of them would say that they have a preferred room in which to write, a preferred position in which to sit, preferred this . . . preferred that . . .
“It’s old light, and there’s not much of it. But it’s enough to see by.” ~ Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
You may be wondering what’s been happening since I last posted (I know that you’ve probably been stopping by every day just hoping to catch a glimpse of some new insights from my wandering brain . . . or not).
Well, the Germans were here for 10 days, and of course, the time passed much too quickly. This year, my s-i-l Helma decided that they would rent a beach house to stay in so that my m-i-l wouldn’t have her routine disrupted. The house was in West Ocean View, and I have to say that it was really nice. I would live there in a heartbeat.
No Busch Gardens trips this year as there was no time or money, but Corey promised Phillip that they would go next year. Phillip begins university in October. He plans to study to become a teacher.
His sister Hannah was her usual quiet self while here. Apparently she has a boyfriend back in Germany, and this was there first time apart. Ah, young love.
Anyway, we all got together a few times, had the usual family spats (I was not involved in the big one). Found myself not invited to one family part and felt rather foolish for presuming that it was implicit that I was invited. The slight came from my f-i-l’s second wife, the step grandmother to my children. Everyone assumed that Corey and I were invited as ours is a pretty relaxed family, one that does not stand on ceremony. Not-so-much with she-who-will-not-be-named.
Whatever. I’m over it now, but I was mightily put out when it happened. Next time, perhaps, if she wants to be so formal, she should send out engraved invitations . . .
“every day, every day i hear
enough to fill
a year of nights with wondering.” ~ Denise Levertov
Other than that, life has been relatively the same since last I wrote: I’m still having daily headaches, some pretty painful, and sleeping has become an exercise in futility.
Corey is still only working three maybe four shifts a week. He did get a call from a shipping company, but they wanted someone with their license, which Corey does not have because of the paperwork snafu. Because the designated examiners who signed off on his paperwork did not bother to refile their own paperwork, they were not considered designated examiners by the USCG, which means that all of the sign-offs that Corey worked for are void. This is the third time that he has been unable to take a job that he is qualified for but for which he holds no license. So very, very frustrating.
Working on getting the boys ready for school this fall. Almost completed all of the various forms. I still need to get Brett to the eye doctor as he is having trouble seeing. Since everyone else in the family (save Corey) wears glasses/contacts, I thought that it was only a matter of time before Brett had problems. Unfortunately, I was correct. Have to save up money for an examination and the glasses. Hooray. Another debt.
Eamonn is still working at his part-time job at the pool store, and Alexis is still working at the thrift store. More hooray. Brett is looking into trying to find a work study position at ODU for the fall.
Once we get everyone back into school and into some sort of routine, perhaps then we can continue to work on getting the rest of life back to normal. Who knows?
We did spend three days doing intensive cleaning before the Germans arrived. We can actually eat meals at the dining room table, and the living room has been greatly decluttered (for us). I watch that Hoarders show on The Learning Channel, and in the back of my mind I always think, “Am I a hoarder?” Then I look closely at how hoarders live, and I realize that no, I’m not a hoarder, but admittedly am a clutterer. One man’s insanity is another woman’s neurosis.
Just wanted to get something up. I feel as if I’ve been out of it for so long, and it’s really bothering me. Perhaps I can adjust my psyche to work in a foreign zone for just a bit longer.
More later. Peace.
Music byMichael Andrews, “Mad World.” How appropriate . . .