I took a break from scrutinizing my inner workings, exercising or contemplating the colors in my new art kit yesterday. We spent freaky Friday in a technological orgy, one of my favorite pass times. The long awaited day of U-verse installation finally occurred. I’m a geeky kind of girl, what can I say? When Mr. Husband asks me what I want for Christmas, birthday, etc. I don’t want jewelry, handbags, shoes, oh no. I want new technology. Bring it on! The newest gadget that I don’t even know what it does let alone how to use it? A challenge! I’ll make it work or die trying.
We’ve gone from a measly download speed of roughly 5 megabits per second to over 17. That’s 3 times the speed, oh yea. The installation guy showed up about 9:00 am and spent the entire day either up a pole at the end of the block or crawling around in our attic to install Cat 5 cabling in the walls. I don’t envy him, it was an extremely hot and muggy Texas day yesterday, rain in the morning, and then the sun came out and turned the day into a steam bath.
I’m glad I was there for the installation because after he got it all hooked up my wireless router refused to talk to the new set up so my 2 laptops, Netflix on the TV, Kindle Fire and all the other stuff was dead in the water. The installation guy was kaflemped and didn’t know what to do. I finally got it all sorted out. I have pop-up windows blocked on my internet browser so a window wasn’t opening to tell us to set up a U-verse account. This was blocking internet connectivity. Got past that and it’s all good. Boo ya!
For my lazy media entertainment I’ve been watching a cornball reality series on Netflix. It aired back in 2008 and it’s called The Colony. A “reality” show posed as an experiment where they put 8 people together from different backgrounds in a compound after a global disaster apocalypse and see how they get along and thrive…or not.
I always have to laugh at myself when watching or reading post-apocalyptic media. As much as I hate the kitchen, I suspect that I would probably end up on KP duty, first aid and laundry if the stuff hit the fan. I’m not going to be much good on the protection detail, hauling water or butchering a hog. I seriously doubt that I would be able to cobble together abandoned car engine parts to make a generator either.
One of the women on the first season really cracked me up. Of course I know this is all staged and directed, but I had to wonder just the same. She found a bolt of red satin, which just happened to be lying around in the abandoned warehouse/machine shop they were holed up in….yeah right. She fashioned the satin into a sort of sarong dress that tied at the neck and wore it and a pair of high heels. She also put on makeup every morning. Was this an attempt to hang on to some sense of stability in the face of an apocalypse? Or did the directors want to portray her as the blonde air head of the bunch? Who knows? She was an ER nurse so there had to be a bit of brains in there somewhere. But the ER is a place where you patch people up and send them along elsewhere for further treatment. Wonder what would happen when the buck stopped at her. There is no place to send an injured person for further care in this situation.
These survivors show up in the warehouse after being kept awake for 30 hours to simulate the shock and exhaustion one would experience in the face of a global catastrophe. The warehouse had a 3 day supply of food and little else. Everything else they had to arrange for themselves with what they could salvage from the compound. Food and water, fire, shelter, shelter and security they all had to provide from materials at hand.
The participants had a sit down talk every night at a communal dinner. It was interesting to see which of the basics they thought the most important priority was. They all pretty much agreed that drinking water was the most important and organized an expedition to a nearby heavily polluted inner city river. They then devised a filtration system using layers of charcoal and sand in an oil drum, then boiled the water as a last step. For the fire they used pallets found in the yard and broke them up for firewood.
After the water was taken care of the people who wanted to build a shower won out over those who wanted to focus on security first. So the easily breached areas of the compound were left while they built the shower. Of course the producers of the show arranged for a break in from marauders who trashed their fire pit and stole 2 days’ worth of food. So now they are all freshly showered but out of food. Well, duh! I think I would have been one of those who was more concerned about security than getting a shower, but that’s just me.
I found the show interesting because I have a fascination with post-apocalyptic scenarios. I’ve lived through a few myself in real life. The worse was the time I lived in Guam and we got hit by Super Typhoon Paka. The island got slammed head on leaving us without running water and electricity for 2 months. You really find out what you’re made up in a situation like that. I managed to get through it, but I had no choice. I left the island for good not long after that.
I do love to travel; it’s the number one on the favorite things to do list. But, I haaaate to pack. I’ve been looking for that perfect dress for years, but haven’t found it. It should be reversible and on one side you could wear it to a midnight drunken beach party debacle/bonfire or flip it over and wear it to a presidential inauguration. Haven’t found one yet, still looking.
If I ever get rich enough to afford supercilious things, what I want is a personal valet. They wouldn’t have to do much really, just bring me a cup of coffee in the morning, mail back my Netflix movies, and pack when I’m planning to travel. Anyone out there know someone looking for a part-time valet job? Ok, they might get asked to patrol the house for cat fur balls on occasion or go to the drug store and pick out that perfect shade of lip gloss that I can never find. Whatever I buy, I end up looking like a circus clown 20 minutes after application.
I tend to mutter curses and talk to myself a lot when packing. I’m talking through the activities trying to figure out what I’m going to need and combine that into the least amount of clothing and accessories. It occurred to me earlier that it would help to declare a packing day moratorium with Mr. Husband on responding to anything I say, scream or mutter. Unless I address him by his given name and am looking him in the eye, or if I happen to be screaming in pain and yelling “help.” Other than that ignore me completely, please, thank you.
Packing is a pretty personal thing though when you think about it. It gets even more stressful when Hubman starts asking me what he should pack. That overloads my brain. Once I snapped, “just bring everything.” He did…and threw out his back trying to get his suitcase out of the car. This time I told him “honey, we’re going to a place where people’s idea of dressing up is wearing a clean T-shirt, shorts with no holes and a new pair of rubber flip-flops, trust me I lived there, figure it out!”
Hubman and his mom have this thing about preparation that involves talking about it five thousand eight hundred and seventy-two times – per day. This just drives me bat shit crazy. I end up wanting to say rude things like “look, just throw yer crap in a garbage bag, get in the damned car and let’s go! Anything you forgot we can buy along the way. It’s not like we’re going to Botswana.”
But, I’m trying to be a lady about this. I’m still a little raw and embarrassed by yelling at an in-law on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll get over it, I always do. If I didn’t, that would mean big trouble because I say things that even I don’t believe came out of my mouth, often.
**Sigh** Here I am writing again, when I should be doing….well, you know. I guess I’ll go pack.
Sometimes I’m a pain in my own neck. Saturday I spent the entire day dissolved in a puddle of tears. My neck hurt so bad that I couldn’t see straight, think straight, or anything else. Mr. Husband finally pried it out of me that something was, in fact, wrong and that I wasn’t just having “one of those days.” Kudos to him! He usually hides when I do this, but he soldiered through and figured out that it wasn’t just because I watched too many tortured animals or starving children infomercials.
I tend to revert to animal behavior and hide when I’m sick or wounded. I can’t fit under the bed and it’s too dusty behind the sofa, so I hide in the bed under a jumbled pile of pillows and sheets, hoping no one notices that I’m in the bed. Since there is only 2 of us in this house and we share the bed he usually notices… eventually. We check in from time to time during the day even on those days when we’re both off in our private universes. Check in time comes and goes and he figures it out. Damn these attentive spouses! Can’t I just wither away in peace? Sigh, guess not.
Then come the questions; have you been using your neck stretcher thingy? You mean that medieval torture device hidden in the closet under a pile of scarves? Uh, no. Have you been doing your exercises? Have you tripped over me in the living room floor lately? …No. Have you taken a muscle relaxer? No, all they relax is my tongue. It’s like being drunk without the fun. Have you taken a pain pill? No, I ran out 6 months ago. 6 months ago? Why is that? They wouldn’t refill them anymore. When was the last time you went to the Texas Back Institute? Said in a tiny voice, (he has me over a barrel now) 2 years ago. 2 YEARS ago? Well yea, you got a problem with that? I try to rally some dignity, it doesn’t work.
He takes command in fashion that would make General Patton proud. I do the neck stretchy thing and the exercises. I also take a muscle relaxer pill and some of his dusty pain pills from when he hurt his back last year. He hoses me down with the special muscle goop the doctor prescribed for me. It’s so weird that it doesn’t even have a name, just some letters and numbers. It has to be ordered by mail from some strange pharmacy on the dark side of the moon.
By Monday I felt much better, I didn’t do anything but sit in the recliner and watch Netflix movies all day, but no pain. Ah Ha! I’m all better now. I don’t need to go to the doctor. Right, if I do absolutely nothing all day and night I’m fine. All he will want to do is stab me in the neck anyway. I can get that kind of pain right here at home. Thank you very much!
This morning the ice pick in my neck is back with a vengeance. Someone dragged me behind a truck last night, I swear. So I’m going to have to suck it up and go to the damned doctor. I’m always tempted to ask him if he’s tried any of his own solutions, for empathy purposes. Stab himself in the neck with needles, hang himself by his feet, slather weird stinky lotions all over himself and then try to keep a straight face in public. Ah well, he’s is a good doctor. And he does help me… when I let him.
Just got done reading Flylady’s book, Body Clutter. It’s a great way to look at the extra weight or anything else you don’t want in your body or in your head. There is not one single recipe in this book. So some people get their feathers all in a ruffle if they were expecting that. I have a little weight to lose, but that’s not a huge issue for me. I know what I need to do to fix that. Most of my body clutter in between my ears.
To fix the mental clutter, I decided to get all scientific about it. Write it down and analyze why I’m not doing the things I love to do.
1. Love to Dance
- Need to put on music. This is not easy to do? Well make it so! If I haven’t arranged easy access to music, what can I do today? Close my eyes and dance to the music on the boob tube. Even the stupidest shows usually have fairly catchy music.
2. Listen to Music:
- Is my music easily accessible? Mine was on CDs here and there in piles, boxes and all over the place. It was way too much trouble to play it. What I did was is a high-tech solution, but works for me. If you are not high-tech but have a high-tech husband, or other techie relative or friend, ask them to figure out how to stream and play your music. It gives him/her something to do that they can be the master of.
- My house is already wireless networked. I did that a year or 2 ago so I could play Netflix on our big screen TV in the Den. I started ripping all my CDs to iTunes on my computer. I didn’t turn it into a project that I could beat myself up over if it didn’t get finished at some arbitrary deadline. I just did it now and then when I wandered by and noticed that one was finished I popped in another CD and started it again. Then streamed it to the den.
- Make play lists. Trust me this is important. It’s the icing on the music cake that makes all that effort worth while. Don’t get all esoteric. Name them what makes sense to you. “Shake you booty” “Clean the bathroom.” “Need a Good Cry” “I Hate Men” “The Cat Box Sucks!” “Add Scenes to my Dark Moody Novel.” Name them whatever works for YOU. The beauty of play lists is that you can change them whenever you feel like with a click of a mouse.
- No high-tech solution available? Low Tech is just as good. Just gather all your music into one spot, a shoebox, any box will do. Put it next to the music player so it’s easy to grab a couple and pop them in.
- What the hell does “stream” mean? Don’t feel bad if you ask yourself this question. It only took me 10 years to figure out it. Think of it as running a speaker wire from one part of your house to another. Only without the wire clutter
3. Water Plants & minor gardening.
- Get yourself a pretty watering can, small enough to be easy to carry. Don’t cheap out on yourself and buy some butt ugly monstrosity that you will hide somewhere and promptly forget where it is. A small one is better because more trips to the faucet works a lot better than hurting yourself with a heavy can. All a heavy water can will do is cause you to give it up because you spent a week in bed with a heating pad and muscle relaxers.
4. Like to Read?
- Find something to read and put 1 book by your chair or where ever you read. If you put more than 1, the damn things will start to pile up again.
- Find a benign scrap of paper to use as a bookmark or hell, go hog-wild and get an actual book mark. When I wait until I’m knee-deep in the book I will grab anything to use without thinking, (deposit slip, receipt for embarrassing medicine, social security update, fantasy list of revenge methods on Hubman for leaving a wet dishrag on your grandmother’s cutting board) to use as a book mark. Do this now because you may get sidetracked going through books.
- I’ve decided to get all ruthless with my books. If I put it down half read it’s because I don’t like it that much. Who am a I kidding? When I like a book it’s impossible to put down. A half finished book with dust and multiple books marks in it is a good candidate for the OUT box. It’s easier to discard books when you know you don’t have some incriminating paper stuffed in there as a book mark.
- Get a box, grocery sack, whatever is handy (don’t turn this into a shopping trip) and label it OUT. Put books in it.
5. I love to Travel.
- Am I ready to go? mmm….not quite.
- Is my dop kit prepared with all toiletries so I could walk out the door with it right now?
- Is my suitcase cleaned out from the last trip. (left over receipts, maps, plastic bags, half eaten energy bars, banana peels.)
- Before you leave, plan about 20 minutes before you leave to do a double-check, not just mental. Physically search your entire carry on. Trust me on this one, it might lighten your load and your peace of mind will thank you later. Do you have your necessities, wallet, passport or other ID, tickets, money, telephone numbers, addresses?
- Check to see if some bizarre item remains or snuck into your carry on. This is a very important step if you don’t want to experience the thrills of jail or a body search. Strange things happen. Once I was checking my bag before leaving the house and there was an enormous box cutter in it. We’re talking huge with a grip that looked like brass knuckles. I lived alone at the time and had no idea how it got in my backpack. What was even stranger was that I never saw this box cutter in my life. Wouldn’t have purchased such a huge mean looking gadget like that. There had been no repairmen or any outside people who might have left it in my house. I kept it and asked everyone who came to my house for months after if it belonged to them. No one claimed the thing. I finally threw it in the dumpster. Its presence in my backpack remains a mystery to this day, 10 years later.
Look around the house for manifestations of hidden guilt.
- I had piles of magazines, shoe boxes and other junk that I haven’t thrown out because I am a closet environmentalist. My city delivers recycle containers that I put out on garbage can day. It’s amazing how much junk I’ve thrown out since I got this recycle bin. 50 tons of old magazines at least. Books that I consider such unreadable trash that I don’t want to even donate them to charity.
- I feel bad goofing off or dancing before I’ve tidied up the house a bit. What works for me is to make the bed, clean the kitchen area and the cat box. After that all bets are off. Then I can party down guilt free. OK, I do dance if I feel like it while doing above activities. But this only works if I have already managed my music to make it easy to access. I would love to claim that I can dance to the music in my head, but sometimes if I’m feeling down there is no music in my head. For me this is a personal warning sign. When I get really depressed even sad music retreats. Figure out 1 thing that does it for you to get you going. I don’t care what it is.
- Do you have items to return but feel guilty because you broke it or you’re not on good terms with the person you borrowed it from? Fix or discard the relationship. Can the item be repaired? Call them, send them a text or an email if you can’t bring yourself to talk to them on the phone. It worked good at work, use it in your personal life. It’s OK to take away the good stuff and leave the rest.
Areas of trauma
- Mine is the computer on the dining room table. My grandson used it while he was living with us. It broke my heart when I had to make him leave. Now I know why nuns pray before they do anything. If there is a problem spot, it’s hard to let go of a problem spot because you don’t want to even look at it, never mind think about it. Almost impossible unless you work through the crud down at the bottom of your heart. I haven’t cleaned up that computer because I haven’t cleaned up the relationship with my grandson.
Are You paying attention to your body?
- It’s easy to get in the habit of ignoring it when everything hurts all the time. I was surprised when I started paying attention and discovered that there were a few particular ouch movements I was doing repeatedly, but ignoring. Sitting slouched over my laptop in the recliner was making my neck hurt, seriously bad. I experimented around the house and found a chair that worked. Yanking the huge econo-sized liquid laundry detergent down off the shelf was another thing I was ignoring. My elbow was giving me fits. I started using both arms to do it and asked Mr. Husband to buy smaller bottles, problem solved.
- My grandmother used to say (substitute your favorite wise woman) “every time I start thinking I need a new pillow or mattress, I think back and I’ve been forgetting to take calcium.” I have no idea why this is so. She didn’t have problems with osteoporosis, so this was not the reason. For some reason calcium seems to help with general aches and pains. Hey, it’s worth a shot. The worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t work for you and so you forget to take it after a while. It’s really hard to overdose on calcium. You would have to make a concerted effort and why the hell would anyone do that? I watch a lot of medical dramas on TV and I’ve never seen an episode where anyone was admitted to the ER from ODing on calcium.
So there you have it. This is my own personal plan to get myself in gear to do the things I love to do. Enjoy it, make your own list, argue with me, wad it up in a ball and bounce it off the wall, share it. Do whatever works for YOU. That’s what is important.