When I Knew

There was a time when I walked through my life with a kind of crooked view, skewed to make sense of what I was doing. Or maybe just to rationalize the irrational. I chased my mortality with a reckless haste. But that is what comes of wanton youth – you think that either you’ve experienced it all or that you never will so why bother. That and it was the only contest that I could win…the only competition that attracted me.

But when death seeks you – why, then – it turns things around, doesn’t it? Perhaps one isn’t quite done with dull, dreary life just yet. And you fight back. You cling to the smallest things that speak of beauty and permanence. Thus, the talismans collected…the small tokens of fragile china, bits of lace, pictures, and silver chains. Everything to anchor a mind to the Now…and the music…the sounds of surrender.

I don’t look back as often as I once did. A generous plenty to attend to these days…but I have never been one to let go of the past. It isn’t to me a dragging leash but a lifeline across time. Still, there are times when that creature wriggles a bit against the constraints of today. I remind myself that I was not happy then. I was proud, yes. And brave, maybe. But awfully lonely and sad.

I am more angry today – angry at all the wasted time…the things I should have done – and could have done. I will never cross an ocean, now. There are views I will never see. I accept it as I do much else. My pride these days refuses to bow to the pressures demanded to make the journey. I will not surrender my security to appease a force that demands it while never assuring me they will make up for the lack.

Surrender…it is an ashen word for what I feel – it is an acceptance, really. This is how things are and no other. You cannot make reality into what it is not. So I reach back – movies from the `40’s, carols that I sang when I was very young. A time when things were as dangerous as today but people were smarter and more capable. Not a nation of baristas and art majors.

I try to see who made it through and how they did it. I read historical reports, look at trends, look for signs like a witch scrying a future. There was a time I would look around me for hiding places – if I lost everything, could I lay there unseen, unnoticed? Water nearby? Scraps? It was a mentality of the desperate and it may serve me again one day. Unlike so many younger people I have known privation. I have been hungry and cold. And cruel…

As I get older I do worry more for the leaving – what I will leave behind and to whom…and what I may encounter after. I do not pretend to any worship but I have felt evil at my heels. I know that. I know that man can do evil without any unseen intervention. And I have felt grace…that, I hope, is what awaits me. A sweet draft of grace for all I’ve done and not done…a forgiveness for being human and inhumane.

And that is what keeps my feet moving forward, my turning effort into cash into goods and safety.
Someone once asked me what it was I feared and there were so many things to choose from…but after a time I realized what it was – I had never once, not one day in my life, felt safe. And it was then I understood that driving force…

I am safer now than I ever was. Perhaps more now than I ever will be again. I try to live within that beautiful moment, the touchstones holding less taint of the uncertain times, the lives I touch more meaningful to me…the desire to protect them from what I was, what I knew, and what I know – it aches within, sometimes, because I know there is nothing to turn the storm. But I can try to give them a shelter against it…I can try to hold it back from the door and let it pass to another. That cruelty again when one makes that terrible judgment – the better you than me sentiment. The price for that peace is high, though. Never think you won’t pay for it. I just hope the bill comes due later, after everyone is safe, again…

Drawing your attention to all the thing that you ignore
And if I can’t be near you I would rather be adrift in space
And if the god deserts us now I’ll turn this chapel into flames
And if someone tries to hurt you I would put myself in your place

That Was A Waste Of Time

I swear…I have no idea how I wound up the only sane one in my family…so, we sent my father the “house rules” so that he would understand in writing the expectations and it would appear that not having any random stranger into our home was a deal breaker for him.

Excellent. Good luck with that. Ahem.

“But I like to have friends come and go…I am gregarious and outgoing…” yeah – read that as “I want to bring home any nutball I meet at the VFW…” and I am astounded that he thought this was a reasonable expectation.

And now I have rather a lot of furniture moving and whatnot. We use the guest room as storage for a lot of our acquisitions and we’d transferred it all to our room, etc. Anyway, Sarge says no problem – we’ll move it back.

This would be a good place for me to note the absolute support, kindness, and patience he has shown in all this. Not only agreeing to house the man, but dealing with the back and forthing of my family and myself, and finally the task of ensuring Dad knew the rules…he has been amazing. Just amazing.

So I guess we’ll be sending him a nice holiday meal delivery and helping as we can in whatever he chooses to do, now. He does want to move to our area and we did offer to help him find a place. Eventually, we’ll have to deal with it all again. But not now…not for a time…

Time, instead, to get things organized again and maybe to get a tree…haven’t decorated in several Christmases – maybe it will be the last time to do so with ease. Heck, I think this is what happened the last time we did it circa 2007. Ranger edited the garland to his satisfaction.

If there is a bright spot, it is that we found the engine heater plug on the Excursion so it is now happy. They are not fans of cold weather and it made this morning’s chilly start a far easier one. Mind you, this is after the AC Compressor went tits up on us…that was an expensive experience and that is with a mechanic friend. I suspect some of the bill was a pain in the ass surcharge since the belt is a royal bitch to fit into the area. Suffice to say I am learning a lot about the spare parts we’ll want to have and the repair manual to purchase. Sheesh.

I edited the linkage over there > and it was merely a matter of cleaning things up. No judgment passed, just slimming things down. I need to do more of that – around the house, around the belt, around the blog…time to get things in shape. And I was sure to add Commander Zero’s blog FINALLY because he has the best gear recommendations. We have acquired a number of things because he has found them, tried it out, and offered comments on how to improve it. Someday we’ll have to get up there and visit and let the dogs play.

Now, I need to actually earn my pay (work is feast or famine right now). It has been weird there – we had this amazingly profitable sector that was kicking ass. Then, suddenly, this absolute asshole executive of a sector that has been consistently over budget sucked it into his sector. And made himself the boss. And my sweet and kind boss may find himself replaced by a sycophant. I cannot tell you the level of asshole-ishness this guy has. Nor can I relate just how many resumes have been hitting the market – because no one wants to work for him. I wonder if the Big Cheeses have handed this to him so that he fails with a notably good sector and they can get rid of him. It’s possible.

Just as an FYI – I think things are getting bad and will be getting a lot worse very soon. If you haven’t done a damn thing to prepare, go at least to Augason Farms and order the easiest and most affordable package you can – they are having good sales all month. And get as much water as you can easily store. At least that way you have options. When this wheel spins off the axel you will have options and this will give you a few days more than most…

Craftsmanship For Kindness

I saw awhile back a fundraiser for “Squeaky” and thought I’d jump in. After all, I didn’t have much to lose – it was just a few bucks. And I won something!! And that something was a wee shield – decorative or for someone small to play with – and it could be customized per the artisan. Why, yes! Thank you!

And that was what arrived. Can I tell you how magical and wonderful and amazing it is?! We are big fans of such handwork so we know what it took to make that happen and I could not be happier.

It will make a lovely gift for our good friends for whom it is a kind of family emblem. (Read these with your kids to get the gist…)

What an amazing win/win…I am floored by how amazing the blog community it, sometimes…thank you, Sir, for such a wonderful piece of art!!

Abstruse Affairs

Life just seems to be getting more complicated as I get older. I would have hoped I’d be generally settled, coaxing my days into retirement and relaxation but I grow more certain those days will never dawn.

My father (imagine a vaudevillian Mensa member) had a minor-ish stroke a month ago. He had been living on his own just fine, mostly…but now it is time to surrender that bachelor pad in Arthritis Acres and come to live with us. He is in a rehab facility (read Medicare thievery palace) for now but should return home in a week or so. Then, another week to pack before I send Sarge down to fetch him here.

I know, I know…our lives are going to change, there will be many tough times and my generally good nature will be tested. But as I’ve told the family I reckon he has between 1 and 5 years left. I can commit to that. I have shoes older than that. So…you do the right thing. No? You suck it up and, as you always have, be the responsible one in the family. You would think that your useless sister who hasn’t any real job would take one for the team and move there to watch over him…but, no. Hell, maybe she has clearer memories of him being a really crappy father. I can’t blame her, really. The middle kid is always the Fixer.

My brother and his wife tried this last year – or maybe 2 years, now. My father declared it a “gilded cage” which I immediately refused to accept. If he felt that way in their palatial offering, he will feel quite Dickensian in his small guest room home. With dog hair, gratis.

Sarge has been terribly ill for a week, now. Salmonella, I think. Don’t know from where since I haven’t been ill but…so it goes. Literally. Ahem. One learns to be thankful for things like the Lamp Berger. (Which, gentlemen, is a lovely gift – you can even get a nice masculine scented oil that pleases you both.)

The week ended on a rattly sort of note as the Excursion’s batteries gave up the ghost (not unexpected and, yes, they take two). But not only that – the AC Compressor also decided that it was time to shuffle off this mortal coil. At least there was someone local who had a trailer to hold it – barely. Perhaps 4 inches to either side. Lord love him, he said he could cut the belt and run it long enough to get it up the ramps. Cut it, do! And it worked. So…there goes Christmas but, hey, this year I planned ahead…

I was making my list of acquisitions throughout the year and am astounded at the things I got and forgot, tucking them into the gift drawer for these coming weeks. Yay me!! Add on the few things ordered during these cheap deal days and I feel quite pleased with myself. The same thing applied to the supplies, moved from the guest room as we prepared for Dad…

It is true – if I left it all to Sarge, we’d be in a sad state but that is not his strength. No, he sees to the armaments and training – and connections. A fair trade, to be sure. Just…it sometimes feels like a burden too large for my shoulders, all this planning. We spoke of it all on the long drive to Thanksgiving dinner…of how it is all spinning wild, now, and what we have may be all we get. He is deep into Bastiat these days. He always understood the concepts but the deep philosophy is a learning process…so now, when I am ordering a case of this or that, he knows it isn’t because I don’t want him to have that pistol but that we have to eat…

And now…friends see the walls closing in and make their own plans, saying it may be time to concentrate forces in a less target intensive area. We agree, deeply. And so I look around me, at the walls needing paint, and floors to upgrade. Yes, yes – sell, leave, move…but I think there is no time left for it and, instead, start to look at likely bolt holes. Options.

There is a kind of mental exhaustion the planning brings – planning without any initiating of action. Complacency is a result, often. But not now – it is more just a tiresome waiting, watching, facts stored, and plans adjusted. I read the office chatter, the PR submissions to an eager investing public and stifle my laughter. I hear Ripley’s voice in my head, “Goddammit, that’s not all! […] And all this, this *bullshit* you think is so important, you can just kiss all of that goodbye!”

You watch something like this and show it to your family – tell them that this is what people are doing when there are things to buy and money to buy it with. Now, consider what it will be like when that is the last of the bags of flour and no one has money and hasn’t eaten in days. Good luck with that…

And now…the last of the stock from the ham and turkey has been prepared and vacuum packed for the freezer against just such an incident. Thinking ahead…thinking of so much these days…I wish I could slip into the soft ignorance of the medicated state, sometimes. Wander through my life as nearly everyone under 25 years is…but those days are over. And one day they, too, will harken back to their walking sleep. If they make it that far.