Jester, the True King

The universe mocks me.

Last night I had a call from the daughter of that father-in-law to whom I just made myself a supplicant. The card sent too late. He may have had a stroke, or she may have dosed him – I would not put it past her and the tone of mild pleasure in her voice made me wonder.

He will go to the nursing home that his wife is now in. That avenue is closed. And the poor man…a godly man who will be left to his own wits in a system geared to keep them stoned and passive. I asked her if she would get him his phone charging cable and she was noncommittal. Having committed him her work is done. In a few days she will howl with laughter over my sad tale as she opens his mail – if she even bothers to fetch it. Poor man.

the_Fool

Jester, oh Jester
Why do you wake me so?

For I want to travel far away
To a place you will never know.

Humility Is Part of Humiliating

It has been a day of desperation. A lot of weeping, a lot of packing with tears spattering paper around fragile things. I returned over and over to the email folders in the hope that some hope would spring forth. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

So I decided there were two messages I needed to send – one was a notecard begging a former father-in-law for any financial aid he could manage. The other was an email revealing my sorry state to my former supervisor and asking if he could check into a role that I hadn’t heard anything about and if he knew of any others.

My humiliation is complete. This is what he has brought me to. Rather, it is what I allowed myself to be brought to. I should never have given up my sovereignty. Today was the last day I allowed myself to avoid the final true surrender – the forgoing any chance at an office role for that in retail. It is not that I am…above such things. Just that it will only stagnate my skills further, and make any meetings harder to schedule. I have applied in so many different organizations, a scattershot attack to see if anyone would see my skills as useful. However, the truth is that with my shattered mind and exhausted spirit it has been very hard to edit every single application to the tune they are calling.

If you haven’t done this in awhile let me explain – every company hires online. You submit your resume and it may or may not accurately place the data in their fields. Then you have to try and parse what the role was demanding and fill in the fields to fit that all while hoping it doesn’t close out your window due to your taking too long to finish. Each company is using a different version of software to take your resume, or they use the same one but different versions – some working better than others. Some companies are clear on their process and some just leave you wondering if the documentation has even landed on their server.

Then you have to keep checking back to see if there is any action because even though it says you will get notification…well, you might not. And then they want your verbiage to precisely hit their algorithms – when the job you are applying for is less than the one you are experienced for. Or vice versa when you are applying for anything because the desperation is so awful you will do anything…

Would you like to know the level of humiliation I have landed on? I have saved the role for janitorial service at my husband’s office. I would literally clean their garbage while they laughed for 20 hrs a week to make some sort of salary. But I know they wouldn’t hire me – too experienced! Waste of my time and skills, they’d say. Well, it beats asking if you want fries with that.

I need to drive to the storage space and move things around and cannot. I cannot move from this chair. I have 3 more hours of desperation to work through.

I wish it would rain. I wish it would pour rain and a tornado would rip through this entire place and destroy it all. A burning of the ship on the shore. At least there would be insurance money.

Huh, even my pitiable father who has hardly a pot to piss in has said the check is in the mail, the deposit he received from his last apartment. A paltry sum I am sure and yet a mighty gift. A standing up after all those years of his sitting down. He gets credit for that.

I look at my shaking fingers, the nails ragged from all the cleaning and moving. How to shake a hand with that? How to take these dark circles from sleepless nights and hours of weeping away and present a face of sane competence? Or do you explain that you would present better if your entire world wasn’t upside down just now? I have no idea. I have…literally no idea how I’ve made it this far. Sort of astounding, really.

“You mustn’t be embarrassed. I have lost everything.”

Recovery

The days seem to be flying by and I need every single one I can get, now. He tells me the 15th will be his last day here, leaving me (as I suspected) with the heavy lifting of selling the house. It is in his name so he would have to return often for paperwork but I knew at the start of this that his aid would be limited – mostly because the net gain would be mine, I think. Though if it is a minor amount we have agreed to split it. We each will need the money to make a new home.

Last night his words were cruel – he’d been throwing things in boxes, home later than he intended. His frustration was growing and I only said that his choice to take a 10 day vacation made his time compressed – as did his choice to transfer to another location. All of that was by his choice. I did not mean he ought not to have taken a vacation but that had he taken 5 days or 6, we might have had the house ready by now for the photos. All choices have consequences. But I suppose logic was not desired in the moment and his words carved at me. I take it rather hard – a man who promised so much in vows could revert to such a cold creature crushes my spirit. If he could just put on a pretense of understanding and humility it’d be easier on me. I feel, as I told someone, like a whore who keeps her mouth shut to stay safely housed and fed. That he cannot at least be calm in the face of it all…well, I have to try and not worry about his actions or reactions. They are not mine to care for.

I ought to stress that he has been very generous in offering to pay the mortgage for January which buys me another month. But that the other bills are mine – which, since I haven’t any money of my own, is rather a problem. I shall make a call today and beggar myself to see if I can get enough to get through two months or bills and deposits, etc. I had hoped to be starting a job by now…but I suppose, emotionally, I’d be hard pressed to do anything right. I wish I could just return to my prior role, comfortable and known. I know regression isn’t good but I also fear for learning new things – and on a curve that might be aggressive. Can I even do it?

Frost

Yesterday morning the ground was covered in a thick frost and it felt like my soul, so cold and still. I looked last night for words that might fit and amazingly the first link was precisely right. I have always thought the universe communicates with us through these coincidences. No one knows the truth of the hereafter – if there is one, if we are all just deluded or weak minded. But coincidences tell me that there is a Loki, a Trickster that enjoys their work.

She's terribly lost, confused, and small,
and is it so wrong to want it all?
To be loved and touched and thought about,
above all others and cared for throughout?

As I wandered later that evening in a terrible state of mind the universe again threw a lifeline into the roiling seas. A sun dog that was so bright and lasted so long that I wondered at it.

Sun Dog

There was almost an entire arc in the sky, a slight band of crystalline grace. This place – it gives me so many such gifts and it is part of the reason I dread leaving it. It is why I am so tempted to northern climes and views. Put mountains and hills before me and stars that fill the sky. And yet…I am too afraid to put the wheels on the road and head where I know nothing and no one. Oh, there is that temptation to a new life. But am I too far gone, now, to be without even the small support system I have here?

I’ve just come in from fixing the gate. Something to be proud of, an accomplishment of sorts. And if it keeps the gate from hitting people, all the better. It seems I have until Tuesday to prepare this house. Yet so much to do but there is an end in site, I think. I took the time to go through the bed linens, putting all of his in order, putting the flannels in my stack. He will never need them. It is a kindness I am capable of even in the face of his own cruel words. I cannot be brought down to that level or it turns into a cascade of despair.

A friend noted that he was trying to make a world in his head where he doesn’t have to deal with his guilt. Any reality that breaks the veil is too much to cope with. When he said he’d even considered changing to that new state’s police unit I had a sudden empathy for him. My God, he’d throw away literally an entire retirement he is nearly ready to use, several years of climbing the ladder and, so it seems, that dream of being a Ranger – it was the entire reason for his move…and yet, for her, he would throw it all away? No, if she loves him she ought to throw her future on the pyre for him. I did. It was worth everything to me to help him succeed. Because in that I would know my own success. It is an old fashioned – tradwife – concept, I suppose, and not one many would agree with. But it was so important to me that his casual spitting out of its…lack of value to him now…it stunned me to my core. And I had a sudden feeling of deep mercy for what is inside him, now.

I wonder if it is like my first ex – when his lies and finances got so fucked up that the only way out he could see was a new life with someone who didn’t know his old one, who wouldn’t ask hard questions about why he’d give it all up – a mad act to anyone sane. It is almost identical and I fear that his will wind up just like the 1st one – well, not quite. But alone and with no one to support his hopes and dreams. She should be – I hope she is. I hope she tells him to not be a damned fool and throw it all away at this point. I haven’t really faulted her much in this other than to not tell him NO at the very start. But if she would advise him to leave it all behind? I would not trust her with much else, I tell you that. But I don’t want to disparage a person I know nothing about. I judge by actions and I only know a very few. So I do not lay much of this at her feet and actually hope she doesn’t wind up this way, too, in a decade.

But still the mountains call…Casper, WY has a role…not many places to live but…in time I suppose I could manage something. But I tell myself that the snow is not merely decorative. That the view might not be enough.

If only I knew what will happen. If there was a plan…this is, for me, the worst possible condition – it puts me in a panic state that just recycles over and over until I am howling with the frustration. So I am trying very hard to just keep trying. Do what I can while I can and see what happens. As a friend says I can always gas up the car, pack the go bag and go as far as the tank allows, leaving the pod to trail along behind me some other day. But I am risk averse. Terribly so. I’ve had my fill all my life and particularly now. I just want a safe place to land, a job that I can accomplish, and peace to think. You wouldn’t think that would be such a large ask. But Life deems it so.

Now I have an hour before a conference call with a prospective employer, it may be a kind of test they use to determine interest. So I need to avoid tears, put on some makeup and be ready in case its a video conference – let it not…oh, let it be merely listening…but I have to do it just in case. A small price. Meanwhile, I haven’t a dinner ready…again, that price of comfort. I had better find something suitable. I do not wish to provoke any reaction…just peace, calm, and kindness.

Get It Out

Well, he has been gone for 10 days and is due back so any emotion that I have pent up must be let out before his arrival. He does not take it well. Rather, he doesn’t like to see it. A reminder, I suppose, of his consequences but I work very hard to keep things very even in tone. I fail, as one must, now and then. But considering the situation I think losing my mind 3 or 4 times is quite reasonable.

It has been a day of ups and downs. I spent most of those 10 days packing and cleaning – and you would think that covered a lot and yet there is so much more. It took half a day to clean the old grout from the upstairs bath – yes, they put grout right to the tub-line instead of a proper caulk. And then put caulk in other areas on top of the grout. It was an awful mess. So I took hammer and chisel and carefully removed all the mess and properly caulked the whole thing. It isn’t a professional job but it is, by goodness, clean. And that is saying something in comparison to what was…anyway, that took two half days alone. I also re-caulked the master tub – again, hacking out the old, cleaning it all, then another day to replace it.

In the other hours I’ve been looking for work and I must say I never thought it’d be so hard to find a role suitable to my skills. And yet…what are they? The young bucks no longer need an assistant to make their travel arrangements or book their meetings. No, they are all quite handy at that. I am a buggy whip, I’m afraid. He has said that my reach was exceeding my grasp. Or read off roles in which the person is obviously covering 3 roles with 1 job and you will never do any of them well. Others have sent obvious scams – “make thousands with Amazon ads!” – strange that you cannot find anything about the company online, though, huh? Sigh. I try to be grateful – kindness and gratefulness are the songs of the universe. They resound and bring you good things, at least that is my feeling on the matter. So I have worked very hard to express those things over the sounds of my fear and sadness.

If I let myself rest for a moment the terror of my situation is nearly unbearable. I tell you, dear ether-linked friends – I haven’t been this afraid for my future since I was a kid. Like Mulder I want to believe – I want to believe that this past week was a wash due to the holiday and I ought not to have expected to hear anything. I want to believe that the many roles I’ve applied for will turn up at least one or two calls. I haven’t interviewed in 15 years – I had hoped to have at least one or two “freebies” happen with roles I didn’t think I’d get anyway. But I think it is my age…I suspect people are looking at it and determining my time in role won’t be very long so why invest in training me…

If I am honest with you that is the one thing that makes me the most angry about my situation. If he had merely indicated that this COULD happen I’d have taken some sort of damned training so that I’d have a hope of a job. But no…retire, he said. Spend the pension, we agreed. Use the 401k for real materiel. And now…well, I am living by my wits and even those are failing me. I can manage to have some hope and a smile but then I look for a role and the smile fades, the hope finds it has an appointment elsewhere, and even my wit says it’s got nuttin’.

So I pack another box that I hope I’ll see again someday, somewhere else, and I fear that even that might not happen – that maybe he won’t pay that bill and the contents will be sorted through by hasty hands…you see? If one thinks too much about every thing that could happen it is just an avalanche of horror. Of terror. Of failure.

That is why I have to let it all out now so that when he arrives I can be stoic and pleasant. I watch from my perch all the people driving home from work in cars that move, with a payday pending, and a home that is theirs for more than a month. I envy every bit of that security and confidence. I know that it can be a lie – one might be in the midst of their own trials and travails. Maybe that car is barely reliable and they can’t make the payment. Perhaps they are living with their parents after their own failure and merely leaving every day with a pretense of work. You never know the pains and troubles that others are bearing. It is best to not wish for anyone else’s life.  But I could wish for a time machine to take me back 4 years – to let me get the training I needed and not leave a good job…to let me have options instead of this…panicked thrashing about when I ought to be looking at a not too distant retirement.

Oh, what a fool I was to trust any man with that decision. I know better. I have trusted them before with these life choices and it has failed miserably every time but…they were suspected miscreants. In my heart I knew they were not to be trusted. But I trusted him. I believed he was Other. Such a fool…and I am not well enough to do this over again, I think. It all feels quite…pointless. So much struggle and fear and for what end?

I try each day to avoid these things, force the ideas from me with a wave of my hand and a turn of my cheek. I go outside for the wind and the sun to burn the tears from my skin and chill that heat of anxiety to a mere simmer of uncertainty. How I hope that there will be a time in the spring when I can re-read these words with a smile and appreciative laugh from a better vantage point. I try very hard to visualize just that each morning – a new home, a new job, a new view…I set my feet to the cold floor and tell myself that it could be the day – this could be the day that it all changes and I am okay. Reason enough to get out of the warm bed and get on with the day. But the afternoons are hard…when all the job searching and packing have exhausted me and the dogs are waking and ready to be outside…it is then that I fade fast and look around me in stark fear.

It is over. This idyll, this island in a rough sea – it is over and gone. It feels sometimes as if it will all crumble to dust like some special effect in a movie and I’ll have just the boxes stacked around me. I want to wail to the universe a pitiful howl of WHY. The ever-echoing question that we all send out for a million reasons. Why this? Why now? Why me? But there are no answers to be had. There is not a thing I can do other than what I am doing. To stop is to die. So it is motion, activity, thinking, pushing, pulling and daring myself to Not Give Up. Not yet. There is time enough for surrender. No need just yet. But that restful darkness is so tempting. I am so very tired, after all. And there is yet so much to do…

Turkey-Free and Thee

It is an unexpectedly quiet time this year. I am usually quite busy with the cookery, the planning, the worry about what might go wrong with the pie crust or the streusel topping of the sweet potato souffle. But this year…well, it will be a far more sedate affair.

Affair…I hadn’t intended that. Funny how there are – oh, I dread putting it this way, forgive me – there are triggers that swing my psyche around and I get a mental whiplash. He will be sitting down somewhere to a meal with some other people and I can harbor a wee hope of familial upset. But not for long. It is surprising how that wave can wash over and then leave me on the shore, a bit damp around the edges but otherwise unharmed. I thought it’d be – well, like it was before. I compare it to the Grand Loss that We do not speak of and this is a trifling to that. Of course, remind me of this if I cannot find work of decent pay in a few weeks.

I am an excellent cook. I loved this holiday – I would write out the plan for the day – every prep timed, every hour noted…I could make an entire Thanksgiving feast show up on the table on time and everything hot. Sure, there might be a slightly browned croissant here and there but it was a classic issue in the family. We always, after mom died, burned one in her honor. So doing none of that…making (as is my plan) the Soup Nazi’s Mexican Chicken Soup instead as it will be useful for some time after. A few days eating, some frozen for later…it’s not a bad solution. But I think I will make a pumpkin pie. With real whipped cream because why the hell not..

But it is a strange change of pace…this sleepwalking through life. Most things are packed. The rest is in that stage of need/don’t need where I know the moment it is taped up I will need it again. There is a lot to be moved but I am reticent to do it myself – falling down a flight of stairs with heavy boxes is not a good way to start a new life. Well, it might be a great way to end an old one. At least he would be able to give the Rangers a real alibi.

I’ve taken the dogs out at least eight times today…they’re happy with the cold, damp weather – and here is my owl, hooting behind me just now. The cat better be careful. He’s a rather large specimen. The walks are good for all of us, I suppose, but it is hard to see all that I will leave behind. I watch as cars slow at the realtor sign, creep along the road and look at the place. I am torn between flagging them down and telling them all the good things I know here and standing outside with a rifle to send them on their way.

All things in their time…I try to keep this in mind – it was mine for as long as it could be and now someone else needs it as I did. There will be other vistas. One can actually – yes, TRAVEL and see other sights. I could return to Dream Lake, visit my burying ground – well, I know you cannot bury me there but surely one could pitch a paper bag into the arcing winds…I could nestle up against the snow, along the steep pitches and watch as other foolish girls wend their way up and up, not knowing that their heart that feels like bursting actually will break time and again.

I was thinking I need to start a list of things I would like to do. Impossible dreams and slightly less so. Learn to fly, learn to track and hunt, see the aurora borealis, learn to shoot a bow, learn to ride a horse, see the autumn leaves in a small Vermont town, take a nighttime sleigh ride to a place where the stars are clear and drink hot chocolate, snuggled deep in down coats and blankets, learn enough geology so I can identify the interesting rocks I find…nothing ridiculous, you see. Nothing overly ambitious. Just all the things I thought, as a child, that I would have done by now. Of course, I want to take all the courses offered at Thunder Ranch, too, but that does start to hit the ambitious and expensive level of dreams.

But these days the desires are more modest. A job that pays enough to live away from people so that I can live with my books and old movies in peace. And a reliable car. I really am easy to please. I am even amenable to manual labor if it pays. I’d actually not mind apprenticing to someone to learn a trade.

And all these thoughts because I am not distracted by a corn pudding or fitting a Honey Baked Ham in the fridge. It is a good thing, perhaps, to not be so distracted at this time. I ought to be focusing on me and what I want. Someone noted on Twitter, “So far you survived 100% of your worst days. This too shall pass.” – I really ought to put that somewhere prominent. Because I have. And it was one hell of a lot worse in many ways before. I suppose I am just so disappointed in myself this time for utterly missing the clues for so long. I must have been lying to myself…which is a terrible thing for someone who loves logic as I do.

But I had a plan, I thought, by which I could have all that I’d ever wanted. Sure, it was a barbed wire fence and not white pickets but…

“The plan which I had formed in the beginning, to give in in all minor matters, so as to keep what was of vital importance to me, had turned out to be a failure. I had consented to give away my possessions one by one, as a kind of ransom for my own life, but by the time that I had nothing left, I myself was the lightest thing of all, for fate to get rid of.”

I have surrendered so much – is it any wonder I cling to those things I have left? And what else might I have to cast from the deck to keep the ship righted? This thought carried in the darting glances from box to box, room to room. What have I not already given up or given away that I might have to live without? It makes my mouth twist in an ugly fashion to consider that I might have to lose yet more, and again.

There is a line in a book (Peter Straub’s Shadowland) that I return to again and again – “Wings or song?” You cannot have both. And sometimes in the darkest of faery tales you can keep neither. I hope to fool the Trickster and keep both.

Sunday – Coffee, Classical Music, and Rain

With all the changes in life these days another is the routine of Sunday’s. Saturday’s were usually the coffee acquisition and chocolate addiction day with whatever other errands needed being cared for. Sunday’s usually started slowly, with pancakes and warm maple syrup. But no need, now, for all that. I am not hungry so why bother with all the usual? I suppose in the future I will do as I once did – make a large batch of pancakes and freeze them to eat whenever I want a quick meal. But has he ruined even that for me?

I know I will need a lot more time to divest myself of the sadness associated with every single loss tossed on this heap of dismay. A lot of habits will echo with his being. So I am trying to, for now, avoid them. The sting will be less some day. Instead, I am trying to recall who and what I used to be.

It has been a very long time since I cooked only for myself, cleaned my own mess, planned my own day. On Sundays I used to go to a lovely park in Georgia, hiking and running along a 6 mile path in pre-dawn hours, sometimes having to pay the fee in quarters saved. Let me see if I can find those old photos…ah, here. This was the first turn after leaving the general public behind. The sun would rise over the hills and, when cold, the water would have fog lifting upward like ghosts. Once a pack of coyotes crossed the path in front of me just before this part of the trail, each of us so quiet that we surprised one another.

riverdawn

After rather a lot of up and down, and around the magical bend you were treated to this view – usually it was more placid but heavy rains generated a mighty roar down the slender valley. To the right was a steep and rocky wall where I once saw a big cat leap after I startled it at the water where it was drinking. It bounded up the face of that rock and was gone in 5 leaps. There was a bridge to that side – I rarely bothered hiking it, there being less of interest there. I never walked over there again.

highwater2

And there – if you turn around on that viewing deck – you can see the world carrying away all the cares and detritus to another place. I would toss leaves or flowers, wishes and demands down that torrent in the hope something would receive an answer.

highwater1

There was an answer one day and I thought, I was so certain, that it was The One. I was weary with fighting battles alone, tired of only the cat for conversation. And he seemed…well, he seemed an answer to all those leaves rolling over rocks. Skilled in the outdoors and defense, I thought finally I would be safe and could let go my constant Condition Yellow. I didn’t know that was the term for it but I’d lived my entire life in that state. I relished the thought of being able to turn some of that over to someone else so that I could, like the general public, sit in Condition White for a time and let my nerves settle. And so it was.

But I have lost the thread of this story – the winding river sending my mind off to other moments. I would, after that long hike, return home either frozen to the bone or a sweaty mess. In the summer it would be a protein laden breakfast. In the winter waffles or oatmeal. I didn’t know at the time that the reason I never quite lost the belly fat was because of the…well, the mass. It was a surprise to find out, and a loss of any chance at children. I didn’t really mourn that at the time – there was a lot going on. But I should have. Instead, I threw myself into his career plans, sending him off to Texas as I lay in bed with an incision hip to hip.

I can recall my cat one evening while I was sleeping moving to the end of the bed and growling low at the bedroom doorway – he never did that. I moved as if in sleep to garner a better view of the door and the weapon nearby. But in a moment he came to sleep over my head as he always did and we both went back to sleep. But I often wondered what it was he fended off. What ghost thought to visit in that night?

I admit that having a life with only cats is far easier than one with dogs. I never wanted a dog because they demanded so much time and effort. A cat is content with food and water. A dog demands your heart and soul. I was able, before, to leave the cat in the care of the neighbor and travel for a long weekend. And I did travel. I actually went places, rented cars, drove on unknown roads. It seems quite…surreal, now. I have always had a kind of driving phobia, and a fear of new places. Before the cell phone and in-car directions I had to print page after page of maps and directions with point to point details and the surrounding areas in case I got lost. I never drove a car until I was nearly…30 years old, I think. So that sort of adventurous spirit seems like a feat to me, now. How did I ever make myself do that?

How much have I surrendered in the years since? Even on my meager income I managed small vacations. We never had one together. I used to enjoy the outdoors every weekend. Here, it became a list of chores bounded by the constant need of dogs to go in and out. And a fence that he refused to bind with more wire to save my chasing the escape artist down thrice a day. Dogs that he would care for across the span of 10 minutes and then move on to his other concerns.

Will I one day have the adventurous spirit again, with a dog for company and alert on Yellow like myself to share the load? Will I once again have the  resolve to make my own way in the world, slipping through pre-dawn fog to a destination unknown? I watch the stormy and cold wind tear the leaves from the trees outside my window and wonder at the season of the year and my life. Is this my own fall, my own shedding of protective layers? Will it be a barren and dark quarter? And will Persephone rise again, bringing Spring from that darkness into the world and into me? I feel quite ancient and withered, to be honest. I can imagine in another 20 years my laughter at that. But it is true.

I have not been well-cared for. There – that is the truth of it and I didn’t want to ever actually admit it because, in his way, he did do what he could. But it was not affection, it was not love. It was duty. And there is no surprise, then, that I would dry and shrink like a corm in drought. Will this dormancy break and flower into something that I once was? Or will I have a new appearance, foliage of a new species of Me? But I am tired…I am weary of being Strong and Managing. I want the ease of somnambulism. The last time this happened I had Means and was able to take time to grieve, to wallow, and to rise again.

The wind howls and tells me the time is flying with it and I don’t get the courtesy of rest, of mourning. I don’t even get the option of thinking about it because if I do the immensity of the tasks at hand are too daunting. I am given no choice. Or, rather, two choices: fight or surrender. I have tried the latter before and it leaves you in the very same place you were but a deeper climb out. I haven’t much left in me for the fight but…I tell myself that the other option is always there if I fail.

But there is a winter in my soul that muffles the sound of hope. It has to sing louder. I have to amplify it with a belief that life will change and not – as my pessimistic side declares – for the worst. I just have to…start over. I never thought I would have to do that again and it occurs to me just now the truth I’ve always known…

Condition White is a Lie and no one is coming to save you.

Another Trip…

…around the sun, as they say. This one was rather uneventful but I did get a serenade, gifts, and a rather large ice cream snack with my favorite dog. Unfortunately, I also got a leaking cooling system. I thought it was all set after a lower hose replacement but either it is not on securely or it is Something Else. I nursed her home, thankful I hadn’t gone much farther as I’d intended. Fingers crossed the gauges didn’t lie to me and there isn’t a blown head gasket or some such thing. I don’t think so – there was still some fluid in the reservoir and the gauges held steady. Tomorrow I’ll get it all wiped down underneath and see if I can tell from whence comes the lifeblood.

It has been a busy time of looking for work and submitting my info via many different online systems for same – none of them very well programmed, to be honest. And one…one dumped all my data and kicked me out after spending over 15 minutes editing.

I see it is a Leonids shower weekend. I might see if I can shake myself out of the bed after 2a and give it a look. But it might be smart to wait until tomorrow night so I can blaze all the fire ant hills and position my seat in a safe zone. If this were an ant-free location I’d bed down outside and set an alarm. Alas, the risk is too high.

I decided that I would need a nice dinner for myself and wisely bought ahead of time. Sea scallops (with Penzey’s Florida seasoning) seared in bacon fat and butter and then deglazed with chardonnay. Oh, yes. Of course, I also set down the very kind gift of my friend, Christina, who – the last time I was with her – gifted me with several bags of her charro beans. Now, for the uninitiated, these are a kind of pinto bean that strolled through the bayou and swam through a Cajun’s kitchen, wandered into a field of venison sausage and tucked some in its pocketses, and then decided some ham hocks wouldn’t go amiss. One of her best batches yet. I wanted to eat the entire thing but wisely saved the rest for lunch tomorrow.

I have a garden bench that needed renewal something fierce. I had it taken apart for months, waiting on – ahem – someone – to take care of it. I decided I could manage a quick job of it. I painted the metal framework a few weeks ago and, today, finished the stain and sanding of the boards. A nice first coat of beeswax soaked in well. I’ll probably add another tomorrow and then put it all back together with the new hardware I’ve had for ages. Assuming I find the baggy, again. I did put it up the other day but…where…? At any rate, it will be a nice perch to put outside and, actually, might be nice for star-gazing. Hmm. With sufficient blankets, pillows, and tea…

Well, there you have it. A rather dull version of the last week’s entertainments. I am just glad the puppy is quiet – she gets very antsy when he doesn’t come home. And he shall not for many days so…she will have to be very tired, indeed, the next few nights until she surrenders to his absence.

Oh – let me pass along this – I am in the throes of literature lust. Book 1 was amazing. Book 2? Sigh…I don’t want it to end because the lazy bastard is too busy coding and slaughtering pigs for the freezer to get on with it, I guess. Harrumph.

I will end this by saying to those who know me here and have been so very kind these last few weeks…you have been the raft I’ve clung to in stormy seas. I don’t think I’d have made it this far without you dear, smart, thoughtful friends. I will never forget it.