Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday morning thoughts

* The talk of the most recent shooting in the news, and the shooter's background (former military allegedly with PTSD, and it's thought to be a contributing factor) reminded me of my cousin Tom - who was a good 20 years my senior (my mom's family's demographic weirdness). And I realized this morning: it's been 15 years now since he took his life. Probably it was related to something like PTSD from what he experienced in Vietnam.

But: He only took his own life.

But: That had a bad enough effect on my family. (2003, man. That was one hell of a year: in addition to that, I was up for tenure, the congregational split happened, a good friend's husband died v. suddenly of a heart attack). I remember well-meaning (? or more like, "pushy of their own brand of Christianity") people telling my aunt my cousin wasn't going to Heaven because he committed suicide (I absolutely do not believe that. I think God is far too forgiving and has too great an understanding of human pain for that). I remember how it affected his young-adult kids.

And I think: how much worse it must be for the family of someone who commits "suicide" by taking out a bunch of people in addition to themselves. I remember how hurt and angry I was; that would have been magnified by at least 100x had it been other than how Tom did it.

* I adulted a lot yesterday. I don't know if I mentioned on here but the owner of the house to the south of me (it's been a rental for YEARS; the owner live in Colorado, and for a while I thought another neighbor owned it but apparently she was just serving as property manager) was in town and met with me. He is having a lot of renovations done on the place and I think he's aiming to raise the rents, in the hopes of attracting better renters. (We've had a few bad ones through the years. The last few have just been kind of noisy - Motorcycle Guy lived there - but 12 or more years ago, there was an incident where an FBI agent pulled up to the curb and showed his badge and handed me his card and said "I'm looking for the people renting there, do you know where they are" and all I could say was "I hear their dog barking in the back yard a lot but I never seem to see them home" and I really wondered why the FBI would be looking for people and I admit I feared the house exploding or something)

- He had to have some repairs done to something our properties share, and I split the cost with him.
- In the process of that, I found a good reliable painter and got an estimate to paint and repair my garage; that is happening over Thanksgiving week if the weather is good. It will be expensive but there's really no way I can do it myself.
- The owner of the house really wants me to get my trees trimmed. And I learned an interesting fact about Oklahoma insurance: if a tree branch from your neighbor's tree comes down on your roof, YOU are liable (or your insurance is), not your neighbor. Which seems odd to me but whatever. (And strikes me interesting: years and years ago, that property-manager-neighbor came over after a small branch came down on the house's roof making noises like I'd be taken to court if I didn't pay 100% of the damage, and I was younger and more-easily-scared and had just moved in, so I just ponied up a check without question, and now I slightly wonder if that check ever actually went to fix the damage, seeing as I made it out to that person)

So I found a tree place; the guy is meeting with me this afternoon for me to point out what's needed and for me to get an estimate. That will be probably another $1000 if not more. (sigh).

It needs to be done, though, and as they're predicting a colder and wetter than normal winter here, I am anticipating ice storms, so....probably best to do it now.

I did talk to my parents last night and floated the idea of getting a little help with this; I have money in savings that could cover it but they also helped my brother and sister in law afford a new car, and they made a similar offer to me, but right now my car is still good and I am happy with it, so.

I feel like I should be paying for it myself but at the same time they made the offer some time back and....I don't know. It will just make things easier to have part of it covered by them.

* Chuck (the homeowner next door) asked me if I wanted a player piano. He had his dad's, still stored in the house (I guess) but realized now he'd never move it to Colorado. I kind of laughed and gestured to the baby grand (Chuck was on the porch but could kind of see into the living room) and said I had my grandfather's. Apparently it's hard to give away a cheaper piano these days; he said other places he'd offered didn't want it. (I know someone once told me that a  lot of the old spinets that people bought in the early 20th century wound up in dumps. Also they are harder to repair and keep in tune than the more-expensive pianos. I realize how fortunate I am to have Granddad's piano...and I probably do need to make plans for where it will eventually go; I am hoping that once my niece reaches stable adulthood, she wants it, or failing her, the kid of one of my cousins on that side. If not - either a music school or a church, if by that time there are any churches that still USE pianos...)


Yes. Yes to this. (This has become one of my favorite pre-Christmas songs lately. And yes, I prefer the Lansbury version over all others, and I wish there had been some kind of film of the Broadway cast with her; I bet she was a great Auntie Mame).

And I do need a little Christmas.

One of my plans for this evening is to put up the tree. I have a new plan as of now: since moving some of the stuff out of my living room, I see if I reposition one of the chairs, and slide the coffee table over from in front of the (nonfunctional) fireplace*, I could put the tree THERE instead of in the curve of the baby grand, and that would be more room and make the room seem less constricted.

So I'm gonna try it. If it doesn't seem to work I can pick up and move the tree. (Other thoughts: in front of the big window, except that blocks access to the piano and requires moving a small table that's currently full of stuff. Or putting it in the window in the dining room, except then I couldn't really see it from the room where I spend the most time (my living room) and it would block the plants there from getting sunlight).

I'm not quite up for reconfiguring the entire room which would involve moving the piano and the futon sofa.

(*Plumbed for gas, apparently, but I've never looked into getting an appliance put there, because I suspect what you would get these days would HAVE to have an electric starter on it, and the only reason I'd look for alternate-to-my-furnace heat would be for times of extended power outages in winter - the furnace is gas but has an electric starter)

THIS is the kind of thing I want to think about. THESE are the kinds of decisions I want to deal with: where do I put the tree? What other decorations go up now? Where do I put the manger scene this year? Those are easy decisions and no matter what I choose, nothing gets broken or hurt.

It occurs to me that that may be why I love the holidays, and I love doing things around my house like this: all the decisions are low-stakes, and most of them only affect me. If I don't like how something looks, I can fix it. (That may also be my fondness for knitting stuff for myself, or making quilts for myself: I have the fun of making choices but have no blowback to deal with from those choices. And yeah, when you've had people upset with you for pushing back the date of a test (to a later date) because you didn't get everything covered you needed to cover, you get a little gun-shy about making decisions).

* I do need to bake that cake this afternoon. I went to Wal-Mart for cake flour and discovered in the couple weeks since I've been there, they've reconfigured A LOT. The "flour" section is now like five feet of shelf (instead of half an aisle) and they no longer carry King Arthur. They've definitely increased their "junk food" type offerings (the freezer case was particularly marked: one entire side of freezers, like 50', was given over to many kinds of cheap frozen pizza, and the "healthier options" frozen meals have been greatly reduced).

I am guessing part of this is "well, we can sell beer and wine now, and we need space for that" and so some things lost out. But they may also be looking at their demographics changing: entirely possible that Pruett's has sucked away the  people who actually cook (Pruett's meat is way better and their produce is better) and are more aiming at the college-kid audience (college kids without proper cooking facilities).

I'm a bit annoyed. When you position yourself as The Store That Sells Everything and also the Small Mom-and-Pop Killer, it feels slightly wrong to me to pivot so "Oh, you wanted pizza? Well, we won't sell flour and canned tomatoes* and plain cheese any more, but here, buy one of our sodium-laden frozen pizzas!

(*Yes, that's an exaggeration, but they also seem to have reduced their canned and frozen veggie options).

They were never exactly friendly to those of us who have to limit sodium but now they are even worse. I am thinking now I shop at Pruett's for as much as I can possibly buy there (Pruett's doesn't have *everything* I use) and for a few other items, if they're non-perishable and can possibly transmit through the mail, I mail-order.

(I am also wondering if Wal-marts are pivoting to "we're anticipating recreational pot to become more legal, and want to cater to people who want quick sources of high munchie calories" which is also not so good for those of us squares who worry about our health).

Eh, whatever. Pruett's is half as far for me as the wal-mart and the cashiers are happier and more pleasant (probably paid better) so again, if I can find what I need there, that's where I get it; they are more deserving of my money, I think.

1 comment:

Anj M said...

One thing that the pastor said at my cousin's suicide 2 years ago that stuck with me. He said that he needed to be in heaven more than he needed to be on earth. I hold on to that when I hear about devastating loss now.

I am glad you have found some people who can do tasks reliably. painting and tree work. I know this has been on your mind. I am glad it is getting off your plate.

Auntie Mame is always my favorite. I adore it for lots of reasons. And I like all 3 versions of it. Landsbury, Ball, and Russell. I know Ball was not considered the best version, but I loved her version anyway. Always and forever Auntie Mame. I am excited you are starting your decorating. I need to get myself together to do that too.