Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Progress is Slow

May 23, 2020

Finally started making progress on one of the (many) unfinished rooms of the house. Got the attic stairs out, patched the hole, and am almost done mudding the room before sanding everything down and painting.

It’s been…hard. I struggle with motivation. I guess my stick-to-it-tiveness isn’t that great. I also lack confidence.

I do the best I can. the end results usually aren’t terrible. but I can’t help feeling that whatever I am doing is a slow-motion car accident.

Very slow-motion.

the room I’m finishing is going to be my daughter’s new bedroom. She’s looking forward to it. I think we all are. she just lost her first tooth yesterday. She’s growing up so fast.

Which doesn’t help my motivation.


I just want things to slow down a bit. Which is maybe a little odd, considering we’ve been trapped at home for a few months now. Life seemingly taking out a go slow order.

We lost our dog awhile back, and it sort of opened the mental gate for her in regards to touching death for the first time.

It breaks me.

I think that as all of us grow older we come to grips with the idea of a world without us in it. Something I didn’t understand until I had kids was having to come to grips with the idea of a world without them.

But she’s growing up.

And I’m growing old.


Having A Hard Time

April 14, 2020

Been down lately.

I’m sure this is common for most folks being cooped up by C19. It’s stressful. It’s almost absurd.

I’ve been gaining weight.

I have an increasingly quicker fuse with the kids.

A lot of what I do just feels pointless. Though, granted, I had this feeling a bit (a lot) before C19 trapped me inside the house.

Just ready for things to change. Go back to normal. Yeah, I know “normal” probably isn’t happening. But I also don’t think we can live like this forever.

I want to try doing this more and with more focus but tonight…just a blah night.

You Weep For Hope

March 31, 2020

I think my president has been a jackass (among other things) whose actions at a time of crisis will likely lead to people unnecessarily dying. I just flat out agree with that assessment. at the same time, I think I’ve seen tremendous leadership from a handful of state officials.

I think our health workers are going to be heroes. They are heroes, arguably have been, but they are going to be walking into the flames and (some of) our leaders have not worked nearly hard enough to ensure they are likely to be even minimally prepared.

And there are things like this coming together to desperately try to provide some of the equipment likely to be needed over the coming weeks. It’s a Planet Money episode looking into GM trying to work with other companies to boost production of ventilators and what all has to come together for it.

It is inspiring. I don’t think it’s wrong or exaggerated to say that. It is inspiring. Yeah, there is likely to be some money being made here. I have to assume these companies are going to get paid for these machines.

But listen to these people talk.

I don’t hear someone counting their dollars.

There is pride there. There is hope.

Way way too any people will not be coming out the other side of this. Even the president has finally admitted that, yeah, this is going to be bad. It looks like we’ll be considering it a success if 100K people die from it, rather than some of the higher numbers talked about at the beginning of all of this.

And the reason that number could be so much lower than originally feared is because of that pride. That hope. It is people coming together and pulling for something because it is right and because it is needed.

I hope this is something that does come out the other side of this. That we take with us. From everything I see these next few weeks are going to be…bad. But maybe it won’t be in vain.

And when we come out on the side of this, maybe we work to elect people who will be able to tap into that better nature of our country and put that to work.

so, maybe some new neighbors

March 29, 2020

I have woods bordering two sides of my property, roughly 38 acres of trees running down on side and all along the back. It’s a mess. It keeps encroaching on my yard and I keep having to hack it back.

But it’s still just woods.

Today I saw a new survey stick in the ground at the back of my property. There was another out by the road. And a whole row going through the woods.

When we first bought our house seven years ago the woods had been for sale for nearly $900K. It was a stupidly high amount for a swamp and a bunch of dead fall. But if the wife and I could have bought it we would have just to ensure no one else would buy it.

Of course, there is no way we could afford that.

And now it looks like someone either could afford it or its original owner has decided to make some plans for it.

Which isn’t entirely surprising. People have been putting up their cookie cutter ugly crap houses all around us lately. slowly pricing us out of our neighborhood with the increasing property taxes their constant building is fueling.

The Wife and I kick around the idea of moving. She’d like to get closer to work. I’d like…I don’t know what I’d like. Ideally, I would move to the middle of nowhere but I have two young kids, one about to start kindergarten and one a few years off from it.

Living in the middle of nowhere usually means you’re going to a school that’s not exactly the most well funded thing in the world. So, I kinda just go with the idea of living with neighbors for the sake of the kids. This house seemed a nice middle ground.

Unless someone starts tearing down the woods and popping up their cookie cutter homes all over the place.

What really gets me is that this area doesn’t hurt for homes on the market. And if you’re looking at the $200-300K range that these new homes cost, the already built homes are pretty nice. Or you could pay a bit less, and go in and renovate and still come out a bit cheaper and get the house you “want.”

Anyway.  Just sort of down over this turn of events. And with the whole coronavirus thing it feels like I just get to sit in my house and stew on it.

Maybe We Should Have Been Paid Better From The Start

March 26, 2020

I hope everyone is well out there. We’re doing alright here. Kids are driving me nuts, as the oldest seems to have gone off the rails a bit and the 5 year old has decided that sleeping is optional. Then there is the newborn… . But that’s not what is on my mind.

If you’re from the US, you’re aware of the recent stimulus passed by the senate and likely to be passed by the house. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of that.

Instead, I just want to touch upon what I have in the title.

This money is going to be a godsend for a lot of folks, especially those who aren’t able to work right now. Who are trying to make ends meet where one end isn’t even there any more.

It’s also going to be a godsend for a lot of folks who are working through this. I am very fortunate to have an income that is likely to stay pretty stable through these next few months. We are probably not going to have to worry about making the mortgage or putting food on the table.

But we’ll still qualify for that money from the government. And it is still going to be of massive help to us.

And we have family and friends who are either working or are retired (and still working, in more than a few cases) who will be even happier to see some extra cash roll in.

Which has me thinking that maybe spending the last forty plus years devaluing the American worker, stagnating the minimum wage, and tearing apart unions have become chickens come home to roost.

Maybe, just maybe, this financial windfall the government is handing out wouldn’t be quite so necessary if we had made it a goal of this country, a priority, to make sure that the majority of people made enough money not to just sustain themselves but to thrive. To pay off their bills. To save for tomorrow. To also have some sort of wealth to pass down.

Instead, as we have become a society of service jobs rather than manufacturing, we have chosen to devalue that work. To say it doesn’t deserve to be paid more. It’s cheap labor.

So we have a growing number of people living paycheck to paycheck. Who rack up credit card and loan debt. Who accumulate a mountain of college debt because we are led to believe a degree is necessary for anything (and it’s not entirely wrong).

When this is over, when we can finally start looking forward as a nation again, maybe it’s time to go over our values a bit. People complain about government, but they keep electing the same people. Who do the same horrible things. Who accrue a bunch of debt on the backs of our kids, while eroding social safety nets to pay for it.

Maybe our priorities have been a bit skewed. I don’t know. This is just off the top of my head. Maybe I’m wrong. Stay safe out there, folks.  Stay healthy.

She’s Only Five For So Long

March 16, 2020

Well, this is pretty damn lousy.

Like most folks out there, life has taken a turn for the surreal with the whole corona virus pandemic. Schools have been closed. The Wife is working from home. Restaurants have now been closed. Grocery stores have been hit by shoppers working like locusts.

I’m hit by the same worries I’m sure most have right now. I don’t want to get sick. I really don’t want my kids to get sick. I’m most concerned for my parents, who are in that big at-risk area, getting sick.

still, the whole self-quarantine, stay-at-home thing has seemed more  a nuisance than anything. Then my daughter’s dance classes were canceled.

I know that sounds trivial. A bunch of tiny girls with their hair up in buns running around in something vaguely resembling harmony. But she was looking forward to it. She thought the costumes were so pretty, and she’s been doing her shuffle step all around the house. It was going to be one of those moments as a parent and kid, with all of the pictures and memories.

A touch stone of experience.

And now it’s likely just gone.

Is it going to scar her for life? Of course not, but it still hurts. While all of us begin to acclimate to living a bit more constrained of a life, I think these are going to be the real sacrifices. Yeah, we can’t go to the bar or restaurant like normal. we can’t go to the hockey game. That sucks.

Other people are not going to have high school or college graduation ceremonies. Weddings and funerals may be more sparsely attended. Dance recitals will be canceled.

The corona virus isn’t just stealing our time or our convenience. It’s not just disrupting our lives.

It is stealing our memories.

A Little Empty

March 8, 2020

It’s been a rough week.

Our dog has been sick for a couple of weeks. She wouldn’t put her weight on one of her rear legs and she threw up some bloody bile. We took her to the vet, got some pills for he stomach, and the vet couldn’t feel anything wrong in the leg.

A couple of weeks later, the dog was refusing to eat her dry food and was getting more ginger with her leg. we went back to the vet, the vet did some xrays, and they didn’t come back with good news.

she had abnormal bone growth on her leg. There was a slim chance it was fungal, in some way, but it was almost certainly cancer. We opted for palliative care, got some pain pills. we hoped for a month.

we got two days.

Our dog’s health just slid away. Her bowel movements became just…liquid. And then there was blood in it. Or it was maybe just blood. She nearly quit eating entirely. We had to strongly encourage it, I fixed her chicken and rice. And she still lost nearly three pounds between our appointment Tuesday and Thursday. This was after losing over seven pounds in the two weeks between the prior appointments.

Our dog could no long lay close to us because she couldn’t stretch out enough to be comfortable. She just looked sad all of the time. She seemed to be in constant pain regardless of the meds.

so. We put her down.

Now the house feels so empty.

It feels so odd to not have her poking her head out from under the table. We’ve had pizza the past couple of days and the kids don’t eat the crust, but now there’s no one to give the crust to. I don’t have to take the dog for a nightly walk before going to bed.

There is now a hole in this home.


March 4, 2020

I’ve tried to disconnect from politics a bit, as I’ve said in the past. at times it just sort of gets shoved up into my life, though.

There is a fairly popular and well-known Polish bakery in my town. It’s Polishness isn’t exactly hidden, the name is…well, Polish. The people who run it are Polish. They offer up Polish pastries and paczkis,

I was there to get paczkis, they have a reputation for them. Authentic, old world recipe, etc. I don’t know, I can’t vouch for their “authenticity,” whatever that is worth. Their apricot paczkis are just crazy good. So I go.

I’m leaving and I pass a guy getting out of his truck. Nod hello. Nods back. Seems nice enough.  I have to walk around the back of his truck to get to my car and I notice a bumper sticker on his truck.

“No Shithole Immigrants.”

now, I know the argument will be that they only don’t want immigrants from “those” countries, but they’re walking into a Polish bakery, a bakery opened by immigrants selling pastries made by immigrants and in a style particular to said immigrants…maybe you should get a damn clue.

and it’s not like immigrants from Eastern Europe were always viewed favorably, either. I’m pretty certain that at different points in history Poland would have been lumped into a “shithole” country list by people like our president. They came here, they made a life, they have become fixtures of the community.

I don’t know if the person was just ignorant of the hypocrisy of their selective anti-immigration, or if they are fine with just being blatantly racist in their views. I’m not sure it matters which. Just…took some of the fun out of going and getting my paczkis.

I’m doing this for a certificate?!

February 4, 2020

My oldest is on an IEP. It stands for Individualized Education Program.  He has had some social and development issues that have demanded a bit of extra understanding in his schooling; really, just a bit more time and reiterating of directions and reminding of due dates. Prompts to focus. etc. In the realm of things handled under IEPs he is very high functioning, so it’s always stood out a bit among his peers. Which has always been a bit of the issue, too. The kids in the classes he is typically in are also kids who don’t have any issues doing well at school.

All of that said, his ability to go off to college, live in a dorm, handle the work and everything on his own…well, as parents we have been really concerned. It’s also pushed us to hedge bets a bit.

Fortunately, our oldest is also into computers. He started to talk about having a career in them in some way (he’s currently saying he wants to be a “programmer.”). Which was  great, because we think it’s a career that would work well with his skill set and temperament.

Also, his school had a program that worked in conjunction with the local community college that allowed the student to take classes for two years and graduate high school also with a certificate in this field that would give the kid a leg up on getting work after high school. It also offered internships the last semester to further get these kids in the door somewhere.

This was a god send to us. Our oldest wants to go to college, but if he can’t here was something that would give him a viable career path that wasn’t retail/service industry jobs. Something that would stand a bit better chance for him to move up and be able to adequately provide for himself.

He’s almost a year through the program right now.

We went in to renew his IEP for the last time yesterday and we found out that the school had decided to do away with the program. They were replacing those courses with four electives including a graphic design course that seemed pretty similar to a graphic design course they already had and a class that basically taught kids how to use Google. I kid you not. it’s called something like “Optimizing Google Experience.”  Because of this our school is also losing the teacher they had who ran this program, a teacher our kid really likes.

We’ve been led to believe that our oldest will be able to finish his program next year by going to the community college’s campus for part of the day. Our boy, being who he is, doesn’t want to go because he’d be at his school then for only a couple of hours every day. At some point, it was mentioned that he needed to finish the program for the certificate, which led to the sentence you see as the title of this post.

We think we have him understanding why the certificate is important and why the classes the school is replacing his program with are a joke. We hope so. But his school just pulled out the safety net that we thought we had safely erected beneath him. It’s frustrating.

Never Slowing Down

January 30, 2020

…but I keep growing old.

It feels like I have been bouncing from one thing to the next quite a bit already this year. Trying to get things sorted, start an exercise thing (which I still need to do today…at 1030 at night…), and just find a productive positive move forward.

I’ve been meaning to make a post about my attempts to make my own bread. I keep forgetting to take pictures, though. Or I’m just really busy and I barely have time to make the bread let alone to document it.

What pushed me towards this I’m not quite sure. We go through a lot of bread and store bought bread just isn’t that great unless. Maybe the stuff that costs $2,$3, or $4 a loaf is better, but I get the store brand because I’m going through two or more loaves a week with the lunches I’m packing, snacks I’m making, and toasts I’m toasting.

Yesterday I was fighting the idea of supper. I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted and if I don’t want it I extrapolate that out to no one else wanting it. I was going to do 15 bean soup, but it feels like we’ve been doing that all of the time lately and I just didnt feel up to another bowl of 15 bean.

so, it got shelved.

And off the shelf came lentils.

I googled lentil soup recipes, found something whose ingredients I could match up with and went with it. what would go well with a bowl of lentil soup? A big loaf of warm home made bread.

The soup is going to together. The bread is coming together. Both are stewing in their own warmth. The Boy gets home, signalling that I have a half hour before I have to leave to pick up The Girl. I get the soup on a low simmer. I put the two loaves of bread in the oven in 330 as I’m going out the door. Everything is perfect.

Until I get home. The oven has warmed to…225 degrees. The bread is…warm? Not hot. not done. Not baked.

My oven has quit working.  In the middle of making bread.

I don’t have pictures of it.