Lessons I Have Revisited This Week

For a while, I was writing everyday on this platform. Recently, life has gotten busy and I shifted my focus to more organized blog entries than random posts.

So I slowed my writing down to times when I am rested and focused— which sometimes isn’t that often. But seriously, this week brought me great joy and also sorrow. In those emotions, I revisited some favorite life lessons. Many, but not all, involve cats.

First, there is Louise, the freshly amputee cat. She spent two weeks under my bed. Probably still confused and uncomfortable from her surgery, but also scared and scarred from her experiences before someone contacted Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab to get this injured apparent stray some help— both material and medical.

After two weeks under my bed, she’s trusting me. She’s super affectionate, cuddly, purrs like a machine and playful. She’s gentle and sweet and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.

Louise tested my patience and rewarded me with her love.

Hermes, yes another foster, got adopted yesterday. He came to us as a very sick kitten on July 31, 2020 as part of the Greek Pride. His sister Hades sent me to the hospital. But that’s another story.

Hermes was terrified of human hands for most of his life, and he’s still a quirky cat. His new family knows his flaws, but they are confident that he should be their cat.

Hermes reminded me that some growth is slow, but can transform everything about how you live your life. And that we are all on a different timeline.

Touch of Grey, a four-year-old owner surrender, has been with us about two weeks because of her tendency to be bitchy and nasty. She’s been an angel with us, even going so far as to try and convince Hermes’ parents to take her home instead.

Sometimes we only thrive in certain environments. What nurtures me might not work for you.

The hardest part of this week was caring for the Ten Little Kittens who were starving and probably have distemper. Only two survived the week. (More on that here: Ten Tiny Kittens) To see some kitten cuteness: Parker Playing.

Sometimes there is beauty and divinity in the briefest of lives, and knowing you did something, even if it leads to heartache, is better than doing nothing.

Okay. No more cats. I had a conversation with someone whom I’m known for a long time— decades. She has had a good career with the same employer the entire time I’ve known her. She’s my age. She asked where I landed after last year’s job loss. I mentioned the Stitch Fix warehouse and expected the conversation to drop or to get that sense I get from people that my job makes me less important or less of a person now.

Instead, she asked if we were hiring and if I thought it was a good job. I explained the pay, the good and the bad. Apparently she has no holiday pay, no paid time off, and ten hour days. Her job is taking a toll on her body and she just wants to move on.

This country places too much emphasis on our jobs and careers as the definition of who we are. And it’s upsetting how basic quality of life items like health care and paid time off are regulated by/ reliant on corporations and small business owners. Your worth is not based on your occupation.

I went to the diner last night to have pancakes and see the charming teenager #1 at work. One of her regulars asked her to help with his dogs so he and I have been talking. He’s a conservative Christian Trump supporter and I am a liberal with socialist leanings. I told him right off we probably had very different opinions on a lot of issues. But we had a polite discussion and did not attack each other.

Listening and sharing information has to be a polite and earnest exchange. People can have different opinions but respect each other and, even so, cooperate.

This old house and this old brain

This is my first full work week post-Covid. Last night was the first night of the week that I felt competent and capable.

And now today that feeling is gone. I’m slow. I can’t even say I’m tired but my brain is foggy and I just can’t do more or move faster.

Last night I packed 75 fixes at the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy. I took about 5 1/2 minutes per fix which was a nice improvement over the previous night.

But tonight I am averaging 6 1/2 minutes per fix— almost double the goal of 3 3/4 minutes per fix. Three minutes and 45 seconds to fold five pieces of clothing into a box. Neatly.

They announced mandatory overtime tonight. Starting Monday everyone must work eight extra hours per week. I’m struggling to survive 40 so this was not the news I needed.

At home, the parakeet chicks look like real birds. Mama Periwinkle still won’t let her best friend Peek-a-Booboo into the cage—I tried to reintroduce her into the cage and Periwinkle flew over to her, grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground. So poor Booboo remains in isolation.

Nala might be done plucking but the damage is done. Her wings look like Buffalo wings.

And tomorrow Loki has another family coming to consider him.

The teens have an appointment at 11 to use the gift certificates I bought them for the salon. They both plan to get a set of acrylic nails.

In preparation, teenager #1 is trying to finish household projects. Like mounting the new dustbuster to the wall. And swapping out my bedroom door.

I had several beautiful moments with my daughter this week, and some good reflections. So I guess this blog entry is a good introduction into what may come in the next few days.

And if you google “how many calories do you burn folding clothes,” the answer is an optimistic 148 an hour. That suggests I’m burning 1,000 calories a night.

As I fold, I listen to podcasts. And I think. And I am reminded how often is takes finesse and skill to do our best when we are not good at something and wish to be.

I intellectually tell myself that coming back after Covid to a new job is hard, and that I have to stop comparing myself to my experienced colleagues. But it’s hard.

My new floor

So, after the kittens spilled charcoal lighter all over the floor in the mud room last week, the teenager became adamant she was going to lay a real floor in that area.

It’s had only a subfloor since my husband and I bought the house more than 17-years-ago.

Last week, I took her to the independent hardware store to get the supplies (and I also got copies of my house keys, drain clog stuff, a plunger and wasp killer— and when your backroom absorbs an entire bottle of flammable liquid because you have no floor out there, those items all count as necessities).

She worked on it three hours today and actually laid it twice. And now some of our friends keep pointing out that she didn’t stagger the interlocking laminate.

Well, the room didn’t have a floor for 17 years and it has one now.

I’m proud.

She did it all by herself.

Friday Funday

Today had some elements of greatness among the toil of a long work day in the midst of a pandemic.

  • We had a lovely walk.
  • We had pizza.
  • I got a free doughnut.
  • We got a Yum box.
  • We went to Family Dollar for school supplies and found some other surprises.
  • My truck is only $5,000. Maybe I can really buy it.
  • I got a new plunger.
  • I helped my blind friend Nancy open a Twitter account.

If none of that sounds interesting just skip this entry, but you might enjoy this “a day in the life.”

I had to go to the local Goin Postal to print and mail a grant for work. I brought the teenager along so she could grab some Little Caesars pizza and school supplies from Family Dollar as I figured I’d be in the shop for an hour.

The dollar store had clearance jelly beans for 75% off! I got three bags for $1!!! The teenager got lead for her favorite mechanical pencils and pens for my home office. We also got two really big cans of cat food. Because four cats.

The teenager procured some food items too— though some may not qualify as food. Lemon sugar wagers, pickles, blueberry muffins, beef ramen, generic pop tarts, sour freeze pops and Slim Jim’s.

We came home and she did school work while I did office work. At 2 pm, I took my meal break to go to the local hardware store. We needed caulk, wood patch, drain unclogger, a plunger, and items for a floor in the mud room.

I’ll have to take some photos of the nice laminate plank flooring the teen picked out for her floor. I even got wasp killer and some keys made.

Spent $180. But that includes 60 square feet of flooring.

That was also when I noticed my old aging truck was only $5,000.

I want this truck.

So we then stopped at Dunkin because it’s Free Doughnut Friday and since I only leave the house about once a week might as well make it exciting.

I worked late. Went straight to a telephone meeting with Nancy, my blind friend who I do computer stuff for. Long story short— we ended up putting her on Twitter and she followed a whole bunch of NASA stuff. Try explaining Twitter to a blind person. Just try.

Then once we finished, the teenager and I had her Universal Yums box for dinner. It was amazing! Scandinavian goodies for the win!

Unboxing and tasting video here: April 2020 Scandinavia Universal Yum Box

And then I tried the new plunger. It worked so well the gunk was coming out that little hole in the drain circle where the flipper for the tub plug goes. Under the spigot.

And that was my exciting day. Everyone even hung out with me.

DIY hair and drain projects—hopefully one will work

It’s Sunday night. I’m succumbing to the stress of facing another Monday. So rather than watch excessive amounts of my main squeeze Gordon Ramsay, I decided to scrub the tub, work on the drains and update my hair.

I thought I’d trim my hair— the teenager offered to help me but the timing hasn’t worked out. I thought before I cut it maybe I’d dye my hair. When this is all over, I can get a short haircut and remove the color if I get sick of it or it causes trouble at work.

Phase I

I don’t have any hair bleach at home, as it’s been at least two years since I ventured into Manic Panic realm. But I did find some old cream bleach so ancient that it had burned the inside of the box. It has been at least a decade since I started waxing my upper lip instead of bleaching it.

So I mixed it up and smeared it into my hair. As it percolated, I scrubbed the tub with baking soda and poured about half a large bottle of vinegar down the drain while plunging. That should help free our pipes.

This is probably a bad idea

Next I’m going to start the tea pot and pour boiling water and ammonia down there before I rinse the bleach off my head.

Phase II

Poured some ammonia and the boiling hot water down the tub drain. Now to rinse my hair of the bleach mixture.

My hair has a few paler spots — a little redness here and there. My drain didn’t fare much better. I even used the barbed snake thing and I don’t see a difference in water drainage speed.

Phase III

The teenager is smearing Manic Panic into my hair— we have an aquamarine color from one of the times we dyed her hair in her pre-marching band days and some Green Envy Intensified. We also found Argan Oil Hair color in green and magenta.

The teenager has splattered hair dye liberally.

Your head looks like a fifth grader’s art project and a unicorn threw up on your face.

The teenager, remarking on the quality of her work

Phase IV

The only time I use my hair dryer.

Now to watch TV— my main squeeze Gordon Ramsay— while my hair dries some more. I used the blow dryer but my hair is so thick I’d have to bake it for days.

My buffalo chicken spaghetti squash casserole did not hit the spot for the teen, so we ended up splitting a can of Spaghettios with meatballs. Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, approved.

Phase V

Shower. As soon as this episode of Hell’s Kitchen is over. There’s a contestant on the red team from Bethlehem, Pa. That’s where my husband and I met at Moravian College while earning our English degrees.

My hair is nice and crispy. This should be interesting.

The magenta hair dye went everywhere in the shower, and despite all my efforts with the drains I was standing with dark purple water up to my ankles.

Phase VI

I plunged the tub while waiting for the teenager to come up and give my hair a trim. The plunger split. Which might explain why I haven’t had much luck with the drain. The plunger has not been getting a good seal.

Phase VII

The teen — who has no experience or knowledge in hair— gives me a haircut. I wanted her to trim a few bushy errant pieces but I told her to cut what she wanted. She used my sewing scissors.

It looks good. Can only see some magenta in this evening light.

My new haircut and color