A wonderfully ordinary day. So far.

I am thankful the philosophical megrims have subsided for a while. Oh, they’ll be back no doubt, but getting a breather is nice and makes them more deal-withable when they are sitting around fouling up the air.

Today has involved the things I found so comfortable through the past many years: doing laundry, cooking a nice meal, doing a bit of work…this time real work on the computer for school stuff.

I generally hated laundry but now it’s kind of comforting. Warm soft clothes being folded and ready to wear again. It smells nice, too. A while back I started making my own laundry detergent out of some sort of Ma Ingalls type of self sufficiency and money-saving endeavor. Now it’s a habit and I love the stuff. It’s easy, too. No fancy chemistry or mixing and waiting like I’ve seen on some detergent recipes. Nope. It’s a bar of soap, some washing soda and some borax. That’s it. Shred the soap real fine and mix it with the other stuff and boom. Laundry detergent and it works, too, even on #4’s stinky teenaged man-boy funk.  Here’s what it is: 1 bar soap (I use Fels-Naptha, but apparently any kind will work. Sometimes I use Zoat), 3 cups each washing soda and borax. Shred the soap super fine (food processor) and mix it all together. It makes about 7 cups. I use 2 tablespoons per load (front loading washer, I just throw it in with the clothes)

Image result for laundry on a clothesline

Photo credit:  Steve Raymer: Laundry on a Clothesline

 

The nice meal is the result of not cooking for a while and feeling the urge. Also finding a 3 pound rump roast in the freezer, that I’d forgotten about. So, pot roast, in an optimistic attempt to Bring On The Fall. Also rolls. And probably some sort of broccoli salad because there’s that in the fridge. Pot roast is one of those things about which everyone has their own methods and recipes. I snagged Himself with a potroast, assembled in a crock pot and left in his apartment the day he was due to return to school from Christmas break. It worked, too. The next day he asked me to marry him. True story.  I know of one other person who used my recipe and snagged a husband with it. It’s easy enough to make, if you want the recipe, leave a request in the comments.

The schoolwork is…well, it’s kind of fun. I’ve been learning Excel and it’s so procedural it makes my inner Seven of Nine all warm and fuzzy. In the Office Procedure course (essentially office and customer service etiquette) we are to make a customer feedback form, using Google Forms, and download it to the instructor. Excel has made me very familiar with the Microsoft procedures, so the process is familiar enough to add some warm fuzzies to the already existing ones.  Honestly, I am loving school, not because I’m all gung-ho about going to work, but because I’m learning stuff I didn’t know and reinforcing stuff I did…like the office procedure.

See, I am a sarcastic so-and-so, generally, and this customer feedback form is allowing me to let my inner 7-of-9 cock an eyebrow and offer answer options that may push the boundary of what our (somewhat humorless) instructor will accept. I have no idea how she will accept them, but since I am not actually breaking any rules nor making a form that is utterly incomprehensible, I’m hoping she will recognize that I understand the concepts and accepts the form with grace and humor.

It’s a peculiar dichotomy to be taking Office Procedure (How to be a Good Little Drone) and Leadership (How to Take The Bull By The Horns and Run Things, Machiavelli-Style) at the same time. I have to split my brain and not think of one while doing the other. The easiest way is to do the Procedure stuff (an online entirely course) on one day, and save the Leadership stuff for another.  I am not sure which mode I am entirely cut out for, but since I am only really wanting to work for 10 years or so, I’m pretty sure that Leadership is an exercise in Psychology, and other than dominating customers who annoy me, won’t be much used.  However, writing is a strength of mine, so maybe I’ll be put in charge of Customer Feedback Forms and add options that allow customers to recommend putting someone in Time Out.

So yeah, after the past several days (a couple of weeks, actually) of being all  introspective, it’s back to this side of my personality. Maybe it’s the season change. I love a good season change. Or maybe it’s the potroast. The house smells nice. Maybe it’s the underlying excitement of the upcoming life change. Who knows? It is what it is.

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My left eye started itching last night, like something was stuck in it but I couldn’t get it out. This morning when I woke up it was red and nasty. Great. Pinkeye. I thought only 2nd graders and heathens got that. Fortunately, #4 has been enough of a heathen that I had a largish bottle of antibiotic drops (because he went through a spell for a couple of years where he had it a LOT, and the doctor got tired of seeing him so prescribed a liter of the stuff…ok I exaggerate but it was a big bottle. And it hasn’t expired yet.) so instead of going to church I stayed home and dosed myself every couple of hours with it. And did some sewing, which always puts me in a reflective mood.

not-crying

So, it’s been 19 months since Himself died, and I still see the last day in my head every day. Him laying in the hospital bed, motionless and plugged into every sort of machine, all those tubes and nurses hovering. I see him after the all the machines were turned off and tubes removed, motionless and still warm, and so pale. I hate that that is is my last memory of him. It makes me wish he’d died in a massive explosion so there was nothing left, and my last memory could be of him leaving that morning, lunch box in hand and the usual “I love you!” traded. Way back 30 years ago, when we got married, we decided that, no matter what, the last thing we would say to each other when one of us was going somewhere was “I love you!” because it was important that this was the last thing we would say in case something happened.

A couple of days after the funeral it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember if I’d said it that morning when he left for work, and I kind of flipped out (I was pretty busy flipping out over a lot of things just then). #4 reassured me that he remembered clearly us saying that to each other.  I guess we’d been doing it for 30 years and it was such a habit I couldn’t remember doing it, but I’m thankful that I did.

As much as it hurts to remember all that, I am thankful that I do. I hope I never get to the point where I don’t think of him and remember every part of our lives together. As much as it hurts to go through photographs or look at the pieces of furniture he built just for me (My entire sewing room, every piece right down to the box that holds all the buttons), I cherish every piece, every memory that is attached, and feel like he is still here in a way. It’s comforting, and sometimes I need that.

You see, Widowhood isn’t something you get over, it’s a Change, like…I don’t know…Puberty. Once you’ve gone through puberty, you are permanently changed and won’t ever go back to what you were before. When you’ve spent a long time (or even a short time, I don’t think there’s a certain point that makes one person’s widowhood more widow-y than someone else’s) with a person, experienced so MUCH life with them, whether it’s kids and moving or arguments and hurts, they’re so under your skin that they are a part of you, and when they’re gone, it’s an amputation of sorts, and that part can’t be replaced.

It can, however, heal. There are scars, to be sure. Any trauma this severe will leave them. I’m not even there yet. I’m still bleeding, though not nearly as much as even 6 months ago. For the most part I can talk about him and remember the times we had (good and bad) with love and warmth, but stuff still sets me off- like being in a room full of furniture he built, just for me, or looking at photographs. I think it’s fine to do that. Our culture tells us to avoid pain and Unpleasantness. Hurting people are given pats on the back and told it will be ok, or distracted away from the pain, or somehow told Pain is Bad. But the truth is, Pain is a part of life and not meant to be ignored. It’s part of growing.

But, pain also means there was 30 years of joy and struggles and love and perseverance. It was so worth it.

It still gobsmacks me, to realize I am a Widow. Sometimes I can think it, and shrug, saying “well, it’s where I’m at now.” and other times I think “What?! NO! RIDICULOUS!” I generally feel like I’ve accepted it, but occasionally…not really.

So, when I get all philosophical (like right now), I thank God for taking ahold of Himself and carrying him to a wonderful place where he can be free of frustration, and for providing me with the strength and encouragement to plow through this new territory called Widowhood. I’m grateful for the women who’ve been here longer than I have, because they can be so encouraging.

I have a whole different future ahead. Because I am a compulsive planner, I *think* I know what it holds, but if the last 18 months has taught me anything, it’s that plans can change dramatically in the blink of an eye, so while the plans are there, they are somewhat fluid. A house is being built, plans are being made to move, stuff is being learned, #4 is working on his plans for the future, as are the other sons. It’s all the stuff of optimism, even in the face of loss and sorrow, and it’s ok. Because that’s what life is made of.

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Algebra, you (expletive)

First, a question: Who reading this, who’s a non-engineer, uses algebra on a regular basis? I know accountants do occasionally, but I don’t think they use calculus, which is Step 2 after algebra. So I want to know. If you can give me a really convincing argument as to why I, as an administrative assistant, would need to know algebra, I would deeply appreciate it as it would give me a reason to know the stuff.

My emotions are kind of all over the place right now. Yesterday I got the grade back on a math test and I did HORRIBLY. And not in that “I’m used to getting A’s and I didn’t get an A” sort of way, but in that “holy cow, not only did I not pass, I not passed with flying colors and dive-bombing and flames with tire-burning type smoke” Apparently the rest of the class did the same because the instructor was all “Well. You guys weren’t prepared. I’ll let you retake the test after you do an hour with a tutor.” So I have an appointment with a tutor next Tuesday, which is the earliest time I could get one. Also #4 said he would help study. It’s not as though she (the instructor) doesn’t show us how to do stuff, she does, I guess I’m just thick in the head-Algebra Style.

90s school pete and pete pete pete the adventures of pete and pete

Thing is, that horrible grade threw me for a real loop. I actually felt pretty confident about the test, like I knew what I was doing. Discovering that I didn’t was a real hit to my ego, and that tiny voice in my head kicked in with all kinds of commentary. Stuff like:

“Who are you kidding? You can’t do this.” and

“What makes you think you’re competent enough to actually work a real job?” and

“Loser. All you’re cut out for is being a stupid housewife.”  I balked at that one because being a housewife isn’t the easiest, especially with a bunch of kids. But you also don’t have to go to school for it, nor do algebra. Thankfully.

That voice is a pretty powerful force, and the rest of my day was spent moping in a funk, feeling very discouraged about my future prospects and feeling like an abject failure. Also I cleaned out the utility room and gathered up all the clothes that no longer fit (I’ve lost ~40 pounds over the past 18 months), and that was mildly therapeutic, though the voice kept reminding me that one doesn’t usually make a living bagging up one’s oversized clothes.

The voice is an asshole.

A a couple (or three) episodes of Star Trek, a bit of junk food, and a good night’s sleep have remedied The Voice issue, and I woke up feeling more confident. Not only am I determined to rein in the Algebra Beast, I *WILL* find decent work when I move…or at least I will be doing what God intends for me to do, whatever that may be. I hope it will involve using this associates degree in business, but if not, then at least I will know how to use Excel and speak politely on the phone. And edit things.  God has seen me safely thus far, and if there is hardship ahead, then there is, and I’ll manage. If there’s work and a measure of success, then there is and I will celebrate and be grateful for it.

The good news is, I seem to be doing well in Excel, the next hardest class. The instructor watches me do the things, and gives me the grade, even when the online thing through which we do the things dislikes my methods (although the end result is correct) and refuses to grade me for them. He agrees with me that once I’m in the workplace doing the Excel, there will be no one who cares about the method, only the end result.

So, I’ve been feeling kind of picked on by the Universe, which is selfish and silly. because

A. I’m not special, and there are others picked on far, far worse.  and

B. Life is what you make of it. I refuse to allow a completely impartial thing with no brain and no subjectivity (that is, Math) to control my mood. I shall endeavor to persevere.

 

 

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Delicate Feelings

Today has been a Wear All The Feelings sort of day, the kind where the least little thing makes me get all soggy. It could be a thought or memory, coming across a photograph, or even that stupid industrial hole puncher that’s way overkill for household use. Himself was so proud of that thing.  When I’m like that, a dog squawking due to a pinched paw makes me cry. Thinking about my parents aging, or moving away from a bunch of people for whom I’ve grown fond, or the piece of cheese I’d been saving for lunch got extra moldy can send me into pillow-hugging wail-fest.

I don’t like that. It feels kind of weak and there’s always a little person inside (probably Agnes, who’s constantly fussing at me for something) snorting and calling me Emotionally Soft, which apparently to her is the strongest of insults.  I’d much rather laugh at something or tell a story about that time Himself and I tried making pretzels but the only coarse salt we could find was rock salt. Those pretzels were pretty but essentially inedible.

I’ve learned to allow the Soggy Days to happen. Stuffing them down is bad for the blood pressure and probably has some sort of adverse psychological effect. I’d turn into Kathy Bates from Misery, and bash in the kneecaps of unsuspecting authors. Better to be some Sensitive Woman of the sort that reinforces stereotypes of women who cry because of bad cheese. No one’s kneecaps suffer and I don’t care much about stereotypes anyway.

You see, it’s been 18 months now of Himself being gone. I don’t flinch at the sight of giant white Toyota trucks anymore. I’m still trying to figure out how to cook for one or two, and when that fails, there’s some people I can have over for a meal. I am learning that some things don’t have to upset me anymore- like disastrous attempts at putting cars on tow-dollies, or putting a scratch on a truck door while bending the mailbox lid. I can put dried onions in the cheese grits now. Himself hated onions in cheese grits but #4 and I like them.

However, he is still missed. I still sleep on one side of the bed. A dog and 2 cats have taken over the other side, and I’m fine with that. I don’t want to sleep over there anyway. His clothes are still in his dresser and the closet. I came close, a couple of months ago, to cleaning them out. I opened the dresser and took out a t-shirt, opened the closet at pulled out his flannel shirts. When I saw all those Carhartt dungarees hanging there, it made me catch my breath so I slammed the door shut and haven’t opened since. I figure that stuff will get cleaned out when I move. It seems like a logical time to do it. I’m keeping the flannel shirts though. They will be converted into stuffed animals for Grandpunkins, when they turn 1.  I’m more used to him being gone. I don’t look for him at 5:30 or 6 and that kind of makes me sad…the Moving On part. As necessary as it is, it still saddens me to know that it’s happening.

The Whole Thing has completely altered the way I see this world. It’s less permanent, less important. Sure, there’s a lot of nice things, and awful things, about it. I have a great family and every sort of blessing, but in my head there’s a part that kind of shrugs and says “well yeah, it’s nice and all, but there’s better things waiting and this is just a temporary proving ground (or something)” And I’m ok with that. I’m not at firmly tethered to the here-and-now anymore. Sure, I want to see the kids and the Grandpunkins grow up and old and graduate from various things, but the sense of desperate hanging on and fear of leaving is just…gone. It’s relieving, really. The whole idea of needing to have Just The Right (whatever…)So People Will Respect Me (or whatever)…my head thinks about that and says WHAT-EV-ERRR. I like it, the loss of permanence about all this.  It’s a release.

hot

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3 Stooges vs. U-Haul or How Neil Saved The Day

The Backstory:  Last Saturday (August 28), my car wouldn’t start. It made that *akakakakak* noise that indicates low-start up power or however you put it. Low Battery. That’s it (sorry, I’m still a little flustered). Since #2 was here cutting grass, and my father taught me well about many things, I had jumper cables and #2 was able to jumpstart my precious princess car and I went on my way. I figured something had drained the battery- a light left on, something. Tho, due to the obsessive nature of German Engineering, my car doesn’t really allow that sort of thing to happen. Whatever. While in town at my thing, someone needed a ride to the Toyota place to pick up his truck, and I offered.

Again, *akakakakakak* and I had to ask for help. Fortunately, there was an abundance of men around, of the sort who kind of live to rescue damsels in distress and widows and the like. Also, I had the aformentioned jumper cables. By now I knew something was up and drove to the AdvancedAuto place, thinking perhaps a decent car charger was in order. I considered having the helpful men (mostly of the Rescue DiD&W type) diagnose the issue, but they were backed up 5 deep helping others with their issues. Not just in line at the register, but lots of cars in the parking area with hoods up and greasy people scratching their heads. Not wanting to wait or be a bother, I bought the charger and made it home (I’d  prudently left the engine running while in the store, this being East SmallTown, Ga and pretty sure no one would take it), hooked up the charger per store-guy’s instructions and let it charge all night.

Sunday morning…*akakakakak*, and a friend who stayed over the night before made noises that sounded like “alternator” and “do you have a warranty” and “that’s not good.” She gave me a ride to church, where I figured an hour or so of singing and a sermon on the Wisdom of King Solomon could only be a good thing and would take my mind off the issues. All shops closed on Sunday anyway, so fretting was pointless. However, me being me, and desperately requiring contingency plans for peace of mind, I arranged to borrow #4’s truck, by taking him to school (for a while I’d forgotten he had one, and that I could use it, that’s how flustered the whole thing had me), and discussing with #2 about following me to Savannah in his (well, mine, but he’s borrowing it for now…see how flustered I was? I’d even forgotten I have a truck) in case the issue with my car was something so serious that it would need to stay there for several days.

If it had to stay there for more than a few hours, I was going to sell it. I don’t do cars with problems. I even looked it up on Kelley Blue Book.

Now for THE REST OF THE STORY:

Ok, so the car wouldn’t jump start. I was assuming it would, since it had over the weekend. He was going to follow me. But, no starting. None. Plus all the stuff on the dashboard was blinking and the warning lights like “WARNING! AIRBAG FAILURE!” stuff like that was going off. It was all indicative of a complete electrical disaster (in my mind). The car was probably scrap metal. But I would get it to the dealer nonetheless because I had a warranty that covered electrical failures.

So, how do we get it there? Tow it. I have a truck, we’ll go to U-haul and rent a car dolly and tow it there. How do we get it on the dolly? We can’t drive on. I know! The driveway has a mild downhill slope! We’ll let the car gain momentum and roll up on the dolly! I’m so smart! I feel like a Real Problem Solver! Himself would be so proud! Except…

(tell me you didn’t see that coming)

It only made it halfway up the dolly and the front bumper got caught on a thing and to roll it off would, essentially, snag the front bumper and rip the whole thing off. Because it’s a plastic car. I decided, I don’t care if it rips off. It took an hour to figure out how to get it up that far. We were the 3 Stooges (that is, #2, his girlfriend, and me) spending sweat and energy and a mild and incomplete understanding of physics trying to get the damned car on the damned dolly and I might have even used some words and called the car unladylike names.

We came up with the plan of driving to the school to borrow #4’s car to push it up onto the dolly. Only, plastic car+steel car=plastic rubble. So that idea, after much mental machinations and uncertainty, was scrapped (ha..i made a pun!). I decided to just withdraw some money from savings and call a tow truck to take it to Savannah.

Many phone calls later, the first place sent all its trucks to Louisiana. The second one only did impound towing but recommended the first place. The third and fourth places were discontinued numbers. Finally, the fifth place was just a guy named Neil with a truck who was bored.(the guy, not the truck tho since the guy was bored the truck also may have been) I explained the situation and he offered to come out and help get the car onto the dolly for a small fee (much, much less that the cost of taking it to the dealer). He got here 10 minutes later, looked at what had happened and the 3 frustrated people, and said “Well. This is an interesting situation.” With tears in my eyes I begged him to not make fun of me and to fix it. He did fix it, with ease and an apology for a scratch on the driveway (good heavens.) When I asked what compensation he required, he shrugged and thought for a second, and named a number so low I felt like crying again. “Meh,” he replied. “Make it out to me and I’ll by a nice lunch for myself.”

So, after a degree of high-blood pressure inducing trepidation, the car was delivered safely (Go me!! I drove all the way to Savannah *AND* through the thickest part of Abercorn Traffic! While towing something!) to the dealer, and left with my phone number so they could deliver the news that it was toast, and did I want them to take it behind the barn and shoot it for me, or did I want to do the honors myself.  And we went to Green Truck Pub for therapeutic burgers. Halfway through the meal, I got The Call from the dealership.

Image result for traffic on abercorn savannah gatraffic on Abercorn dr

 

“It’s a dead battery”

So, after an initial self-flagellation exercise for spending so much money and sweat on a dead battery, I decided it was to be a Learning Experience and worth it. Upon collecting the car from the dealer (after they installed a new battery, which better be damn fine battery given the cost), I discussed it with the person behind the counter. She said “well, given the situation, if you’d bought a battery from some place, you would still have to bring it here to get the computer reset, otherwise all your lights would stay on and one of the sensors would work” So I decided it was worth the effort we’d gone through. I can call Neil to help get it on the dolly and buy him lunch, I know I am capable of towing something down the treacherous Abercorn Street, turning onto Eisenhower and into the crowded and narrow-laned dealership lot. I learned that it takes 5 mechanics to remove a car from a car dolly (1 to drive it, 1 to push, and 3 to point and laugh), and that sometimes it really is worth it (especially when you’re a car-ignorant widow who always expects the worst) to let someone else figure these things out. I’ve always known that Green Truck burgers are therapeutic, and the more therapy you need, the better they are.  I’ve also been reminded that people are basically decent, and willing to help.  We stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way home for coffee, and Girlfriend (who’s from Long Island, where they are uncivilized and don’t have Krispy Kremes) announced she’d never been in one. The woman behind the counter looked startled, and bagged her up a hot one, because she opined that such a situation was tragic and needed to be rectified. Of course, those of us who know (what a hot Krispy Kreme is) understand that she was basically handing Girlfriend a bag of legal crack.

So yeah. What started as a day full of frustration ended with satisfaction. everyone and Girlfriends were here for supper, and there was food and laughter and all those things that make for a proper end of the day.

Life is good.

 

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On aging

We all do it, hopefully. Age, that is. The goal is to go from infancy to old age without too many hiccups. Isn’t it funny, though, how our culture reveres youth, even when we say things like “He died too young!” and “She went before her time!” How do you even DO that- go before your time? Isn’t it Your Time to Go, when you go?

anyway…I’m not meaning to write about that sort of thing. What started this train of thought is a pain in my left thumb. It’s pretty painful, too. I don’t know how knuckles are numbered (help me on this, Dad. You can leave it in the comments section), but it’s that one closest to the end. It’s sharp and hurts whenever I bend it. It makes it difficult to grab things though I’m adapting.

That’s what we do, adapt, that is. We find ways around the pains and difficulties. There’s a whole industry based on that, ranging from orthopedic shoes to wheelchairs to hearing aids. Alarm clocks have volume settings, computers have ways to…what do you call it (see, even the internet has ways of looking up words when you can’t think of one so when people read what you’ve written they think you’re eloquent when all you really are is savvy enough to look up synonyms.) I still can’t think of the word…increase the size…I know there’s a word in there…oh heck. you know what I mean. Make the images and letters bigger so you can see them. It’s like increasing the volume only for your eyes.  Dammit.

The Good Dr. H., when queried about the loss of words (I was concerned that 25 years of neuroleptic medication had fried part of my brain), told me it wasn’t the medication, but instead it was The Menopause, and many women lost their words at this stage. That didn’t help much but at least I still know what I’m trying to say, even if I have to dance around it with 200 words instead of saying that one precise word. People are patient with me, because I have grey hair and a cane with which to kneecap them if they’re disrespectful.

I hear another sign of aging is the need for less sleep. I know that’s true. I woke up with an itch on my leg at 4:00am this morning. I scratched it a little bit, and laid there thinking about a piece of beautiful green wool flannel I bought a couple of years ago, and what kind of dress did I want to make from it, and maybe I had enough for a dress *and* a skirt, but I can’t remember (memory issues happen, as you age, plus that was a couple of years ago and a lot has happened since then) if I bought 3 yards or 5. By 4:30 I felt awake enough (and, dare I say it, even cheerful) to get on up, even though I knew the coffee pot wouldn’t turn on until 5. All this after going to bed at 10. I’m an early riser (early-ish anyway- 6:00 is more typical even though I wake up at 5, laying in the comfortable bed, listening to George Winston play piano interpretations of old hymns is an exceedingly pleasant way to start the day) anyway, but waking up at 4:00am is Amish Dairy Farmer early, and not Staring At Old Age early, but I do love going to bed early….I’m rambling. Also a privilege of Old Age.

One of the delights of living in The Deep South, is that people still feel (I lost a word again…it’s not “urge”…hm…) COMPELLED (I found it!! I found the word!!) to be courteous to women and older people, and especially older women. This means if I start rambling in a conversation with a younger person (common now, what with school and a church full of younger people), they won’t be rude and say things like “WhatEVER” and leave. They’ll stand there with a tight smile, nod and make appropriate comments while shifting uncomfortably. Unless they’re my own kids, and those ones will look at me and say  “You’re rambling. Get to the point.” or make fun of me. Which is deserved because I make fun of them a lot.  Honestly I try not to do it, but sometimes when you can’t think of a suitable word you simply HAVE to ramble around the lexicon until you hit on something approximating it.

The house I’m building will accommodate the changes that come with age. The doorways are wide enough for a wheelchair, and the layout is one that will be easy to maneuver. There is a place that a ramp can be easily installed, and the showers will have grab bars built in, and be big enough for a chair, should one ever be needed.  If I should ever need live-in help, there is an area with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom that will close off and has it’s own door out.  All of this is intentional, as I hope this will be the last house I ever live in. Which is an old person thought, if ever there was one. I had the same thoughts with some furniture I recently purchased…that this would be the last stuff I ever buy so make it good quality and easy to get in and out of.  That’s an interesting and novel train of thought- that this is the last (anything)…and I’m ok with it. Honestly, Himself passing away has made the whole concept of mortality one that is much easier to swallow. The process of aging is (hopefully, though obviously not…lost a word…definite{not the word but close enough}) somewhat inevitable, so I might as well embrace it and recognize that it has it’s issues.

Like aches, weird thumb pain, waking up at Amish Dairy Farmer early, and a comfort-before-style sensibility. And pizza causing heartburn. That one bugs me more than anything else. Thankfully coffee is still ok.

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Skool iz Kool

So far so good. School is a week into the semester and I haven’t punted anyone into the hallway for being childish. Go me. I’m taking 2 “hard courses” and 2 “soft courses”. By hard I mean the ones where Things Are Done rather than Things Are Talked About (the soft courses) (these are my own definitions and I think they make sense.)

The Hard Courses are both office things. One is a spreadsheets/Excel and already it’s taking all my concentration because it’s so procedural and you have to remember what order and which button does what and in the end you get something so beautifully orderly (if you do it right), it’s glorious to behold. I can’t wait to be using this thing for real!  The other course is Office Procedure and it’s basically How To Work Good. Fairly straightforward and sensible stuff like courtesy and and all, but later on it gets into how to work those phones with all the buttons and not accidentally hanging up on the district manager. I think there’s also a How To Work A Copy Machine which to be honest should be an entire course all by itself. Have you seen them? They’re like something out of a 1980 Sci-Fi movie and I hear they can occasionally rupture and blow toner everywhere. I suppose that’s to make sure you keep up to date with the latest incarnation.

The Office Procedure course is strictly on-line, but several of the people taking it are also in the spreadsheets class, so I know the face along with the names.

The cool thing about such a small school is the overlapping of people, and seeing them in different classes, developing relationships. Of course, everyone takes the classes in their own order, so some of them are finishing up this semester, and others are just starting out. Some are midway through, like me.

I am, finally and with great reluctance, taking The Dreaded Math. Now, this time around it’s Remedial Math, meaning every single person in there is as bad at it as I am, which is comforting. The instructor is chirpy and enthusiastic, and we do get to use a calculator. however, it’s not the simple version I grew up with, but apparently does all sorts of calculations of the sort I don’t even understand. hopefully at the end of the semester I will have a stronger grasp of The Dreaded Math, and may even have developed less of an adversarial relationship, and something more along the lines of “ok, I can see why you’re useful” sort of one.  At least we get to use a calculator and aren’t expected to find square roots by hand or memory. I also think The Dreaded Math is somewhat procedural, with earlier lessons building on the later ones.

There’s a whole lot of homework, but that’s ok. I know people at The Big University generally take 15-18 hours a semester, and ones at the little community tech school (where I’m at) think the 13 hours I’m taking is a MASSIVE LOAD, and so it would be, if I were working full time like many of my classmates. The school is designed to educate people who are grownups with regular jobs.  I am continually thankful that I am able to do school instead of work right now.

I am, howsomever (that’s a family word for “however-sometimes”) going to look for Resume’ Fodder. Upon the advice of a very sensible friend, I’ll look for a very part time job (possibly work-study), and/or volunteer opportunities that will include a bit of office work.  Soon. It’s scary. But not that scary. I can do this. If I can step out and do school after 30 years, I can find some work after 28. By golly, if I can raise 4 children and not accidentally kill or maim any of them, I should be able to find some work alphabetizing invoices.

work computer office desk nopetopus

 

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