Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ruminating like a Bossie

He and me? Exact same age. My beard is less gray though
Lord, lord, y'all.  So many things going on, and where's the 'oomph' to recount it or comment upon it?

I think I shall blame my birthday, and the age I've turned, for the recent downtick in activity, both here and elsewhere.  Once you've rocked a half-hundred birthdays, things can (and often do) become a wee tad more introspecty.

That's right.  Today is my 50th dang birthday.  FIFTY!  This is a whole new set of WTH I have to wrap my head around.  Fif-tee.  I an 50.

Shit, that's old.

My family gathered last weekend for a celebration of this milestone event.  My niece was also being confirmed that weekend, so we buzzed on up to her hometown and celebrated some special events.  My older brother and his family were there, of course, as it was his daughter getting confirmed.  My mom and stepdad were there too, and so was my younger brother and BOTH of his kids.  Sweeet!  We ate really good Chinese food, then went back to the hotel for cake and prezzies.  I got a Nook!  Sure hope it has large print, because, you know, I'm 50 now. (*snerk*)

Got the AARP application a couple of weeks back.  Not sure if I'm going to take them up on their offers, as some of their platform planks are not to my liking, so I'm unspecifically sure why except that I mentioned AARP to some retired friends lately and neither of them are still with that organization.  Also, I'm not retired.  I probably won't BE retired for another 20 years, so why bother joining.  Why don't we have an Organization of Old Fat Folks ('OoOFF' for short)?  I could join that one, easy-peasy.  No application required, just your age and poundage.  Heh - and the older and fatter you get the more eligible you are to hold office.  The oldest fattest one is automatically President!  No cheating though.  No 'feeders' allowed to compete.  No lying on your birth certificate.  Just folks who are honestly fat and old.

It might just work.  Should figure out how it can make me rich, though, because if a great idea like this isn't going to make me rich, there's no sense putting more thought into it.  Might as well dwell on 'ways to kill ants' or go play 'let's go find the missing socks,' neither of which will make me rich but would at least lead to Getting Something Done.

I'd adore being rich.  Like, filthy rich.  Like, 1%-er rich.  I could have so much fun with that.  Hey, I'd even be OK with having 'only' $400K left annually after paying taxes and expenses.  That's nearly $35K a MONTH to play with, cashola.  Break it down - that's almost 9 thousand bucks a week to spend however you'd like.  Thirteen hundred bucks a DAY (if my math is right).  Now, I could do some damage with that kind of scratch.  If I sit here and compare that with what I bring home now, it's pretty astonishing.  There are people in this world who think that having $400K 'left over' after all their other obligations are paid off that they're practically poor.  I'd LOVE to have a sit-down with these types to outline for them just how very wrong they are and how very much MORE they could be doing with that money than purchasing yest another fancy car or yet another apartment for their mistress/boyfriend/'bookkeeper.'  That kind of wallet padding is an AMAZING amount of money, can you dig it?  Amazing.  I consider my salary to be pretty robust, but it doesn't begin to touch that kind of bankroll. 

And it likely never will, because, let's remember, I'm 50.  I'm getting too old to have the energy to climb a career ladder, and don't really want to anyhow.  The view from where I am is pretty good.  It's not the bottom, but close enough to it that if I fall off I won't get seriously hurt, and far enough from the top that I won't get dizzy.  So, I'll never grab the golden ticket waiting several rungs up, who cares?  I'd just like one of the doodz waaay, up there to drop a piece of his, right into my outstretched hand.

Maybe today's my day to purchase a winning lottery ticket, who knows?

Meh - 50.   It's as good a reason to gamble as any.

Tiff out.

PS - May 31 1962 was also on a Thursday.  Adolf Eichman was hanged the day I was born.  There was also a train crash in France. Ray Charles' "I can't stop loving you" was the #1 song.  Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem" premiered.  So, that happened.  Oh, and if you can guess who that German actor is in the picture,  I'll send you a dollar.  First correct guess wins.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oooh baby, baby!

15 years ago today I was probably asleep, or still barfing from the Dura-Morph they shot me up with before I got laid open like a block of cheese on fondue night.  Because that's what happens to me when I'm exposed to morphine and all its fine derivatives, I barf.

I'd make the world's very worst junkie.

I digress. This is not about barfing, or even surgery, really.

It's hard for me to believe that 15 years ago today saw the arrival of our Thing 2 (via c-section, in case you were wondering what the 'block of cheese' simile was about).  How FAST the years have flown since he came on the scene.  I still have a picture on my office wall from his first day of first grade, such a proud little boy next to his big brother, and have to remind myself that it's been over 8 years since that picture was taken!)  While it's not hard to think of him as the strapping young man he is today (because, seriously, he's like a 6'4" puppy (so cute!)), it is getting harder and harder to remember the engaging little kid he used to be, and would be IMPOSSIBLE to do accurately without that photo.  This is why cameras were invented, I'm betting.  Someone way back when got nostalgic for the 'good old days' and all they had were some oil paintings of them and their siblings dressed in uncomfortable clothing to remind them of what a good time they used to have and thought "you know what?  This isn't going to happen to any further generations of my family!  I want to be the one who discovers how to capture the MOMENT in the moment so that those moments are held momentous in momentously HUGE volumes of notebooks for posterity and the quizzical querying of family 100 years from about 'who the hell IS that in the striped suit on the right?'"

Digress again.  Back to the topic at hand.  Thing 2.

Aw, that boy.  He still kisses his mama goodnight every night and will hold my hand in public.  At 15, I think I stayed as far away from my folks as possible.  How'd I get so lucky?  He's organized and self-motivating.  Again, how'd I get so lucky?  He's kind to the cats, does his chores with minimal complaint, and loves his brother in the most brotherly way possible (it's called' testing the limits,' I think).  I've mentioned before his wicked sense of humor and gratifying curiosity about truly odd stuff (his Mama's boy!), but I don't think I've mentioned his loyalty and generosity as a friend.  It's awesome watching him grow and mature; I just hope he's stopped growing physically, because if them feets get any bigger we're in more trouble than we are already!  :)

I could brag on him all day long, but will stop here so you don't feel too bad about your kids or some kid you might know.  Just let it be known that I sure wish all your kids were as good as this kid.  He's a winner (though I suspect y'all think yours are too).

Happy Big 15, Dude.  Your mama, family, and friends are lucky and happy to know you.

Friday, May 18, 2012


This is really nothing more than a placeholder post, but at the same time it's much more as there is so MUCH going on in the head now that I know The Story ("Crazy Joe and Marcus")  was lost in the big computer fry of earlier this year that if I don't put something down here there is risk of utter meltdown and total forgetfulness of what was going to be the Story I Wrote That Time.

It starts like this:

Ema is a girl, 11.  She live with her grandparents, in a small wooden house near a creek.  There are no near neighbors.
Crazy Joe is her Grandpa.
Marcus is her dog.
Crazy Joe don't talk much, since the accident.  It involved a shotgun, and a ghost.
Gramma don't talk at all, bein' as how she's busy with Crazy Joe's care.
Joe's cackling and talking to Lil' Joe, all the time. Nobody thinks he right-minded.
Ema goes to the creek, with Marcus.  He's the level-headed one, and just sits and cools himself.  She falls in while watching him roll around, and falls and falls,  way below the bottom of the creek.  She loses her breath.

Hits the roof.

Opens her eyes, mind flips, belly becomes back, and all the people in the yellow-gold big arching vault she can see, now above her, are made of pipes.   The hall is a dome of brass, in a town hall of sandstone, there is a forever-deep pool in the center of the square. Inhabitants are copper, engaged, personable, caring, dependable, loving.

They have families, loves, lives, and seem to be happy.

Except that they can't die, but want to.  They throw themselves off the highest balcony of the town square into the deep pool, but are rejected as unsuitable by the water.  Nobody can die, not even the sick or tired.  Children taunt the water, worried mothers snatch them back, but even if the babies spin helplessly in the darkness they can't die, they are simply thrown back to the World.  There is no dying, no release.

And then there's Joseph.  He's meat, like her.  And 20 years older, but still a friend, because of their off bodies.


*and someplace in my brain I dreamed the ending.  Joseph and Crazy Joe  knew each other, time travel was involved and love was in the offing, old friendships were healed and sins forgiven,and I've lost it all except for this bit, which is weak, but is what my head thought up n ad which I think would still be kind of entertaining if only I could remember what I use to think I'd never forget.

Hi, welcome to my brain.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

And then we came down from the sky

Ever since Friday evening, when I, through my powers of observational skills and wifely concern, grounded Biff from flying with a friend due to what was likely a reaction by Biff to a bug/spider bite that landed us in the local quickie doc for a while (because Friday nights are meant for that!), he's been itching (get it?) to go flying.

Like, all weekend.

Like, not being able to go flying because I might have, in fact, been SAVING HIS LIFE was a major impediment to him, such was his concentration on airplanes and all things airplane.  

Like, every time I asked 'what would you like to do right now?' he was all 'Let's go FLYING!  Haheeheeheheehee!' and then turned around in circles a few times until he got dizzy and fell down.

I blame the prednisone for this, for the record.

So, each time, for the first 50 times, that he suggested the whole flying thing, I was all like, 'aw, naw, dawhg, we can't go flying.  You might swell UP again, and then where would I be?' because I have read enough 'Flying' mag stories about near disasters and realize I cannot, for all my pluck and spirit, fly an airplane if for some reason the pilot in commend suddenly needed to concentrate on grave injury/illness/death, and flying with someone who'd just been to the doc due to some weird thing going on was Freaking Me Out.

As in - every bad airline movie of the '70's was playing in my head each time he mentioned how nice it would be to be flying Right.At.That.Moment.  I might have an issue with flying, and the fact that I can't control it.  A tiny, baby issue.  *Ahem*

However.  Despite recent events, and my overreaction to them, he managed to stay apparently healthy for 2+ days (no bonus odd swelling, for YOU, mister!), so today, at his puppy-eyed insistence, we went flying.  It doesn't matter what we DID while in the air, just that for Pete's Sake We Took Off and whatever little demon in in his magnificent brain that now needs 'Feeding, Seymour,' on the junk food of flight is a big ol' monster of need and will take any little hit, no matter how small, as enough to satiate it for a while.

My jitters at the lowering clouds on takeoff were somewhat mollified by the 1) his skill at flying and 2) the awesome view we had of the new project going on in our town, which from the adjacent road is a total mystery but from the air is slightly less of one.  Let's just say that one look at it from the air seems to indicate that at least one more traffic light is going to be added to the eastward side of town.  Meh, and grumble.  Stupid town, for being so great to live in people continue to want to build new homes here. I already miss the trees...

Eh, I'm sure I could look up what's happening out there, but hopping in an airplane and sussing it out from the sky, even when the sky is lowering and starting to gust a a bit, is way more fun.  Who needs research?

After the quickest snoop ever at a thing that could have much more snooping, we had to return to base because of some cloud issues and a little bit of not-great visibility.  It seems though, that the 30 minutes we spent in the air today have been a tonic to Biff, as he hasn't asked me ONCE when we're going flying next in the last 3 hours!

It's like a miracle.

That man?  Possessed by flight.  In the best possible way, because, and I quote from him: 'flying is more fun with you.'  Which means, he loves it and wants me there, even if I refuse to take the yoke when he's switching tanks.

Everybody go 'd'awwwww'

And that's just a thing that happened today.

Tiff out.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

People get paid for this

I prefer to use 'track changes'
I know you won't believe me when I say this, based on my rampant spelling/grammar/writing errors in my posts, but I'm actually currently getting paid to do a freelance proofreading job.

And it's kind of fun!

The fun comes, I suspect, from me actually getting to correct someone else's work rather than having them correct mine.  Finding mistakes, fixing them, then passing those findings along is far more satisfying than having to fix problems someone else found in my work.

The first time I sent a document I'd written for a quality control check, and got the results back, I get really super angry with the findings, as I though that I was practically perfect in every way and thus my document would be too.  Those red marks on MY document were a personal affront!  An outrage!

In the years and hundreds of documents since, I've become less attached to the things I write (at least for work), but still bristle at my own lack of skill and follow-through when a reviewer finds something that's blatantly wrong, or misspelled, or completely out of whack with our style guides.   Of course I know there's no such thing as a perfect document, ever, but it would be lovely to, every once in a while, get something back from the QC check with a note attached saying 'wow - this was super clean!  We only had 50 bajillion findings instead of the usual 500 bajillion!' (because you know they're going to find something, anything).

So, getting to be the one doing the correcting is absolutely grand.  And I'm getting paid to do it.  Not a lot, but that's OK.  Someone is giving me money to do something that I'm enjoying.  There's nothing not to like about that, is there?


While this proofing thing is fun I'd have to say that I'm pretty close to a dream job  in my current position.  I enjoy what I do, it pays well, and I can have a very flexible work schedule.  All in all, it's not a bad place to find myself, career-wise.  This proofreader thing though...could be a good back-pocket career for when I run out of 'care' for the writing thing.  I can see me being very happy in a job that is all about finding mistakes other people make.  And yes, that does sound kind of twisted, I'll admit. 

What's your dream job (let's be realistic and assume it's something normal and achievable, not something like 'supermodel scientist' or 'spaceship pilot'), and are you doing it now?  Do tell us about it, won't you?

Tiff out.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Not all roads lead to Floyd

This past weekend Thing 1 and I needed to drive back to WFNC from Blacksburg VA post-change of command ceremony for the Oldest Nephew.

Thing 1 guided me by using the fabulous GPS on his fabulous new iPhone, and the process went very well with him navigating (once we cleared the hurdle of instead of saying 'turn right up here a ways,' the refinement of 'turn right up here at Smith Street' was added).

I have learned to appreciate the usefulness of the electronic devices, but sometimes they do seem to have a little bit of evil programmed into their pressed-tin hearts, for I've been rerouted more than once by a GPS into odd little corners (once, famously, into a mobile home park just in order to cut through it and not have to, presumably, wait at a light) and so use, but do not trust, them.

The trip started out OK, though with several 'what is HAPPENING here?' type moments when the GPS just seemed to to want to wander through Christiansburg and ignore the fact that Route 81 was just one block over and I imagined that it would be the fastest way to get near where we wanted to go, but no.  Apparently not.  At least not according to the brain inside the iPhone.

This is what people do in Floyd. 
It becomes relevant in a little bit.
I was not in a position to argue, so much was I unfamiliar with the terrain and bereft of a paper map, thus proceeded onward, eventually, to Route 8, or, as the locals call it, 'Riner Road.'

Otherwise known as "That Road I Will Never Drive on in The Dark/Rain/Snow, EVER."  Because, you ever seen one of those sidewinder snakes and how sinuous its body has to be for it to get around anywhere?  Like it's bent six ways to Sunday looking at its own tail sometimes just trying to move up a sand dune.  Well, that sidewinder snake was US on old Route 8, practically inspecting our own exhaust pipe on the road from Floyd to Woolwine.  I'd show you pictures, but you can go ahead and drive it on Googlemaps yourself just to see what the fun is all about.

If you do, please note 1) the banking of the roadway into the turns, presumably to keep cars from slipping off the road and tumbling down the side of the mountains because 2) there are no guardrails.

Now, I've been on some mountain roads before, and it's ALWAYS better to be the driver on them than to be a passenger in the car on trips like this (route 228 out of Little Switzerland?  Looking at you) but even thought I was in control and thus not Scared Out Of My Wits I think this road is the longest stretch of swooping, banking, twisty-turn road I've been on.  I was praying the brakes wouldn't fail on the downsides and that the car had enough power to climb (slowly) up the upsides of the 15 jillion mountains it seemed like we traversed.

Face it, there's no good way to get out of western Virginia if you're nervous about driving on the mountains.  A little prayer never hurt, and it might in fact have kept us stuck on the road and helped us safely to WoolWine, which isn't much more than a flat place in the road, but oh, what a flat place. Precious, precious, flat place.  Which was the only flat place between there and Stuart, a good many miles eastward.  Good grief, the hills seem never to end in that area!  Ultimately, of course, the land flattens out to rolling hills as you travel east on Route 58, with some very picture postcard moments as a visual treat after having stared at possible doom and ruin up in them thar hills.

We were both glad that Thing 2 wasn't with us on that trip (he was home recuperating from getting his wisdom teeth pulled), because that boy is twice the scardey cat I am about heights, and wouldn't have though some of that trip very amusing, at all.

To add a little insult to injury, Biff took an airplane from our neighborhood airport and flew it to B-burg then back home.  It took him a TOTAL of 2.5 hours flying time.  Our return trip home in the car?  4.5 hours.

Next time?  We fly.