Hello, It is I, the Worst Blogger EVER.

So, yeah, I’ve been busy. Work is insane and still sucks. My plans to get out and walk daily have been derailed by a heat index of 105 after work. (Air temp 95, but this is Florida and HUMID AF. It’s brutal.) Even for Florida, that’s extreme for mid-June. I can’t imagine what we’ll face in August.

On the plus side: Band Camp is over! I have been relieved of my side gig as The Kid’s driver. She has been dropping hints that she wants me to be her Uber to middle school, but nope, that cannot be. I can do a few days of this, not another school year. I do have a day job, and being her personal driver interrupts the day job and pays Not Jack Shit. She can take the bus with the other kids in the neighborhood.

I’m turning 65 very soon, and apparently I’m getting another bad knee for my birthday. I’ve had issues with my left knee since my thirties (I blame it on a spectacular roller skating crash when I was 9 when I swear my knee nearly turned backward for a second, but I was 9 and was told to walk it off, so that may be unrelated). Two weeks ago I really, really needed a walk, and decided to walk an unofficial 5k in my neighborhood. I wasn’t worried about time, it was just doing the walk after so long. It felt great.

I woke up the next morning with a pissed off right kneecap. Nowhere near as dramatic as the left knee issue when it gets mad and I can’t even put any weight on it. (My Bad Knee was totally fine with the long walk, WTF?) but yeah, my previously happy and well behaved right knee decided to stiffen up and hate stairs for over a week.

This morning I decided to test it, and went for a 30 minute, didn’t even look at my pace or distance walk. Both knees feel better. Now that I’m no longer the Band Camp Uber Driver I plan to get out every morning and do 30 minutes of Just Walking. I need it.

So, do you want an opinion or rant about the latest indictment of the Orange Shitbag? It will all unfold in time. The Republican Party is hopelessly broken, which is a more immediate issue. Let’s not tiptoe around the subject and say, “this Congress,” or “these MAGA Republicans,” because seriously, they’re not the fringe, they’re the leadership. If sane Republicans existed in this Congress they could shut this crazy shit down by standing up. They aren’t standing up.

So then we have to ask, “How did all of these crazy fascist Republicans get into Congress?” Republican voters voted for them.

I hope at least some of them are regretting their catastrophically bad judgment, and I’m not suggesting public shaming (though in some cases I do think it’s warranted). But let’s not pretend that these crazies weren’t voted into office, and NOT by “Both Sides.” We have a major problem with one of our two parties that has abandoned every principle they at least gave lip service to, like, oh “the Constitution,” and “small government,” and “the rule of law.” I’m old enough to remember when that was what they claimed to be. I’m also old enough to know that was bullshit even 50 years ago.

We are definitely living in interesting times.

Stay hydrated, eat right, get sleep if you can (do as I say, not as I do). Go for a walk. Read escapist books, make things. It’s hard to keep a balance between staying informed and staying sane, but we absolutely have to do this now.

Whee, that was a fun blog update! Did you miss me?

Monday Evening Blues.

At least it’s a different day of the week, thank you holiday.

So, I’m a month from turning 65, still haven’t figured out retirement, the timer on my dryer died last week, and my replacement Keurig had a spell of something weird today.

Replacement Keurig? After my (cheap, venerable) Mr. Coffee bit the dust a bit over a year ago, I bought a Keurig. I’m not a big coffee drinker and was sick of dealing with coffee grounds and cleanup, etc. when I only drink two (maybe) mugs in the morning. So there was a great sale on Keurigs I got mine for half price, it cost like a mid-level Mr. Coffee, a nifty narrow model that had three cup sizes and a descaling feature, and for about 9 months, we lived happily ever after.

Then one morning, on a weekday, at 5:30 a.m., it was dead. No warnings, no issues, one day it made coffee, and the next, it would not turn on at all. I don’t drink coffee all day, but I really, really want morning coffee. It was…unpleasant.

Keurig really does have decent customer service. I can’t complain about that, but if you buy one be sure to register your purchase, because you’ll probably need it. I contacted them, told them my sad tale of no morning coffee, and they gave me the steps to replace the machine. I had to send photos. Like, really? I registered the purchase, etc. That seemed weird, but whatever. So I posed a notepad beside the Keurig, wrote the date on the pad, drew an arrow pointing to the dead machine, and printed DEAD KEURIG in block letters. I made it look as much like a ransom note as possible. They Fedexed me a new one in two days, so yay for customer service, weird as they may be.

Now, I’m wondering how long this one’s gonna last, because it may be haunted.

Today I was in the kitchen at the other end of the room, when I heard the hissing sound of hot water. The replacement Keurig was doing something. I had not touched it in at least 6 hours, but it was activated. First, all the cup size buttons were lit, then the descale button stayed lit, and it pissed hot water on the counter. I grabbed a handy measuring cup and shoved it under the stream. It paused for a bit, then did it again. Then it turned off and it hasn’t done it again. Yet. I’ll unplug it before I go to bed, because I’m concerned that it’ll activate itself when I’m asleep.

EDIT: It did not do it when I was asleep. I went to the kitchen to get Gidget’s leash for her bedtime walkie, and the machine was lit up again. It does not have an auto-on timer feature. It just…lit up all by itself. I unplugged it.

I think I’m getting another basic coffeemaker. I really can’t deal with coffee drama in the morning. EDIT: I’ve ordered another basic coffeemaker, because fuck this shit. I will let Keurig know.

In other news, The Kid graduated from 5th grade and will be off to middle school in August. She received the President’s Award for Academic Excellence, which came with a lovely note from President Biden suitable for framing. She’s been All A Honor Roll all year, so that was a lovely end to elementary school. She did instrument tryout for middle school band and has decided to play the flute. Band camp starts the week after next, and I’ll be her Uber for that. It’s only 4 days a week for 2 weeks, so that shouldn’t be an issue; it’s about 20 minutes to drop her and fetch her, and I don’t have many meetings in my current (miserable) position. It’ll work. She’s also planning on playing volleyball.

The timer knob on my dryer is no longer timing, but the dryer is running fine, so whatever. I’ll set a separate timer, ain’t nobody got time for this petty shit.

The geniuses of the condo board had the buildings pressure washed, and they blew a hole in the stucco-ish possibly EIFS coating on my stairwell wall, and weakened other areas that are now bubbling. Pressure washing is done before a painting project. They were not planning to repaint. I took photos and sent them to the management company, and they said they’re working with the vendor to do repairs. (Do you know what EIFS stands for? “Eventually It Fails.” Old construction law joke.) This is a condo and exterior repairs are not my problem, so whatever.

So it’s the end of an era* (*except for a few days of band camp) with getting The Kid through elementary school. I’m going to miss having her around at random, but my mornings can get much more organized and my work day can start earlier.

Work remains work. Whatever.

Sunday Evening Blues. Again.

Still haven’t won the lottery. Work tomorrow. Bleh.

What has happened since my last bleh update? Not much, really. I need to get more aggressive about my “retirement” planning, because I’m definitely feeling the burnout.

After 3 years in the trenches in the Florida school system, my daughter got COVID last week. So, apparently, did half her co-workers. Nobody was really sick, everybody just remarked that “Damn, my allergies are driving me crazy!” She was stuffy and headachy and felt like shit all week, but allergies-sick, no fever, no drama.

On Thursday she lost her sense of taste and smell, and thought “Ruh-roh.” The Boyfriend (who still needs a blog nickname) had a test on hand at his place, and yep, after 3 years, one cruise, several theme park visits, weekend trips, restaurants, grocery stores, a couple of airplanes, and all sorts of exposure to germ wagon kids on the job, IN FLORIDA, where precautions were abandoned three years ago, she finally tested positive. It’s Sunday and she’s already much better and taste and smell are coming back, Thank God and the vaccines. The Kid was with her dad this weekend, but he got her tested and she was negative.

I’ve been trying to think of what I want to do for my 65th birthday and other than win the lottery and retire, I can’t think of anything extra special, so we have a contingency plan for a weekend at my favorite resort. Because yes, coffee on the balcony with “my” giraffes, brunch at Boma, and maybe an evening and fireworks at one of the parks is ALWAYS a great weekend. BTW, if you did click through to the Boma menu, please note that it says “partial listing.” That’s just the core things, the buffet is extensive and amazing, and the bread pudding sounds so average but is NOT. And the scrambled eggs have goat cheese and herbs, and there are African breakfast options of porridge and soups, and there’s POG juice and French press coffee, and you do have to get a reservation because the internet knows this is the best breakfast on Disney property. No character greets, just amazing food. You can dine there without staying at the resort and walk out to the viewing areas to see the animals and walk around to view the African art, and the little room off the main lobby that shows how Rich White People roughed it on safari 100+ years ago, with their giant tents and silver tea services. It’s hilariously, uncomfortably educational.

If you want a more little kid friendly but also good menu with characters, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is delightful! (Boma is also little kid friendly for sure, but you don’t get to meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari wear at Boma.)

If something better, or a winning lottery ticket, should pop up, we can always change, but honestly, I’m happy with this.

Tomorrow Is Monday, in a New Month and a Fresh Start!

Not actually me, but a truly alarming likeness.

But it’s May! That has to make a difference, right? RIGHT??? No?? Don’t tell me that.

My ankles are covered with mosquito bites. I’m sure this is because I wear pajamas and a robe while walking Gidget at O-Dark-Thirty, and my ankles are the easiest targets. Later this month the bites will shift to the backs of my arms, especially right above my elbows. If mosquitoes had currency and could buy my Elbow Blood I could retire, because the blood right above my elbows is Mosquito Dom Perignon. When it’s not available, my feet and ankles are the domestic sparkling wine.

I’m obsessed with plotting retirement, seriously. I need an off ramp from this situation. The catch: I still need money, as my retirement is definitely underfunded. Not as in “I can’t afford to take four cruises a year,” but as in, I’ll still have to work to supplement my meager retirement funding, but I’d like to do something that is not killing my soul as my retirement job.

But, due to bad decisions over 40 years ago, I am in Florida. I cannot change the now, I can only roll with it and figure out where to go from here.

Disney sued DeSantis, as they should. DeSantis is insane, and has set fire to his own presidential ambitions before a campaign even got off the ground. Disney isn’t Florida’s only major employer by any means. We have defense contractors, tech companies, banks, all sorts of big players, who must all be going WTF about a governor waging war on a major employer because they continued to treat their many LGBTQ employees as people when Our Pouty Whiny Overlord said they’re Icky. I don’t think this is going to turn out as he imagined. Apparently going to Europe to pretend to be a contender while Ft. Lauderdale flooded was a bad idea? Who could have told him, besides EVERYBODY?

Oh, funny about that Disney wokeness: I was in Epcot last weekend and stopped by Sommerfest in the German pavilion to try the pretzel bread pudding everybody raves about. It was delish and totally worth grabbing if you’re there, but that’s not the funny.

The funny is that Disney recently changed their wardrobe choices for Cast Members to make them non-gendered. This was a break for the female cast members mostly, who were often in layered dresses and vests and stockings and stuff that was murder in Orlando heat, to make them look authentically in the Alps or wherever. Generally, the women’s wardrobe options were more elaborate, and often required long sleeves, high necks, long skirts, dark hose, and sometimes headwear (Haunted Mansion, I’m looking at YOU) in 96 degrees and 90% humidity. That’s one of the things that changed, and long overdue.

Basically, now if they want to wear what the guys wear (usually a themed variation on shorts or slacks and an open collared shirt with suspenders or something) they can. A CM can pick what they want to wear as long as it’s appropriately themed for where they’re working.

So, as I was leaving Sommerfest with the awesome pretzel bread pudding (lightly cinnamon-y, slivers of apple, and a lovely custard sauce, not at all as heavy as it sounds, try it) a CM came into the pavilion. He was over 6 ft. tall, blond, bearded and good-looking, and wearing the dirndl dress his female colleagues used to have to wear every day (he was not wearing hose, and was wearing normal food service worker footwear). We greeted each other cheerfully, and he went on his way.

I know there will be people who would hate to see that, but I thought it was hilarious, and I’m betting it was a bit of fun for his work team, and now fun is allowed. In a theme park??? ::clutches pearls, swoons::

I’m Alive!

This olde blogge is again on life support. Life is just so exhausting.

I’m not on life support, just a tired old burnout who is sick of her job. I decided this weekend that I wanna be a Disney YouTuber. I watched a couple I watch semi-regularly do a “Halfway to Halloween” event at the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom, with a fancy charcuterie spread, then a dessert party INSIDE THE HAUNTED MANSION! They got comped to stay at Port Orleans Riverside to do this event. This is their job. They get paid to do this.

Clearly, I have made poor life choices.

Just half kidding; I know that those Disney YouTubers work their asses off to create content and edit video and it takes YEARS of hard work earning a few pennies here and there to get a following that leads to getting comped at resorts to promote things like that. At that level it is a real job and an exhausting one, but damn, it beats the shit out of my job.

So, what has happened lately?

Last week I had to ride with coworkers to a meeting three hours away. A guy I’ve been acquainted with for 8 years, who seems very mild-mannered and soft spoken, drove our rented Chevy Suburban with three row seating. After we were on the road we discovered that he’s a fucking maniac behind the wheel. We were driving in pouring rain on the interstate and he was aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, braking hard, basically doing all the things we are trained NOT to do by our employer. I kept my eyes on my phone, we all tried making conversation to distract ourselves from imminent death. I did note that the guy riding shotgun reached up to grip the hand hold at the door frame more than a few times, while we attempted to act like it was all cool. We were fine. It was fine.

We somehow made it to the corporate office, where we were treated to a 90 minute speech from a leader and room temp box lunches. They didn’t even have cold bottled water for the people invited to this shindig. Never. Again.

At least the rain stopped before our return trip, but the driving didn’t get better. At one point he missed a turn and made a u-turn in front of an oncoming pickup truck, and one of my coworkers began speaking out loud, with great passion, in Spanish. Our driver thought she was cussing him out. We all corrected him in unison: “She’s PRAYING!”

It’s a funny story now because we all survived, but seriously THAT WAS NOT OKAY. Just another entry in the I’m Too Old For this Shit Files.

And then there was the fire.

My ex-son-in-law and his girlfriend rent a house nearby, which was really convenient for shared custody of The Kid. It was, because yeah, there was a fire at the house last weekend. Totally not their doing, a freak issue with the pool pump that caught the rear of the house on fire as well, at 3 AM. No, the smoke detectors didn’t go off, probably because the fire was concentrated outside, but yes, everybody got out safely and the fire dept got there fast and put it out, but the house will need extensive repairs because a fair chunk of the rear living room wall is no longer there, as the fire dept had to open it up to make sure the fire was out.

The Kid is with her mom while her dad and GF are camped in a hotel, and apparently their belongings weren’t damaged much, though I suspect the living room furniture will need some real airing out.

Gidget update: I put out a request for recommendations on our neighborhood Facebook page about a new vet, because I’ve been very underwhelmed by the current office, and got a recommendation for a guy who seems like the last of the old timey vets. He left the corporate practice I’d given up on and went out on his own in a small office, where his son has now joined him.

Gidget is terrified of vets, but when she met this guy, she actually relaxed. She even let him look at her terrible remaining teeth, which are probably going to have to go soon. (That’s her Yorkie side; Murphy had to have a major dental around this age too.)

The vet spent a LONG time with her, gave her a thorough exam, discussed her allergies and anxiety, etc. and put her on an allergy shot which worked miracles with her picking and scratching; we are all sleeping so much better, it’s amazing. (The previous office sold me a $35 bottle of shampoo that did nothing, and never even suggested allergy meds.) So at long last, we have a vet I can trust. Fingers crossed he doesn’t retire next year.

I want to retire. I want to win the lottery. I want to win the lottery and THEN retire.

I owe y’all a rant about DeFascist, but the short rant is: He’s crazy, none of his wild threats about “building a prison next to Disney” etc. are real or mean anything. He really is crazy, even too crazy for the Republican Party, which is seriously batshit and full on fascist at this point. Disney isn’t leaving Florida. In fact, they just announced a massive affordable housing initiative as well as new park expansions. Nitwits who suggest that Disney could just pick up and move are nitwits. Disney World covers 43 square miles and has billions of dollars of infrastructure investments, and none of that is going anywhere. DeShithead’s political future is going nowhere fast. It’ll be silly and stupid in the meantime, but ultimately, it’ll be fine.

Guardians of the Galaxy is awesome. More intense than I expected, but smooth and crazy fun, with an amazing pre-show experience. The transition from the place where you wait to board the ride to the next area is jaw-dropping sophisticated technology and everybody gasped. Highly recommended.

Happy 1st Indictment Day!

And stand by for the orchestra of doomsayers who will immediately explain why this doesn’t matter because he (probably) won’t die in prison for it. That’s not the point. The point is that a jury concluded that Trump had done a crime lots of crimes (34 count indictment!?) and deserves to stand trial for it. First time in American history this happened, so just take a moment to bask in the glory of this precedent.

I’m sometimes exhausted by these conversations. I know everybody’s not old enough to have paid attention to Watergate, and I probably wouldn’t have been either if I hadn’t grown up in the DC suburbs where it was both a local and national story. That was a fraternity prank compared to what went down in the Trump “administration” and has continued since, because they kept crime-ing.

This is going to take time, and it’ll probably come down to a race between the Special Counsel and Trump’s arteries to see how it ends, but it’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, let’s do a happy dance for Disney! Remember when Gov. DeFascist had a tantrum and decided to get even with Disney by dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District? Yeah, well, unintended consequences, and all that.

Reedy Creek did a totally legal and above board move and gave its power back to Disney on its way out. They published their intentions. They gave proper notice of the meeting. They did everything they were legally required to do, and apparently none of DeSantis’s crack legal team noticed it was happening. They’ve been too busy doing an end zone dance about how they stuck it to the “woke” Mouse to bother monitoring published meeting agendas. He’d moved on to banning books and giving vouchers to shitty charter schools to undermine public education. I guess we should be grateful that these people are so BAD at their attempted authoritarianism.

Our Doughy Overlord Wannabe Dictator has a Big Mad now, and swears they will fight this move by Disney, and he swears no taxpayer dollars will be used, so, they’re going to the Supreme Court with pro bono representation? I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure Disney will deal with it.

It’s been a good day for the good guys and the rule of law.

Good Girl, Gidget!

Today I learned that my silly “talking to my dog” training method really worked and paid off.

When I moved into this neighborhood a decade ago with Murphy and Sophie, I was concerned that they didn’t know where they were and if, God forbid, they ever got out somehow, they wouldn’t know their way home. I have a 2nd story condo in a lot of buildings that look very much alike. I know dogs use scent cues too, but if their scent skills were infallible we wouldn’t have so many lost dogs. I didn’t want them to have to think too hard about where to go, so we ended every walk with, “Let’s go HOME!” and then after a week or so, I’d say “Let’s go HOME!” and let them lead. It actually took a bit, especially in the dark, and there was sniffing involved, but eventually they’d lead the way with confidence.

When I adopted Gidget I used the same technique, “Let’s go to Gidget’s House!” “Let’s go home, Gidget!” to get her used to her new neighborhood.

Today, she demonstrated she’d mastered the lessons.

We were outside on her mid-morning poopwalk. (She’s lucky her mom works from home and can deal with a little dog’s colon that activates around 10 a.m.) So we were out taking care of her business, when I heard yelling from around the corner. One of my neighbors has an adorable and energetic Corgi pup, I think he’s around 6 months old now? Maybe a bit older, but under a year for sure. Pup came running around the corner dragging his leash, being chased by his retiree daddy, a man who is, shall we say, neither young nor built for speed.

I saw the pup and called him by name, and he happily charged over to me. I picked up his leash, and then he saw Gidget and was like, “WHEEE! A NEW FRIEND!” and charged at her. Gidget liked him when he was a teeny baby puppy smaller than she is, but he’s now more than twice her size and has no respect for personal space. He charged her, and her bones became liquid and she slid right out of her harness and took off. I have no idea how old she really is, but she can move like a young dog. I also think maybe she really is double-jointed.

So I’m holding a leash with an empty harness on the end, and a Corgi going, “But I want to be FRIENDS!!” at her retreating back when Corgi Dad came puffing up, thanked me, and took his leash, as Gidget ran like hell.

And I watched as she turned up the correct driveway to our courtyard seconds later. I told the Corgi Dad she’s fine, she took herself home. When I got there she was on the front balcony, totally happy and un-stressed, and feeling she deserved a treat. She was quite proud of herself, and I was proud of her. Even when she was scared out of her harness and her wits, she knew how to find Gidget’s House.

100 (now 99) Days.

It would have been 100 days until my 65th birthday if I’d posted this yesterday, but, eh, I did not. So, 99. Welcome to my 100 99 Day Plan!

Back in the day, when I was skinnier and healthier I used to walk daily. Once upon a time, I used to get my ass out the door and do 2 miles a day, either before or after work. A daily walk is a habit I want to get back into my life. I’m not sure whether mornings or evenings will work better for me, but there will be at least a 30 minute walk every day, until my pace improves and 30-40 minutes is at least 2 miles.

I’m swearing off diet apps for now, because I’m just fucking sick of counting shit. My life is governed by spreadsheets and reporting systems at work and I’m just not able to do it in the rest of my life without getting all stabby. Instead I will eat a mostly plant based Mediterranean diet, drink all the water and the tea, snack on fruit, and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. That is all I have in me right now, and I really think that will be Enough.

Back in the Before Times, my corporate employer did a thing at meetings: “30 for 30” when every 30 minutes we would stand up and stretch for 30 seconds. That’s one of the things that fell away when we all went remote, and my back and knees and entire body misses the reminder to get my ass up and move regularly during the work day. I was talking with a coworker (online, we all work from home) and I wondered if I could ask Alexa to remind me to do that, because I really need it.

I didn’t find a programmed routine and didn’t have the energy to teach Alexa, because we still have words about not waking me up at 5:30 if I take a day off during the week.

Me: “Alexa, cancel my 5:30 alarm for tomorrow.”

Alexa, cheerily: “Okay! Alarm canceled. Would you like to cancel this alarm for every weekday?

Me: “Alexa, no, I said cancel it for tomorrow. Only tomorrow.”

Alexa: ::sulks silently::

Alexa and I have this conversation at least once or twice a month, and she asks every single time whether I’m canceling my alarm for every weekday. The concept of “Tomorrow” apparently confuses her. She’s really good about turning the lights on and off when told, but yeah, otherwise, the girl is dim and not as teachable as advertised.

So, while I was figuring out how to set an at home version of a 30 for 30 reminder I found an IOS app called, cleverly enough, “Stand Up!” which does exactly what I wanted. I was able to set it for a reminder to get my ass up every 30 minutes between 8 and 5 on weekdays, and unlike our gal Alexa, it took less than a minute to set up and does not talk back. Every 30 minutes my iPhone and Apple watch ping and vibrate quietly. I can ignore it if I want, it’s not intrusive at all and I don’t have to argue with it to make it stop. It’s a reminder, not an eager but dim assistant that annoys you until you respond. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks and love it.

And no, I’m not being compensated for this plug, it’s just a useful little app if you sit a lot, even if you aren’t sitting at a desk for work. (Even knitters and readers need to stand and stretch regularly. Just sayin’.)

So, my variation on 30 for 30 will be something I can’t do in an office meeting: I’ll add a plank every 30 minutes, or every other 30 minutes, whatever works. Stand, stretch, get down slowly and creakily into a plank, because yeah, the deterioration from sitting all the time is real. Hold a plank for at least 30 seconds. Get back to work. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And walk. Eat plants. Drink water. Get sleep. That’s the plan.

Alexa will get to aggravate me again with the alarm cancellation stuff this week, because I’m taking Thursday off to hit Epcot Flower and Garden with my daughter.

My daughter is on a break between jobs, she starts the new, higher paying 20 minute commute gig in April, so we are doing our annual tradition of playing hooky for Flower and Garden sans Kid. We’ll take her another day. I’m hoping that if we’re going on a random weekday we’ll have a better chance to get the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve tried off and on for months, but no luck.

I may take Friday off too, just because I need a catch up on life day. Good Friday is a holiday for my employer, so I may take Thursday or Monday and wrap that into a 4 day weekend, I haven’t decided. Either way I need a day or two of catching up on life.

Be Kind. Because you never know.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning, and as is my (bad) habit, browsed social media and gave Gidget some pets before getting us both out of bed.

One of the first posts I saw – I think it was THE first, actually – was from my pet sitting company. A husband and wife team have had a pet sitting company here for well over 20 years, and I’ve used them for over a decade. It was just them, no random staff, and they have a fierce and loyal following. Granted, I don’t travel all that much these days, but when I did, all I had to do was text the husband, “I’m going out of town for [insert dates], can you take care of my critters?” and his cheery text would arrive, “Sure can. Key under the mat?”

And that’s all it took to arrange for a trusted sitter that Murphy and Sophie loved the minute they met him. I remember that first meeting over a decade ago, when he sat on the kitchen floor and had both dogs in his lap while we chatted, they came to sit on his lap and they looked at him with adoration, and they did NOT take to strangers that fast EVER. That company was our go-to pet sitters ever since, they had the Bossy Dog Seal of Approval.

I rarely saw him, he’d text when he picked up the key, and send me updates about how my (senior and special needs) crew was faring, and leave the key when they were done, and email an invoice. That was pretty much the extent of our relationship for the last decade or so.

He would take beautiful pictures of his clients and share them on Facebook. A few years ago he shared gorgeous portraits of Ellie, who actually came out of hiding when he was there. (I found one and added it below.)

He also did a dramatic b/w portrait of Sophie looking somber for a Memorial Day post, but I can’t find it. His wife took care of my pets and my daughter’s when we went on the cruise last month. My daughter was about to book them for another trip in a couple of weeks.

His wife posted to their company page this morning. He “lost his battle with depression” yesterday. I am still trying to take it in, and I can’t imagine the pain his wife is in right now. They’d been married over 30 years.

I’m feeling the same sort of gut punch I felt after we lost Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain. I was a client, not a personal friend, and I had no clue that this man was anything but how he presented himself, a cheerful, hardworking guy who loved what he did and the animals he cared for, always positive and there for everybody. And that’s the awful part – you never know what kind of pain people are hiding behind their professional face.

A reminder to just be kind, always, because you honestly never know what others are dealing with.

Sorry to break my blog silence with such a downer, but it was a shit day.

Stop Saving the Good Stuff (and other random thoughts.)

Someone in one of my Facebook groups (one for stationery nerds and journal addicts) shared a link to a blog post I really loved to read. Facebook provides something both useful and timely twice this year, and it’s only February? We may actually be in the End Times.

I’ve browsed the archives and a lot of her writing resonates with me (though not the paper filing systems stuff). That essay in particular hit home, because I’m a stationery nerd. I LOVE beautiful notebooks, and in the last couple of years in particular, have amassed a small collection of lovely notebooks that I once would have hoarded, because they are “too good to use.” I do use them. I just keep accumulating more than I can use at one time, because if you are a stationery geek, you can’t help yourself.

My perspective about not saving things changed several years ago when I was cleaning out my parents’ house after their deaths, and saw how many things my mother had saved all of her life, put away for me, I suppose, or just because the stuff was “too good to use.” I still have her Mikasa china, the stuff she only busted out for Christmas and Easter dinners for 40 years. I don’t use it either. I don’t do big Christmas and Easter dinners.

Her china is carefully packed away in nice quilted china storage cases, and her box of impractical flatware that needs to be polished is around here somewhere still. I never use it (I haven’t seen the flatware in years, I honestly don’t remember where I put it) yet I can’t seem to get rid of it. I really should take it to a consignment shop and let it go to someone who would actually enjoy it. I’ll add that to this year’s to do list.

I had several candles I’d bought or was gifted in the last few years, sitting around unused. In the last month or so I’ve started lighting a candle every day while I’m working; it makes a nice light scent in the house. I also have an urge to wear perfume again; no issues with allergies at the office now that I work from home.

I’m going to Epcot tomorrow and I think I may splurge on some fancy perfume, just because. (Because I haven’t bought perfume in at least ten years.) Did you know Epcot’s France has a Guerlain shop? It smells like magic, and I’m drawn in every time I walk by, and then I go, no, no, I don’t need it. True enough, I don’t NEED it, but I want it. And I’ll wear it daily, and not save it “for good.” (And yes, I did do a price comparison because I’m well aware of theme park markups, but this shop is expensive enough they don’t feel the need to gouge.)

Lots of changes are coming this year, and it’s going to be interesting, and I’m here for it.

My daughter and her fella are planning to move in together when the school year is over. They each have shared custody of a current and future middle schooler, and each also has a large young male dog (one GSD, one Heinz 57 Goofball) and the logistical complications involved make me want to lie down with a cold cloth on my forehead and a teacup full of vodka, but fortunately this is NOT my problem to manage. They are smart and capable adult professionals with six college degrees between them, and they’ll sort it out. They don’t need my help or advice. My daughter has a new job MUCH closer to home, and that will improve her quality of life immensely.

2023 is going to be the year of many changes, and it’s all good.