School Is Starting Tomorrow.

Details aside, I was drafted to take the Dancer to school because the before and after care situation on campus ran out of spaces because everything is chaos, let’s hope that gets fixed in a week or two. She’s been doing extended day for years, but everything, everything, is fucked up now.

So I said yeah, of course I can if you have no other alternatives, but this unpaid month off is my only chance in three years to sleep in just a bit. I now have two animals who love to sleep in, and I generally wake up before they do, and this an entirely new and pleasant experience. If I have to set an alarm to get her to school I will of course do it, but if you can find an alternative that’d be great, because it’s not like I get paid sick days and vacation days and holidays off like a normal person.

As it turns out it won’t be an issue because my son-in-law works in a private school setting where they’ve had to delay opening because COVID hit their summer program. He’s now available to drop her off in the mornings. (Yay?) He’s vaccinated, but he has to get tested and if he’s positive she’ll also have to miss the first week or two of school.

Meanwhile, the school board decided to split the baby and made it that parents have to “opt out” of masks for their children. On one hand I like it – let’s make it really clear that these parents have chosen to expose their children to a highly contagious virus – but it still puts my mask-wearing granddaughter of two vaccinated parents who can’t just opt out and virtual school her at more risk.

My white hot hatred of this situation is beyond my ability to express.

My rant about Twitter related ass-vice about what Florida should be doing about all of this is too much to get into, and needs to be a separate rant. I need to go watch an Avengers movie and crochet something. I’ve been catching up on the Marvel franchise, and damn, they’re so much fun. I am in full Hulk Smash mode at the moment.

Quick Ellie Update:

It appears that whatever she was dealing with has passed. She’s affectionate and hungry and isn’t barfing or hovering over the water dish. I’ll continue to keep an eye on her, but at the moment it looks like she ate some paper that disagreed with her. Tonight she was pushing her face into Gidget’s dinner. Gidget tolerated it.

Animal Kingdom (Half) Day

It was just what I needed. I got there early and walked in just as Winged Encounters was starting. I can’t tell you how many times we walked past/missed this show. It’s not in full form now, it’s an abbreviated show with a quick fly over by fewer birds instead of an extended photo op, but it’s still a unique experience.

I was there on a mission: I wanted to see all the new babies born since June.

I did get a glimpse of the baby hippo, unfortunately no photo because it was literally in mama’s shade in the water and just looked like an adorable submerged piggy bank.

I got a fairly crappy shot of the new Lowland Gorilla baby:

This mediocre photo took forever, everybody was just obsessed with watching mama and baby so there were always heads in the way. Poor mama Azizi was trying to have some quiet time with the baby when two of the older kids started running around, play-fighting and generally acting like idiot older siblings/half siblings. I didn’t get video of her getting up in disgust TWICE and hauling the baby away from the hooligans. She was SO much the put-upon mom of a newborn with older kids who were acting up. Apparently some of the other adult females were backstage, I didn’t see them, so she was stuck with the baby and the younger family members. I hope she bitched out her sister-wives later. Daddy Gino was nowhere to be found. He’s sick of all these damn kids.

But I did get an excellent shot of the new Masai Giraffe, Humphrey. He knows how to strike a pose:

He’s curious about the trucks full of peoples, but already used to them.

I tried again to get a shot of Ranger the White Rhino, but he was napping with his mom:

The object on the left of the frame is Ranger’s sleeping ass. His head was under the bushes, so I was foiled again. Not that he’s a cute little baby anymore, rhinos grow fast and at 9 months he’s just a slightly smaller version of mom.

It was hot AF today, though there was cloud cover so it wasn’t as miserable as it could have been. Most of the animals were snoozing in the shade, which is the case when you visit in AUGUST.

I ate a healthy lunch of grilled chicken and rice and salad at Harambe Market, walked another couple of miles, decided there was no way in hell I was going to do the 120 minute wait for Flight of Passage in Pandora, and headed for the exit in early afternoon. It was a just right day. I saw the new babies, ate a tasty lunch, got a lot of fresh air and exercise, and as a bonus:

The anteater posed for me:

Seriously, I’ve tried for years to take its picture, it is usually toward the rear of its lushly landscaped enclosure, just glimpsed in the shadows. These are the weirdest damn creatures, but fascinating! It’s hard to tell size here, but think Golden Retriever with a really long snout and abnormally short legs (and obvs. not golden). For most of my life I thought anteaters were little cute things, like armadillos or possums. This thing would scare the hell out of you if you happened upon it.

So it was a good visit, just right in every way.

Ellie update: I didn’t come home to any barf, though I did see runny poop in the litterbox. She’s off her food, though she will still beg for treats. I will give her another night to right herself. Given her habit of chewing paper, there’s still a fair possibility she encountered an ink or glue that disagreed with her or is trying to pass a chunk of Amazon box. (Not really, she doesn’t seem to be in real distress.) I’ll give it another night and see how she is in the morning.

Tomorrow we are doing Meet the Teacher, and then I drop The Dancer for a dance solo session at the studio. Next year’s solo performance planning has begun.

Although the county wussed out on standing up to DeShithead and requiring masks for students, they ARE requiring all staff to mask up. This is a good thing, it will normalize mask wearing and encourage the students to wear them too. It’s not ideal, but I think they can make it work.

Anybody want a used cat?

So, I was going to post this, then held it because Ellie’s ill. Drinking a lot of water, I mean, a LOT of water, in the past few days, which has led to runny poop and barfing said water. So, I’m thinking we now maybe have a kidney issue?

Her age is approximately 6 (edited, I lost track) but that’s just a guesstimate from the shelter where I adopted her, she could be 8 or so.

I’ve gone an entire month without a $300 vet bill or having to buy $$ prescription food, so, of course. She’s not in any distress, so she’s just going to have to wait until payday (when I get my final check for the next 5 paydays). I did not need this.

The reason I don’t think this is an emergency – story below. She’s begging treats, demanding pets, looks just fine, and she’s well enough to leap to the mantel and commit casual vandalism.

I have a pair of hand carved giraffes from Kenya on my mantel. They have been there for three years, since I bought them during a short stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Wait, you didn’t think I could ever afford to visit Kenya for real, did you? I can’t even afford Animal Kingdom Lodge unless they’re offering a hell of a passholder discount!) In three years they have been unmolested and unharmed, totally ignored by the cat.

The other night I was rudely awakened by a crash. Ellie had inexplicably decided that she had to leap to the mantel. Why? Because she’s a cat. The smaller giraffe had hit the floor with a sound like a plate shattering. I was half asleep and confused and wasn’t even sure what the cat had knocked over, until I saw the small faceless figure near the fireplace. I couldn’t find the face at first and was contemplating bludgeoning the cat with the remains, but then I found it, and thankfully it was all in one piece.

It could have been worse, it’s a clean break and I was able to superglue it back, you can barely see the damage.

There’s a new baby giraffe named Humphrey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I hope I’ll see him on the safari on Thursday.

Trying To Be Normal

I held this post for a couple of days, thinking maybe I needed to hold it and revisit it. Fuck that, if I need to change anything it’s that I don’t say FUCK enough.

On Saturday The Dancer participated in the Championship Swim Meet that wraps up summer swim team. She took gold in freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke for her age group. This summer program becomes a major swim program at the high school level, they funnel swimmers onto college teams with scholarships. We are hoping that when she hits middle school dance will not be such a big deal, and she’ll switch to year round swim with this program. Ain’t no scholarships coming from dance competitions, child. Get your naturally athletic ass into the pool.

But then she also got a call from the director of the dance team that they are only doing one hip hop dance this year and it’ll mostly be older girls, but she’s in that dance without auditioning. (The auditions were the same day, and she was sort of busy winning gold medals for swimming.) So, yeah, it’s hard to ask a 9 year old to choose. She’ll do both for another year.

Oh, and she also got top scores on the FL standardized testing for her grade level. She was disappointed to learn she’d missed two math questions.

My daughter got a few professional photos from dance finals this year:

She looks absolutely beautiful here, of course, but Grandma prefers this version of her:

So yes, I am in a state of absolutely incandescent fucking rage that she has to go back to school this month and that motherfucker DeShithead has banned school districts from instituting mask requirements and requiring vaccinated staff. He will fine them, withhold funding, punish schools for trying to keep un-vaccinated children safe. This child will be vaccinated as soon as it’s available for her age group, but we will be living on tenterhooks until she’s safe. She understands the importance of masks and is great about wearing them, and fortunately I think the majority of parents at her school are not fucking morons.

But we are now in a place where a 9 going on 10 year old has to be more responsible than the adults who are supposed to be in charge.

Fuck all Republicans, seriously. You did this, by electing these science denying morons like DeShithead, who is actually signing executive orders forbidding schools from taking any steps to keep children safe in their classrooms.

I’m Officially on My Break

And not a moment too soon. I’m going to sit down with my planner and make a list of all the things I want to get done over the next 30 days. This definitely includes losing 10 lbs. Seriously, nothing fits.

Today’s agenda is simply cleaning and planning. I have a long list of mostly small things I’ve been putting off for months, because I simply didn’t have the mental energy to deal with them, plus a few bigger things, like a blog makeover.

The name will stay the same, of course, bossylittledog has been my online home for nearly two decades now, though I’m now on my third bossy dog.

Gidget is doing very well as an only dog. I was wondering how she’d cope, since she’s always been part of a pack, but she’s quite content to have mommy all to herself, except for the cat, and cats don’t really count.

I need to add pages to this site, update the appearance, generally bring it into this decade.

But this weekend is about decompressing from the stress of the last many months, listening to an audiobook, and cleaning out the fridge. Whoo, do I ever know how to have a good time!

Disney Is Requiring Masks Again.

And I will wear one when I go to Animal Kingdom next Thursday.

But I will be avoiding the Facebook Disney boards until the anti-mask un-vaccinated ignoranuses wear themselves out bitching about the mask policy.

I had one write a screed directed at me, telling me how masks don’t matter because the virus is actually transmitted through sweat and you get it by touching all those contaminated surfaces.

I didn’t respond, I just turned the thread off because it’s not my job to argue with assholes.

17,589 new cases in FL today. They obviously didn’t use enough hand sanitizer.

A Day and a Half to Go

And please, God, let everything be not too screwed up when I get back.

Outside consultant is on it, we have great communication, but I still live in fear that I’ve forgotten some random thing I didn’t pass on to them. We had a last call today, and they promised to keep everything rolling and hand it all back to me neatly when I get back. I’ve put the word out for the last two weeks that I’m going to be vanishing, but shall return. It’s all so weird. Forgive my deliberate vagueness about the details, but I do want to keep some distance between my work life and here.

Yesterday a guy called me about a thing, and I had a moment of Huh? and then was able to retrieve the status of the thing and hand it off to outside consultant to follow up on, because it’ll happen while I’m “gone.”

Late this afternoon another guy called me about another thing, and I sent an email to the county and copied him in, and I hope it smoothed some confusion about a thing I wasn’t involved in directly. This is not a job with a fixed, limited list of projects, and is far more like the development world I came from (where I made way more money). I get calls about all sorts of things that aren’t on my project lists. I have learned a lot in this role in the last year and a half or so, and I’m finally hitting my stride, where I (usually) know the answer, or who to ask about what.

My supervisor at the place where I work that doesn’t pay me (contracting is weird) said I’m getting a new title because I’d maxed out the range for my old title, which I decoded to mean I should watch for a raise from the people who pay me. He can’t see the split between what he put in for my role to the contracting company and what I’ll get from that company. So that’s wonderful news, seriously, but also deeply weird. If I don’t see a new title and a new pay rate in my new contract, I need to reach out to him. I’ve never had less control over my working life than in this situation. But still, a raise? Yay!

But pray for me, light a candle, whatever. Bless Her Heart was really eager to take on ONE task: again, can’t be specific, sorry. We were on a call today where we got the information about that task, because I asked: we needed a date when a thing was going to happen. She IMed me after the call to ask what the date was. SHE WAS ON THE CALL!! She’d been happy to take on this task! She didn’t pay enough attention to write down the date we’d been waiting to confirm, AFTER saying she’d handle it. I fucking give up. I need to disconnect her from this process somehow, she’s just more work.

It’s sheer dumb luck that the date was confirmed before I am forced out for 30 days so I could initiate the next step, but hey, if they didn’t want shit like this to happen, they could’ve made me an employee, or given me a competent minion.

Friday afternoon, I am outta there. I need a damn break.

Last Week Of Work Before the Big Month Off.

Dear God, I’m so ready. Maybe I can win the lottery before the end of August?

I have three Disney park reservations lined up; I did change the lineup because I’m not that all about Magic Kingdom. Heresy, I know, but I’m sure I’ll get there more than once in the next few months. Epcot Food and Wine is open already. They extended the season this year, so it opened in July and will close in I think November with barely a break to swap decor to roll into the holiday stuff, so I’ll hit that twice in one week, weather permitting.

Yes, yes, I am totally aware that the Delta variant is here and Florida is in freefall because our governor is a fucking moron who apparently thinks he still has a political future based on ignoring science and taking active measures to MAKE his constituents sick. People outside FL may not realize that he “won” last time by a teeny tiny less than half of one percent margin in a recount, so okie-dokie hon, that sounds like a solid strategy for reelection. Bless Your Heart.

I cannot even begin to express my rage about him, so all we can do here is try to live our lives around his bizarre combination of incompetence and fascism.

I’m fully vaccinated and absolutely will wear a mask in crowded spaces, but I’m really not planning to do much indoors at Disney, so I’m not overly concerned. I had been back in the parks before vaccines were available, taking precautions. It was no big deal, nobody passed out from wearing a mask. I will continue to be careful. I know every breakthrough case in a vaccinated person is being reported in the media, but the calmer voices still say the risk is very low if you are fully vaccinated, just be sensible and take precautions. I will.

If you are reading this and still not willing to get vaccinated, just fuck off. Seriously, I just don’t know what to say, and I’m not ready to hold anybody’s hand and coax them to be rational adults. There are good people out there working to get the “reluctant” vaccinated, convincing one dumbass at a time, but I am not that person. I am the person who is ready for public shaming of the unvaccinated:

Unless your ACTUAL doctor told you to your face that the vaccines are not okay for you for actual medical reasons, ( and that’s a very small portion of the population) just get your goddamn plague rat ass vaccinated. You aren’t just gambling your own life, you’re risking infecting people who can’t get vaccinated. Including, right now, everybody under 12. The un-vaccinated are the reason we have the Delta variant, and we still have fucking morons refusing because they watch Fox and get their news from Facebook groups and are just willfully, aggressively ignorant. I am done with these shitheads. Nicer, more patient souls than me can do the coaxing. I’m just sick of this shit. You are putting my grandchildren at risk, and I have no patience or understanding left.

(On a related note: Fox News should be drowned in litigation for spreading lies, day in and day out. They are backpedaling like crazy now, but too little too late.)

France is doing it right. Make getting the damn vaccine mandatory to be out in public. We have been at this for over a year, and we are still looking at it backward. If you don’t want the vaccine, that is totally your right. I hope you can work from home and get groceries delivered and arrange homeschooling for your kids, because the rest of us are ready to get our lives back and you are preventing this.

So, now that this rant is out of the way: I am taking my first real time off in three years, (contractor life) other than when I had the flu for about 5 days a couple of years ago. That was most definitely not a vacation. I can’t afford to travel, not that this is a good idea anyway. Ain’t no way I’m getting on a plane right now. So, yeah, visiting the NC grandkids won’t be happening even if I could afford it, because the South is a cesspool right now.

But I have a lot to do, besides going to Disney as much as possible, reservations and weather permitting. I am going to tackle the Purge. I’m going to go through my closets, the garage, all my random shit and the stuff that belonged to my mother that is just taking up space. No more “But I spent good money on that!” “But that’s my mother’s crystal!” She didn’t even use that shit. It just took up space.

I’m not entirely un-sentimental; family photos and my grandfather’s war medals (he was a WWI hero) and my mother’s junior high stuff from her hope chest are totally worth keeping. I’ve always been afraid she’d haunt me if I got rid of her hope chest, but I think if I kept the important contents I might be spared. I do have to figure out how to get into the slide out drawer at the bottom; I haven’t been able to find the tiny key for it. I have no idea what’s in there. Maybe it’ll be a huge envelope of money. Yeah, nope.

Two Week Countdown

To my surprise (unpaid) month off.

A month without pay will be okay. My emergency fund has plenty, no worries there. I can’t afford to travel, but between Disney and purging clutter and making stuff and other things, I think I’ll be able to fill my time.

I’m feeling better about work because my supervisor totally gets it, and our outside firm is going to step up for the month and try to catch all the random shit that comes my way on the daily. We do have to work out some logistical stuff, but Bless Her Heart isn’t totally useless, she just got thrust into her role. Outside firm also gets this, because they would like to have a call with me to figure out what else they need to know. So we will try to do all of this without hurting any feelings, and I’ll come back to the same situation I left, God willing. Nothing majorly screwed up will be good enough.

As I tell them, if I win the lottery while I’m “unemployed,” it’s been great knowing y’all and good luck!