Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ready to Scream

One of the Man's brothers died, suddenly and shockingly, on the first day of August. He was the second youngest brother, who wouldn't have turned 60 till next week, but he had diabetes and probably had other health issues as well.

Having dealt with their parents' estates, my sister-in-law doesn't feel up to handling this estate, and has asked the Man to do it. Like us, she lives down here in NoVA.Brother was the last sibling still in NYC, in Queens. He was a bit of a lone wolf, had no partner of either gender, and lived in what one of my other brother-in-laws (no less of a packrat himself) describes as "a three bedroom house worth of stuff in a studio apartment."

Plus storage spaces. At least one, perhaps two.

The Man will have to deal with this, hopefully with the help of that other brother-in-law. I won't be able to help much because the estate still isn't settled, and we can't get into the apartment now. And by the time we do, I will be back to my multiple story hours a week grind.

To add insult to injury, the Man broke a front tooth last week. And having neglected his teeth for years, he will end up losing most of them. Possibly dentures, which are $$, possible partial dental implants which are even $$$

I wanted to re-do our deck--it needs doing. I wanted to replace our windows. I see that all fading away as dental bills loom.

And the Man, who has suffered (but not treated) from mild depression is in a bad place, and he takes it out by being nasty to me and to the girls. This isn't going to help things.

Then there's SC, my sweet, steady, reliable girl. She will graduate college (!) in December, and wants to go onto graduate school. Her 529 plan won't cover most of the cost. And she keeps trying to pass the math portion of the PRAXIS exam, and failing, and she can't do the grad school program without passing.  Oh, and she has developed a helluva case of IBS-d, which is probably stress induced.
I could also mention that her long time boyfriend has decided he is going to transition into being a woman named Alice(!), and that getting her to officially breakup with him was hellish. They are still friends though, and he/she is depending on her more than he/she should.

Meanwhile JR is very reluctantly going to community college, still with no direction, still not doing anything to go in any direction. She has had a very nice boyfriend since last October, but the relationship got shaky in the summer. And her only true friend, her BFF, has gone off to college in the wilds of Maine, so she has no one else to hang out with, and I doubt if she will make many friends at the new school.

At work, they forced the circulation supervisor, my friend of nearly 20 years, into early retirement, and we are short staffed, I fear my Type A boss is doing things behind my back, and my friend here who I think of as my "other" brother-in-law has stopped speaking to me except when necessary, and I don't know why he's pissed at me.

Oh, and I am daily chased by the fear that I might have lung cancer, because I got sick last December and the doctor THOUGHT they saw something on my lungs, and my own doctor, who is hyper cautious wants me to have an MRI this fall, and I obsess that I am going to die and hurt my girls and leave my Man to fend for himself. 

Can I scream now?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipsing the Eclipse.

Note, for anyone reading this. I haven't posted here in a long time for many reasons, and I have no idea when I will post again. But I want to remember this day here.

I watched the eclipse in a park by the Potomac River, across from where the hate monger is squatting.

There were white people,and African Americans and Latinos. Young and old.

We ran out of glasses to give away (we'd saved 50 pairs for today from the ones NASA sent us), but we kept back 4 pairs and went around sharing them with people, letting them glimpse the eclipse.

Everyone shared. Everyone said 'thank you" to us. People shared their pinhole cameras and personal eclipse glasses with strangers. There were smiles and laughter everywhere.

The sky held till 2:42, when as close to totality as we would get (80%) was achieved, and the moon had a small, fiery orange crown. Shortly after, the clouds closed in, and people headed out of the park.

The eclipse was a marvel. But what I cherished was that small group of humanity, all sharing the wonder of our planet.

Monday, November 07, 2016

I Can't Dance

I love my ballet classes. I've been a bad dancer for 15 years and it has given me endless joy and fellowship.

And yet, I have not been to class in over 2 weeks.

It was JR's minor ailment, and sciatica for me one day. It was the crap with the Man another.

But last week, and today, it is simply I DON'T want to go.

All I want to do is curl up in my house, with a cat on my lap and read. And occasionally, cry.

If I didn't have work obligations, that's all I'd have done all day.

The time change, my election fears, the money worries, it's all bearing down on me.

My peak flow meter says I'm fine, but my lungs ache, and all I want to do is sleep.

Dance makes me joyful. I know if I was there I'd be happy.
But somehow, I just can't go.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Dear Prospective Homeowner

Please buy my house.

You've just looked at it--I don't know if you're the same person who looked at it on Saturday, but please buy it.

We tarted up the kitchen with those stainless steel appliances. It took me endless crap with Home Depot to get the stove--and I ended up buying it at Loewes--and it's a good stove. It's very similar to the one I bought for my own new house, only mine is white. And the fridge is the same fridge. I took my lovely white one, the one I got last November, with us. But I bought you one that is almost as good.

I know the counters are laminate, not granite, but they're new, and so is the sink. And while some of the cabinets ARE 12 years old, some of the others are new.  And they're all good cabinets. It's a small kitchen, but you are getting my lovely work counter with the full length drawer that was so good for my knives and utensils, and my baking cabinet below.

The floor is pretty linoleum tile. I remember the Man putting it in. SC helped him--she was only 8 or 9 then. It's not new, but it's a good pattern that never looks dirty, and won't hurt your feet when you're standing on it to cook. I miss it, and will replace the crappy floor in my new house with something similar, once we have money again.

Once you buy my house. Did you notice the huge, lovely living room/dining room?There's lots of room there now that the Man's crap is gone.  We had parties there with all our stuff--just think of the parties you can have without 10 zillion books taking up the space!

You get my beautiful parquet floors, newly refinished, so that years of babies and kids and cats have been erased.

You get my beautiful double windows, all looking out to our brick patio. There's about 2 tons of brick there, bricks that the Man and I removed and that were newly reset. You can sit there, looking out at the lovely woods.

You get the stairs with the landing where the cats used to play and where I'd sit, looking out the window.  Six different cats lived with us in this house.

You get my bathroom with the pretty shower tiles. It's newly painted, and the old ugly tile is gone.

This is the house we moved into when SC was a baby. The house where I was pregnant with JR. You get the rooms where my girls grew up, and my bedroom, with its wonderful 2nd floor view into the trees. You'll have the green light that filters in as the leaves sway. You'll see the beauty of the snowy woods, and the slope where we sledded.There are deer. And foxes. And all kinds of birds.

For 20 years it was my house. And I loved it. It was my home, my nest, my safe place.

But we've moved, and I'm learning to love my new house, and I need to sell this one so that I can pay my brother the money I owe him, clear the credit cards, and have money for the things the new house needs.

So please buy my house. And love it, and be good to it.

The Library Lady

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dear Passport Patron:

Background Note: My library is now serving as a passport application agency. We get $25 per passport processed, so it's a good deal, but it makes me nervous. Following the rules step by step is not my forte (!) and this is a government document, fiddly to the nth degree.
(If you apply for a passport, make sure that you count to make sure your agent only puts 6 staples on your form, 7 if you're sending in an old passport. It's required to be that way and no other! Really!)

Dear Passport Patron,
You have a nice family, and I was fine with your little boy getting restless, because I get kids. And I appreciated your family's patience. I'm new at this, and you have a few minor issues I had to check to make sure the rules worked correctly.

And I know you thought it was amusing to ask if you should make out the check to the "Clinton Foundation" rather than the State Department. But, because I am a public servant who is used to dealing with asshats from Oklahoma and other podunk places, I just smiled, instead of telling you better them than the Trump Foundation. Because at least with the Clinton Foundation the money would go to the people it was supposed to help instead of the guy running the foundation.

Have a nice trip to France.

The Library Lady
(Who would like you to know that even if you and your wife both vote for that foul man, there are three votes for Hillary in MY house, because MY daughter has been brought up to be an intelligent, thoughtful, educated human being, and there would be 4 votes is JR wasn't only 17 this year!)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dear Prospective Employees

If you are applying for the assistant position in my department, please be aware of the following:

This is not an "I just got my degree and I need a job," sort of job. It is not a "well, I really love to read, and I need a job," sort of job.

It is basically a frickin' paraprofessional librarian job. And if you don't know what that means, look it up!

And that's part of the problem. No one we've interviewed has bothered to do their homework.

You don't know what librarians do. You don't know what CHILDREN'S librarians do.

And you haven't bothered to research it!

For cripe's sake, there are a zillion sources out there on the Internet, everything from "Storytime Underground" on Facebook and elsewhere, to endless blogs about children's librarians (I have one myself, you know), to library websites where they have information about their activities.

Including this library system!

You're not educated or up to date about children's literature. Most of you don't seem to know GoodReads or Library Thing,  or even lists on, much less School Library Journal or Hornbook.

The American Library Association has a site for children's work packed with stuff about zero to 5 education, book awards and more, but you're coming in and telling us you get YOUR recommendations and keep up to date via articles on Facebook!  Or from your friends who write books.

And even those of you who have taken early childhood courses, or have kids yourself don't seem to get anything about young children. Lady, the reason your twins throw food when you read them crappy Jane Austen parodies of  "Goodnight Moon," is that they may appeal to you and your twee friends who think "Baby Lit" books are great, but they DON'T APPEAL TO YOUR KIDS!

Good luck to all of you. You are nice people, and I hope you find good jobs.

The Library Lady
Still looking for a new assistant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

So What's New?

My assistant left at the end of August, and I was part disturbed, part relieved. The Man thinks that she or her spouse must work for the government and that's why she was so closed mouthed about her life, I tend to think she's very introverted, but that there was SOMETHING going on--why else would a teacher with a degree be doing this sort of work?  It made things uncomfortable for me.  She also was NOT a multitasker, and while her calm presence was great, I need to get things done. Currently doing interviews for her successor. Sigh....

We moved at the end of August, a hellish move that took 12 hours because of the Man's crap. Nearly 100 boxes of books now reside in a basement area that was SUPPOSED to be JR's music spot. Instead she plays the guitar next door to my room, and the sound carries all over the house.

More boxes are still marring the living room, and a bit of the family room, but the Man is finally working on shoring up some bookcases, so we should have the living room cleared at least. This has been delayed because he has wasted innumerable hours over curtains--needed, but he's complicated this as he complicated everything. I am grateful that he agreed we needed a contractor to handle lighting and other things in the house before we moved in--or I'd have been waiting years for that.

JR had a very hard time adjusting to the new house, but she has done it, and now has mastered taking the city bus home after school.  SC of course, has managed things beautifully, aside from the fact that she is trying to pass the PRAXIS exam for teaching, has failed the math twice, and is costing us too much money in tutoring. Her boyfriend was a huge help in moving things from our $500 a month storage unit to the new house in a sweltering August heat wave, and is always happy to come over and help put together new furniture and such. I like him, I just worry about him and SC for the long term.

Bruce the Bold discovered he could break out of most of our rooms closed doors, including the linen closet, and we have had to manage that. He took to the new house easily. Molly was terrified of course, hid behind the dryer in the laundry area for most of the first day or two, and even slept with me at night a bit--something she never does. But she got used to the house, especially since I set up our bedroom window areas to be similar to her sleeping places at the old house.

We have spent a fortune fixing up the old place. It has now been on the market for 3 weeks and nary a nibble. Apparently we needed not only to put in new stainless steel appliances, but new kitchen cabinets and GRANITE countertops to get a good price. I am getting scared, because we will soon run out of reserve funds, and if we don't sell soon it will be a very hard winter.

And the Man SHOULD be happy, and perhaps he is, but he is generally not talking to me, and I can't write any more about this today. I just can't.