i’m kind of sick but also excited

I’m working up a new recipe.* Listening to Dean Martin’s “Forever Cool”. You know, he has me at Track 01 (“Ain’t That A Kick In The Head”). Damn, that man packed some sex appeal in his crooning.

Tonight Cyn sends me a link. I kind of laughed, then I started looking around. And it turns out this is the loneliest, and I mean the loneliest thing I have ever seen. More lonely than the geekiest D&D nerds with their 12-sided die, drinking Mountain Dew all night. More lonely than that dog turd half-squished on the lawn. More lonely than the stale half-donut in the bottom of the box after the Insurance Benefit Primer Workshop at a Community College.

* ETA: we had it for dinner; ’twas amazing!

omg sweet sweet internet

Since late last night our internet connection has been down. I have always known that email, IM, and blogging keeps me from focussing on other household duties but this morning really proved it. By 11 AM I had roused, fed, and dressed each child, taken Sophie to school via bike, done two loads of laundry, made beds, finished the dishes and cleaned the refrigerator, made homemade pizza sauce for tonight’s dinner and brownies for dessert, and finished the machine-sewing for Nels’ latest pair of pants (there’s a story to these pants I will sew-blog later). The efficiency and pleasantness of the morning is almost enough to make me forgo Inter-Tron during my morning hours. Almost.

One reason I am a badass is that I biked Sophie to school in not only rain but gale-force winds (with the help of The Stills on iPod – thanks J. for the suggestion!). I suspect this will be my life for a while until I can figure out how to come up with $793 for my van and it’s fubar’d fuel pump. P.S. I just got the estimate yesterday by phone and tried to hold off telling Ralph who’s having mental and emotional problems with the realities of our financial situation. It’s too bad we couldn’t be down to one car during the lovely summer months we just spent.

Due to the storm I wasn’t feeling as excited about my normal modes of getting around (biking, walking, bussing). So this morning I’d called to ask my mom if she’d give Nels and I a ride to the library (my current locale as I type here). She was headed to a funeral today – my lifelong next-door neighbor died last week. So I asked for my dad and he agreed to pick us up.

My father is an intelligent, laconic, grumpy person who likes to rudely tease his three nuclear family members in some sort of twisted way to relate to them (example, “Got a job yet?” in a snotty tone to my brother who is currently living below poverty-level – albeit in a nice home with at least one month’s rent paid – while he searches for one and daily grows more anxious and sad). I have decided to choose to believe my father loves me, because his behavior towards me could / does indicate a lack of respect – often. I love him and will always love him. And yes, he can be helpful. When he took me out to my van last Friday he assited me in trying to get a jump and evaluating the problem to be needing a tow, or not (it did. Shit. P.S. I surmised fuel pump and was correct as it turns out. Perhaps I should try to hone my auto-psychic skills to make a quick buck). After we left my van to drive into town he not-so-helpfully treated me to a deriding monologue about how this van is a piece of shit and has been giving us problems from Day 1. When it comes to looking for advice and guidance this kind of meanness / weirdness really clouds my judgment at whether to look to him for assistance and mentorship, or not.

So today when he dropped me off as I packed my son out of the van he abruptly grunted, “What are you doing?” (which meant, “Dear daughter, I am concerned at how you will get home in the storm. Would you like me to pick you up and take you back home when you’re done?“). I said, “I’m just going to use their computer and pick up a hold.” He said, “You’re not coming over later?” I said, “No… I’ve got to get home and do some chores.” He said, “I could drive you back,” in his patented half-offer, half-belligerant delivery that is so uniquely Dave Fisher. I told him we’d bus home, I thanked him, and said I’d see him at 5 when they came over for dinner.

I love my father and that’s one of the major, and I mean major reasons we moved here – to be near my family while my father was facing the last days – or months, or years; whatever his cancer affords him – of his life. But sometimes he and my mother tire me out. His grumpiness, and even more so her excuses for it (for her own personal settling and to encourage my brother and I to settle for it as well). I still love them both and more than ever. I don’t feel victimized by them in any way; I am fully aware that I can bring my desire for different behavior to them at any time, and I have in the past. I am proud of Ralph and I for giving them the kindness of moving my family close to them. I am glad for their help, strings-attached as it sometimes seems. Today, I was glad for a trip to the library out of the wind and rain. That, and the bus-fare I stole out of their van for the trip back home.

this AM on HO-INET3

OK first, I’m so in love with our library. Don’t ask me why, but in seven years I never did more than set a toe inside the PT version a few times. Part of the reason might be the PT library had an assy kid setup; kids didn’t stay where they were supposed to and it was kind of a “hush”ing library; furthermore there was no way to do grownup stuff or even look for a book without abandoning your children one floor down – not a possibility for those with younguns. The HQX library has an upstairs that is much louder (at times, depending on number of children) than any library I’ve been in – which is to say it sounds like a normal building but quieter. Lately I’ve taken to going daily and letting my kids read / play while I do – this, blogging. Or reserve holds, write an article for the zine, whatever. It’s good times. Before we leave Sophie and I check out five books from Timberland’s list of 100 to read before school.

There are technical aspects of the library that are just precious. For instance, they have a mid-nineties-esque computer use registry (which is actually quite handy to use; last night I registered station 3 for 11 today, each station funnily enough called HO-INET) and the browser (some version of IE) will not let you find a webpage unless you painstakingly type the “http://”, technical pickinesses that further inspire episodes like the one this morning:

At 11 I’m sitting next to this dude who is probably under 60 but has the fretting, soft voice of a much older man as he struggles to do something on the computer. I hear him saying stuff like, “Oh no, not that…” and “I don’t understand!”, “Oh dear,” then, inexplicably, “They always make it look easier on TV.” I start feeling like either he talks to himself (which I suppose one should ignore?) or he is hoping I will horn in and assist him with whatever (modest, I’m guessing) computer task he’s undertaking. One thing about HQX, you learn to roll with the crazies and more or less mind your own business until they try to talk to you, ask for help, fondle you, or all three.

Sure enough, a few moments after I’ve noticed his self-talk he says, “Excuse me miss… Do you know how to do things with the internet?” (I am not joking and think he even said something weirder but in my spontaneous glee I was not taking careful mental notes). I get up and look over his shoulder and see he is trying to submit some recepits to Rite-Aid for a refund. He’s been doing this for however long without successfully having signed into their website. I take him to the page to do so and give him instruction, then sit back down as he hen-pecks agonizingly and talks to himself some more (“My title? … What’s my title?”) and finally clicks something that sends him back to fill in required fields he’d omitted. He asks for my help again and I get up again and look and he says, “Do I click on the star?” (the asterisk denoting required fields). I tell him no, click into the empty text box and ask for his email address. He freezes. “No, I don’t have one. Can’t you tell? I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” (he said, “I’m sorry” no fewer than ten times in our brief transaction, indeed the only thing that even slightly annoyed me).

Apparently he was willing to spend a half hour on these pennies from Rite Aid but getting an email address is the most terrifying thing he’s heard of. His self-effacing smile freezes on his face and although I tell him it would only take a few minutes to set up an email account, he shakes his head and says, “No, no…” He puts his hand on the mouse and sighs and says, “I’ll just … kill myself. OK?” (I’m hoping he means close his browser window). Then thanks me, repeatedly and (I think) logs off the workstation. I hear him a few minutes later talking to the librarians: “I found out you have to have an email.” Their gentle, flyaway grey spirits are also unsuccessful in convincing him to get an email account and he eventually floats away, after once again passing by, thanking me, and yes, finally putting his arm around me briefly (I have been groped in this library an average of every other visit).

Meanwhilw I log into my account and look at how much longer I have my current audiobook; I’m thinking my parents would like to take it along when they set out next week to drive to southern California. Shhh! Don’t tell!