I win!

My husband has the capacity to sit and stare at the television for several hours a day. In the evening he prefers if I sit and stare at it as well to ‘keep him company’. Considering that we spend 24/7 with each other I don’t understand this.

Over a period of time I downgraded cable television from “everything on offer’ to basic cable to cable internet only but superfast speed to, just recently when my husband quit working,  basic internet speed. And it still costs me $95 a month.

We’ve had Netflix for close to 20 years, from back when it was mailed DVD’s. Over the years we have added BritBox and Acorn. Then Hulu to substitute for live television that we used to get via cable.

Last year Hulu prices became insane and they stopped carrying our local news channels. I switched to Youtube TV so my husband could watch the local news and World News tonight with David Muir.  Since his illness in January he started watching tv during the day and we needed local channels for that (because, you know, Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right is essential television viewing.)

Youtube TV was $15 a month less than Hulu Live plus it had our local channels. Yes we lost Disney and ESPN – boo-hoo, who cares, never watched them. Just this week Youtube TV increased its prices and I’d had enough. Spending $75 a month just to watch the news? I don’t think so.

Now we have Peacock TV and Paramount+ for a monthly total of $16. My husband has live tv but only CBS and NBC. ABC is only available via Hulu Live. Good-bye David Muir. (And I think one of the game shows, I’m not sure, I don’t care!)

All the ways my husband can rot his brain: Hulu-No Ads ($14.99), Netflix ($15.49), Britbox ($6.99), Acorn ($6.99), Peacock TV ($6.00), Paramount+ ($9.99), PBS Passport ($60 a year for a PBS membership), I get Apple TV for free from my mobile phone provider and then there is the Roku Channel that comes free with the device.  Oh, I almost forgot – Prime Video as part of my Amazon membership.

That my friends is a boatload of crap.  How much of any of this do I avail myself of? Pretty much none of it.  If we didn’t have a television I wouldn’t miss it. If, by some chance, I actually wanted to passively sit and stare at a screen I could use my computer.  As a matter of fact when I DO want to watch something I watch on my computer because my husband and I have different notions of what constitutes entertainment.

He always says “I’ll watch whatever you want” My response is “You don’t like what I do and you just fall asleep” He says “A nap is always good” sure a nap just before bed. And why should he not be able to watch what he wants?  He has no interests or hobbies or anything to occupy his time. Let him watch what he wants, I say. Me? I don’t really give a rat’s ass. Plus – I have options.

To make up for him losing David Muir, I discovered I could give him a gift subscription to the New York Times, free, from my digital Times subscription. He is happy with that. He reads it on his iPad.


Miscellaneous Mishegoss

Caveat: I’m not criticizing. I’m not in it for an argument. This is about ME. But, if you choose to comment, I’d love to know what seemingly popular things in any of the categories I touch upon, YOU don’t like.  Or anything in any category of popular culture that irks you.

~ This morning’s shower mental meanderings centered on home decor items I really, really don’t like, or that I don’t understand.  What I don’t like? Stainless steel appliances; Shaker style cabinets especially in white. The kitchen has to be the messiest room in the house why oh why would you have white as the predominant color? And Shaker style cabinets – once the smutz gets in those corners good luck getting it out – even with a toothbrush. My days of cleaning anything with a toothbrush, aside from teeth, are over.  I had a bathroom vanity with Shaker style doors – there was always smutz in the corners.  I got rid of the vanity I hated it so much.

~ I should not even talk about throw pillows, that has been such a long standing joke between me and the rest of the world it’s not worth mentioning any more.

~ I am always amused, and bemused, by folks who decorate for holidays or seasons. Most of the time it is really pretty. I am in awe of the effort folks put into it, just collecting and coordinating the appropriate decor. Obviously it makes them happy but I don’t understand it.  Could be I just think of it as clutter, or that I am simply not creative (which I’m not).

~ I don’t understand open floor plans. I do not want my kitchen in my living room. Even when I lived in a studio apartment the kitchen was walled off. In my apartment I have an L-shaped living room/dining area. This is okay, I don’t mind. It has its pluses – that seemingly all important socializing aspect. I get that. But – I still do not want to sit on the sofa and be staring at pots and pans.

~ Speaking of pots and pans – I’ve always had small kitchens yet I have never been inclined to hang pots and pans from the ceiling. I don’t consider them decor!  Oh hell I don’t consider anything decor – such a prissy word.

~ Also about pots and pans – I hate to cook; I’m 76 years old and I am so wanting new pots and pans.  The ones I’m wanting are super expensive but they have me itchy and twitchy with gimme, gimme.

~ I’ve got the attention span of a 2-year old. The official name of this blog, for the moment, is “Subject to Change Without Notice” . I change the header frequently because, well, just because. There is always something that catches my fancy and either makes me bounce in my chair or tugs at my heartstrings (Awww…) I’ve changed blog names/urls so many times in the past 20 years it’s a wonder anyone even knows how to find me. Why they want to find me is also a good question.

The last big url change was because I had a stalker, someone I know and who I try to avoid at all costs. In retrospect I am kicking myself for allowing anyone to make me jump through hoops to avoid them. But I actually fear this person. Even so – I’m too damn old to let fear impact my actions about something as inconsequential as a blog. That nobody reads. Really disappointed in myself about that.

~ I edit and edit and edit. And correct. Yesterday David made a comment about something in the post that I was  correcting even as he was commenting. If anyone reads the comments they might be scratching their heads as to what that is about.  I don’t often go back and read old posts because I know I will go into edit mode. At the very least to correct typos because I am the world’s worst typist.

~ No, I don’t like “Ted Lasso”.  My husband and I watched about 10 minutes of the show, looked at each and said “What the hell???” and turned it off.  I was actually criticized for not liking the show and the person said “Really, you can tell after only 10 minutes you don’t like something?” Well, yes I can. And I do. Movies I’ll give 20 minutes, tv shows 10 or 15 minutes, max, and that depends on whether it’s an hour or a half hour show.

Take the The ‘Knives Out’ franchise for example.  I didn’t like the first one and I didn’t like the second one. Why the hell I even wasted 20 minutes on the second one is beyond me. But hope springs eternal.  Both movies were highly touted by the professional critics. I have learned that anything professional critics like, I won’t.

Oh hell, I started this late and I have chores awaiting me – gotta run.

Yes – please let me know what popular ‘thing’ irks you. Let’s have a little positive negativity here. Go for it!

I’m just lucky that way…

While I was scrub-a-dubbing in the shower the other morning  my mind was swirling and  tossing with  my reaction to something I had just read. Then it coalesced into – No everybody doesn’t.

Everybody doesn’t need “Nature’ – to interact with, to be out in it. Everybody doesn’t find it soothing, or rejuvenating.

Everybody doesn’t like or need Everything.

What I’m lucky with is a strong sense of self. My psychotherapist friend commented on that aspect of me. Given my childhood one would think I would be the last person on the planet to have that trait – and yet I do.

Not to the point of me reeking with self-confidence. Oh no, because if I did my life would have turned out very differently. But to the point that I know ME. And I’m really confident in who I am. And that who I am is exactly right.

You know my “About Me” page – “The first thing you should know about me is that I am not YOU. A lot more will make sense after that.”

So all that Nature stuff that philosophers thru the ages have touted, and all those annoying positivity people keep throwing in people’s faces, just makes me twitch and pisses me off. Guess what world – some of us enjoy Nature from the inside of the window.

I’m stressed and itchy and twitchy. No I don’t want to go for a walk – anywhere. I don’t want to go outside. I certainly DON’T WANT to go for a walk in the park or the woods or even around the block. As much as I like walking I’ve always looked at it as transportation – a way to get myself from one place to another. Is it enjoyable? Sometimes, and sometimes it is just expedient. It is in no way soothing, unstressful or anything more positive than getting where I need to go. Period.

I learned the hard way that looking out my window and seeing sky and trees is a total necessity to my mental health and well-being. The operative phrase here is ‘looking out the window’. 

While I am obsessed with light, sunrises and sunsets don’t really interest me. One more photograph of a red sunset, oooh’d and ahh’d over leaves me ho-humming. Unless there is some incredible play of light, which there usually isn’t. Seen one sunset/sunrise, seen ’em all. (Inside joke there.)

Years ago, when I lived in New York City, a friend asked why I never got out of the city for a country weekend. I asked “Why would I? What does the country have that NYC doesn’t” Central Park was always enough ‘country’ for me.

And quiet? I treasure quiet. Do you not know how quiet a city can be? Spookily quiet. Comfortingly quiet. Safe and cozily quiet. The most amazing moments of peace for me was an early Sunday morning, after a snowstorm, standing in the middle of Park Avenue, no cars, no people, twinkle lights on the scraggly trees along the median. The world seemed to have stopped and I was the only one in it – Heaven! So brilliant that I can conjure the scene and the feeling even now.

My point? So many people are not as lucky as I. They look outward for clues and cues to who they should be. And they rarely come up with anything that makes them feel good about who they are. Who they really are. It sucks their self-confidence from their souls.

When you write about ‘everybody’ you are contributing to this soul-sucking. Because they think you know better because “everybody’.  I need the word ‘everybody‘ (and that includes ‘everyone’) to be stricken from the language. It pisses me off!

You want to talk about what brings you pleasure and joy! By all means, I’d really like to know.  But to insinuate that those things should bring me pleasure and joy? You might want to re-think that. Please re-think that. I won’t rain on your parade, don’t rain on mine.

Please make it about YOU. Your likes,dislikes, pleasures and joy. Yours. Not mine or anyone elses. Not everyone’s. Or everybody’s. YOURS.

I can appreciate without wanting or needing. I love your enthusiasms, please respect mine. We can learn from one another without embracing the other’s point of view.

There is no ‘one size fits all’. There is no one answer. But there is the one YOU.

I hate the phrase “You do you” – it drips with sarcasm and dismissiveness, at least that’s the way I hear it. But there is some truth to it – said kindly and sincerely.

Appreciate yourself. Trust what makes you happy. Even if it seems like no one else shares your happy. Because there IS someone else who does.

Why do we have our best ideas in the shower? I know I do. My best writing gets done in the shower.

Ask me if I care aka

I’m all out of give-a-shits.

I’ve been fighting the coffee wars for the past week – seems coffee availability is at a premium. So are the prices. I’m not going to go into a big convoluted story about my problems obtaining drinkable coffee – it’s tedious, boring and I just don’t give a shit about it anymore.

My husband has COPD and I’ve been nagging him to quit smoking for years. His health has taken a precipitous decline in the last 6 weeks which has finally convinced him to quit smoking. At 75 years of age. Oh yes, and I smoke too. Never as much as he has and I’ve quit smoking for years at a time since taking up the nasty habit in my mid-20’s.  It’s been hard for me to quit when he wouldn’t. Having cigarettes available, even when you really don’t want one but habit says it’s time to light up – big problem for me.

Anyway, we have both been smoke free for a little over a month. The nicotine is out of our systems. But here’s the thing – smoking is NOT about the nicotine. It is about the habit. The comfort from the habit. Even an oral fixation. It is the “hand-mouth-kick back and relax”  routine that is hard to break/get over.  It is about wanting, not needing.

I have what could be called an e-cigarette. No nicotine, vegetable glycol, tobacco flavor. Not much help. One because it does not feel like a cigarette in my hand or mouth, two, because it is not finite. Somehow part of the whole cigarette smoking thing is that it is finite – there are only so many puffs in one cigarette then it’s over, done: crush it out, move on, the whole activity/experience is complete.

Smoking has jack-all to do with nicotine is what I’m saying.  My husband and I both agree on that.

I’m tired. Mentally and emotionally tired. Physically too but that doesn’t bother me as much as the mental/emotional tiredness. I’m really not cut out to be responsible for/in-charge of everything. There are folks who would say differently. They think they know me. They don’t. They only see me BE in charge, they don’t know the why of it.  They don’t know that in the early years of my marriage, when I wasn’t in-charge of everything, nothing got done. Bills didn’t paid, debt piled up. And other stuff. Some of these people, who like to judge, meaning my husband’s family, knew he was always somewhat irresponsible; one sister having spent years bailing him out financially and practically (the man has NO common sense).

But even my husband’s doctors probably think I am some kind of overbearing bully – my husband’s pulmonologist refers to me as “the boss”.

I am the boss because someone has to be; someone has to be responsible. Someone has to be practical. My husband never was. His whole life people did for him. His first wife didn’t, but I sure did.

OK, so being a caretaker seems to be my innate personality. But it’s not. It’s the personality I developed in response to my childhood. I was forced to be a responsible adult at a young age and it became hard-wired into my personality.  Every personal relationship I’ve had had me in the caretaker role; every job I’ve ever had had me in the caretaker role.

And I have resented every single relationship and job. I am angry with myself for putting myself in these situations. Because I know it is MY fault. These situations are MY choices. There have been times, going into them, early on, that I recognized the situation as being unhealthy for me, but all to often it took too long for me to get out.  I recognize the pattern, too late. And then I just keep on repeating it.

And I’m tired.  I want out.

It’s not like this is a new whine – I just discovered this post from 2020. Same song and dance re: caretaker mode. I’m nothing if not consistent. And boring.

There’s a poem in there and other stuff

If you have food delivered is it called ‘take-out’? I ordered lunch from Paisano’s today. Rizwan is the fellow who usually delivers our food from there. When I opened the door and greeted him he said, in a very concerned voice “How are you? It’s been a while.”  He then waved to my husband, who could be seen through the open door, and said “Hello, Sir.”  I inquired after Rizwan’s well-being,  wished him a safe day and then wondered…

When my husband calls Brick’s for pizza the conversation is short –

Husband: I’d like to order a pizza for delivery…
Brick’s: The usual?
Husband: Yes, I’ll pay cash
Brick’s: *click*

It’s not a matter of predictability (see THIS POST) but to me, for me, it is a matter of staying too long at the fair.

I recently mentioned to someone, somewhere, that I’ve lived in this place too long and that I was so over it. And I am.

I’ve had this yearning lately to go back to the city – any city. Back to concrete and carbon monoxide.  Back to crowds and noise – both of which give me anxiety attacks but also – Energy! I thrive on that energy.

Everywhere you look people go on and on about ‘nature’ which usually means living somewhere that is boonie-like, surrounded by growing things – green growing things, trees, flowers, whatever.

As much as I need to look out my window and see trees (something I learned the hard way when we lived in Filthadelphia) I don’t need to be surrounded by them. I don’t garden. I don’t have plants in my house. I just don’t care about such. Outdoor space? Yes, a patio, a balcony.  Some plants or shrubs in pots – sure. I like birds so maybe a birdfeeder? That’s enough for me. That’s all I want or need.

I need to do magic again but I need energy for that. Energy I don’t have because I’m not around energy. It’s not just that I hardly leave the apartment, it’s that even if I did there’s nothing but silence. And lawns and grass and trees and occasionally someone walking their dog. There’s places with no sidewalks and this isn’t even considered suburbia.

I love silence but mostly especially when contrasted to sound – sounds of the city. Sounds of people living, being, doing.

Silence is the way you process all the noise. Aloneness is the way you process all the people.

I can’t be all just one thing or another. I need both, I need it all. I want it all. I had it all and then I didn’t.

There’s a poem, or two, hiding in all of that but also there is a poem already written that talks about silence –

Morning Silence

The first hour:

The click-snick of the turn of the locks;
The involuntary oof when bending to retrieve the paper.
Click on the coffee pot; soft burble as it drips and drops into the pot.

Plink of pee; gurgle of flush.

Crinkle of newspaper pages turned,
Crinkle of breakfast biscuit wrapper, opened, then crumpled.
Sneezes, coughs.

Husband whispers “Hi”,
I reply with a finger waggle.
Beep of the microwave; crinkle of
husband’s breakfast burrito wrapper.

Snores and snorts as husband’s morning naps commences.

The second hour:

Husband whispers “Hi”
I grunt.
Husband whispers “How are you?”
I grunt again.

Shower sounds; clack of metal belt buckle against the metal clothes tree.

Newspaper rustling.

The third hour:

Thunky thunky of desk chair rolling.
Clickity clack of keyboard as I type this.

The fourth hour?

Not there yet. But more clickity clack.
Silence in here and out there.
All quiet but not peaceful.

© Grace St. Clair
April 30, 2022

It’s been a day…

I’ve got to get a real bed. I sleep on a twin bed in my ‘office’ – and visually gorgeous tho the bed is a grown-up person should not be sleeping in a twin bed. The last time I got any decent sleep was when I was in the hospital 2 years ago. There is a king sized bed with a very expensive fancy-schmancy new mattress on it but it also contains my husband when sleep time comes around.

We’ve been married for a little over 32 years and the only time I got any sleep in all those years was when he was working the midnight shift or traveling, so not at home at all.

Midnight shifts ended when he got promoted, traveling for work ended when he got promoted again, then the only respite I got was when he went on vacation by himself to visit his family.

My husband snores so loud that at least once our next door neighbor mentioned it! Then he  devolved into snorting, huffing and puffing, mouth breathing and some weird generalized noises. He swears he does none of this, I recorded him, he says “Oh well”.

You wanna know the best part? A lot of the mouth breathing, huffing and puffing and snorting only, ONLY, happens when I am also in bed. I get out of bed, it stops. I can almost play him like an out-of-tune tuba. I would sit on the edge of the bed, stand up, the noise would stop. I’d drop down to sit on the edge of the bed, it would start again. Up and down, stand and sit. Noise, no noise.

He says I’m making it up. I say Passive-Aggressive, a little?

I bought the twin bed for my ‘office’ as an emergency bed because, I’ll tell the truth here, there were actually nights when he was quiet as a mouse. Last January the emergency bed became my permanent bed. I’m not great at sleeping as it is, but in a twin bed? Like – No.

Now I’ve got to sell this damn thing and squish a standard double bed in here – oy!

Ahead of that this morning I moved some things around my office/bedroom. First I re-organized our storage room so I could get things out and put things in. Happily our storage room is across from our apartment.

At some point I had switched out my heavy, solid wood desk for a larger (and lighter) folding table. That switch had to reverse. Also the floor lamp which I rarely used had to go into storage. I’ve got my own handy-dandy folding luggage cart that makes hauling these heavy items easy-peasy, all my husband had to do was hold the door. I had to re-arrange all my desk detritus.

I put the desk back together myself – just legs had to go on – I was clever I put the desktop on the bed which made it easy to put the bolts back in and easy to flip it and get it on the floor without crapping it up. One day I’m going to figure out why I have to buy solid wood furniture – damn thing was heavy. Hell, the letter-box on my desk is solid wood and weighs a ton. You can bet my back is killing me now and by tomorrow I’ll be a total cripple.

I posted the bed on the building bulletin board and hope I get some bites. I’m actually trying to sell it – usually I just give stuff away and boy oh boy when an item is marked “Free” the offers come flooding in.  The bed I’m selling is a Craftsman style platform bed with 2 storage draws that, if you could buy it, would cost about $800. You can’t actually buy a new one of this particular brand and model because everyone is out of stock – supply chain issues. I’m thinking $250 is a bargain. We’ll see.

So how did you spend your Saturday?

It’s all in my head

It’s been just about a week since I last wrote anything here. It’s not that my brain hasn’t been busy, busy, busy – it has, always is, as evidenced by the bags and dark circles under my eyes (should that be semi-circles under my eyes?)

I’ve had some fascinating conversations with myself or rather, myself and assorted imaginary people and real people who weren’t actually really involved in the conversation. You know what I mean, right? It’s all happening in my head.

I’ve said it a million times I’d rather talk than type but I suspect there are many people, like me, who hate people talking at them and they have no opportunity to react or interact.

I used to hate ebooks but I’ve gotten to appreciate them very much plus I can’t get to the library easily so ebooks it is BUT I will NEVER EVER use an audiobook. This I can promise you, you can take that to the bank!

I know, I know – never say never  (again, again ’cause here I am in love again – yes, everything is a song.) But I’m pretty damn sure on the audiobook thing.

My last post I was bitchin’ about the weather, the next day it turned gorgeous and then last Friday it turned ugly and stayed ugly right up until this morning. Right now it is downright gorgeous – 80º, 45% humidity, 10mph breezes, sunny, blue skies, fluffy clouds – PERFECTION! It should always be thus – Heaven (and, yes that’s another song).

A fascinating conversation I had last night (instead of sleeping) was a discussion with someone, don’t know who, about Ibsen. I’ve always wanted to direct “Hedda Gabler” because, to my mind, everyone gets poor old Hedda all wrong. Whereas “A Doll’s House” irks me because Ibsen is so busy making his point that he leaves holes in the plot so huge you could fly a 747 through them.

The conversation continues, on my side, that Ibsen actually only had one point and he made it over and over and over again. One plot, one story told time again. Which of course reminded me of that wonderful quote (so I said to this nameless, faceless person I was talking to) by Elizabeth Strout from “My Name is Lucy Barton” – “You will have only one story. You’ll write your one story many ways. Don’t ever worry about story. You have only one

At that point I think I got out of bed and so endeth that particular conversation. (Endeth – love that word – got it from church – “and here endeth today’s lesson” said after the Bible readings, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. In case you were wondering, or maybe you weren’t.)

I’ve written numerous posts this past week, mentally. Once a post gets written, mentally, I’m done with it. Myself thinks, “Well, I covered that topic, no point in writing it down”. So I don’t.

Had another ‘conversation’ this morning on a topic that I was going to write about but it needed some research and now I don’t think I care any longer. (I started to write anymore, then wondered about anymore vs any more, the differences are rather obvious once my memory was prodded but I decided to go with any longer.)

And this is how my brain works. It is so not easy being green.