Some updates

I wanted to post more pictures of the boy’s room today, but it’s not quite done yet– one patch of wall maybe a foot square needs a touch more paint on it, the tree decals need to all be put in place, and we need to hang his curtains– and for some reason I don’t want to put up any more in-progress pictures. So have a sleepy kitty.

PAINTING! All in all I’m happier with how the project turned out than I thought it was going to be; I spent most of the first day of painting muttering it’s not my room under my breath and looking forward to repainting the entire mess again in five years when he grows out of it, but now that it’s mostly finished I feel like we did a pretty good job. More soon.

VISION! I have this thing going where I either stop paying attention to my eyes or they get noticeably better once about noon rolls around. I’m still kind of frustrated with mid- and long-distance vision, and even close up can be kind of spotty for the first couple of hours after I get up. I had a long talk with a friend of mine who also had the surgery earlier in the week and she assured me that everything was within normal parameters; despite trying to not be impatient about the healing process I think I’m expecting too much too soon.

VAGUEBLOGGING! I hoped I was going to have good news this week. I do not have good news. Strictly speaking I don’t have bad news either, but this is one of those situations where no news and bad news are indistinguishable. I am not very happy with the world right now.

AUGUST! Nobody knows anything. The superintendent’s plan has been radically revised three times in three weeks, the county health department released their own plan, and dominos are falling across the state as more and more districts go to online-only for the first nine weeks, which is the only available responsible decision. Remember: I’m not dying for your child care, nor am I endangering my family, period; and there is no magic switch that flips in August that prevents whatever you’ve been doing with your kids since March from working any longer. We have a school board meeting on Monday and I fully expect to find out at that time that we are online only for the full first quarter, at which point we can reset the clock until we make another last-second decision in October.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! I’ve been keeping a pretty close eye on noted dipshit Herman Cain over the last few weeks; turns out that being an idiot about masks earned him a final month of his life where he was isolated from his family and struggling to breathe before he died alone and ignominiously. I hope that hour or two where he was courageously owning the lib orthodoxy by not protecting himself from a highly communicable disease that didn’t know or care that he was a Republican was worth that pain for him. I suspect not. I also wonder how many other people that Tulsa rally killed who aren’t famous enough for us to know their names.

BOOKS! I recently finished Lisbeth Campbell’s excellent debut The Vanished Queen, which isn’t actually out for a couple of weeks. I read a very early draft of this and it was amazing to see how much had changed since I’d seen it. There is a review coming, but I’m waiting for a go-ahead from her to publish it. I’m currently reading Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching, which I’m also quite enjoying but am having some trouble getting into because my eyes haven’t been cooperating when I pick it up. This one will probably get a review too at some point.

KAMALA? Word on the street is that Biden is going to announce his VP pick possibly as early as tomorrow and certainly by next week, and word also is that it’s going to be Kamala Harris, which would be just about the only thing about next week that could lift my mood. Please, goddammit, give me this one fucking thing. Well, this thing and that other thing that you haven’t given me yet, but at least one of them.

In which we’re gonna need a bigger boat

I’ll get to the graphic in a minute; this is gonna be another grab-baggy sort of post. Bear with me.

I just finished mowing the back yard, just in time for it to start pouring outside, so I’m sure all the grass will be regrown in a day or two. I have shared my distaste for lawn work many times before; in fact, bitching about my lawn was one of my first posts around here. My wife, who is more fond of working outdoors than I am, generally handles it; my job is to remove snow, and we collaborate on leaves. You may recall that she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which coincided with the weather being nice enough that the grass came back to life; to her credit, she waited for me to figure it out myself that I was going to have to mow the fucking yard and didn’t bring it up until I’d ruined my own day. Having mowed the full mess over the last two days, I have realized something: I feel basically the same way about yard work as I do about writing fiction. I absolutely hate doing it, but the feeling of being done with it is absolutely stellar. I love looking at a freshly-mowed yard. I just don’t want to have to create the conditions to be able to do that. If I ever figure out how to enjoy writing as much as I enjoy being done with writing I will be at Seanan McGuire levels of productivity in six months.


Speaking of mowing: I don’t wear headphones all that often, so it was already kind of weird that I shelled out so much money for the AirPods Pro that I bought a bit ago– but holy shit, am I impressed by how good noise cancelling works. I wasn’t even listening to music for a good part of mowing the yard; I just had the headphones in with the noise cancelling on and I could barely hear anything. Cue someone hopping into comments to tell me that’s going to kill my ears, of course.


Regarding yesterday’s addendum to yesterday’s first post: I think, based on comments, that it is clear that 1) I don’t know anything about Great Britain or their money; and 2) It is absolutely the way people write about their money that is bullshit, thus Option Two wins. I don’t feel like it is unreasonable to suggest that if you are going to spend a fair amount of your time in a book talking about people’s income levels and how much things cost, and the people you are talking about use a monetary system that is no longer in use and is not exactly intuitive, maybe put a chart somewhere explaining how it works? I’m willing to be accused of shocking ignorance on this, that’s fine, there are lots of things I don’t know, but part of the reason I was able to not realize that the shilling got phased out however many years ago was that nobody ever explains what the fuck a shilling is in history books. They just assume you know there are 3.2 shillings in a Cumberbatch and move the fuck on with the narrative. Put a damn chart in there somewhere!


The feasibility study has been returned, and it turns out I’m not actually able to watch the Snowpiercer TV series without spending additional money. I had heard it was showing up on Hulu, but apparently that’s only true if you pony up for some sort of “Live TV” add-on, and … nah.

I will, nonetheless, bow to the will of the interwebs and watch this program as soon as I can do so without spending money for it. That may take a while, however. In the meantime, Avatar: the Last Airbender is on Netflix and I somehow haven’t finished Season 5 of She-Ra yet so I need to up my TV-watching time as a percentage of my day.


I have seen a couple of different variations of the graphic at the top of this post floating around on the internet recently, as well as a couple of different NO NO THIS IS THE INTERNET BEING STUPID types of counter-posts. Folks, the official CDC “considerations” are right here; feel free to look at them yourself and compare them to whatever version of the graphic you’ve seen recently. The paraphrasing is essentially accurate, and the fact that the CDC, whether they’re calling them “guidelines” or “considerations”, doesn’t actually have the power to make their thoughts law doesn’t really matter. The point is, the fucking Center for Disease Control has effectively said that there is no way to safely open schools. Because these “guidelines” or “considerations” or whatever the fuck you want to call them are impossible, and every teacher and other adult who has ever spent any time in schools knows that. I am done for the year, effectively, and my son’s last day was yesterday (I still have some PD stuff over the next couple of weeks, and grades have to be finalized, but there is no further e-learning this year) and there is a lot of time for things to change one way or another between now and August, but the way things stand right now we are not going to be able to reopen schools this fall. Not safely, at least. I know the person in the White House doesn’t give a damn; that’s perfectly clear, but so far the governors have been more reasonable.


Speaking of governors, I had this conversation with my wife earlier:

For context, Woody Whoever’s last name is not Whoever and he is running for Governor as a Democrat, and he is running such a low-key, bullshit campaign that I literally didn’t know that there even was a gubernatorial race this year until seeing his name on my primary ballot. I do not at this time remember his last name and I’m not about to look it up. I did some quick research before I marked his name on the primary ballot (not that it would have mattered, as he was the only candidate) and he seems basically competent, but Gov. Holcomb is one of the few Republicans I’m aware of who I would also describe as “basically competent.” He’s shit on education, but so is everyone else in the damn world. Obama was shit on education. I’ve voted for one candidate who was good on education policy in the last fifteen years or so and she turned out to be a shitty politician and got voted right out again after her first term. It just doesn’t happen that damn often.


Regarding the headline to this post: when I initially wrote it I had plans to tie it into one of the parts of the post, and it was going to make sense and be at least moderately funny in the way my post titles occasionally are, and I have completely forgotten what the hell I was going to tie it into or how– something about classroom size, maybe?– but I’m not going to change it. “I am an idiot” is definitely a theme of this post so we may as well run that shit straight into the ground while we still can.


3:24 PM, Friday, May 22: 1,590,349 confirmed cases and 95,490 Americans dead.

In which we’re all gonna die

The Wonder Woman Funko POP on the far left is brand new as of today; do I keep her with the other Wonder Woman or move her with the other three Funkos on the desk?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.


I have left the house more in this last week than in the six weeks prior to it, mostly because I have to drive my wife to and from work, which is automatically two trips a day, and I went and got groceries yesterday and picked up the grill and blah blah blah. I had a couple more errands that needed running today, unfortunately, but other than work runs I shouldn’t really need to go anywhere for most of next week. When I’m out, I’m wearing a bandana over my face, and I have a friend who is a seamstress making a few proper masks for us. Witness:

We are under a state order right now to wear masks when in “enclosed public spaces,” and the county health department has released a bunch of recommendations as well. What this has led to is a bunch of businesses posting prominent signs outside that you need to have a mask on to be inside … and a bunch of people inside without masks on. One of the errands I had to run was to the pet store, and I was in and out in under five minutes, and less than half of the customers I saw while I was in there were wearing masks. Indiana has had 1400 Covid-related deaths, and St. Joseph county is closing in on its thousandth confirmed case.

This is not fucking complicated, God damn it. It blows my mind that, three years and some change into this person’s administration, the GOP is still finding new ways to be venal and cruel and stupid, and then it blows my mind that I’m still capable of being surprised by these people. Wear a mask so that you don’t get sick! Wear a mask so that you don’t get other people sick! Why is this difficult? Why is “stop being a fucking asshole” a partisan statement?

My Google-fu has failed me, but I saw a clip of a comedian a bit back where he explained that he’s figured out the equation for this administration, which is (surprised x disappointed)2, because if you multiply it properly, first you’re surprised that you’re surprised, then you’re surprised that you’re disappointed, then you’re disappointed that you’re surprised, then you’re disappointed that you’re disappointed. Or something close to that, anyway. I can’t find it.

The other thing I want to bitch about is that on three different occasions today I have either read or heard people speculating about the “second wave” of this disaster that’s coming this fall. Y’all, this shit hasn’t slowed down yet. If anything, we’ve plateaued. There are a few specific localities in America that have bent the curve a bit but they’re about to be overwhelmed by the states that are all opening too fast– probably about another week from now, if past experience is worth anything. We can’t have a fucking second wave if the first wave never stops. And the way things are going, this isn’t going to get any better anytime soon. We have an entire fucking political party openly fucking dedicated to making it worse. We’re fucked for as long as any of these people hold any power, damn it.


5:25 PM, Saturday May 9: the world crossed four million confirmed infections today, with 1,305,199 of those being in America; 78,469 Americans have died, and we’ll be over 80K by the end of the weekend. And y’all are too fucking manly to wear a mask. Fucking idiots.

OK Boomer

Our grill has shit the bed, so we ordered a new one from Lowe’s, finding it online and setting it up to be picked up curbside at the store. I dunno if you’ve done this or not, but the way it works (at least at our Lowe’s) is that you pull into one of about eight labeled parking spots, dial a phone number, put in an extension, and then tell the person who answers the phone your order number and the spot you’re in. It took me a few seconds longer than it might have because I didn’t immediately realize that you can dial a # extension pretty much any time I want (I was waiting for a “to dial a specific extension, press blabla” prompt) but somebody answered the phone and said they’d be outside with my grill in a few minutes.

Cool.

Five minutes or so later I hear the unmistakable sound of a grill being rolled across a parking lot, and I put on my mask and hopped out of the car, figuring social distancing or not there’s no way dude is going to get this thing in my trunk by himself. And I notice that the guy pushing my grill out to me is being followed, at quite a bit less than a six foot distance, by a mask-free woman (note that wearing a mask in any retail store is currently mandated by our governor) who is highly upset that he is bringing me a grill and not bringing her something. Apparently she belongs to the minivan a space over, and she tried to call the number but no one answered and apparently this massive sin is worth abusing this poor dude who had nothing to do with it.

Dude, to his credit, is doing an admirable job of not getting caught up in her shit, and when a moment later she looks over at me and snots that She will Never Use This Service Again, but it’s Good that You got HIS Stuff for Him, he actually rolled his eyes at me, correctly figuring out that I was as annoyed by her as he was.

So, uh, Karen, look here: you either don’t know how to use a cell phone or you don’t possess the awareness necessary to realize that, every once in a while, it’s possible that people in retail jobs are busy and maybe you call back in two or three minutes if your call isn’t instantly answered. You also don’t have the sense to realize that you do not need to involve me in your shit. I don’t want to be involved in your shit, I have no reason to be involved in your shit, and if you insist on me being involved in your shit, you will probably not like the way that I involve myself, which will be to mock you into the grave and back. Because I don’t give a fuck if you had to call these folks twice.

A moment later, while the gentleman and I were ignoring the shit out of her and putting my grill in my trunk, someone else came out with all of her mulch, so … what, you got through after all? Was that whole thing just bullshit? Who the fuck knows.

Please don’t try to involve me in your customer service drama, people. I am always on their side, even if they’re wrong. If I need to paint that on my fucking mask, I’m happy to.

OK I’m done now

I made an attempt to leave the house today– we have something we need to pick up from the post office, and my wife is home today too so we’re not abandoning the boy to his own devices all day, and I thought I’d go ahead and take the hit and go pick up the thing at the post office and maybe hit up Target or something for some printer paper, which we also need to print out his thousands of e-learning assignments.

We have two aging N-95 masks in the house, and my wife has been wearing one of them during grocery trips. I checked out the other one and decided that the elastic didn’t seem likely to hold up for the duration of my trip, so I grabbed one of my bandanas, which, folded properly, makes an acceptable mask– I couldn’t blow any air through it, which, I understand, is the standard to look for for these things.

Turns out that the line at the post office was long, reaching to the door, which got me a dirty look from the dude who I came within six feet of while attempting to actually enter the lobby in the first place. Then I forgot the number for my damn PO Box (I need to write it on the key; this is not the first time this has happened) and while I was putting my key in the wrong box I got hit with a full-fledged nope nope nope nope nope get this thing off your face off off NOW panic attack.

So, no standing in line, no even finding the right box– I hightailed it back to the car and sat there for ten minutes or so, trying to get my heart rate back to something approximating normal and looking up my damn PO Box on my website (PO Box 2663, South Bend, IN 46618! Send me stuff! I’ll never actually pick it up!) and it never actually happened so eventually I just went home. It was a good 10 minutes after I got home that I started feeling normal, too.

This has happened once before while trying to wear a mask– those of you who have been around a while and have really good memories might recall me trying to wear a faceless mirror mask for Halloween one year, and that was before I was actually on anti-anxiety meds.

I guess I’m just gonna stay on quarantine for a while longer, then.


2:28 PM, Monday April 20th: 766,212 confirmed infections and 40,905 deaths.