Monday, March 03, 2008

Where To Begin?

What have I been doing for the past four days that kept me from posting here? And, those of you who regularly read my blog are probably already cringing over the title of my post and with a gap that big between writings, well if you're already thinking "this is gonna be one convoluted puppy," you're probably right. I've been busy with my usual -doing not much of anything important but it seemed to be a good thing to do anyway- type of life.

So, let's try to start at the beginning here - or at least where things left off, kind of got hung up for me for a while, you could say.

Last Wednesday night, I was "busy" -doing my usual surfing and stuff like that. Kurtis had been semi-cooperative with the sleeping thing but somehow, I was still awake at 5 a.m. Thursday morning. And it was about that time that I noticed something strange going on with my computer. Although all the little lights on the cable modem thingy were flashing correctly, indicating I had all things going on ok, I couldn't get into the 'net using either firefox or IE. WTF? I tried and tried -then tried again -nothing was working. Finally, about 6 a.m. I called the cable company's 24/7 hotline and the lady manning the desk told me my connection was fine -or showing up fine and dandy on their end. But on my computer, I had located that little icon on my control panel for internet connectivity and it was showing up but with a big yellow triangle over it with a big black exclamation point smack dab in the middle and a little explanatory note saying there might be a problem here with connecting, getting various programs to work, etc.

Might be a problem, huh? I'd say so there was no "might be" to it - there is/was a big problem going on for me.

The lady worked with me over the phone, having me try many different things to get things to work on my end, to no avail. I took a little break and slept for about 90 minutes or so and about 8:30 a.m., began the phone calls again to the help desk. The lady referred me on to another rep and he worked with me for close to two hours -all the while, everything was showing up that all was in order here on his end but for me, connecting online was still an impossibility. Finally, he told me he had only one other trick up his sleeve and that entailed sending a rep out to the house to replace the modem thingy -just to prove to me that there was nothing wrong with that contraption and the problem had to be a virus or some such within my computer. He also said he would get someone out here within 24 hours - and hearing that really sent chills up and down my spine!
The thought of a full day of no internet connectivity to me is absolutely appalling! I mentioned this to him that as addicted as I am, I could very easily lose the last shred of sanity and implode if I had to go without for that length of time. He said he would try to get someone here that day.

Meanwhile, just in case it was a problem with MY computer, I called the guy at the repair shop and he said he would put his tech person -who lives about 5-6 miles from me - on sort of a standby situation in case I needed them to come out and work on my poor baby here, ya know.

By this time Thursday, it was almost 11 a.m. and I'd been functioning at that point on roughly 90 minutes of sleep over the past 24 hours and it was time for me to get a shower, dress and go to my monthly luncheon engagement with a couple good friends of mine from high school - Kate, Rose and Linda. Kate, Rose and I grew up side-by-side -went through all 12 years of school together as best of friends and 46 years later, we're still darned close friends! Linda grew up about 5 miles from us and we only went through the last six years of school with her but nevertheless, although she worked away from this area for many, many years - just moved back here about three years ago now -she's still the same as she always was when we all initially got acquainted. Friend four, Carol - who lives over the mountain in State College had e-mailed me the day before saying she wasn't going to be able to join us this month or next month either as she had a bunch of other stuff going on now - and a month from now too as she and her husband will be traveling to Arizona to spend about two weeks out there. (Take me with you, Carol - will ya please?) And friend #6 - Sharon - has yet to make it over the mountain to join us in our lunch get-togethers.

So anyway - made it to the lunch, had a good meal, great time chatting with the "girls" too and back home by about 2:30-2:45 -in time to start supper. Or did Mandy cook that night? That day was a bit of a blur to me and I don't remember. But the cable guy had not come by the time I got home - he called shortly after I got home and told me they would have someone there between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday though - guaranteed!

I then called the computer guy and he said he would send the techie out to check the computer and make sure it was functioning properly. Matt finally got here around 6:00 p.m., checked things out and announced to me that the problem was definitely in my cable box thingy! Something about the signal was coming in to it ok, but inside where it is supposed to split or something like that to allocate the signal to my computer, it was going haywire and I definitely needed a new box! In the meantime, because he also knows how I am about using the computer and because my old ISP dial-up service is still active - paid for through this month and the company said they will continue service to my account till May as a freebie gesture, he reconnected the dial-up service so by 7:30 Thursday night, I was back online again! Fourteen long hours of not being able to send or receive e-mail, no blog reading, no blog posting, no playing Zuma for hours on end either - my system began to settle down once again! Of course, when I started to download my e-mail - with almost 80 messages there and the freaking slow dial-up -well it took me about 90 minutes to get them into my inbox and kept me busy most of the rest of the evening too then alternating between trying to read them and read blogs too!

So, Friday at 10:05 a.m., I was really happy and excited to see the guys from the cable company arrive with my new box - which I informed them was definitely what I needed to be back in my own special happy space once more with my lovely - oh so lovely, beautiful and fast -high-speed internet connection! Makes me wonder how in blazes I survived all those years dealing with the crappy dial-up service ya know!

In the meantime, I tried to continue working on the baby sweater I had started to knit the week before but no matter what I did, the pattern just wasn't coming out right now. I ripped back a couple rows, re-knitted them, ripped them back again -re-knitted again and finally, decided to can this project and I ripped the whole section I had completed out and that yarn is now in a bag, waiting for me to find another pattern that won't give me fits in mid-stream!

So as a result of that, I am now experimenting with a pattern I found for a little shell type top -or vest maybe -for Maya. I finished the back on it last night and here's hoping my interest in that project doesn't wane out till I get the front started, done and the two pieces put together. It's a really simple pattern so I shouldn't have any problems interpreting it anyway.

About two weeks ago, I had found a shop online that carried old knitting and crochet pattern books and had ordered about 6-7 books and leaflets that I had over the years (and liked and had even used some of the patterns in them too!). I have no clue what happened to these books and leaflets -(I never through out anything valuable like a knit/crochet pattern book) -but I rather think my daughter and son-in-law, in a frenzy of "cleaning up" here had packed the bulk of my patterns up and either have them stashed somewhere in the attic or in the storage facility they share with SIL's dad. Either place pretty much assures me that those pattern books will never see the light of day (or electricity at night) for me to peruse and select an item I'd like to knit or crochet! Last Saturday, the package of the books I'd ordered arrived but although the packing slip said all items were included, two books were missing so Monday morning I had e-mailed the company and told them what happened and they reshipped the missing ones to me. They arrived in the mail on Friday and I've been having a field day going through these two books as they both contain some great items and are either patterns for baby apparel or for sweaters for kids up to about a size 6! Excellent!

The little guy here has been having a really rough week though. Seems he -along with Maya, and I, also got the lovely cold or sinus infection -WHATEVER it is -that the 16 -year-old had been down with last week. The poor kid has the kind of cough from the sinus drainage - croupy and choking -so he was doing a whole lot of barking and wheezing and also, getting really, REALLY crabby from the whole deal too. Understandably so there as you just winced right along with him when he would cough as you could just imagine how much that had to be hurting back in his throat then too! So, in addition to my own issues with the computer creating a loss of sleep for me, so has his cough continued to plague my sleep time as well! So far tonight now - we have passed the 3 a.m. mark now and he hasn't stirred, coughed, woke up since about 11 p.m. so maybe we are now coming over the hump then with him! Gosh, I hope so!

A little Mayaism here for you too now. Friday night, Kate had a girlfriend of hers from school here to spend the night. Of course, they were up in Kate's room, wanting nothing to do with a certain four-year-old ya know and Miss Maya was somewhat peeved to think they didn't automatically just crave her attendance there. So she was on the couch, sniffling a bit about her predicament when she turned to Mandy and asked her, "Katie and Bri'nee (her name for Brittany) - what are they about tomorrow anyway?" Mandy and I both loved her terminology there - "What are they about?" Indeed! Well, Mandy's answer actually satisfied her as she told Maya "I have no idea!" Usually, when she asks a question along lines like that, she keeps on asking and asking - and ASKING it over and over again till you want to just say "Please put a sock on it Maya!"

Oh - Thursday afternoon -(sorry, but I forgot about this) - in addition to the pandemonium with the computer issues, I had to cook a batch of chili to send out to church for the weekly "Soup and Bread" supper prior to the Thursday evening services we have at our parish. The lady who is in charge of setting up these meals had called me early in the month to ask if I would make a pot of soup for that evening, which was something I wasn't really all that keen on since I rarely make soup - unless you consider opening a can of Campbell's and heating it up to be "making soup." Therefore, I am not what I consider to be very good at "soup making." She had cajoled me about this a bit and finally had asked if I make Chili - well, yes as a matter of fact I do so she had suggested I could make that then. I kind of hem-hawed about that idea a bit too since I tend to get a bit heavy-handed on the spices when I cook most anything but especially so on the Chili but I conceded that maybe I could give it a shot and would work on toning the seasonings down a bit.

Since Mandy had work that night and I generally can't count on what time the SIL will be home plus, with both little ones not feeling up to par, there was a little issue then of how I would get the Chili out to church in time but my neighbor, Kate (one of my earlier that day lunch pals) and her husband were going to be attending so they said they would stop and pick up my pot of chili to get it out to church then for me.

Kate called me early Sunday afternoon to make sure I would be home then and said she would stop by to bring my pot back. Okie dokie!

Before she got here, as I was gazing over the rubble piles of toys and such strewn all over the living room floor, I remarked to Mandy that the room had taken on the same appearance as had Kate's older sister's living room one day when I happened to stop there while (sister) Shirley's daughter and two little grandsons happened to be visiting. Now you have to keep in mind here that both Shirley and Kate are impeccable housekeepers! Finding a spec of dust or anything remotely out-of-place or things disheveled, disorganized, is a very, very unlikely event. So on that day when I walked into Shirley's house, my first comment to her that day was "My God Shirley! Your living room is beginning to look almost like mine!" When I related this story to Mandy she snickered a bit and then asked me "Did Shirley just giggle then?" Yep, she did! I remember the days when she had all five of her kids living there and no way was there ever anything like that out of place! A scene quite unlike what my home has ever looked like as this place has always had the air of "being lived in" - more like being destroyed I think.

But anyway, as Kate and I sat and talked a bit today -remembering things we'd chatted about on Thursday at lunch and such, we continued on a bit with a thread from Thursday about our upbringing, our parents and such. I had told Rose on Thursday that as a kid, I would have given my right eye tooth to have had a mother like hers or like Kate's - although I think many times both their Mom's thought they had had an extra child back in 1944 because I spent most of my waking hours growing up either at Rose's house or over at Kate's place!

Both their Mom's just always seemed to take things in stride -kids playing underfoot and all that -and unless we got really unruly, rarely did either of those women get really radical about telling us to behave. And the fact there were KIDS - lots of kids at Rose's house (she was the 9th girl of a family of 13 children -the 10th being the first boy in the family) and there were four children at Kate's house -so lots of things to do, people to play with, fun to be had which in my home, with my grandparents and my Mom and me - it was a much quieter existence. Kind of hard to play games -like Monopoly or scrabble or stuff like that when you are the only one available. Which probably also explains why and how I became quite the bookworm for much of my life -as a child as well as an adult, I suppose. But my Mom and Grandma were always busy -either cleaning or cooking or baking or doing something that couldn't possibly warrant an interruption by a child to stop and play -sometimes even to just converse. It was, in retrospect, a pretty dull life to me so I escaped to the neighbors whenever possible.

We got talking about school back then too - things that happened there and I told Kate about back when we were in grade school and I'd begun to take violin lessons with the guy who was our music teacher. Yeah, took violin lessons from him during the school year for three years, I did. Now, if you don't like the violin, this story will immediately make sense; if you do like it, learned to play it too, it will also make sense too but you know, I don't think there is any instrument that sounds worse than a violin in the hands of someone just starting out, trying to learn how to play it! My Mom and Grandma -probably because of the sounds I made with that poor violin - never pushed me much to practice! But Mom always said it was really a blessing that Grandpa was very hard of hearing then as anytime I would practice, he would always stop and listen and then compliment me about what a wonderful job I was doing there!

I also took up the French horn too when I was in 6th grade - with our school music teacher giving me those lessons as well. But he really overestimated my ability when, at the start of 7th grade after only about six months or so of lessons, he put me in the school band - the marching band no less - and that brought about the demise, rather quickly then, of my French Horn playing. I still have difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time you see and to try to play an instrument I was barely knowledgeable about, while trying to remember "special pattern steps" in time to the music, plus read the music in that little holder on the horn - disaster is about the only word that comes to my mind!

However, before I gave up the ghost on the old horn though, I had come home and informed my Mom that I had to have a pair of "white buck" shoes in order to participate in the band. Now anytime I told her I had to have some specific article of clothing, I knew she would immediate cringe because that meant she would have to try to figure out a way to work that purchase into her already too tightly squeezed budget. But she went along with that request and made sure I had those "white buck" shoes only to have me drop out of the band about two, maybe three weeks later -if that long a period of time.

Now you know, white buck shoes were not exactly the "in thing" to wear then - nor would they be today for that matter - and when I quit the band, you know I heard about those damned shoes and the expense of purchasing them for years after that, don't 'cha though? Yes indeedy, I sure did! And, I had to try to wear them every now and again too though even though I hated 'em, they were unstylish, not the vogue, etc., just to appease my Mom's thoughts on getting "some use out of them!" Remembering that story brought up a similar event to Kate's mind too about a time when we were probably in 4th or 5th grade and her Dad had taken her shopping for shoes and had bought her a pair of black shoes that she absolutely despised! Hated wearing them, she said, but because of the way we were both raised then -money was a very rough subject in our families then -she HAD to wear them, like them or not until she finally outgrew them.

All this talk today about our music teacher also reminded me of another story about my Mom and me. Growing up, I was always really pretty proud of my Mom though because she tended to be a bit liberal on some aspects -more so than some of my other friends' parents might have been. She -thankfully -insisted I learn to appreciate people -all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, etc., which has stayed with me over the years and I've tried to pass those theories on to my children as well.

One day, when my ex and I were still married, still living in the house next-door to Mom's place, she had come over around 9 a.m. -as she usually did most every day -and I was doing my normal basic clean-up at the time, but with the tv blaring in the background with Donahue's show on that morning. Mom also liked Donahue and knowing my habit of liking to at least try to catch most of his program while I tried to do some basic clean-up, she would come over and watch it at my place. (She didn't have the tv cable here at her home, ya see.)

Well that day in particular, Donahue's main guest was Anita Bryant -who for those who remember the 70's will recall she was on a major campaign then against allowing teachers who were known to be gay -homosexuality, she said was a sin, a crime against nature, yadda, yadda.

Mom was watching this and all of a sudden, to my surprise, she announced that she totally agreed with Ms. Bryant and I was dumbfounded - absolutely floored!

I looked at her and asked her why she felt that way and she gave me this spiel about how kids being around gay teachers, well that was just wrong ya know and it would cause those kids then to be gay!

Really? My next question to her then was "Where the hell were you when I was growing up? How come you allowed me to take all those music lessons back in grade school if you felt that way?" And she looked at me like I was crazy, asking me what I meant by that.

Well Ma, the fact of the matter here is that Mr. Myers, our music teacher, was what one would call a "Flaming Gay" -not just a closet gay but man, he was yes indeed, "flaming." (Enter a Jerry Seinfeld comment here too now - "not that there's anything wrong with that" ya know!) But even though when I was in 4th through 7th grades, I had nary a clue as to anything about gay or homosexuality, etc., and the older kids all much more knowledgeable about these things all referred to him as "Queer" I knew there was something much different about him but what exactly it was, well that was beyond my level of learning.

However, I never once heard any parent threaten to go to the school board and ask for this man to be fired, replaced, etc., and I'm quite sure most of the adults in the community were aware of how "different" he really was to the bulk of this little enclave. He was a "hometown" guy, teacher -and a damned good one too! Extremely talented, I don't think there was any musical instrument the man couldn't play!

And as I proceeded to point out to my Mom that day, the error of her thought process with respect to teachers who are gay - he sure as hell never led me down that path, did he?

Then to carry things a bit further, I reminded her of how, when she lived with me for five years in Maryland while I worked in the District of Columbia, many of my friends from work - who she met, who often stopped by our apartment, who she liked, considered them to be really great people, good friends to me, etc., well gee Mom, this, this, this and a few more of them were - GAY! The look on her face when I "outed" those people to her, probably about 4-5 years after we'd moved away from there, was one of total shock and disbelief. NO! That couldn't possibly be as I mentioned on particular couple - "they were sisters!" she'd said. No, Maw -they weren't sisters - they were lovers, pure and simple but they tried to pass their relationship and the closeness of it off to people that they were actually sisters - same father, different mothers - who had never known about the other until they were like 18-19 years old.

Needless to say, that day provided a major awakening to my Mom and her ideas about gays and teaching and also, simply being friends with people who have a different life style, sexually speaking.

And that my friends, concludes my remembering a bit of the things that I've had going on for the past 4 days along with a little trip down my own memory lane to go with it!

See what I mean about how I can meander all over the page till I come to a story totally unrelated to where I started but this is where I wanted to go with this post tonight anyway!

And just in case Mom is reading this from wherever she is resting -peacefully, I hope - no, none of that stuff was contagious, none of it ever rubbed off on me, other than I knew some really terrific people along my life's way.


Paula said...

Wow Jeni, I think you just wrote a novel ~ LOL! Glad you're back on line and your sanity is saved. Now we know "what your about". Really cute story about Maya.
Have a good day!

Linda said...

Whew! I'm glad I had a big ole cup of fresh coffee in hand before I started reading that post! That was most definitely quite the novel there!

Glad that you had a nice lunch with the girls (I'm doing lunch with an old friend tomorrow - our monthly tradition) and that you finally got your high-speed back up and running. It's a bear when it goes down, isn't it? I'm not sure I could survive for several days without internet and I shudder to think what my Google Reader would look like after being gone that amount of time!

White buck shoes, eh? I bet a lot of people sit here and read that and go "huh?"!!

Minnesotablue said...

Jeni: Glad to see you back! You've had quite a time girl.

SnoopMurph said...

Loved your post. Maya is just so cute, btw. Love hearing about her adventures.

My mom, a pretty narrow-minded Christian (sorry if I offend, but it's true-not her way, it's the highway) and has strong feelings against homosexuality. Doesn't bother me in the least and many friends, teachers and colleagues over the years are gay and some of the greatest people I have had the chance to meet. One of my best friends is gay and was actually afraid to tell me because of my mother-not me, just because she has no problem telling you bluntly what her opinion is (tactless most of the time. Anyway, because she was SO opinionated, I actually learned to be much more accepting and of course, go the opposite way.

You are right, life is full of terrific people-period.

Travis said...

Glad they were able to get your internet fixed!