Frowny faces

I wish I hadn’t lost the ability to scowl as effectively as Snaotheus has on his blog header photo. Sometimes I want mine to scowl like the Kraken on a really bad day (provided it had an actual face with expressions).

That is all.

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Encountering more CKC

Apocalyptica approached Auntie Widder’s house, carrying a picnic basket full of goodies she thought would both cheer and nourish the old woman, who had notably not been eating well while she fought tooth and nail with crappy Klatchian goods. She raised her hand to knock, and heard some of the loudest, nastiest, meanest, and most creative swearing she’d ever heard in her life. Her hand suspended over the door, she waffled as to whether Auntie needed someone else around right now.

Interspersed with words that Pocky had never used, and some she’d never heard, she was nevertheless able to make out the gist of it: “I’ve been hanging things using these tools, these materials, and these methods for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. I am NOT STUPID. I KNOW how this stuff works. This is just SHODDY, SHODDY, mumblescreammumble SHITE. NOBODY could get this crap to work, because they’re manufactured with BAD SPECS.”

Pocky backed up and stared around, her eyes half falling out of her head, hoping none of the neighbors could either hear or see what was going on. More vitriol spewed and erupted and exploded from her enraged auntie, whom frankly Pocky hadn’t thought had that much energy or strength in her.

Finally, she heard the noises of tools being dropped in their box, miscellaneous Stuff being shoved out of the way, a deep, deep, very very DEEP sigh, and an “Ow, godsdammit!” as Auntie Widder kicked something that was apparently more dense and unforgiving than her own flesh.

Pocky gently knocked on the door. Footsteps stomped her way and she cringed, hoping all that fury wouldn’t be unleashed on her. The door slammed open. “WHAT?” snapped Auntie Widder. “What do you want?!”

“I… um… I brought… you some… erm, some of your favorite things to eat?” Pocky’s voice quavered.

“Well, come on in, then, and let’s get to it. I’m hungry.”

As they ate, the story came out in bits and pieces. Auntie had managed, with the advice of the Helpful Hardware Guy, to get more plastic thingies and work on getting the TP holder installed. She ran into more trouble, though, when both new holes turned out to be into studs, so she could have dispensed with the plastic and just screwed them in nice and solid. But by then, the bigger holes were there, and something had to take up the space between screw and hole.

That thing wound up being matchsticks. Yep, plain old matchsticks. Once she got the mounting plate in place, Auntie discovered that while last night she’d been able to get to the set screw to tighten it, that was not the case today. She tried everything she could think of, and the blister on her left index finger proved it. She hunted down all the information she could find—ALL of which involved removing set screws without an allen wrench, which did her no good at all.

Finally, after trying tweezers, searching fruitlessly for her bloody damned jewelry pliers, and a couple of other things, she jammed the end of another matchstick into the set screw hole and turned. It moved. Slowly, but it moved. She kept at it, grunting because it was not easy, and eventually got it tight enough that it would stay in place. It was far from perfect, and she decided she was going to caulk around it and maybe squirt some glue in there, if she could, to give it some extra stability, but it was done.

And she was furious. Because in all the things she’d put together, all the things she’d tried to hang, all the holes she’d had to drill, not one single set of instructions of any kind had noted what size drill bit to use. She’d had to guess, because gods knew where her calipers were and she shouldn’t have to go that far to get it right anyway. They should say “use a 7/16” bit” or whatever—Auntie had a damn good eye for sizes, accurate down to less than 1/64” within a 6” range, and there was no effing way she could be that wrong every bloody time.

“Shoddy, crappy, lousy, low-quality, POS JUNK is what this shite is,” she snarled at Pocky, who melted back into the couch seeking invisibility. Pocky thought of the Vimes boots theory, but decided that would start a whole ‘nother fit, so shut her trap.

But the TP holder was functioning (it is straighter than it looks here):

Pocky tried to sneak out the door when Auntie brushed her crumbs onto the floor—that was a BAD sign—but Auntie had other ideas.

“Come look at this,” she snapped, irate as a whooping crane with no place to land. Auntie had carefully measured, leveled, and drilled holes on which to hang her magnetic knife holder. She’d used a drill bit a good 1/16” smaller than the eyeballed diameter of the plastic wossnames, so they’d snug in better. The first one broke at the first gentle (yes, really) finger tap. The second and third went in nicely, snugged up, and appeared as if they’d work great… until she started to put the screws in. Then suddenly they choked up, refused to stay in place while the screws rotated like Ferris wheels, and one of them made a run for it into the wall.

“Auntie, maybe it would be better to wait—” Pocky started.

“You shut your mouth, girl,” Auntie Widder snapped. “I am GOING to get this damned thing INSTALLED today. I don’t care what it takes!”

What it wound up taking was (you guessed it) more matchsticks for the one screw, which Widow Dressing thought would hold solidly… and matchsticks and wood glue for the other one, which contained the plastic thing that had tried to make a run for it, but nothing to hold the screw in place. That meant no matter what she did, the magnetic strip would not be level, and that pissed her off, too!

Oh, my, that woman was furious. Pocky was seriously afraid that, given the nearness of Unseen University and the unpredictability of loose magic that had been creeping around the grounds for so long, something truly horrifying might occur if she couldn’t convince Auntie to just take a break. That turned out not to be so hard, because the second magnetic knife holder’s useless, wrong-sized, mis-matched, idiotic Klatchian screws had disappeared somewhere anyway. In the chaos of, well, everything, there was no telling where it might have gone to. Pocky kind of halfway hoped it wouldn’t show up. Maybe ever.

“Um… thank goodness you thought of the matchsticks?” she ventured, hoping to turn this into a positive, problem-solving sort of thing.

“MATCHSTICKS!” Widder howled. “Do you know how many centuries woodworkers have been fixing other people’s crap work with matchsticks? It ain’t a new thing, girl. It’s a last-ditch effort to make up for lousy supplies, lousy specs, lousy manufacturing, lousy instructions, lousy planning, lousy work, lousy restoration efforts, and a whole lotta other lousy shite.”

Seeing that her old auntie, definitely round the bend on the far end of “dotty” today, was unlikely to calm down for a good long time, Pocky took the Opportunity of the Tirade to make a quick, strategic retreat. Even as she trotted quickly back toward her house, her scarf over her head to hide her face, she heard her aunt’s voice fade slowly into the distance, still shrieking expletives and throwing down curses on the Klatchian idiots who sent utter, complete crap to Ankh-Morpork and elsewhere, thinking people would be stupid enough—as she had until today—to think their inability to install it was their fault, not the Klatchians’.

They did it on purpose. She knew they did, the evil little forners. They aimed to take over the world, all right. One piece of crap at a time.

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A little good, a little …

Apocalyptica gazed at her dotty old auntie, the Widow Dressing. On the one hand, she’d had a good day; on the other, it had sucked rotten eggs out loud in the … well, not dark, since it was sunshiny, but somewhere.

Auntie Widder had put together a medicine cabinet all by herself, and everything actually went together reasonably well. Then she’d spent about three hours cutting up cardboard that she was sure the city trash folks, who were often nice enough but equally often pretty shady, sold on the black market because of the loose magic cardboard picked up so easily at her house, bein’ all absorbent and all. She’d even managed to get all of it in what they called the “recycle bin,” which name convinced her all the more that she was right about who got the money, since that was the only thing that was constantly recycled in Ankh-Morpork.

The nice delivery person had dropped off a new lamp to replace the one she’d returned because the switch broke (cheap Klatchian work, she sniffed, but a lot less dear than local things and the Widder had to be careful about such things), and she’d put that together without trouble.

After that, Auntie Widder had worked up the nerve to hang the medicine cabinet, which involved finding things that would make a stable 15” stack on top of the terlet tank. She measured, she leveled, she drilled the holes and hammered in the drywall expander wossnames, she held the cabinet in place, she felt around ‘til she found the first hole, she screwed in the screw. She did the same thing on the other side.

And then discovered she’d missed the plastic jobbie entirely, so fixing that was going to be a much more involved job than she’d expected.

Somehow retaining a sense of optimism at this point, she decided to hang the terlet paper hanger, which was just one straight pole that she intended to mount on a tiny stretch of wall directly across from the terlet for easy reaching. And she discovered, again after putting the plastic thingies in, that the mounting plate would fit the pole only one way, and that way was upside down from what she wanted.

Apocalyptica put on the kettle and made her auntie a nice cuppa and made some soothing sounds. “We can fix this, Auntie,” she promised. “Not to worry! I’m sure we can come up with a solution.”

Widow Dressing glared at her niece. “I doubt that verra verra much,” she grumbled. “I’m just hopeless. Even if we can get the mounting plate in the right spot, that stinkin’ set screw that tightens the pole against the plate is gonna be almost impossible to tighten.”

“Never you mind,” Apocalyptica soothed, knowing that Auntie had four other Things that required hanging on walls or doors in similar fashion, and Auntie was not happy about that. Or her performance, given that she’d never had so much trouble with such things before. “We’ll figger it out, even if we hafta glue everything.”

Here’s the medicine cabinet.
Here’s the pile of cardboard pre-slicing (truly, I could hardly get around it, and there was half again as much in the garage that also got cut up).
And after cutting (I actually got all of it in the bin! All of it!)
And the new light, proving that it works.

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Going a little potty (in the UK sense)

Poor old Widow Dressing called her niece, Apocalyptica, and wheedled her into coming over to advise on A Problem. Miz Dressing had managed to put together two little bathroom storage things without difficulty, but she wanted some consultation for her next big project of the day, which involved a way to hang her pots and pans hanger (that’s not redundant, honest) so she could maneuver it and reach the pots when her shoulders were giving her gyp. Which they were. Pretty badly.

She’d gotten a 2×6 (waaaay too rough to sand and paint) and some fabric to cover it. Apocalyptica listened to the PLN and thought it would work without much trouble. She was actually kind of impressed with her dotty old aunt’s ingenuity, but she’d never admit that.

Of course, Miz Dressing’s staple gun wouldn’t work. Two of probably 100 tries actually shot a staple through the fabric and into the wood. She could find nothing mechanical wrong with it, so muttered “feckit” under her breath and gathered up leftover screws and nails from other projects.

“I heard that!” Apocalyptica chided.

“Respect yer elders!” Miz Dressing snapped back.

So with miscellaneous small leftovers, she tightly attached the fabric to the 2×6. Then she measured carefully and marked where the hangers needed to be screwed in on the bottom side. She completely ignored the hanger instructions because it looked as if they expected her to be drilling through bricks.

Once done, the fabric was nice and tight and the whole thing looked quite tidy and colorful. She put the pieces of the pot-and-pan hanger together; unfortunately, the end piece on the right appeared to have found a different trouser leg to travel during its journey to her new home, so she stuck a bigger leftover screw through the hole to hold the hanging hook temporarily and determined to get a bolt and nut that would close it off.

And she had a place to put her pots and pans! A couple of which she’d found!

It had been a red-letter day for Arriving Things, and she had a medicine cabinet and three big sets of garage shelves to put together tomorrow, but she was so excited to finally be getting things into which she could actually unpack and put her own stuff away that Apocalyptica had to grab her trailing skirt a few times and pull her back to ground. That UU magic did some weird stuff sometimes.

Wee bathroom storage–not much room, but every bit helps!
Pot hanger! A real one!!! With pots! (Except for the wee 7” saute pan, which appears still to be wandering about.)

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At least I can polish furniture

The last of the oiling. Widow Dressing was thankful, since parts of things had been unreachable with her only good shoulder. She was also pleased to find that the first things oiled had absorbed quite a lot of their coatings, and at least one of them might not need additional wiping down if she waited a bit longer. She was good at waiting longer to avoid work. Heh.

Today, after her a.m. freeze working in the back room, she’d oiled the drawers, taken down the books and shelf and oiled the inside and outside of the 7’ bookcase, and the outside and stand for a smaller walnut chest.

“Well, that’s a bugger to move,” she grumbled about the three-layered paper sandwich she’d put it on. It wasn’t heavy, but the paper sandwich wanted to tear, not move the chest around. Eventually she managed to shove it in a spot so she could still maneuver around the house. “Not gonna work on the inside of that ‘til it’s easier to get to. So there.”

“But I can unpack this box! And put it in the chest!” she crowed, finding a few of the musical things. So she did. She was a bit unhappy that she’d not been able to sand out all the paint-rub stains those skeezy Morpork movers had gotten on a couple of spots, but they were much better than before. “I can live with it,” she grudged, “as long as nobody else sees it.”

She’d checked on her friend who’d had wrist surgery, made a list of things to do tomorrow (attend a birthday party was one of them; she planned to do some shopping after that so’s she wouldn’t have to go out again), checked on her other friend’s mental condition, and was winding down for bedtime. Which, she scolded herself, was going to be considerably earlier than last night’s midnight. “You’re too old to stay up that late,” she admonished herself. “And it only makes the next day start later, so you gotta quit it.”

It’s very difficult to oil portions of these things with a damaged shoulder. But it’s done.
Oil-fed drawers, with stuff innem!
The one that caused all the moving drama. It also has a small stand it rests on, which is also oiled and put somewhere safe to soak it up.

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… and it grows …

While the young’uns worked on finishing the desk, Widow Dressing took her bottle of Howard’s Feed-n-Wax (she didn’t know Howard, and didn’t want to). Because of Dry Climate and Thirsty Wood, she and D thoroughly rubbed a good coating of it into the five bookcase shelves and all the outside and drawers of her granddad’s pie safe (this is extremely time consuming, in case you don’t know, and takes a lot of rubbing) as well as the chest of drawers and the small walnut whatnot cabinet. It would be much better for them than sitting around drying out in the 25% humidididity in her house, although she wasn’t much looking forward to the twice or so a year they’d need it because torn rotator cuff. Hers, not the wood’s.

So left-handed, carefully, she rubbed and rubbed and rubbed, then found a big pile of three-layered paper/plastic/paper in the Moving Mess to put under them to protect rug and hard floor. The shelves could sit there a few days, soaking stuff in, before she rubbed and polished to clear off the greasiness and make sure the books wouldn’t get stained. The pie safe could soak as long as it wanted to.

She intended to rub down the chest and the big Craftsman bookshelf, too, but what with the aforementioned &#)@&5^@!!!!d mess, she flat ran out of time and she was NOT staying up ‘til midnight–not after she’d dragged her groggy, sorry ass out of bed at 7 so she could Get Things Done.

The Widow decided she was going to eat some Lindt balls, and put the newly purchased ice packs on her shoulder, watch junk TV (wait for me, René!), and knit. By damn, she needed to knit.

Then Widow Dressing realized she’d not written anything amusing in weeks. She was still furious, but apologized anyway.

P.S. You’d be amazed how much the pie safe has already absorbed.

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And the expected tech frustration does not disappoint

Desk after D’s amazing kids put it together for me. There’s going to be a problem re mouse placemnt, but I can figure something out.

“You cannot hear me swear,” growled the Widow Dressing. “You cannot see the rage in my eyes. You cannot see the frustration, the fury, the anger, the lividity, the outrage, the wrath, the spleen, choler, or birse. Keep it that way if you know what’s good for you.”

The outraged woman had spent the afternoon setting up her computer on the new desk (new desk! She’d been so excited! Now it was just anticlimactic). Patiently, she’d threaded cables and cords through a cable hole in the top, so the wires would (but they didn’t) go nicely behind everything and not look like a rat’s nest.

She’d already compromised on the Crap Mouse because the Good Mouse, the ADA mouse for the crippled, was in its box but not in the box with the rest of the Essential Tech Stuff (it had been a few days ago). She’d already unplugged the extra USB port bank because its transformer wouldn’t fit. That was compromise enough.

She’d even moved the happy light to the desk (oh, the irony) and tried the laptop on the desk (it worked fine; at least it didn’t yap annoying shite at her about there being no networks. She could see 10 without even trying).

But then, then she couldn’t find the brand-new, still-in-the-box printer/scanner she’d been SO looking forward to trying out. NOWHERE. Every bloody box in the house was either a white banker box or a brown moving box. There was not ONE box ANYWHERE with colorful printing on the outside. Nor was it in the garage or the car. No other places existed where it could be.

Ever hopeful (gods only know why), she turned on the tower. Voila! The new monitor lit up and gave her the thumbs up. Thrilled, she clicked the browser button. And nothing. “Sorry, we can’t find that page!” for page after page after page.

Clicking the connection icon at the bottom, she waited for the list of available networks to appear. NOT ONE. NOT ONE STINKING ONE. NOT ONE. Stupid bloody Win10 just kept saying “sorry, sorry, you have to have an ethernet cable to connect. Maybe yours is broken?”

“Up YOURS before I break YOU,” she snarled, wishing she could give Micro$oft a kick inna fork. Hard. With a shovel. There was no reason whatsoever she could find that none of the 15 or 20 nearby networks should not show up.

Eventually, after trying everything she knew and getting nothing but M$ B$, she said some really, really, really bad words and walked away. She suspected it was the crappy connection she was getting 60% of but paying 100% for, and the house seller had flat-out lied when she said she had DSL, too, and her son had no trouble streaming back there. The only thing streaming at this point were tears of utter, complete, out-of-control rage.

Except that the wi-fi laptop worked fine. So what the ever-loving hell was going on?!

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Obstacles and intimidation

Widder Dressing is too tired to write any kind of story tonight.

She made her mom’s famous cranberry salad for tomorrow, then spent the rest of the day inventorying parts that came out of the two huge desk boxes. Quite a few parts are missing, including (if you can believe this!) the top of the second leg of the L. Calls Will Be Made.

However, there is no way on the Disc or anywhere else I can put this together by myself. So now begins the distressing and frustrating task of trying to find someone who can and will, and hopefully not charge me $10,000. I didn’t even have the energy to inventory the hardware (but I was cutting and hauling cardboard and styrofoam as I went, too).

Lots and lots and lots of intimidating little bits and pieces.
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Wasted motion: I’m good at that

Widow Dressing rubbed her hands together in satisfaction: Hard, brutal work, but she’d done it, and she thought (hoped) (rattled) (sizzled) (prayed) (lit candles) (rinked) that it would work better than the first attempt. And even though it was way late at night and she shouldn’t have been doing it just before bed, the exertion had felt good. She just needed to be sure to leave room for the exercise equipment that also needed to go in there somewhere… although she could put it in the two-carriage carriage house except that it would be 120° (49 C) or higher in there in the summer. Pro’lly not such a good idea, that.

She’d also end-capped her two outdoor spigots and put foam insulators over them to prevent freezing. So all in all, despite the confounded interruptions and essential errands, she felt good about her results. Uh-oh! She suddenly recalled she’d left the blueberries, hardening off to go dormant and stay outside over winter, on the porch, and decided she’d better bring them in.

It was about time she did feel good about getting something visible done. She decided to eat a chocolate peanut-butter holiday tree before going to bed, even though she knew it was stupid, because Celebrate. “Nuggan can just go stuff himself in a raggedy cut tin can and throw himself in a metal crusher,” she said. Out loud. With defiance.

Craft room moved to former office (the shelves are leaning forward on purpose, until I can get hold of a piece of insulation to stick in that stupid wall-mounted pet door).
New office, sans closet doors and with filing cabinet in closet (and shredder). There’s plenty of room, I think, to mount mis-matched shelves for paper on the right side of the closet.
Bookshelf moved into office, easily movable when needed for desk (in box on floor) so the desk can fit into the corner (it’s a big L-shaped thing).

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Early days in the marathon

Widow Dressing snarled at the little boy who came to the door selling cookies.

“Don’t want no cookies. Go away.” She slammed the door in his face. She didn’t even care that she could hear him wailing outside. She’d had more than she could take in the last couple of weeks, and she wasn’t going to take any more. Not off anybody. Or anything.

She had gotten her yarn boxes unpacked, and the boxes cut up into her now completely full to almost overflowing recycle bin at the curb. Squeezing in two bags of trash had even been possible in the bin the bloody damned city didn’t pick up last week. What the hells did those so-called Sanitifying Guild people do all week, anyway? Were they blind and stupid, or just one or the other?

It was nice to have a little space in the room and have her yarn back in its Place in the World, she had to admit that.

But her shoulder ached and burned (she was NOT going to try the water disaster like that) and she should not have tried to set up the new iconoprojector her son had sent her. It refused absolutely and utterly to connect to whatever her “network” was, even though she was not riding her first stinkin’ biting Shetland pony and was bloody damned positive she’d entered all the ridiculous information correctly.

But she told the “help people” (hollow laughter) to call her anyway… only to find out that her audioimp device had freaking died, and it never did that. So she said, in much saltier language, “Well, screw it,” and stopped.

It wouldn’t even let her connect to her own darned account with the people who made the bloody iconoprojector.

This did not make her feel one bit happier. She still was furious that she couldn’t get it set up, because she’d really been looking forward to doing something relaxing so she could knit tonight.

That was not going to happen.

Widow Dressing glared at all the boxes that surrounded her. She snapped at the empty kitchen cabinets–how was she supposed to figure out how to put anything in those, and where? (However, she had found her little Japanese saws, and mangled hells out of the top half of the nonfunctioning retainer clip, completely removing it, although it made no difference.)

Her shoulder hurt so badly she wanted to cry. Her feet hurt. Her back hurt. And despite having demolished a good 16 or so boxes today, she was deeply, deeply annoyed.

Well, she’d learned never to go to Cost-mo on a Sunday. And that fake trees were as dear as a university education no matter where you found them. And that her Santa Clara pottery had made it safely through the trip. She still needed to cut up a two-pound brick of Cost-mo cheese and put most of it in the freezer, but even if she left it sit ‘til morning the world wouldn’t end.

She was a seriously, seriously unhappy camper, largely thanks to the ghastly uncooperative iconoprojector, because those stinking things NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER EVER EVER worked for her. They refused to hook up, they told her things were wrong when they were not, they LIED, they were just horrible and she hated them all.

But her craft room was starting, slowly, to take shape. This would change radically in the next few days, but we’ll save that for later.

Floor space!
Stash to shop from!
She’d even found her fountain pen case and all had made the journey safely (though she hadn’t yet taken out all the bubble wrap to be sure).

She realized she actually didn’t have anything but the #(%&^%$##! iconoprojector to be pissed off about. Fortunately, she’d found and was wrapped up in her old, beat up, way-too-big but toasty cashmere sweater, so at least she was comfortable. She could find something to watch on her tiny screen, however unsatisfying it was.

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Way out of order; but so am I

Dec. 16, 2021. What a day!

This a.m. I girded my loins and did some Adulting. I called the printer people to ask where the blazes the USB port was on this thing so I could get a physical connection to the computer and maybe get more than 1.5 pages printed before the wi-fi disconnected. The woman was kind not to laugh at me as she spelled (with a very difficult accent) what I needed to get.

At the same time, my sternly worded and repeated “that is not acceptable” emails must have made an impression on CenturyLink’s tech support, because they offered me a speed higher than I initially wanted at the same price I’m paying, which will be $15 lower when I return their modem and don’t have to rent it (I own mine).

I then went to Best Buy and got the last one cable they had. Then went to Electric Playhouse with the wonderful Ortiz women for the December birthday girls’ party. They have graciously adopted this gringa into their family and I’m terribly grateful! (D gets a bye ‘cause she was married to one of the late brothers; there were four of them and five girls. I’m just the gringa friend upstart, although they all had at least one of my parents for teachers.) Electric Playhouse is awesome–the grands would love it and even we creaky oldsters had a blast.

I had enough time after to go by the ACE Hardware store with a list half a page long of things I needed, things I wasn’t sure how best to do (or fix what I’d already done wrong), and just questions for how they’d do A if it happened to them. (Dang; wasn’t on the list, but I should’ve gotten some spackle, because I’m bound to mess up the drywall one of these days and need to repair it. Oh, well; next time.)

I love those people.

I came home with workable (even for me, I think) answers, some nuts and bolts, drawer pulls, a couple of toggle bolts, and a new, heavy duty vise grip, which I think will be helpful because arthritic hands just don’t have the squeeze strength they used to with pliers. The youngster who led me around the store (and even wrote down the size drill bit to use on the package with the toggle bolts, because I told him I’d be sure to forget) and pulled things out for me was an absolute sweetie.

However, I have to admit that while I did bring my caulk gun with me (it was an expensive pro model; in Washington, you have to do a lot of caulking and the cheap ones fall apart)… I was truly hoping never to have to use it again. And while he couldn’t help me with the magnet catches I’d like to install on the tiny Cheap Chinese Crap (CCC) storage towers in the baths, I did have a potentially brilliant idea: I might be able to cut a recess into the movable shelf and epoxy in one of those tiny rare-earth magnets I’ve been saving from Sonicare toothbrushes (for years), then put a tiny piece of steel on the other side—not close enough to touch, because I’d never get them apart, but close enough for the magnet to keep it gently shut. I may have to get a 1/4” or smaller chisel or similar to pull that off (why didn’t I keep my carving tools? Oh, yeah, shaky hands). It may have to go on the Son List, given the shaky hand issue.

Sweet Kid couldn’t help with the dog door in the wall problem, though (how to seal the outside so no cold air gets in). He said I’d done the right thing with the insulation, but since they don’t really get into construction supplies he wasn’t sure what to advise, especially since it will need to be something that will support stucco and I think they put chicken wire or something under that. I’ll investigate a little more. Or try CallFidel.com (ha ha–that’s D’s BIL and my former classmate, whom she feels she’s always calling on to do things her late husband always did. We turned it into a joke when, after a few days here, I started saying, “I guess we’ll have to call Fidel” when I ran into something I couldn’t fix for her. Poor Fidel does not know we’ve done this to him. Hee hee. He can be grateful we haven’t set up a website.)

Once home, I struggled and struggled to hook up the printer–the mfr says the cable should be no more than 6.5’, and mine is 6’. Too short. I may have to do some end-table rearranging and just put it to the side of the desk closest to the pooter so the cable will attach tightly, but that’s OK. Fewer wires to fight on the desk, anyway. Didn’t have the spoons to give it a try, so I’ll work on that in the a.m. I’d also like to drill a few holes in the desk itself for cable management, but that will require some thought.

Now I’m ensconced on the couch, with the fireplace on (oh, the utter luxury!), an old tatty blanket of my grandma’s over my lap (it’s wool!), and a pair of toasty fingerless gloves on. (It gets cold here, and while the technician programmed my thermostat yesterday, I wasn’t thinking clearly about the kinds of temps I needed during which parts of the day.) And waiting for Temporarily Homeless Guest to arrive. He doesn’t know it, but we’re having a massive Cut the Boxes Down for Recycling party tonight or tomorrow. 😉

Back to putting my meds and vitamins into their monthly containers. You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

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Sons of mine: Read this. It’s important.

I’ve been busier than the proverbial one-armed paper hanger–no, I’ve been the one-armed paper hanger, because the deltoid I’d trained to mostly take over for the torn rotator cuff got sprained, so I’m doing almost everything left-handed. Anyway, I’ve not been keeping up blog-wise (as if you cared; really, it’s just the drudgery of moving and the anger of finding out that the previous owner a) did shoddy, shoddy, shoddy work; b) if she did any at all; c) knew damn well there were problems with the house that she did not disclose, which is illegal as hell; and d) trying to figure out ways to fix things well and inexpensively, which generally means creatively.

However, I have been writing about these things. Mostly in explosions of incandescent rage. In my most-used online knitting forum, where we’re oriented around Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. We have something called Guild Wars, in which participants choose a guild from the DW universe and then shows off what they’ve knitted or done (this is its purpose; I don’t think anyone pays attention to the imaginary “points”). Most of my “done” lately has been the back-breaking work of packing, hauling, and reversing the process. And making too many decisions for the spoons I no longer have and trying to find places where there are no places to put things.

Thing is, we also get points for writing stories to go with our work. You know me; any chance to write a story is a good one. So I’m going to use those DW stories to fill out the non-blogging lacuna, which damn well better be my last move. If they don’t carry me out of here in a box, I’m suing someone.

Because it’s DW-themed, our stories read rather like fanfic, which I don’t much care for elsewhere, but it’s fun here. When you read about the Widow Dressing (a pun arising from a felicitous typo of “window dressing”), that is I. When you read about Apocalyptica (or Pocky), that’s either Widow Dressing’s niece (lately) or also I (earlier on). I’m not going back any farther than that, because I don’t remember what character name I was using, and it’s not relevant.

This is because I have absolutely no spoons to rewrite it in regular language and still make it even remotely humorous, so you’re just going to have to get along with it. Maybe the grands will think it’s fun–especially those who’ve started the DW Tiffany Aching cycle (which reminds me, Nodakbassmaster: Offspring 2 is exactly the right age for this set. If she’s still not much of a reader, you can get them on audiobook from the library). Or maybe they won’t. Ahorita, no me importa.

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Vindication feels so-o-o good

Ever since I moved into this place, I’ve been increasingly sure that a) the thermostat (which is 20 years old and listed last on the PDF manual site, which I take to mean the company’s about to drop support for it) was broken and b) the heater was not working properly. I graphed the difference between thermostat heat settings and actual room temperature, and the thermostat was convinced it was anywhere from six to eight degrees warmer than it actually was. This has resulted in my living with room heaters for about three weeks now. Fortunately, thanks to having lived in a POS house that held heat the way a colander holds water, I have a couple of good heaters and <em>did</em> have the foresight to bring them. (OK, I can’t credit foresight. I just did because they were good heaters, not Cheap Chinese Crap.)

A few days ago I consulted a few people I trust, who recommended a heating/cooling/plumbing/electrical company they use (which is <em>not</em>, thank goodness, the most expensive in town). They came by today, and the lead guy was quite familiar with both this bizarre system (which has a dual hot water tank: The top portion heats really hot and goes to the heater, where radiator fins distribute the heat to the house; the bottom portion actually provides bath-style hot water, which explains why I ran out of hot water in what seemed a <em>very</em> short time while taking a shower. (I’m used to a tankless, where you never run out of hot water.)

Upshot: Though at least one of my kids has been downplaying my concerns and telling me “just put in a new thermostat; it’s not a big deal,” it’s not that easy. A normal two-wire one won’t work. The third wire is necessary because of the ultra-hot-water section in the tank (if I understood correctly). The technician turned up the water temp on the heater portion of the water heater and they’re coming back with a new, appropriate, <em>programmable</em> thermostat to replace it with. That means it will be warm when I get up in the a.m. and cold enough to sleep better at night, and will automatically reduce temperature during times when I’m sweating buckets unpacking boxes.

So there, children. I was right, despite being mechanically declined. Hah.

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FINALLY. Minor progress occurs

The householder was angry. Really angry. She’d been in her new digs for a good three weeks and hardly anything looked any different than it had on day one. She still couldn’t cook and was getting tired of eating out of Costco’s freezer (which actually meant she wasn’t eating much at all). She was beyond fed up, ready to stand on the rooftop, scream, and throw rocks at passersby. Her ankle hurt. Her shoulders burned like the Little Bear fire.

But she was determined to get one damned bookshelf up today, with books on it. No matter what. Even though she didn’t get started ‘til 2 p.m. because she’s a lazy git, she’s living on Australian time, or maybe both, or maybe worse.

She wound up moving every bloody banker box in the house–more than 50–as well as most of the regular boxes, because the books were in the heavier banker boxes and she was looking for her favorite author. She figured it was fitting for his books to go on the first shelf in the new place.

She lifted. She toted. She hauled. She grunted. She panted. She kicked things out of the way. She moved everything ranging from tools to desk parts (which she carefully replaced so as not to mess up The System) to an escalerita. Several times. She did remember to eat, though not so much to drink. She snarled and swore and shouted at Recalcitrant Inanimate Objects, of which there were many, many, many. She sliced open box after box after box to see what was inside; she remembered labeling the boxes she wanted, and she’d labeled more, too, but this time she rough-labeled everything, moved them into the proper rooms, and actually made more room to move around. She glared at the boxes with the Glare of Death, daring them to fall over, collapse, or otherwise increase her ire.

She also laid her Dad’s empty bookcase on the floor and replaced the felt on the feet, and did the same with her Granddad’s 100+-year-old (yes, them hyphens is right, and it’s 106 this year) piece, which was interesting because the clips and things that hold the glass and wooden doors closed, well, don’t (like you’d be in perfect shape after 100 years, so shut up and stop laughing). She had to tape them shut, take out the wee drawers, and move it to the carpet to get some control. And seeing as it has built-in shelves and things, it’s much heavier than her Dad’s case. She took care to keep her shoulder low, which made it quite difficult for her biceps to do their job. But, guessing that it weighed around 70-75 pounds, she did it. Who else was around to? She put it elsewhere, and moved the cheesy cheap-ass IKEA thing into the corner by the kitchen, where at this point she thought it would likely be most useful.

Finally–you guessed it–the last two freaking boxes, buried under every stinkin’ thing in the office from boxes to tools to furniture parts to polar bears, contained the books she wanted. She hauled them out to the bookcase, fought ferociously with the uncooperative shelf-support clips in the dark (even a flashlight didn’t help), got a shelf in place despite its repeated desperate attempts to run off to Zanzibar, and put all the Pratchett books she’d found onto the shelf. She was surprised to find they all fit (but suspects there are more elsewhere–like the Johnny ones and the Carpet People ones–and they won’t. Not on the same shelf, anyway).

She stood back and looked at them with satisfaction.

Finally. Finally. Finally this confounded mess of a place could start to look like Home. She needed that more desperately than even she had thought, and she’d felt pretty darned desperate for a very long time. She’d run out of the 2024 spoons she’d been borrowing at appalling interest rates and The Future had notified her it would not be issuing her any more, thank you, she’d gone way over her limit.

Mindful of both ankle and shoulder, she did quit after the one shelf. She decided she’d go get ice packs for her shoulder tomorrow morning, and maybe start trying to figure out what kitchen stuff would go best in the IKEA thing, which she was beginning to think of as “pantry.”

Even though that would require pulling a fair number of boxes labeled “kitchen stuff” out of the bottom of many stacks of boxes. There wasn’t much choice; there was no more room in or near the kitchen for more kitchen-labeled boxes. She sighed, a deep, voluminous, wave-propagating sigh that would have made a West-of-Ireland sigh sound like a gentle spring zephyr.

“You can’t have everything,” she thought. “At least you got something done today that’s visible. Just pat yourself on the back–owwww, not with that hand, dope! Use the slightly less painful one!–and call it a good job for the day.”

So it’s a good job for the day. And that’s that. Now she can do a little knitting.

This looks like the crafty room is worse, but it’s not. The banker boxes are the white ones, and the damn things don’t break down. There’s some kind of sticky stuff that holds the double walls in place and you can’t get them apart. Hoping someone will come and take them away as-is, because they’re sturdy, tough boxes and cost about $3 a pop.
Lots more room in the office for working on The Monster Desk
Grandpa’s pie safe, about to be converted into more bookshelves, across the room from its initial position.

IKEA thing stuffed in the corner, with tub of pots and pans bracing it so it won’t fall down. I did find a stud to fasten it to, but it hurt the crap shoulder a lot so I left it alone. It totally does not fit style-wise with any other thing I own, but at this point who needs furniture that will outlast me?
Yessssssss. Success, peaches.

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A day I should have stayed in bed

Not Even Remotely Dear Day,

This could have gone better. Let me explain why I don’t like you. At all. I am glad to see the ass end of you disappearing behind the Three Sisters and I’m glad you’ll never, ever be back, you sorry excuse for a diurnal event.

Baby M.’s covid test isn’t back, but the doc says she has pneumonia. She’s 2. Not good. I know her mom and dad are watchful and competent, but couldn’t help explaining what serious respiratory distress looks like and when to get her to ER fast if it happens. They’ll just have to live with the fact that the EMT mentality never goes away.

I did get a bunch of (not visible where it counts) boxes emptied out and the recycle bin is packed (packed) with cut-up cardboard, and I squeezed a couple of trash bags into the trash bin the city didn’t pick up on Monday. They’d bloody better well do it tomorrow.

I gave up on trying to hang the new TV right now, propped it up securely on the dresser, and tried to set it up. “Tried” being the operative word. I mean, it’s not like this is my first vicious Shetland pony, you know? I know damn well I entered the password correctly–FIVE EFFING TIMES–and every time it said Sorry! Could not connect! It’s a Fire TV NoDakBassmaster sent me, so I tried the Amazon PW and it spit that one out in disgust, too. No love there.

After putting my short trip to Costco on hold for a Chilkat/Chilkoot video production (they stabbed Kermit in the back), I learned that you do not go to Costco around noon on a Sunday. And I spent about $200 (OUCH), mostly on frozen food since I haven’t yet found my pots and pans. Not that that’s going to make me want to cook.

My shoulder is killing me. I can hardly move my arm. So I was not going to tackle the plumbing. My foot aches. My back aches. And my phone died. DIED. Zero battery. This has never happened before and I don’t know why it should.

I also learned that no matter where you look, fake trees of the 5’ (or even 2.5’) variety are so far beyond ridiculously expensive as to be in the range of taking a space trip, and I’m pissed off about that. Wasn’t so long ago you could get a nice one for $20-$25. Now the cheapest thing I can find is $72. I have too much unpacking to do to go traipsing around town looking for them at thrift stores when I know they won’t be there anyway.

So I defy you, you sorry excuse for a wretch. I am snuggled in my old, huge, ratty, beloved cashmere sweater and a lap robe. I will find something to watch even though it’s not very pleasant on a laptop screen, and I will knit, and I will get to bed before midnight, and that asshole who rang my doorbell at 7 a.m. will pay in some form and be very, very sorry he screwed with me. Or I’ll disconnect the doorbell. Hah.

You are GONE, Day. I am still standing. Even if I’m sitting down. I. Freaking. Win.

Not a heck of a lot of like, and no love at all,

Small floor space in the craft room!
Yarn is back in its home. I can shop from stash again!
Pen chest is found and all seem to have survived, though I’ve not removed all the bubble wrap yet.

No photo, but I found my Japanese saws and sawed the top half off one of those confounded self-locking shelf supports in a kitchen cabinet. Doesn’t seem to matter; I still can’t move the shelf. At this point it’s not worth fighting it.

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