Monday, December 28, 2015

Post Xmas Status Report 2015

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Look At This Visa Bill!

Life has been possessed of a particularly piquant bouquet of suck of late.

Item 1) Chateau Stevie Dilapidation Study.

Subsection 1): Ceilings - all showing critical levels of paint leprosy. Urgent repainting required sometime around the summer. Of 2013.

Subsection 2): Upstairs Bathroom - Bathing facility still waiting any sort of action. Now almost two years sans shower or bath up there. Tiles piled in garage along with cement and grout. Management beginning to suspect talk of carpal tunnel woes are variation of lead swinging.

Actuality is hands really hurt and I'm dithering over the matter of needing a new valve body for new taps that don't stick and do other annoying stuff. Also, walls too far out or pipes too far in. Tiles will result in taps being behind wall. This judged to be sub-optimal for actual bathing use in simulations. Action is called for, but not in title case.

Subsection 3): Downstairs Bathroom - Wallpaper peeling and mouldy. Metal "temporary" drop ceiling fixtures rusting. Metal door jambs1 rusting. Fixtures and fittings banged up and in urgent need of replacement. Recently re-grouted tiles now falling from wall and in urgent need of being glued back again before they fall out during Mrs Stevie's ablutions. Basically, if it isn't mouldy it's rusty. Crisis imminent. Awooga!

Subsection 4): Living Room Hardwood Floor - in urgent need of either sanding and re-varnishing or covering up with a carpet and never being spoken of again. Action is called for.

Subsection 5): Kitchen - Not falling down or rusting2. Can be left for another year.

Subsection 6): Office - cannot be entered owing to amounts of crap littering the place. Needs emptying and stripping pending being converted into something useful for Azathoth's sake. Can be left indefinitely

Subsection 7): Upstairs bedrooms - Source of constant arguments between me and Mrs Stevie and the Stevieling. Nothing gets done and the women don't take my threats seriously, which is a strategic mistake on their part, as they are about to find out. Action pending receipt of Amazon order for pitchfork, barbecue starter fluid and long-reach strike anywhere fireplace matches.

Subsection 8): Exterior - not too bad if you don't count the garage door3 or the fence4.

Item 2) The Incompetence Of The Long Island Rail Road.

Subsection 1): Timeliness - They haven't got any. Late trains are now the norm on the Ronkonkoma branch.

Subsection 2): Common Sense - They haven't got any of this either. They continue to prioritize eastbound trains through the single track chicane that runs from Pinelawn through Wyandanch to Deer Park even when peak traffic is competing for the route in the westbound direction. Late eastbound trains in the morning inconvenience very few off-peak travelers. Late westbound trains in the morning disrupt the peak traffic patterns for not only the Ronkonkoma branch but also the extremely popular Huntington Branch and the Oyster Bay branch too. This situation is blamed on "congestion in the single track section" but is actually more accurately attributed to congestion in whatever passes for a brain in the LIRR's dispatcher's office.

Subsection 3): Chutzpah - they have plenty of this, proudly proclaiming that trains are running "on or close to schedule" on the P.A. System as if that were something that needed to be waved about on a working rail transit system.

Item 3): Xmas.

Subsection 1): The Stevieling - made out like a bandit this year despite my announcing that because I'd forked over for yet another extremely expensive unexpected job on her car5 I would not be going crazy buying presents. Mrs Stevie compensated for this - and I quote - "Scrooge-like behavior" by showering her with gifts from Santa6. The kid seemed happy. Anyway, she deserved some reward for being put in charge of making the dead sections of Mrs Stevie's indoor shrub of festive merriment light up. I let her quit after five hours and seventy replaced bulbs, and just turned the tree around so the dark bit faced the wall.

Subsection 2): Mrs Stevie - got theater tickets for shows all so popular the tickets must be paid for with human limbs, wireless headphones for the TV so that she can watch while I'm trying to sleep in the front bedroom and the Hallmark dolls house tree ornament for this year, part of a collection I've been contributing to for 28 years. The Stevieling contributed some really neat stuff, combining store bought items with artistic presentation in a stunningly original way. She won Xmas this year by sneakily adding talent to the competition, which I think you'll agree was a low blow.

I got both of them T-Shirts from The Chipshop (a UK-style pub in Brooklyn) and placed giant musical singing bows7 on the boxes that jiggled about and sang of the delights inside the gift wrapping they were attached to, but her box of roses that was really candy and tissue paper beat me to the Oscar this year.

Subsection 3): Me - I got Hess Trucks even though Hess doesn't have many gas stations hereabouts since the Speedway merger and you couldn't buy the trucks at the one Hess gas station I know of anyway, since they were an Internet Only deal8.

I also got a kite I had ordered and handed to the Stevieling upon receipt instructing her to wrap it as her Xmas gift to me, thereby saving herself some much-needed cash. This she did, pausing only to cut the paracord drawstring of the storage bag in about six places in the process. I reassured her that it didn't matter and moved on.

Mrs Stevie gave everyone books about wildlife that have "polarized glass" motion pictures9 which show animations of each animal - cheetahs running, octopuses squishing in and out in that fascinating yet disgusting way they do, polar bears leaping into water in order to bite chunks out of sea lions and so forth. Very spiffing indeed.

We also all got English-style Cadbury's chocolate cookies, chocolate fingers and so on from Santa, so the results of my blood work this quarter should throw Doc Rubberglove into a tizzy.

The Stevieling gave me the Lego Movie Wii game, but it turned out that it only works on the Wii U. Nothing would suffice but that I immediately order a Wii U from Amazon so that the child would not be devastated, a selfless act on my part that was the proximate cause of some hurtful words at my expense from Mrs Stevie insinuating a hidden agenda. I pointed out that I had only expected the kite and that would have sufficed, but that now I had the game I could not break the Stevieling's heart by returning it. Mrs Stevie harrumphed a lot but couldn't come up with a counter-argument and so I won and Everything Is Awesome.

Mrs Stevie gave me an aviator's watch, saying it would be better for when we went out than my Casio PAG24010.

It is dead neat, with a flyback 12 hour stopwatch for doing fancy navigation work in the old Electra while traversing the rainforest canopy above Brazil in search of this or that lost city, and a sliderule bezel that not only lets one calculate square roots when the whim strikes but can convert many everyday amounts – European Kg to proper Lbs and so forth - and should one be aloft in a Sopwith Camel with only a sight-glass fuel gauge it allows one to figure out how many gallons of gas one has left given the fuel weight in lbs one started with and the duration of the flight.

The bezel is a bit stiff, but I suspect the silicone grease in the o-ring has dried up. I shall have the bezel removed and the o-ring re-greased as a priority so that I may be ready for any aviation-related adventures that crop up.

Item 4): General health.

Subsection 1): Me - my hands hurt all the time and I can't get a decent night's sleep because of it. Doc Rubberglove says I need access to prescription drugs my insurance plan doesn't cover. So much for "the best health care system in the world" (although that is a Republican mantra I haven't heard in a while - maybe they've figured out that a healthcare system no-one can afford can't possibly be labeled "the best in the world" or maybe they read my post about their having Taxpayer-Funded Healthcare For Life and are afraid that catchphrase might get picked up by the media11).

All the shenanigans with parents this year meant I never got round to scheduling the surgery I need. Doc Rubberglove has offered a shot in the wrist that he says will relieve the problem for a bit. I will find out on January 4th. In the meantime I have to reduce my intake of the drug he gave me as an experimental treatment because although I do get a good night's sleep when I take it I am loopy all day from the side effects. Good 'ere, innit?

Subsection 2): The Stevieling - Had three of her wisdom teeth removed last month and was very poorly for days. Her head swelled up to twice its normal size, and the extra mass was all around the jowls. Her head went pear-shaped. The dentist wouldn't take out the fourth wisdom tooth for some reason, which I must pursue now I think of it. The Stevieling's explanation of it didn't make sense, though in fairness to her she was told why while coming around from the general anesthetic.

Subsection 3): Mrs Stevie - has presented me with a bill for 12 thousand dollars to replace her teeth with bionic equivalents. It seems her own teeth have all died as a consequence of her radiation treatments.

Truth to tell this is something of a relief. I was worrying what the savings-decimator would look like this time, and now the waiting is over and the uncertainty gone12. Still, I suppose she needs teeth so she can gnash them at me. I asked the dentist to tell her the teeth had been worn out by lethally strong coffee but he refused, so I will still have to endure her coffee-fueled rages and the facial twitches that make conversing with the woman such an adventure. Any inadvertent but understandable sniggering during one of her variable-facial-expression-augmented perorations can result in a reaction of the most violent stripe.

Subsection 4): Everyone else - My parents are in assisted living due to events rather than decisions, and not doing so well. My father is wheelchair bound and can only move his left arm. My mother has issues with her hips, knees and feet. Both are very depressed about leaving the house they had lived in for so many years and being so far away from Grande Prairie. My Father-in-law has developed Advanced Altzheimer's and requires a full-time nurse. My Mother-in-law is going deaf. So much for the elders of the family. Nothing good to report. Golden years my arse.

The young family members are doing well, though some of them are pointedly ignoring us. I approve of this snottiness, and return their indifference tenfold. Fbleep 'em. I'm ignoring all of my distant family, and have done for years. Dunno why. I just feel no real connection to people I haven't seen in decades. Then again, looking back I always was a selfish bastard when it came to family.So fbleep me as well. I totally deserve it.

Conclusion: I made it through another year. Not sure there are any lessons to be learned other than:

1) Don't get cancer.

2) Fix up the house before it falls over and sinks in the swamp.

3) Make sure the drawstring is out of the way before you start hacking away with the scissors.

4) Don't get old.

5) Clean out the upstairs bedroom for fbleep's sake woman! How many fbleeping sets of clothes that don't fit do you need anyway?

That about covers it.

  1. a feature of the Chateau Stevie architecture that are a large part of its "charm" and which add many opportunities for exercising one's command of Words of Power to any job involving replacing walls
  2. if you don't count the hole in the ceiling over the cabinets by the fridge caused by damp
  3. paint leprosy
  4. falling down thanks to ants, termites, hurricanes super storms and dry rot
  5. A loaner from a relative who knows an easy touch when she sees it
  6. All probably purchased on my visa card
  7. The Stevieling and Mrs Stevie go crazy trying to save old bows from Xmas gifts despite our house having at least three large bags of colored bows gifts for the tarting up of in it. Any gift bearing a bow is unwrapped to the Shrieking Shrikes of Xmas Wrapping howling about saving the bows. I react badly to this nonsense by deliberately destroying any bow beyond salvation as the first act upon receiving a present. This year none of my presents from the Shrieking Shrikes had any bows on them, which suits me just fine
  8. And now command idiotic prices on Amazon from cynical and opportunistic vendors who took advantage of the limited number of toy trucks made to come up with a scheme whereby others will pay for their children's college education
  9. That is what we called them when I was a kid but as far as I can tell they have no polarized glass in them, and are engineered using a variation of Fresnel lens technology
  10. A replacement for the better-in-certain-ways PAG40 that Mrs Stevie gave me and which I managed to terminaly break while changing the batteries in a spectacular demonstration of incompetence
  11. Which would be neat
  12. Every time I get a decent-sized float put by something comes along out of the blue and wipes me out to the last cent. One year I managed to put away four thousand dollars, only to be presented with a bill for a replacement driveway that fell in and some fencing that fell down: $4000 exactly. This year, having paid off the house, I had a little under 12K stashed in the vaults. The bill for the work Mrs Stevie needs doing is almost 12000 dollars to the penny. The front wall falling off event also cost exactly what I had in the bank at that time to put right too. I'm at the point where I want to get builders in to do the bathrooms just so whatever cosmic cash-triggered smiteostat is involved gets triggered and saves me the angst and worry of uncertainty in 2016