Monday, May 22, 2017

Pontoon!

We go on a lot of camping trips to Lake Mojave.  These trips have included more and more people in recent years, which means a lot of wear and tear on the boat.  Hauling tons of heavy gear such as Easy-Ups and well-stocked giant ice chests, as well as everyone's tents and bags, firewood and fuel, means there ain't much room for humans to sit.  Moving the heavy stuff on and off the boat damages the... oh jeez, what is it called?  The trim that goes around the top of the sides.  Anyway, it's just not good for the lovely and expensive Chris-Craft.

Last summer, just as we were getting ready to leave our cove on that over-loaded vessel, Stacey lost her footing and fell off the boat, slicing a big ol' gash in her upper arm.  That was the last straw for Drew.

Stacey and Drew have been talking for years about getting a pontoon boat to haul all the gear.  We've had three and four families using the Chris-Craft, and it's a drag having to sit on top of the gear when going to and from the campsite.  Packing the heavy stuff onto a pontoon would be so much easier, with much less wear and tear on boats and humans alike.  It doesn't need to be anything fancy or pretty as long as it runs.  A couple weeks ago, Drew started looking on Craigslist.  I said I would like to also be part owner of the pontoon.  The budget was $3,000.

Last Thursday, Drew and I drove to Havasu to look at a boat.  The photos showed that it was in rough condition, but it came with a trailer (which on its own was worth a lot, as pontoons often don't have trailers) and the guy said the motor ran.  When we got there we found that the boat was in much worse condition than we thought, and Drew and the owner couldn't get the motor started.  Now, Drew can fix pretty much anything, and everything on the deck could be replaced, but Mindy would probably have killed Drew if he had brought such a big project home, and no one would have blamed her.  The guy didn't want to come down in price so we said sayonara.

On Saturday, Drew, Stacey, and I, along with Dede, who was visiting from San Luis Obispo, went to Yucca Valley to look at a more expensive boat ($4,500).  Drew was hoping to get the price down to $4,000.  When we pulled into the owner's driveway (well, front yard, really) we saw that all of his vehicles had DEPLORABLE stickers on them.  I just about barfed.  Dede and Stacey said that maybe I should wait in the car.  It was pretty funny.  Then the guy came out wearing a DEPLORABLE LIVES MATTER t-shirt!  Double barf!!!  Oh well, it's the dessert.  I'm guessing he had a meth lab out back.

Drew started assessing the important stuff and we sisters climbed aboard to take a look.  Everything was in really good shape.  The upholstery was only a year old and everything else except the carpeting looked good.  And the carpeting wasn't all that bad.  The guy said the motor was an 85hp Force, which is made by Mercury.  He said it ran kind of slow, which was ok for our needs.  The owner opened his garage to get something he needed to start the motor.  Inside was more Trump crap, as well as a Confederate flag on the wall.  Big surprise.

The motor started on the first try.  Things were looking good for this boat.  We knew we wanted it, although it galled me that we would be giving this guy a single cent.  Drew haggled with him a bit and got the price down a little.  We came back to Riverside with our new baby.

As soon as we got to Drew's we set about cleaning it up.  We were so happy that it came out looking so good.  After we were done we just sat there enjoying it.  Drew texted our friends, Dave and Christa, and they came right over to see it.  Then Stacey's friend, Michelle, came over.  Then Mindy and Tori came home.  We had a lovely little party right there.  So, of course, the next thing we did was order pizza!  It was the perfect way to end the day.

And to make it even more perfect, the next day, Drew opened up the motor to take a look.  He found that the reason it ran slow was there was a loose ground wire inside a connection, which the guy had missed.  Drew hooked it up and VROOM!  He also did a bit more research and found the actual model number.  It's not an 85 hp engine, it's 125!  He said that bought the value up another $1,500 to $2,000!

Oh, please let me call the guy and tell him!  Please, please, please!!!

So, we're looking forward to our first river trip of the year.  We'll pack the pontoon, and when the trip is over, all the heavy stuff can be stored on the boat.  And the deck is pretty big (overall length is 24 feet), so pretty much everyone will fit when we go to our special get-out-of-the-wind party spot on the lake.

Oh man, I am looking forward to some major family fun.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life Change!

Hello, Bloggie!  How ya been?  So sorry I've neglected you.

I had a very good meeting at the local Social Security office the other day.  Right after Jim died, I was told that when I turn 60 I'll be able to collect his Social Security benefits.  This was confirmed in that meeting.  What I'll be getting is substantially more than what I'm making working at Home Depot.  It just doesn't make sense for me to keep working.

Hallelujah!  I'm going to quit my job!

Not only that, this will be the first time in many years that I won't have to worry about money.  I can let my IRA sit there and grow, like it's supposed to, instead of dipping into it again and again just to survive.  I will have enough to live on, and some extra for home improvements and fun stuff.

What will that be like?  Already I'm feeling quite happy, although I don't feel like it's real enough to trust it.  I'm Charlie Brown, the widow's benefit is the football, and Lucy is right there ready to snatch it away (Lucy being the force of evil in the universe).

So!  What am I going to do?  Fun shit!  Take classes, visit people, work on my house, NOT worry about missing family events because I might not be able to get the time off.  If I can manage to save some money I can finally get a different car.  Maybe.

I'm pretty sure I'll just be happier in general.

Thanks, Jim!

Monday, February 08, 2016

That girl.

This is an old draft from two years ago that never got published.  I don't know why.

Living alone and being unemployed messes with my head sometimes. Every day is pretty much like any other. Even the weekends don't offer much variety. I can putter around my broken house and fix a few things that don't cost much money, but the kind work it really needs is something I can't afford. Sometimes it feels like I'll never be able to afford it. But doing these cosmetic fixes does make me feel better.
I just turned fifty-seven. Every year I chide myself for not having it more together by now. That vision I have of my possible self just hasn't materialized. I know there's no sense in whining about it. It's just one of those tedious personal struggles that most of us have in one form or another. Most of the time it obediently stays in the back of my mind with the rest my unfulfilled dreams. Every once in a while, though... Damn thing just can't behave.
You know, these days I think about that girl a lot- the girl I was. I think I was mostly oblivious to myself back then. A lot of what I was got squished out or suppressed by those who didn't value those qualities, or understand them (or ever wanted to). But I guess that's true of pretty much everyone.
These days I find I really need that girl. I need her boldness and her clueless courage. There's a photo of me from back then that speaks to me every time I look at it. It's like she's looking at me and saying, "This is what you used to be. Stop being so chickenshit and be me again. Everything you had is still here. Dig it up and use it."

I'm not cute.

Every once in a while one of my co-workers will giggle and say to me, "Donita, you're so cute!"  I think she's around twenty years old and she's quite the girlie girl.  Usually I'll get this comment after I've done something smart (in her eyes, anyway).  I've told her a few times that I'm not cute, just experienced.  She doesn't get it.

I recently read an article about some of the things that younger people will say to a woman over fifty. Often it's something like, "You're so cute!" or "I love older people.  They're so adorable."  At my sister's fiftieth birthday a very drunk 20-something girl said to me, "I love you!  You're sooo oooolllld!"  She said it more than once.  Jesus Christ.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because it's been happening a lot and it's kind of a new thing for me.  Apparently I've reached the age where young, pretty girls think it's clever to give me this belittling, back-handed compliment.  The next one to do it may end up missing a handful of hair.

Listen up, girlie, and ponder this a while.  I'm almost sixty years old.  If you don't die in a texting accident, you will someday be where I am now.  One day you will do or say something in the presence of some future twenty-year-old, who will marvel at the cleverness and common sense you achieved from a lifetime of experience, and she will somehow be threatened by it.  She will giggle and say to you, "You're so cute!"

One thing I can say with certainty: when I was young I NEVER said anything like this to an older person.  I'm grateful for that.

Friday, September 18, 2015

New doctor. Not happy.

So for a long while there I didn't have health insurance.  When Obamacare kicked in I got a basic, no frills insurance package at a reasonable cost.  I used it just once when I went in for what I thought was a check up, but turned out to be a consultation with a physician's assistant who rolled her eyes when I said I used cannabis.  The State of California finally realized that I'm still too poor to pay for health insurance so they signed me up for IEHP, which meant I needed to find a new doctor, which was fine since I really didn't want to go back to the one I never saw in the first place.

So now I'm with Riverside County Regional Medical Clinic in MoVal.  When I signed up I told them I wanted a female doctor.  At this point in my life I'd rather deal with a woman when I'm having my lady bits looked at.  Well, today I got to meet Dr. Nathan McL---, a humorless, YOUNG, less-attractive version of Elija Wood.  Doogie Howser/Frodo.

First he took down all my information and then we got down to business.  I told him that I have an itchy spot on the back of my head which I suspected was a fungus.  He had me lower my head so he could poke around in my hair.  He asked, "Wow, when did you crack your head open?"  I'm like, huh?  I told him I've never had any kind of injury back there.  He said, "Well, you have quite a scar back here.  Are you sure you've never had a head injury?"  Again, no.  He said, "Oh.  Yeah, you have a fungus."

Criminy.

Then it was time to do the gyno exam so he stepped out of the room while I changed into the ever-attractive paper gown.  Only it wasn't a gown, just a paper cover sheet.  I took off my clothes and hopped up on the table and wrapped the cover sheet around me as best I could.  He came back in with the assistant, who also looked very, very young.  He barked at her about my not having a proper gown and then ducked behind the curtain.  She quickly grabbed one for me.  It ripped as I was putting it on and it didn't cover me nearly as well as the plain cover sheet.  Then I said I was ready but he didn't come out.  I said, "Olly olly oxen free!"  Jeez.

I laid back and assumed the position.  Right away he goes in for a labia jab.  I jumped, which must have looked pretty funny from his end.  My ass left the table!  He asked, "Was that painful?"  I said, "No, but you gotta let me know when you're going in.  Don't sneak up on me like that."  He said, "You seem kind of jumpy."  Yeah, no shit, Dr. Einstein.  Let me poke you in your nut sack and see if you can keep still.

Worst pelvic exam ever.  Except he didn't stick his finger up my butt.  I was grateful for that.  But really, dude.  I sure I don't have the most attractive old lady hoo-ha you've ever seen, but could you at least not treat it like it's some kind of threat?

Then it was time for the breast check, which he performed with the same finesse as the pelvic exam.  Dude, it's not a taffy pull.  You're not fluffing a lumpy pillow.  I probably don't have cancer but I'm pretty sure I left there with some bruises.

It'll be six months before I get a raise so I'm stuck with this guy for a while.  As soon as I can I'm going back to Kaiser and my old, female doctor.  She's good at what she does and she laughs at my jokes.  Doogie Frodo is not good at his job.


Sunday, March 01, 2015

My shitty attitude

Boy, these days I too often feel like a petulant teenager.  I walk around thinking everyone but me is a total moron.  Leave me alone.  Stay the fuck away from me.

This isn't healthy.

It's the stuckness.  I'm stuck.  And when I'm stuck it's the world that's wrong.  Not me.  When I feel like this I tend to want to wait for things to change instead of making change happen myself.  This is a character flaw.  I'm cold.  I'm sleepy.  Stuff is on tv.  It's Sunday.  Who can do anything about anything on a Sunday?

It doesn't help that it's all gloomy outside.  And right now there's a cat threatening to lay down on my keyboard.  Sometimes the best course of action is to give up and wait till tomorrow.

fagiop-------------

Fucking cat.




Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ok, this is stupid.

It's been almost a year since my last post.  I love my blog.  There have been times when my blog saved my sanity.  Why have I all but abandoned it?  I blame Facebook.

I do enjoy writing and I want to do it more often.  I think developing a consistent writing habit would benefit me in countless ways.  So would regular exercise, a sensible diet, and thrice daily dental hygiene procedures.  Better housekeeping habits, daily mail processing, home repair and maintenance should also be added to the list.

Yeah, it's January 2nd.  I won't go so far as to label these New Year's resolutions, though.  That would be declaring some kind of commitment.  But I have read some articles, printed out helpful tips and made some lists.  I've done a visual assessment of my house and concluded that last year's list has indeed been shortened as a result of my efforts.  Bravo, me.

There's a lot that happened in 2014 that I didn't blog about, obviously.  Lindsay and Kyle got married.  Certainly THAT should have been written about.  My brother-in-law, Bob, died last month, which is an event worthy of its own post.  Big stuff happened last year.  I just didn't write about it.

And that's just plain stupid.  I don't put absolutely everything on Facebook.  Usually it's because I don't want to have a big ol' conversation about it.  This blog is the place where I have always put words to experiences, thoughts, and feelings.  This is the place where it all gets thrashed about, fleshed out, and flushed out.  Facebook is a place of abbreviated expression where almost any idea can be conveyed by clicking the share button.  It's entertainment, it's fluff, and it's lazy.

And yes, I know it is also a place where people can keep in touch and share the events of their lives.  People can and do receive prayers and support when things are bad, and congratulations and happy wishes when good stuff happens.  That's wonderful, really.  I participate in all that and will continue to do so.  It just doesn't do much for my brain.  In fact, I think it's possibly a little harmful.

I need to fucking write, damn it.  Until I had this blog I never wrote for pleasure, or to express what needed to be expressed before it squeaked out through the cracks.  Before I had this blog I thought I was a crappy writer.  Then, because of this blog, I found that I'm kind of good at it.  When I found out I had a few readers outside of my family, I started to feel I needed to write to entertain. Suddenly, I was writing for an audience, and that was a challenge I enjoyed.

HEY, LOOK!  IT'S FEBRUARY 26TH!

Yep.  That's how much I enjoy writing.  I put this down for almost two months.  Jeez.

We just finished with the Dickens show (best yet!) and now I'm working (ha!) on getting things back to normal.  The last week of rehearsals is always intense, but this year it was a bit more time consuming.  Chris kept getting ideas and I did my best to make them a reality.  I love that shit.  So I whipped up a Queen Victoria coat of arms and some big gold letters, RV for Royal Victoria, to hang over the stage.  I repainted the fireplace.  We draped the stage with some wonderful fabric we bought at the garment district.  I did some final costume adjustments.  I just love doing all that.  Paige also helped with the final prep, which we all appreciated.  And the performances were all great fun.

So now it's back to the regular stuff.  Ho hum.

Paige found a Groupon for a refurbished Vitamix blender at a decent discount.  So, we gots one.  I love it.  Ever since we got it I've been blasting raw veggies and fruit to smithereens and drinking the results.  Spinach, kale, parsley, beets, apples, oranges, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, ginger, and frozen pineapple and blueberries.  And then I'll have some protein like poached eggs or roasted chicken.  I won't call it a diet.  I just like it.  This is going to have me visiting the grocery store a lot more often.

Right now the dogs are being ridiculous.

Yeah, the regular stuff- working on my house (the kitchen is next), the soul-sucking job hunt, the stalled comedy career, and the same old shit.  Some parts of my life I really enjoy.  The other stuff is tedious.  I know it's all up to me to "make it happen".  I just get stuck sometimes, and right now, things are stuck.  I'm fifty-eight years old and I still don't have my shit together.  It's also true that I'm talented and smart and I don't have my shit together.

Soooo, let's go see what's happening on Facebook.


















Sunday, March 09, 2014

Writing to be writing.

I want to write more often.  I should do it every day.  I should write at least one joke every day.  Anyway...

I've been unemployed for a year now.  It's been a year since I left the job from hell.  It still messes with my head.  Every once in a while I'll pick up some new piece of information about the Asshole-stadt and her crew that gives me new understanding and insight.  There's no way I would have lasted any longer than I did, even if I had done everything exactly right.  I was doomed from the get-go.  That's the most insane and sick work environment I've ever seen and I never want to experience anything like it ever again.

Ok, I got that out of the way.

I have three possible cool things on the horizon.  First, I had a telephone interview the other day for a job at a big box home improvement chain.  The position is part-time cashier.  Foot in the door.  Anyway, I felt that the interview went well.

Second thing:  A friend of mine who works at the local newspaper submitted my bio to their new entertainment editor.  This could lead to having the paper do a profile on me.  A local-girl-makes-good kind of thing.  More like local-middle-aged-widow-gets-into-comedy-which-is-completely-nuts kind of thing.   I hope I hope I hope I hope this happens.

Third thing:  A comic that I worked with very early on, and who is a Facebook friend, is making a short film.  He posted that he needs background people for one day of shooting.  Ooh!  Me!  Me!  Choose me!  So, if it goes the way it's supposed to I'll spend a day in L.A. in a couple weeks getting an item crossed off my bucket list.  I'm gonna be in a movie!

Stay tuned.