A certain sad event in my family will be finalized tomorrow, so I’m feeling a bit pensive. Some things are so final. But as long as you’re still alive, there’s room for new horizons and perspectives. I hope we all live to see some.
Here’s the Dark Tower glowering under a pensive sky.
Our apartment looks like a box city with a maze of narrow lanes meandering through it. But always with the flowers. We’re coming down to the wire. Hopefully they get the roof on and other basic necessities before we get there.
Here is my attempt at Jamaican jerk chicken, baked in a homemade spice/herb marinade, served with veggie rice and roasted ginger bok choy. You’ll have to trust me, it turned out nicely. Tropical fruits with coconut milk for dessert. You could almost hear the surf.
This crazy squirrel was climbing all over our second-story screens and tree branches, and overseeing the melting scene.
It’s sunny and warming up to almost 40 F!! The snow is finally starting to melt. Meanwhile, the deep south is experiencing unheard-of record lows and wintry conditions. The whole world is topsy-turvy. We may have to turn the map upside down.
Even my weight is dropping…crazy. Some things remain constant, though, like the Skullies awaiting erev. I’m experimenting with a spicy, herby Jamaican jerk-style chicken.
The moving parts appear to be falling into place, one by one. It’s been a long time coming.
Having once lived in TN for four years, I know it’s no Shangri-La, or even extremely different from here. I think in general Tennesseans are superficially more warm and friendly, move at a slower pace, respect people’s boundaries and privacy more, and don’t seem as apathetic, mediocre, and drab as people in the midwest. I’m under no illusion about the southern god-and-guns culture. But at least they have trees and mountains, and the growing season is longer. Knoxville seems to be much more open to diversity, tolerance, and entrepreneurial energy than places like Dayton. It is what you make of it.
I never get my hopes up until the actual, tangible goal is in my face, so you may not see the proverbial champagne popping yet, but it will come. (It’s more likely to be beer or bourbon.) I just want to see my son and grandkids for the brief time remaining, and hopefully play some minor role in making their lives happier, while I still can. Beyond that, I’ll try to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been afforded. I’m very aware that many humans don’t get a reprieve in their lives, so I don’t take anything for granted.
This one was inspired by something my son said in an article about personal and professional intentions for the new year, which really struck me as significant in a more universal context.
Being poor in America has been experienced and exhaustively written about by many, but there’s a smaller category of people not usually considered or afforded empathy, who are also vulnerable to the whims and caprices of politics and economics. It’s constantly touted and hailed by politicians as the key to a better economy, the “dream” to aspire to—the very same politicians whose policies are now more than ever sabotaging that aspiration.
I refer to small independent businesses. You might assume a successful SB owner is just raking it in, making profits, hiring employees, enriching the economy and their family, a master of their own fate. Here’s a more accurate snapshot of a SBO, especially under trump deterrents. [Credit to my son.]
- Little to no savings buffer.
- No retirement options or benefits.
- Huge fixed out-of-pocket expenses like unaffordable healthcare.
- The concern that your kids will have to take care of you later in life.
- Scarcity of time to spend with kids, because income to cover expenses has to take precedence.
- Little to no time to go out with friends for personal respite and mental health.
- The guilt of buying oneself anything not essential, which might deprive the kids.
- Going without basics, like furniture.
- Little spare income to hire employees or childcare.
- One catastrophic event away from ruin.
These are just borrowed examples, and not the full extent of the picture, but you get the gist. Does this sound like someone who is riding the crest of success and trickling wealth down to the masses? No, it sounds an awful lot like being screwed along with most of the rest of us, under this self-centered, greedy administration.
My son cited the above as reasons to aspire to “get rich”. What’s shocking is that this is what our country has come to. You’d have to be rich to make it beyond treading water. There’s no longer a middle class conventional option for making a reasonable life for you and your family. Incentives to be creative, entrepreneurial, and self-sufficient, a supposed enricher of the economy at large, are few under our current lord-in-chief. The proverbial SB ideal is hyped, but without backing or support. The reality looks a lot like all the rest of us poor serfs.
On a lighter note, remember salads? Here’s one now. I’m aspiring to be skinny like the Skullies!
It was a few degrees F outside as we headed out to take care of more house-related business, this time homeowner’s insurance. Just as it still was when we returned, hours later. It barely made it to double digits today.
When we left, the city was once again cluelessly, ineffectually not addressing our nonfunctional sewage infrastructure for the >dozenth time, and when we returned, it seems the city had once again revisited the alleged gas leak issue, since the previous two occasions of digging up our whole yard were evidently not sufficient. This is the price of being the invisible poor in the USA. We will not miss this depressing place.
Owning a home, even a tiny one, will not come cheap either, but at least we won’t be so much at the mercy of apathetic, lazy local public “services” which only serve the interests of certain classes. I will say, living here in the primitive midwest has been…educational.
Unlike the early morning sun, struggling and finally surrendering to the icy white sky, we continued to hold out for a quick, successful resolution to the house inspection suspense, and were rewarded today with news that the seller has agreed to fix and pay for the roof and other required repairs for the FHA loan. Relief! Now we can proceed to the closing next month.
We lead a pretty simple, spartan old-people life now, so for us this is a big deal, probably one of our last. We’ve already downsized by necessity from our separate past lives, so we’re traveling pretty light compared to many people. Buying a home this late in life, or at all, is a new experience for me especially, and probably for most oldsters. We hope to arrange it so if anything happens to one of us, the house will get paid off and the survivor can manage to subsist. That way, I won’t be a burden on anyone.
I’m told this snowy freeze-in is the more typical winter weather for this area, and that the last few relatively warm, dry winters were the exception. Either way, we’re looking forward to a more southern exposure. This arctic crap is for masochists (IMO). D: Also, not having the sewer back up in our basement every five minutes will be nice. We won’t even have a basement!
After another “winter event” last night, we awakened to a white, ice-crystal world. It’s always amusing to see the frosty artwork on the inside of the panes (through which cold air pours in). A house with real windows and insulation will seem like a luxury. (Also a functional roof is hopefully in the works.)
Some poor souls (girls) across the street are attempting to maneuver heavy furniture into a small U-haul van in these icy conditions (moving out occurs regularly around here), and we’re just hoping we’ll get a short reprieve when our time comes, and that our help will show up. It’s hard to come by around here, let me tell you.
At least this supposed bug that has taken residence in me for a week timed itself conveniently during this period of suspenseful waiting for our house deal to resolve. There’s nothing we can do but sit it out up here. Which works out, because all I can do is listlessly drape myself over things and feel half-dead. And try to limit my exposure to the #shithole-in-chief.
It’s all good.