Manage your adult children before they manage you.

I do not plan to live long enough to require professional nursing care; actually, I plan not to. However, one must take into consideration the benevolent intervention from loved ones who may feel differently regarding your end of life choices.

Have an exit strategy; because once you are under the purview of medical professionals, making decisions for yourself becomes nearly impossible. It does not look good on the change of shift report that so-and-so died of not so natural causes. The resulting paperwork alone is enough to keep the nursing staff’s eyes laser focused on any resident with a mind of their own.

Nursing facilities are known for assisted living, not for assisted passings.

My youngest daughter, who has always looked after her aging, damaged dad with dutiful diligence bordering on the authoritarian, has advised me that she plans to visit in the near future to “tidy up a bit.” The precursor to this upcoming domestic intervention was a visit by Julia and her spousal unit, Nick, the day they took me to purchase my new chair. We had to rearrange some of my living room furniture, the big items that I am unable to move on my own. Julia was aghast that her father lived like a meshugenah, surrounded by stacks of books, and innumerable tchotchkes.

Now, I am not a very meticulous housekeeper, cleaning is least among my daily living concerns, and I focus what cleaning proclivities I do have on personal hygiene, cooking area, felis catus, vacuuming, and laundry. I do make my bed each morning, something I take as a necessary awakening ritual, like coffee, the day just cannot start unless the bed is made. As for the rest of my apartment, it more closely resembles the domicile of some half-mad book hoarder who is more comfortable surrounded by chaos than someone concerned with order or efficiency but I know where everything of importance resides.

As a child, I recall my father often reciting “a place for everything and everything in its place,” I guess that was one of the many lessons I ignored or forgot and I forgot a lot.

I fear that I may have shocked my daughter, who apparently lives according to the rule, “cleanliness is next to godliness,” another victim of the vagaries and vicissitudes of time; however, I am unable to just drop in and check the veracity of that assumption.

On the other hand, I do love my daughter and do not wish to see her upset due to my aberrant lifestyle; therefore, I must manage-up so that I can remain free to live out my life for as long as I deem necessary or it worthwhile.  Therefore, I have engaged in pre-emptive spring-cleaning in preparation for her visit as distasteful as cleaning is, I will do what I must to ensure that I can range free.

“Certainly it hurts, “The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.” ~ T.E. Lawrence; therefore, I will clean adequately to prove my stamina, while leaving just enough detritus so that my progeny will feel satisfied that she has fulfilled her familial duty.

This minor subterfuge is lovingly meant and since my daughters do not subscribe to this blog nor do they follow me on Facebook or belong to either of my groups they will remain blissfully ignorant of my sly machination.

I Imagine Weird Stuff

There are some individuals who claim a sixth sense, an ability to know or see into the future, to have knowledge of what is to come. A nifty skill to possess, to say the least; at times I have felt prescient; although, not in any useful manner, just inklings or a feeling of ill ease. This morning I awoken with a thought about the future but not a knowing, merely a short story idea. Let us see if it has legs, shall we.

 

Uhg, this sharp pain in my spine is unrelenting.

Something soft just brushes my face rousing me from a second sleep. It is the fluffy tail of my Felis Catus; Nala is informing me that I am late for her breakfast. Painfully, I manage to sit upright on the edge of my mattress and slowly take stock of my surroundings. It is still dark. I make my way across my bedroom like a drunken sailor, take a position in front of my toilet, and wait. Recently it has become difficult to initiate a stream. Nala clambers in after me and takes her position sitting on the rim of the tub, watching with that disturbing silent curiosity so common with felines. These are our initial morning stations and symbolize the start of yet another day. The next ritual to be completed is first, Nala’s feeding, and something we both take seriously. My every move is followed with the utmost interest by my furry companion as I collect, wash, and refill her food bowls with care and love; however, I require a verbalization from my cat as payment, something she is loath to willing give. Therefore, we play this little feeding game, my withholding the two bowls, one filled with the moist Tuna and Chicken in a savory sauce, and the other containing a ¼ cup of dry cat food until I hear the proper response. When the dainty “meow” is uttered, dishes are placed on the appropriate spot to conclude our morning dance.

With Nala’s attention focused on her raison d’être, I am free to pursue mine. I go to my desk, open my laptop, and power it up. I check email first, hopeful of a missive from one or both of my daughters but alas nothing but the usual solicitations. I open Facebook to read what my virtual friends have been up to, peruse what comments they have made on my posts, and to respond if necessary. Nothing except several obligatory thumbs up. Next, I open CNN and check the News. Strange, the page looks new, redesigned with a vastly different layout, I do not like it; however, since my input was not solicited or offered I cannot complain, well I could complain but no one will listen so I brew a pot of hazelnut.

Nala by this time is satiated and has assumed her spot on the couch. She prefers to nap on the seatback central rail right behind and to the left of my head, curled up into a little fluffy ball, and dreaming her little cat dreams.

The news is full of headlines that shock me alert.

“President Pelosi attends reunification ceremonies in the capital, Seoul, Korea.”, “CNN”, “Asia”, “By Yoko Wakatsuki and Ivan Watson”, “Updated 3:27 AM ET, Thu January 18, 2021”. < wwwdotcnndotcom /2021/01/17/asia/japan-korea-reunification/index.html >

The article went on to say that the new government would adopt a blend of both former countries political philosophies, in a joint statement the new President of the unified State of Korea said “Democratic Socialism will allow both the economy and society to be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Koreans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.”

My tenuous grasp on reality slipped even further as I continued reading other headlines equally odd and unusual. There could only be but one answer, this was a joke, a ruse. Someone was playing an early First of April prank on the entire world, a fooly of galactic proportions. Assuming this was all a farce, I opened a more staid publication, The Washington Post; surely, this bastion of responsible online journalism would not stoop to such burlesque.

However, there it all was; in a scant four years, the American political landscape had dramatically altered, and for the better, I thought as I read about the downfall of the Forty-fifth President, the change in leadership of both Houses of Congress. Brought about by a sweeping Democratic wave in the 2018 MTEs, the subsequent Impeachment of Trump and Pence, their indictments, and their removal from office.

How is this possible, had I entered a time warp? I had not jumped to the right; I remain decidedly left. Sunspots, I recall reading somewhere that the occurrence of extreme solar activity, flares, or coronal mass ejections (CME) can cause strange anomalies on Earth. That must be it; this is the ‘bread and butter’ of many a science fiction story and as plausible as any answer I could think of at that moment.

Somehow, the future has been revealed to the readers of online media. The question is; is it true or just a CME induced anomaly destined to be as fleeting as the ice that now forms on the landscape outside my sliding glass doors, soon to be gone with rising air temperatures. I prefer the workings of my imagination to the realities of the day to day and for a short time, the pain of the dagger protruding from the center of my back has lessened. Hey, whatever works, dude!

Lessons for a Cold Day

Braving arctic-like cold is not my idea of fun, I usually avoid going beyond the confines of my apartment door when winter’s icy chill reaches the single digits but yesterday was Market Basket day.

Most of my regular travelers canceled, so I had the van to myself and therefore the ride to Westford was peaceful and quiet, no verbal diarrhea to disturb my thoughts.

The driver came earlier than his customary 10:00 A.M. and told me he would be back at noon to pick me up for the return trip so I had ample time to peruse the isles. A good thing too because through the generosity of my sister-out-law, Saint Laura Scanlon, I had extra cash to spend on those items I usually do not add to my cart.

Market Basket’s meat counter has a policy of marking down items that have not sold within a certain period, called Manager’s Specials. These select cuts of meat are usually not within my budget but not this day. Wednesday, being a mere two days after the big holiday witnessed a bonanza of Mgr. Specials and I indulged my carnivorous proclivities. I even added a container of organic Shiro Miso that I have had my eye on but always passed on because of its $9.00 price tag but not this day!

I finished early and went to the coffee shop to read the copy of the Boston Globe I had purchased and sip my cuppa while I waited for the van. Headlines about that mendacious kleptocrat playing golf soured my stomach and increased the pain in my spine and I contemplated the possible relationship between the two.

The lovely ladies of The View, playing on the duel TV sets in the Café, signed off but the van was nowhere in sight. Jonah generally keeps a meticulously accurate schedule, he has never once deviated from his appointed rounds in the years that he has been driving us to Market Basket. Alarm bells began to sound in my mind’s ear when the clock at the head of the center isle struck 12:20 P.M.

Having no cell phone I calculated my options, I could wait until half past the hour and try to find a payphone but the chances of locating one of those obsolete devices was slim to none, so I decided to sit and wait. By half past twelve I began to feel nauseous and began thinking ‘if I were a payphone where would I be’ I checked the front of the store and made my way pushing my bounty along with me to the Service counter at the other end of the cavernous store. Explaining my predicament to the woman behind the glass; she responded by pointing to a phone adjacent to me and said, “Just dial six and then your number.”

Of course, my brain being what it is, could never remember my own phone number let along ones that I have on speed dial, so first I dialed “911” thinking ‘Information’ but getting “please state your emergency” instead. I had to answer a host of embarrassing questions from the female officer for my faux pas, and then tried dialing “411.” This time I was connected to the automated voice information system; however, the machine could not comprehend a thing past “Acton, MA.” I never got through, I was stuck at Market Basket like a cheesy character in a Rod Serling episode of the ‘Twilight Zone,’ well at least I would not starve.

As I stormed back to the Café to ponder my fate, the van arrived; however, not my familiar driver. As it was explained to me on the ride home, Jonah’s van had a mechanical problem and he had been forced to bring it to where ever it is that malfunctioning vans go for repair.

The driver seemed to know me, although I could not recall his name and we chatted about banal topics e.g. the weather, the Holidays, and then he told me about his eight grandchildren. A fascinating man possessed of an interesting life story to tell. Imagine having grandchildren almost old enough to have children of their own, I wondered what that is like.

Driver X helped me unload my booty but I still had to haul it up three flights of stairs and me with an already vociferously complaining spine.

 

Lesson of the day:

Never let your optimism get the better of your pessimism.

Consider obtaining a cell phone.

 

 

Chapter I, Achmid

Just in time for the Holidays, here is a little present for the readers of this blog. The origin story of Achmid Huchmid. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

 

Notos, A.K.A. Achmid Huchmid, is a Jack Frost-ian type spirit. However, where Frost brings icy sidewalks, frosted windshields and ice patterns on windows, all associated with cold air masses, Huchmid brings sultry, hazy, hot days and increases in electric bills. This is due, in large part, to the obligatory use of Air Conditioners during his visits, because honestly; when the weather is hot and sticky that is not the time for Duncan Dicky. Now Duncan Dicky is a personal friend of mine who I am loath to see disappear but when Achmid Huchmid is around Duncan is nowhere to be found, outside of a home with Central Air that is. Now you may think these whimsical characters do not really exist but to the contrary, I assure you that they do, though they are none too friendly towards us humans.

Take Jack Frost for example; hails from Northern climes, Arctic and Polar regions, seen mostly during the winter seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, alternating depending on the tilt of the planet. It is likely you have experienced his practical jokes if you have ever slipped and taken a dixie while walking down your front stairs, driveway, or sidewalk because of an invisible coating of ice, sometimes referred to as black ice, although I question the political correctness of that term. Yup, that is the particular calling card of one Mr. Jack Frost.

Jack Frost is the personification of cold, ice, snow, sleet, and all other forms of freezing cold weather. Jack has a variant, that being known by the name, old man winter, the character that is responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the ears, nose, and toes at such times, turning the color of the foliage in autumn.

Jack Frost is reportedly a friendly spirit, but he has a very dangerous side due to his propensity to return a verbal insult by covering the perpetrator with snow or turning them into a frost covered pile of ice; so take care what curses you utter concerning the sprite Mr. Frost. He is mischievous and carefree, happiest when he is unconfined by rules. He flourishes with no obligations. He is the being that your parent or spouse warns you of, on cold winter mornings when you leave for school or work, imploring you to bundle up, put your hat on, and asking you where your mittens have gotten too.

His roots may originate from Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs but he has become fully Americanized in recent years. [2]

 

Achmid on the other hand originated in the air masses associated with the Equatorial and Tropical areas of our planet. Hot, humid air was first documented in Greece around 400 BC by Hippocrates, who noticed that health could be tied to the source of the winds flowing into a city, although the science behind Hippocrates’ writings on the subject are totally without merit.  Our sprite Achmid is much older and traces his lineage back to ancient Egypt. He is a cousin of Shu (/fu/ meaning “emptiness” and “he who rises up”) one of the primordial gods in Egyptian mythology, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis. Like the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus a calming influence, and a pacifier. Due to his association with air, calm, and thus Ma’at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art wearing an ostrich feather. [3]

Well, they say family traits skip a generation and that does appear to be true in Achmid’s case because he could be the poster child for all things un-cooling. At the end of the Old Kingdom there occurred a terrible weather disaster when Tefnut and Shu argued, and Tefnut left Egypt for Nubia, a more temperate clime, and did not return until Achmid convinced her that heat just was not that sexy without moisture to make it humid.

However, I digress; our Achmid is a sprite of the air. The south wind to be precise; the south wind is a hot, fiery wind, concerned with power, energy, and excitement. It is said that when the south wind blows, go to a windy place and light a candle in a lantern or glass jar and say:

“Spirit of the south wind,

That brings the fiery heat

Bring passion and excitement into my life

And fill me with your energy.” [4]

 

Now I am quite aware of the incongruity of this incantation, beseeching the South wind, a wind that blows hot air, makes us hot and sticky, causes Duncan Dickey to seek out cooler locals, and generally raises our electric bills to assist ones love life. Why would anyone want that kind of weather? Well if you are someone who enjoys the company of females then you know the sublime pleasure of watching a woman wrapped in a loose fitting garment stroll by on a hot summer’s eve. The gentle movement of her shape, curves, prominences, and symmetries are the things that drive passion and excitement.

You see dear reader just writing about warm, moist air causes my mind to wander and I beg your pardon while I return to the topic at hand; where and how Achmid Huchmid originated and what his role is in our story.

From this data we can surmise that Achmid originates in the equatorial regions of the Middle East and after a lengthy period of time moves off the coast of North Africa and begins his long, solo journey across the Atlantic ocean, picking up copious amounts of moisture along the way.

 

References

2. “Jack Frost”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 9 May 2016. <http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Frost#cite_note-1>

3. “Shu (Egyptian god)”, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 10 May 2016,”< http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shu_(Egyptian_god)>

4. Franklin, A. (2005) “Working with Fairies: Magick, Spells, Potions & Recipes to Attract and See Them”, Career Press, 2005.

Kathleen from Nozirev

Recently, I decided that I simply had to deal with an issue with my Verizon hardware; it began with incessant beeping, early last month. Therefore, I was forced to call that black hole of darkness, or what I euphemistically refer to as “Phone Support.”
I was informed that the beep indicated that the battery located inside the bowels of the installed wall device that makes the doo-hicky-thingy work for Verizon Wireless devices was dying.
 
However, I strongly suspect it is how Nozirev, a Deep State public monitoring organization, is keeping tabs on what retirees are doing in their spare time. All these installed devices are an attempt to develop a means to tax seniors for all the “Free time” we have, on which Republicans have hitherto been unable to generate an income. Especially, since the Reverse Mortgage scam did not work out too well, despite all the aging star power brought in to sell it.
Anyway, the phone rep I spoke with said that I needed a new battery and that he would ship one out to my residence within two weeks. It has been nearly four weeks and still no frickin’ battery.
 
I called again this morning when the lines opened around 08:30 A.M. but found myself listening to that gawd awful on-hold muzac, on-hold anyway, and growing angrier by the minute.
I grew hungry while waiting and made myself a sausage, cheese, and fried egg sandwich on a butter croissant, the flaky ones from Donelan’s while holding the phone in one hand.
Still on hold and munchin’ away one handed, and periodically checking Facebook, I got the idea to visit Verizon dot com and see if there was something helpful there. O’course I cannot remember my password so I was forced to do the whole ‘Forgot Password’ dance to finally get to ‘My Verizon.’ Nothing helpful at all there except concerted and repeated efforts to sell me something, anything, so regardless of my verbal threats into the device that promised to record my conversation with no one, I continued to wait single handedly, while my single-handedly prepared breakfast made its inexorable way through my gullet. Thankfully, I had also made coffee single handedly and enjoyed the clarity of mind that only a cuppa caffeine can render.
 
It was about this time, while still on hold that I discovered the well-hidden and obscure link to “Online Chat.” I immediately hung up and began a comfortable two fisted, typed conversation with Kathleen.
When she typed the obvious, “Your battery is running low.” I unfairly typed an acerbic reply, “Your brilliance amazes me, now what can be done about it?”
 
Ultimately, anyone who is employed by Verizon, or who subscribes to Verizon, deserves what he or she gets; however, I started my IT career in the early 90’s doing technical phone support at Lotus Development Corporation, so I understood the difficulties Kathleen faced and modified my behavior accordingly.
Kathleen, for her part, handled the angry curmudgeon on the other end of her phone line with grace, alacrity, and aplomb. She placed my order for a new $48 battery (with shipping but still ouch) and we cordially concluded our business by wishing each other a Happy Thanksgiving. Additionally, I refrained from my usual denunciation of Turkey Day as a dishonorable celebration of would be invaders, thieves, usurpers, and murders; I just went my way, two handed.

The United States of Oligarchy

After eight months in office what has Forty-five and his Republican enablers in Congress accomplished for the American People?

Threatened repeatedly to take away our health care or change the law in such a manner as to make visiting a physician more expensive than people can afford.

Isolated the Nation we love from the rest of the world and diminish its standing among our allies.

Equated Nazis with anti-protesters and refused to clarify his statements until public outcry forced him to do so.

Conducted bombastic twitter battles with the god king leader of North Korea, as if verbal abuse will reduce tensions in a nuclear standoff.

Stated his intentions to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy when there are men, women, and children starving in the homeland.

Dismissed a Federal investigation as fake and fired the Director of the FBI.

Called our most revered institution, the Fourth Estate, liars, and Fake News when Journalists report the truth about him, his family, and his Administration.

Thinks that he knows more about the environment than 97% of all scientists who work in the field of climatology.

Spends his time bullying NFL and NBA athletes because he disagrees with their constitutional right of free speech.

Obsessed with eradicating every initiative of his more qualified Black predecessor.

Of course there is one thing that the Republicans can claim to have accomplished since assuming control of all three branches of Government; they confirmed a new Supreme Court Justice to the Bench. Of course they had to deny the rightful nominee a hearing and deviate from the accepted Constitutional norm to do so but what is the point of being a collection of wealthy, old, privileged white men if you cannot ignore the Law?

For some reason that escapes all logic, individuals who do not represent my interests are governing my Nation, neither do they act in the best interests of the whole Nation. They govern for a very low percentage of people in the US, the corporatists and the obscenely wealthy. That form of government is commonly referred to as an Oligarchy. Therefore, they should add one more thing to their very short list of accomplishments, changing the name of our Nation from the United States of America to the United States of Oligarchy.

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

“Areas of fog before 9am. Otherwise, cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.”

I began my morning Facebook session at 05:00 A.M. It was still dark but I could see by the village parking lot lights that it was very foggy outside. O’course none of that matters to Nala, whose early morning needs are simple, food for which she does not like to wait. Mine are a bit more complex. I need to get to the Wood’s Plaza CVS but prefer not to risk life and limb in doing so; I will be forced to wait until the Sun burns off the fog. I would not wish to ruin some motor vehicle operators day by crashing my body into his or her shiny, two to four thousand pound automobile, getting it all messy with my viscera because they could not see me walking along the highway.

“Waiting,” it is what the marginalized are expected to do! If you do not have a personal conveyance device at your disposal, you are expected to wait, patiently. I have no issue with waiting; I am quite proficient at it. I usually bring whatever book I am currently reading to pass the time. It suits me.

Some people express great annoyance with waiting, delays, or loss of time due to things beyond their control. What is that about? Do they really believe that their time is more valuable than the next persons? Are they in a hurry to get to the end of their day, week, month, year, or life?

I am thinking a great deal about waiting this morning, while I wait for the fog to lift. It is helpful to me to read what others have written on the subject of waiting.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

I like and respect Mr. Campbell, I imagine that he has a very old soul.

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Ms Meyer, on the other hand I have my doubts about; although, this quote of hers does have wisdom in it.

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Mr. Russell, now he is a classic!

“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

Ah, I love the wit of Ms Lebowitz, I wish everyone was so blessed.

 

The machinations of government are painfully slow, as our notoriously impatient Forty-five is realizing of late, with his having to deal with his own Party’s inability to execute his wishes. I am certain that having to wait to get your authoritarian legislative agenda through Congress is a real drag, regardless of how heartless the initiatives might be.

Reportedly the president does not read, if he did perhaps waiting would be easier for him, not that I give a furry rat’s arsehole about Mr. Trump’s discomfort, I do not. I only mention it here because I too have had to endure the seemingly endless interval of bureaucracy’s languidness, e.g. sidewalk installation along Great Road.

I recently posted my intention to apply for the open volunteer position on the Acton Sidewalk Committee having learned of their inability to meet quorum when I attended their meeting last Monday. I filled out the required paperwork and submitted it on Tuesday of last week. Yesterday I received a response asking me if I could attend the Volunteer Coordinating Committee meeting so that they could meet with me “to discuss your interest and qualifications.”

I responded informing the chairperson that I would make arrangements to take the Cross Acton Transit (CAT ) to the Acton Memorial Library (AML) and wait there until the start of the meeting at 07:40 P.M. but that I would require a ride home, as it would be full dark by meeting’s end. I also requested that the Chairperson confirm with me that a ride had been secured or accept the withdrawal of my application, which he did, offering to drive me home himself if I would be willing to wait until the conclusion of the committee meeting.

This dissertation is of course leading up to a point, I hope. You see the irony of the story is that I would not have to wait for the morning fog to lift, take the CAT and wait at the AML, or ask and wait for a ride home at night if there were sidewalks installed along Great Road.

While not directly under the purview of the Sidewalk Committee, the members can make recommendations and certainly have more influence on the outcome than one, single, solitary, peripatetic individual.