Whatever Works

Things that apparently help in writing a federal job application package (resume and KSA – Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities – statement) for a return client include:

  • Seltzer water
  • Coffee (time for a refill at ten minutes ’til midnight)
  • Lightly snoring dog
  • “Bhangra Smash Hits” on Apple Music
  • Lap blanket for working in disproportionately air-conditioned basement
  • Internet for looking up context on stuff in client’s work history

Things that do not help:

  • Internet for everything else
Advertisements

The Goodest Boy

We got a dog. He’s eight years old and his name is Chief. He appears to be a mix of English Springer Spaniel and Golden Retriever. Resplendent Respaniel. We were supposed to start shopping the local shelters for Dog last weekend with the goal of adopting one in October, but by the Sunday of the long weekend, Mouse and I were already in love with Chief.

good-boy
This guy here.

What I enjoyed about the process of visiting the shelters (Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Animal Welfare League of Alexandria) was watching my teenagers, who increasingly behave like adults when they aren’t acting cooler than mere adults, briefly turn back into excited children. They were playing. They were expectant. Out of nowhere, it took me back 10 years. (Now it’s taking me back 10 years in other ways, like monitoring the toileting habits of a 60-lb mammal while figuring out what he’ll eat, what’s that spot he keeps scratching, and how Dino Spouse will react if left alone with him. The excited children part was nicer, I admit.)

Chief came home with me on Thursday night. TeenBot and Mouse loooooooove Chief and have so far been responsible dog siblings. They are back to being regular teens, but TeenBot did text me to inquire whether Chief was in fact still being “the goodest boy.” The big challenge for today will be making sure that (a) Chief will tolerate separation from us on Monday morning and (b) Dino Spouse will tolerate the idea of Chief being left alone in the house without being crated. Chief hates the crate. On the other hand, he shows zero interest in chewing on non-food items or toileting indoors.

Back At It

The school year has started. TeenBot is apparently happy to be back in his element. Mouse is a bundle of nerves. They* are sufficiently in touch with and in control of their feelings that they could tell me about what made the day nerve-wracking, and that’s a major improvement over this time a year ago. It’s still painful to watch the horrors of adolescence unfold without being able to help, though.

* “They” are Mouse, who rejects the gender binary and has adopted “they/them” pronouns accordingly. I already mentioned this usage a couple of posts ago, but it still sounds weird to me when I see it written down.

(I got Mouse into therapy last year because they were missing so much school from anxiety that our family was on the verge of being referred to Child Protective Services. I know I was supposed to do it as a responsible parent to help them be healthier and happier, but I think I really bit the bullet and did it because (a) we were attracting attention from The Authorities and (b) it’s important to Mouse’s future livelihood that they be able to keep functioning through whatever storms their psyche stirs up. That imperative to keep at it is so much more persuasive to me than the idea of achieving a sense of personal well-being! My poor child.)

Fermenting Things, Part 2

Well, that didn’t work. My pickled cabbage tastes great, but the stench it emits is such that I’m afraid to try the pickle juice. The kombucha was a lost cause. I let my second attempt (the effort to fix the first attempt) sit too long and wound up with a giant SCOBY and a liquid that smelled like nail polish remover. Nope, nope, nope. I threw the whole thing out and started over last weekend with a bottle of store-bought kombucha and some sweet tea. The new SCOBY is forming now, as the wisdom of the internet foretold.

This time I think I’ll keep the cabbage and the kombucha away from each other. The internet tells me that’s a good idea.

Plugged Back In To Matrix

Never have I so jonesed for a smart phone as I did for my refurbished iPhone 5s after the Blackberry died. Accordingly, my phone was the only one of the four that were mailed to us that couldn’t be left at the doorstep by the mail carrier, and I forgot to take the pick-up slip to work with me the following day, and then I forgot to take the SIM card with me back to the office so I could activate the new phone after my lunch-time sprint to the post office, and then I forgot to bring a paperclip or something similar with me so that I could open the SIM slot and put in the card while I was waiting to pick up TeenBot from his job, and then the lead from the pencil I used to open the slot broke in the phone when I was trying to get the card back out so I could write down its number (the phone refusing to serve up this info until I could offer it wi-fi or a cellular connection to the world). I was in such bad shape that my 16 year-old rightly chastised me for being overly dependent on my smart phone. Happily, I found a paper clip in my car while waiting for my dinner partner to meet me at the Red Lobster last night, and thus I was reconnected to the zeitgeist.

(I trust it will not violate the Hatch Act if I say that I got all weepy listening to the coverage of Hillary Clinton being nominated by the Democratic Party. I genuinely believe I would have felt the same had she been a Republican. I guess it’s like my reaction to reading about women being admitted to combat roles in the military – it just touched a raw spot and made me sob out of nowhere. It feels good to see those doors opening after a lifetime of knowing they were closed.)

Tomorrow I’ll be going to an open house for would-be election officers. The city of Alexandria is offering us “patriotic refreshments.” I assume they don’t mean corn whisky or hard cider, but I’ll go anyway.

Fermenting Things

(Did I say I was using my work phone as a stop-gap until my “new” phone shows up? Ha ha ha ha ha nope. That was before it decided to download a new operating system and never finished. So much for that. Now using Mouse’s rejected iPhone 4.)

Some middle-aged ladies take up running marathons. Some get tattoos. Me, I’ve been learning to make Russian-style sauerkraut (selyonnaya kapusta) and kombucha. I failed at water kefir and half-sour pickles before that. The kapusta is reliably good, plus the juice is a fantastic stomach-settler.

(Yeah, I’m drinking sauerkraut juice. It’s kind of fizzy, actually, so maybe I should call it a sauerkraut spritzer. I wish they sold this crap in the store because it really is magic.)

I followed some instructions I found online for growing a SCOBY and making kombucha. I let the first batch of kombucha ferment too long and got fizzy vinegar. Half of it I used to marinate chicken on Sunday. The other half I am trying to fix with fruit juice and more tea. I grew a SCOBY from a bottle of the store-bought stuff. The SCOBY totally fascinates me. It reminds me of when I saw the placenta after Soldatik was born, only smaller and, you know, not a body part. It’s intriguingly repulsive.

Pokemom

Mouse has finally gotten to hunt for Pokemon. I swapped phones with them* two weeks ago because their iPhone 4 could not run the necessary iOS to download Pokemon Go. Alas, my 4S fell out of their pocket on their very first PokeWalk, ushering in many days of darkness. Mouse got the old iPhone back until their “new” refurbished 4s showed up from Amazon yesterday. I have been using my Blackberry Q10 as a stop-gap and waiting for the Amazon phone fairy to bless me as well.

*I am attempting to honor Mouse’s preferred pronouns. It bugged me a lot at first as a grammar traditionalist, but I’m starting to get a kick out of vicariously rejecting the gender binary.

Uncle Sam’s Blackberry doesn’t let me download Pokemon Go (or any other apps of any other kind), but I think I caught a Pokemon in my comments section:

The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product
The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product