I have largely trained myself away from checking my social media while I’m waking up in the morning. That is good. However, I continue to spend an inordinate amount of my screen time at home clicking between Facebook and Twitter like a food pellet’s going to come out of the USB port on the laptop if I do it right. That is bad. It does not contribute to my sense of well-being. Once a day, sure – that’s input.
Once every 20 minutes, that’s messed up. Chain-clicking – that is, reading 20 minutes’ worth of FB updates and then clicking over to Twitter to see what happened there while I was reading my FB feed, then clicking back to FB to see what updates appeared while I was reading my Twitter feed – that’s downright compulsive. It’s better than eating a half a bag of SweeTART Jelly Beans (which is better than eating a whole bag of SweeTART Jelly Beans). But that doesn’t make it good, or even satisfying in the moment.
Did I have a point? No, actually, the point of all this was to make myself stop chain-clicking and finish the 2015 taxes. Mercifully, it worked, and we don’t even owe money this year. Good job, self. Nice going. My next project was going to be installing Water Hammer Arrestors* on the washing machine, but I will need the assistance of another adult-sized person for that since moving the washer-dryer stack unit solo is a bit beyond my physical powers. Maybe I’ll try one for the toilet instead.
*My landlord’s idea of solving our persistent plumbing problems – to wit, the violent knocking sounds that emerge from our pipes every time we flush or use a high-demand water appliance – is to turn down our water pressure. That doesn’t work so well.
I spent the better part of this weekend working on applying for a federal job in Michigan that would be awesome. I also spent some time working on an essay that I want(ed) to enter in a contest. I put the desire in tentative past tense because I believe I have missed the deadline for submitting (and presumably first completing) it. My work was leavened with a lot of pleasure reading (The Pale King, Year of Yes, and Reality Hunger), a fair amount of child transport, and an unconscionable amount of clicking back and forth between Facebook and Twitter as though something important were going to happen there.
It is now 2:30 AM on Monday. I have to be awake in four hours. I have given up on weaving phrases from the job announcement into narrative descriptions of my professional experience and abilities. I have not yet had the heart to find my copy of The New Philosopher to see if the deadline has been influenced by the Leap Year. I ought to go to sleep and yet I am awake. It is quiet and no one wants anything from me!
This is not the first time I’ve done this to myself in the past week. On Tuesday night I actually pulled an all-nighter, initially for the joy of being conscious and alone in a quiet living room (Dino Spouse having driven to South Carolina for an in-person farewell to Soldatik before the latter’s departure for Korea) and then out of professional frustration at the backlog of work I’ve been piling up. Wednesday did not work out terrifically well, though I did enjoy my afternoon nap after I fled the office early for fear of conking out at my desk.
I spent the week after Jonas tending to Ur Takses and Mouse’s emotional health (shout-out to the Center for Psychological Services at Divine Mercy University) and its impact on her school attendance. January was pretty much like that. In between times, I alternated between staring at Facebook, staring at Twitter, and trying to teach myself the basics of Continental philosophy for the heck of it.
During this week, I also found a link to Thing of Things most recent Book Post in my e-mail, courtesy of The Browser (the only electronic publication I pay actual money to read, that’s how good it is). Ozy Franks has figured out how to get free books from people, which is like the Holy Freakin’ Grail of cultural criticism in my opinion. I am inspired. Plus I got ideas for communicating with Mouse about elements of the above-inferred emotional distress she’s experiencing.
My new favorite, Hatch Act-appropriate meme about the 2016 democratic primaries:
And finally, tonight I saw Beyonce’s new video. Boss-yonce.
We have reached the car, but we have yet to try driving given the 23″ of snow remaining in the road. On Sunday morning, I did some digging in the direction of the car, cleared a path to the garbage and recycling bins, and dug out around the heat pump. As much as I complain about my landlord’s interior maintenance, I have to admit that they do a good job of making the outside look good. The pathway that Mouse and TeenBot fought to create on Saturday was pristine sidewalk when I went outside the next day.
Dino Spouse walked the mile or so from his mother’s place to home yesterday afternoon, leaving his own car for better times. He and Mouse finished the path to my car and painstakingly cleared snow from the sides and front of it. (Mouse has doubtless absorbed my admonitions about the evils of the automotive snowhawk, but at 5’6″ she’s still not of a height or strength to get the snow off the top of the car without something lighter than a snow shovel. I’ll discreetly tend to this myself before moving the car.)
Now I feel safe saying it: the cable and internet connection stayed functional during the blizzard. Thank God. My only disappointment was the way we kept losing sound in the On Demand programs, which led to lots of bingeus interruptus when I tried to catch up on “Into The Badlands” and “War and Peace.” My disappointment on the latter score was even greater when I discovered that no one was showing episode three of “War and Peace” during prime time last night. Worse, the moral effort of sharing the television during the search for same so exhausted Dino Spouse that I lost all desire to watch “Mercy Street,” even though I think it was streaming on PBS’s website in addition to the TV broadcast.
TeenBot and Mouse have both shoveled snow, but neither has reached the car. I could probably make a small-ish snowman from the snow they’ve tracked into the house. It doesn’t help that they keep bringing the shovel in with them, but Dino Spouse pointed out on the eve of the storm that someone might steal the shovel if we leave it outside. No one wants to be the one who loses the family shovel while Daddy is gone. (Dino Spouse is riding out the blizzard with Babushka in case she loses electricity, because Babushka.)
Out of things I want to read and accruing library fines. I go back and forth between household chores and trying to watch cable on demand programming. I will not jinx my cable provider’s performance by commenting further. I watched almost all of “Into The Badlands” and the first part of the new BBC “War and Peace” on TV before giving up. I may try it online later, but this presupposes the continuing availability of internet and electricity. The lights did just flicker.
Today in Alexandria I volunteered with a Presidential campaign phone bank. I was stunned by the power of autodial technology and also by the number of people who (a) did not want to say which candidate they supported or (b) were watching football. I begin to suspect I really am out of touch with the political pulse of the nation. I may need to call in Muppet Labs to study the matter in greater depth.
Today in Alexandria my next-door neighbors are having a party. About once every two or three months the music from next door cranks until the wee hours and we hear sounds of dancing. I am starting to think the music may be live and that maybe our neighbors are hosting house concerts.
This evening (also in Alexandria) Mouse and TeenBot parked in the basement with me while Dino Spouse napped on the living room couch to the sweet sounds of “Snapped” after watching “Unfriended” on demand.
I don’t watch the candidate debates for either party because I dislike listening to staged arguments. If I can’t have some Lincoln-Douglas action or “Hamilton”-style rap battles, I want none of it. So I was going to work on writing an essay and/or a call to arms for a new federalist papers project, but I watched the premiere of “Mercy Street” instead. Now I have resorted to blogging about my day and listening to the neighbors’ musical stylings. I believe this is a sign from Providence that I should do the damn dishes instead. So is the fact that Mouse just edited this post.
Podrostok (or maybe I should start calling him Soldatik in honor of his new adult station in life) came home for the holidays. It was fun having him around and having an excuse to visit a friend of mine who lives near Soldatik‘s base during the pick-up and drop-off trips. (Always life-affirming to see people whose ambient chaos levels resemble or exceed one’s own, plus I got slept on by some dachshunds. This last fact almost makes up for the fact that he introduced the film “Love, Actually” into my life, but only almost. It’s the cinematic equivalent of eating an entire bag of Starburst jellybeans in one sitting, and it makes me regret the loss of my gag reflex in much the same manner. If I had won the Powerball last week I would have paid for a sequel in which Emma Thompson’s character teamed up with Laura Linney’s character to wreak havoc on all the smug happy people in the film. It would end with Laura Linney and Liam Neeson living happily ever after, Emma Thompson bonking the dude who plays Rick on “Walking Dead,” and the chick who seduced Alan Rickman subjugating and blackmailing Hugh Grant while performing feminist consciousness-raising intervention on his girlfriend. Colin Firth and his girl friend can stay together, though.)
No Dinosaurovs (or Protosaurs) were harmed in the making of this Christmas, for what that’s worth, nor were the police summoned to my belle-mere‘s apartment. I couldn’t summon the holiday spirit to decorate the house in earnest, but I did at least trim up a table festively and make some cookies, and my sister had a lovely Christmas dinner for the lot of us.
I went another round with the nightstand last week, but this time I pushed it out of the way as I was rolling on to the floor (diving to the floor of a metro car to avoid gun fire in my dream). Dino Spouse was startled by the noise but neither of us was wounded. I guess that means the nightstand and I are even now? I’ve gotten a referral to a neurologist and a sleep specialist.
Mouse discovered the musical “Hamilton” at some point during the holiday and it took over our brains completely. Unfortunately, anxiety and despoir also took over Mouse’s brain during the school break, with the result that my girl has attended four of the last ten days of school. We have logged a lot of quality time with mental health professionals in the past two weeks. I am grateful that I will be seeing mine on Monday, because dang.