Hello to the New Shitshow

Sorry, new year.

As you might guess, miracles are stubbornly refusing to grace the home of Paulk, much to my dismay. Plus, I’m back at work after two weeks vacation and two weeks of doing buggerall wasn’t long enough to recharge. This getting old thing really sucks, although not as much as the alternative.

Not to mention the gas heater decided to crap itself (that or the gas line did – either way the pilot light went out and refuses to come back on) on Sunday, and we’ve got a two week wait until the repair/service people can get to us, so we’re substituting with two electric space heaters and it’s not working terribly well. My feet have been cold all day. Why can’t the heaters crap out in summer when it’s no problem to wait a couple of weeks for them to be fixed?

Honestly, the perversity of inanimate objects knows no bounds.

That said, I’ve heard rumors of bizarre things happening on the political side and rigorously avoided them. If the entire bloody country is going to go circling down the S-bend, I don’t want to know about it. I’d rather have my quiet not-quit-rural life in ignorance, thanks. I don’t have enough spoons to deal with the idiocy that is politics.

Hell, I don’t have enough spoons to deal with a lot of things these days. It’s why I’ve been hermiting so hard for the last few years. My stress tolerance has dropped to somewhere in the vicinity of zero – possibly even approaching absolute zero. The job takes up pretty much all my mental capacity, and just getting through life seems to be claiming everything else.

It would be nice if some miracle changed all that and gave me energy and such, but for now, it’s what it is and I’m doing what I can with it.

While being closely supervised, of course. The kittehs must keep a close watch on teh hooman since teh hooman is supposed to be providing pets and noms, not doing other things. Although I think Westley might be just a little too derpy to be supervising properly.


27 thoughts on “Hello to the New Shitshow

  1. I’ll loan you some spoons. These events are eventually going to disturb your semirural existence, even.

    1. Oh, I know they are – but I don’t have the mental energy to deal with them until I have to deal with them.

  2. If what you have is truly an old-school pilot light (the kind with a small flame that’s constantly burning, rather than some type of electronic ignition), failure of the pilot light to stay lit is almost always caused by a bad thermocouple. This is a small probe that sticks in the pilot flame, and is connected to the gas valve. It cuts off the gas completely if the pilot flame ever goes out.

    A new one is about $10, and you can buy “universal” models that will work with virtually any furnace or water heater. It’s a five minute job — one connection with a wrench.

    Definitely better than being without heat for a week.

    1. Seconding the thermocouple probe replacement. My furnace died once upon a time, so I looked up the make and model, found the offending part (thermocouple attached to the starter) and bought a new one. For ~$50 from Sears, major rip-off but they had it and I wanted it. Saved me probably $300 and a five-day wait. Plug-and-play item.

      Looking up the make/model of water heater and ordering the offending item off the interwebz is a pain. But less of a pain than the astronomical bill from the repairman.

      As always, making sure the gas supply and the electricity are shut off before fiddling with it is not a suggestion, more of a commandment. Or kaboom.

  3. That was the one advantage to an apartment. When I said things like “I had to throw the circuit breaker to keep the heater motor from burning out” or “It’s the same circuit as the hard-wired smoke detector that the fire marshal keeps checking,” things got DONE. In the first case, I almost heard the sonic boom as the repairman arrived.

    Alas, not so true with houses. The Powers that Be are fast to shut off gas and water (so you don’t blow up or flood the block), but getting fixes? Yeah. Mañana but without the sense of urgency (as we say down here.)

    1. To quote an Irish priest I knew: “Back when I was growing up on the west coast of Ireland, we had no word to express the fierce urgency of mañana.”

      I have to give PG&E credit, when my wife called asking about a potential gas leak, they came out the same day. (Thankfully the problem was actually a hot water leak, which caused massive gas usage.)

      1. Gas leaks tend to get a fast reaction around here. As do fire alarms. When every older house has an oil tank with 150 gallons or better capacity, you’ve basically got a collection of potential firebombs masquerading as residences. It’s not rare to get 4 or 5 fire engines responding to 1 fire alarm.

    2. I rather suspect that good apartments are like that. I haven’t been involved with good apartments, alas…

  4. A while back I observed that we seem to be headed into the ’70s on steroids. Nothing since then has changed my opinion.

    1. I’m more inclined to go with the 70s on something strongly hallucinogenic, actually. And consider myself fortunate that I was young enough that the full impact of that rather crappy decade didn’t really hit me.

      1. Please, no. I remember stagflation. I worked for a _wonderful_ company that _noticed_ their employees had a problem and gave generous raises every six months that almost kept up with the rent increases.

  5. Here, have a solid WTF:

    In which Russia is jealous of Japan’s reputation for making folks go “what the F did I just watch?”

  6. Um. Ignorant in so many ways with regards to popular culture.
    As in, someone nicked my silver teaspoons? Or something else?

      1. Yep. The really super-simplified version is that everyone starts the day with a certain number of spoons. If you had a good night’s sleep, you’ve got more. If you’ve got a disability, you’ve got fewer.

        Everything you do costs a spoon. When you run out you can’t do anything else until you’ve had a good rest – usually meaning a good night’s sleep.

        It started out as an analogy to describe the toll living with a disability takes on a person, and grew.

    1. Yeah, it is a way to think about budgeting effort.

      Extreme example, duties on board a US Navy ship. Suppose there is a widget that needs someone watching it and adjusting it, 24/7. You have one per ship, and the Navy officially thinks they want six people per ship to watch it. If a ship has three people available and trained, three eight hour watches a day mean that your three people are each spending 56 hours a week on that widget, and more hours for other duties. Takes a certain level of ability and skill to be able to do it, and probably to keep doing it without going nuts and killing someone on purpose or accidentally. Two people is eighty-four hours, and at one person you are going to rapidly burn that person out. The Navy is dysfunctional to be asking people to do this kind of thing, but there are still people who can do it for short periods of time. Just not something that everyone can do.

      Other end of the spectrum, some types of severe disability can be this sort of incapacitating.

      Obviously, no one every has more than 168 hours to give per week, and there are very many people who can easily manage 40-60. But sometimes it is a little important to consider lower levels of capability, particularly if you are trying to make a limited effort budget cover employment and self care. Sometimes careful effort budgeting, and good health maintenance can help one increase what one is able to give.

      1. On a warship at sea MANY watch stations are continuously manned when underway but we don’t have the space to have 6 bodies to do the job. We normally run 3 section duty and, on my submarine) had four 6 hour watches per day so you were constantly changing sleep cycle.There are some duties that only had one person assigned (like medical corpsman underway) but they aren’t staring at a gauge. Some jobs like sonar operator need 3 or more people to cover the ask, and it required 8 people to man the engine room. Port and Starboard was reserved the cooks and extreme circumstances.

        A shore facility might have enough people for 6 section duty but that would be VERY rare.

        The Navy can do this because sailors are young (under 50), healthy, and because normal tasks like cooking or shopping aren’t required when underway.

        1. had four 6 hour watches per day so you were constantly changing sleep cycle
          Some novel I read had that going on with spaceships. I thought it verged on insane and wondered if it was pulled from somewhere because who would make that up?!? I would not last at all long with a changing “morning”/”evening” schedule. I don’t mind working non-day shifts, but day shift today, night shift tomorrow, afternoon shift the next day would totally suck. Maybe somewhere that was all artificial light so the day moved with the shifts.

  7. “That said, I’ve heard rumors of bizarre things happening on the political side and rigorously avoided them. If the entire bloody country is going to go circling down the S-bend, I don’t want to know about it.”

    Oh, YEAH!!! Me, too!
    Yesterday, my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, was tuned in to the ‘casts for several hours, and was DEEPLY disturbed today as a consequence. ME? Watched an hour, then stopped. Went about my life today.
    My job ain’t to run the country; it IS to care for my beloved. So, I made fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and had that waiting for her along with some green peas when she got home. And in a minute, I’m gonna go rub her feet.
    Because that’s MY job. And it’s all I’m interested in doing.
    Somebody else has the job of fussing at things they have no influence over. A lot of somebodies, maybe.
    Meanwhile, I’m with you.

    1. My job is to do Alma things – write, teach, help the folks, help the neighbors. G-d’s job is deity-level (like national) things. Now, as long as I can remember to not worry about what the Most High is supposed to be worrying about . . . *wry kitty grin* And to get done all the Alma-level stuff!

  8. Right now I’m barely treading water. I can’t swim to the bank or help others out. So I get the spoons thing.

    1. Drop me a line if low-pressure chatting helps restore your spoons. I’m a good listener, a good fiction brainstormer, and not a bad beta. 🙂 a-g-g-r-o-kitty at the mail of Google.

      1. Thank you! I actually have a pretty good support system. I will keep your kind offer in mind.

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