Sunday, December 10, 2017

Helping Virgil

Everyone goes through rough times. Mr. Janney and I have been there done that, and no doubt we'll have our fair share more often than we care during the course of our lives.
Virgil, AKA Gandalf the Grey

A couple of months ago, one of our coworkers, Virgil, began to have a series of unfortunate events that set him back. First, the guy was suspended from work for three days...I'll be honest, I don't know all the details, just that it was what I call 'coworker drama'. Whatever the reason, Corporate decided to end the suspension and bring him back, whether an exoneration or a second chance I'm not sure, although since the claims against him were regarding physical violence, my money would be on exoneration...especially since our company has a zero tolerance for that kind of stuff. I also believe that because he was eventually paid for the days he missed. They don't do that if you're guilty, they don't bring you back either.

So Virgil came back to work, much to some people's surprise.  But he settled back in, drama evened out for the time being. And then his car broke. Specifically one of the back struts, which also damaged the tire. The car was not drivable, leaving him with no way to get back and forth to work on his own. He was able to get a ride into work most days, but no one other than my husband was willing to take him home - even though Virgil lives in the opposite direction from us. A gentleman, and I use that term loosely, who lives 3 away from Virgil, not only didn't offer...he all but refused to give him a ride home. His wife says that is just how he is with everyone...that's a whole other story I don't even want to get into!

Now, I know first hand that Virgil can be difficult to work with. But once I realized that he just wants the job to be done correctly, and for the rules to be followed (like employee rotation), it was a lot easier to work with him. Yes, he tends to be repetitive...but he is an older guy and I just chalked it up to that. But when he came back from his most recent absence, due to a breathing attack, with a life changing diagnosis, I wonder if his mental confusion isn't medical in nature.

I'm going to be honest, I was first told he was diagnosed with stage 3 cirrhosis...but then he later said Hepatitis I'm not sure which one it is at this moment. I plan on finding out when I see him tomorrow. Both affect the liver. Hep C is more treatable than cirrhosis, so I'm hoping he has that instead. Cirrhosis carries a much bleaker prognosis.

Either way, with everything else going on the past couple of months, including reduced work hours (which can happen this time of year) he doesn't have a whole lot to spare for medical bills. So I started a GoFundMe drive for him. I just want to be able to give him a bit of money for the holidays to help him and to just encourage him. Because he's just been so discouraged with everything that has been happening to him.

From the stories he tells on the ride home, he's had a bit of a rough life. He's seen a few things that I've only ever seen on television or in the movies. He's a hard worker, only absent when ill, tells interesting stories and has a good heart. He was always so worried about me or Mr. Janney driving back home after dropping him off...a lot of white tailed deer country and we always saw more than a few on those drives. The night before Thanksgiving, he took home a couple rejected cabinet doors and I asked him what he was going to do with them. He told me how he was going to create a mountain scene in the center of one with wood burning and turn it into a memorial plaque for a friend who'd lost his father. I have no reason to believe that he didn't do just that. I mean, he's a single guy living on his own except for a cute rescue dog with time to do whatever he wants with time on his hands.

Everyone deserves a helping hand from time to time. I know the few dollars I collect for Virgil won't solve any of his problems, but they just might make the burden lighter. Please, if you have a few dollars to spare, help me Help Virgil.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Wispy Thoughts

The other night, I was thinking as I usually do when trying to fall asleep. I had two thoughts for blog posts...I decided to use one for my shared blog over at Broads of Feather and to save the other one for here. I did not write them down, and sadly only remembered one. It was the one I had decided to use for Broads, you can read it here.
Daisy at the junkyard.

I'm not sure if it's the brain fog from Hashimoto's thyroid, or if it's just my old age catching up to me. Probably both!

So, since I forgot my original idea, I'm writing about how I forgot it! Humorous, yes?

As I detailed in my post linked above, I'm presently doing all my computer work on a tablet instead since my laptop has apparently died (thank you Windows 10...and thank you Windows for the Surface lol) It seemed like, as soon as my laptop died, my brain began working overtime on my novel. To the point where it was keeping me awake one night.

Any more, I dislike writing by hand. It hurts to do it for extended amounts of time. Even for work, I use shorthand whenever possible - I assume people higher up than me are able to figure it out, as I've never been asked about it by them. So, I didn't really want to get up and start handwriting.

I can't begin to imagine how much time I wasted debating whether to grab my phone and make some notes on it. Debating because I once read writing advice stating that you shouldn't write your ideas down right away, because if they're good enough ideas you'll remember them then next day. Talk about note-taking shaming! This was several years ago, but for whatever reason it's a piece of crappy advice that's plagued me ever since.

That may be too harsh. Calling it crappy advice, I mean. I'm sure there are some people that this advice works for. For me, it is a recipe for disaster. If my depression and anxiety are high, I have trouble remembering everyday things. Just the act of writing something down, helps cement something in my memory. There was a time not too long ago, that I had to make a list of things to do before I went to bed... not only so I'd remember to do things I needed (like phone calls), but so it would help ease the anxiety that liked to keep me awake at night. I still keep occasional lists.

So, yes...I ended up grabbing my phone and taking enough notes not only to remember it the next day, but to see if that would turn down the volume of my brain. Thank God it wasn't a work night, because as it was I only ended up getting maybe 2 hours of sleep... and that's being generous. Awesome ideas aside, it was a rough night.

It just goes to show, that all advice is not equal. What works for one, may not work for another. Whether for writing or not. If something works for you, we shouldn't feel shame for it! Something I need to remember myself, I know. There is no harm in experimenting and trying new things, but let's always remember that we don't need to keep doing them if they're not working for us.

So, fellow writers... are you a nighttime note -taker too?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Best/Worst Birthday

Well, I fell a little behind in my wordless Wednesday posts, which I'll remedy soon. I got a little sidetracked by my birthday weekend.

Just a little. I was so excited to have a three day weekend, especially since the Saturday was a day at Knoebels for our company picnic. Even though it's a free amusement park about 2 hours from my home, neither Mr janney or I had ever been there. And then my excitement increased when Mr Janney suggested that instead of coming back home afterwards, that we should find a hotel room and make the most of our three day weekend. Especially when he pretty much gave me permission to do plan whatever I wanted for that weekend.

Soooo, I looked at a map...picked a city on the Atlantic Ocean and starting looking for inexpensive rooms. Ok, cheap rooms. And then I had to wait for our paychecks to be viewable on the work website to see just how cheap I had to go for it to be possible.

The stream that runs through Knoebels, complete with its own water fowl!
Knoebels was a BLAST! It was Mr Janney's first time on a roller coaster. We rode the Phoenix, a wooden roller coaster. I am pretty sure he enjoyed it far more than I did. I love roller coasters as much as I hate them. I never did get any funnel cake, but there was a decent meal provided by our work. We also rode the Skloosh, which is a water "roller coaster"...You make the steep climb, take a downward turn, then a steep drop into a cold pool of water. We both loved that one; we went on it twice! We also enjoyed the mining museum.  We had planned on hitting the park on the way back home, but sadly that did not happen. More about that later.

After the park, we traveled some twisty back roads provided by my phone's map app and spent the first night in a cheap motel. Nothing much there, except some - ahem - romance, shall we say. We breakfasted just down the road at a pleasant little place called Lisa's Cafe. I loved it and wanted to bring it home with me! Good food, pleasant staff and atmosphere. And they also had two uni-sex restrooms, which amused and delighted me to no end. Some people have no idea how needed that is! Mr. Janney and I both had omelettes, though he ordered more in his than I did. And of course I had coffee, which was refilled without my having to ask. That's always a plus in my book!

Then it was off to Ocean City, Maryland!!

I had only seen the Atlantic once in my life, and that was on my senior trip back in '94. I was timid back then and not very adventurous. I did get my feet wet, but because I didn't know how to swim I didn't go very far in at all. And Mr Janney had never even had that much! So, when he gave me permission to plan whatever...I looked at a map and picked Ocean City for no real reason. Just because.

That beach and ocean tho...
We arrived before check-in time for our hotel, so we found a place to eat. A little more expensive than I had planned on, but the meal was worth it. We ate outside on their porch, because I didn't have sunscreen on yet and didn't want to sit in full sunshine. We still had a fabulous view.

After lunch we checked in, climbed an unexpected 2 flights on stairs to our room. Which didn't have the ocean view I'd asked for when I booked it, but at least it had air conditioning. And a tiny shower. We relaxed a few hours before hitting the beach, it had been about a four hour drive.

He let me take selfies of us, and this is my favorite!
And then...the beach! The ocean! We played in the waves until sunset. I took pictures, collected some seashells, a couple shiny smooth rocks (seriously, the silliest stuff makes me happy). We went back to our room, literally just around the corner from the beach and boardwalk so those 2 flights of stairs were totally worth it.  Tried to fit double in the shower and failed, which was funny and fun to try! After, we found a nearby Subway for our dinner. Then walked the boardwalk, managing to find four quarters so we could walk to the end of the nearby pier. Hung out there for a while, hoping one of the fishermen would catch something with their poles.

We played some more on the beach before we had to check out the next morning. One wave was a little aggressive and knocked me around enough that I had a wardrobe malfunction and flashed whoever was watching. Mr Janney had tried to hold onto me, but even he swallowed some salt water during that one! I was mildly embarrassed, but honestly found it too funny for that to last. I know it wasn't the first time something like that had happened on the beach, and it wouldn't be the last. Mr. Janney is the stronger swimmer of the two of us, but he didn't want to try to get beyond the waves without me...because "where's the fun in that?"

I had many thoughts that morning. Of how this was the best birthday I'd ever had. Quite possible the best few days I'd ever had in my life. Mega happy. Mega content. There was one moment, as he and I were grasping arms and just letting the waves bash against us that I thought - 'this is how life is. He and I clinging to each other no matter what kind of wave hits us. Even if a wave knocks us apart, it can't keep us apart, like magnets we're drawn back together.' I probably should have take that as a warning for what happened next.

We were on our way to see Assateague Light, a lighthouse on the island of the same name. We were still at a quarter tank of gas, but he asked me to find a cheap gas station on the way or not too far out of the way. So I did and added it to our trip on the map app. We were also looking for donuts for our breakfast, because it's vacation and a time to be 'bad' before I start cutting gluten out of my diet again. So I found a Dunkin's near the gas station and added it to our trip. Then, happy and content and not needing to navigate for another twenty miles, I opened Facebook on my phone and was looking at all my birthday notifications.

Long story short...we were involved in an accident.  Both of us ok, everyone in the other car ok although one did go by ambulance to get checked out. Probably should have followed her lead, but I know my body well enough to know nothing new hurt.

I can't even begin to describe those moments. It's not the first accident I've been in, although it is the worst. I mean, I've been knicked by a school bus before...driven sideways...done 360's in the winter...but nothing like this. Although I was physically ok, my anxiety was through the roof. I'm still not sure my brain is working right from that shock.

We were towed to a nearby body shop, Racetrack Auto and Marine, who did everything humanly possible to help us. They truly did help make a bad situation feel not so bad. They even went so far as to help us find a room for another night to give my brother time to bring his trailer down to get us. Just down the boardwalk from where we had stayed the other night! Oddly enough, the Atlantic had two flights of stairs as well and the beach access wasn't quite as quick...but it was a much better room than the one we'd had the night before! I plan on staying there again next year when we go.

Ocean City, as seen from the bridge
So we ended up having an extra day at the beach, although we didn't get there until much later than the day before. My brother was concerned about bringing his trailer into the city, so we walked from our hotel room across this long bridge to see if there was a better spot to for him to pick us up. Now, I do not like heights. and really don't like bridges. Much of that walk I had to keep my eyes firmly on my husband's when we walked across the grated section of the little drawbridge. "Don't look down, keep your eyes straight...crap, I said don't look down! breath!" - was some of my internal dialogue which may have been verbalized much to my husband's amusement.

There was one time we had to stop to let a bicyclist go by, and I said to Mr Janney, " know me...I have to take pictures." He laughed. But I blindly grabbed two pics on each side of the bridge (the sun was bright and in my eyes!) We gave my brother a better location for our hotel, and he decided he could get us there. that we didn't have to walk across the bridge in the morning. I also grabbed a picture of this cool fountain I hadn't seen on the walk out.

After, we unwound at the beach. Did some more walking because the area of the beach nearest our new hotel was roped off for some unknown reason. Played in the waves a little, then just sat on the beach as night fell. Talking. We still plan on traveling, seeing different sights of the world. Even plan on going back to Ocean City. I mean, I want another pizza from Soprano's! And more seashells...

But you had better believe that we will be better prepared for emergencies for our next trip. We weren't this time around. It was a very fly by the seat of our pants trip, and there's nothing wrong with that...but for some reason I never put rental coverage on our car, or collision. We were stranded 7 hrs away from home. I had to sacrifice rent money for the towing bill, because for some reason the insurance agent that Racetrack talked to said we weren't covered...even though the policy I found on my phone said we were. Hopefully I'll be able to get that money refunded. I plan on doing several thing different for our next trip...whether it's fully planned or a fly by.

Just like the goat from HoodWinked, which I'll leave you with. Until next time!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday July 19, 2017

Willis Tower, Chicago Illinois, December 30, 2016
Top floor Willis Tower, 'The Edge' view

Lone selfie, Top of Willis Tower

Hurried selfie with hubby on The Edge as it was closing time

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wordless Wednesday June 28, 2017

I don't know if Wordless Wednesday is still a 'thing', but I'm going to post pictures I've taken over the years on Wednesday. It'll help keep both this blog and Broads active, and maybe I'll be able throw in a few worded posts as well. I like to pretend I'm a photographer and every once in a while I get a good one. So with no further words, feel free to comment:

Mothers Day selfie, May 14, 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Time

Well, I managed to put up a short post over at Broads of a Feather and thought I should do the same here.

What's true there, is also true here. The longer I go without posting, the harder it is to start posting again, so 'just do it already'.

Nothing super interesting going on here. Work, work and more work. Though if everything goes smoothly, we should be getting four days off over the 4th of July. *keeps fingers crossed*

Today instead of relaxing or catching up on household chores, hubby and I helped his father with firewood. I wasn't expecting to, so I wasn't exactly dressed for the part, so somehow I ended up driving the tractor. Something I haven't done in years. My own father had several and we spent a couple weekends each summer camping at two different Old Timer's shows.

None of my dad's tractors ever had a bucket on the front or forks on the back though, so it was still something new.  The joystick for the bucket is all backwards in my opinion, but we managed to get a bit done. Next time we'll have to go earlier in the day and not wander the back roads like we did because we missed a 'bridge out' sign.  And I'll have to dress for working.

Since I posted a music video on my other blog, I'll post one here too.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

When Days Blend

Normally this is a slow time for our work. Last year we were lucky if we made it 6 hours a night. This year has not been slow. Mr. Janney and I have been working 40+ hours since...I really don't know how long it's been. Since before the holidays even.

I'm not complaining, the paychecks enabled us to be generous at Christmas and to go on a trip over the week we had off between Christmas and New Years. But it does get tiresome. Especially when they have you work both days of the weekend. That 12 day stretch causes the days to blend into together, especially when there are 12 hours shifts mixed in there.

I'm Batman....AND Robin
I'm special like that! Lol
What I have complained about to hubby, has been the frustration I've faced when it comes to writing. Both blogging and my novel. I'll have all sorts of great ideas at work, during transit, but when I get home...well, we're hungry, we're tired, there's always something to do - laundry, dishes, etc. and all too often all I want to do after is just sit in my recliner and veg. I don't get on my laptop to play Clash of Clans, and both hubby and I are huge clashers! We love to war, but we've only just recently started putting ourselves back into war.

By vegging, I mean I'm either reading - In Death or Star Trek novels, or watching tv...usually Law and Order SVU or Criminal Minds or NCIS. I have caught some original CSI episodes recently! Miss those shows so much! If there's nothing 'good' on, which isn't unusual at  midnight, I'll go to On Demand and watch a movie. The last one I watched was Cloud Atlas. I mean, you can't really go wrong with Tom Hanks - and the more the merrier (Polar Express!!). I'd read enough about it before hand that it wasn't too hard to follow, though I know I still missed tons. I mean hey, I was tired and was competing with Mr. Janney's music.

We had to order some things off Amazon recently, and for whatever reason it ended up being two orders. The first order I was a bit short for the free shipping, so I threw in a few books I've been wanting (Star Trek #71 Crossroad and Immortal In Death). No big deal, right? But then Mr. Janney wanted something else, so naturally I had to throw in a few more books right? I got what I thought was the sequel to a book I already, but alas --- I accidentally ordered book 3 of the Elvenbane series instead!! I can't read book 3 without reading book 2 first, at least to refresh my memory because it's been YEARS since I read it. Long story there, same with the other book I ordered - The Dragonbone Chair. I won't tell it today, but will think about sharing it later this year. After I've gotten back on track with the blogs and shared my adventure over our winter break. I have to get that written and posted soon -- I mean, it's February already for crying out loud!

Wish me luck this year! There's more to tell, but it's bedtime.