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Author Archives: Gillian

Idiots

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I haven’t actually checked, but I don’t think anyone reads this. Which makes it a great place to rant without bothering anyone.

I know about 7 people. Of those 7 people, 5 are idiots. Oh, you’re wondering why I only know 7 people. It’s because I live in a place that religion has by the throat, and I think religion is bunk. This makes me less than an ideal friend to anyone here. It’s not that I would tell them that I think their beliefs are bunk, particularly if they kept them to themselves and those beliefs did not have any impact one way or the other on our friendship, but that is not the way these people function. People who are “godless” are frightening, suspect, and to be avoided at all costs (lest ye be driven from the church for consorting with the godless). Given that I don’t pray before every meal and praise god and talk about how god helped me 100 times today and how nothing I do could be done without god’s help and blah blah blah, it becomes clear within an hour or two that I am godless. So….no local friends, except one, who is a compulsive liar, borderline agoraphobic, and who has 40 cats. No, really. And she’s not one of the ones who is an idiot!

Anyway, I digress. I think what bothers me the most is when you know someone through a casual email acquaintance, and then you find out, out of the blue, that they are a nutcase (btw, I did not include email friends in my 7 people…I email a lot of people but, as I am TRYING to tell you, I don’t consider that I actually know them).

There are too many idiots around. And their presence is made worse when they hide their idiocy until you think you kinda sorta know them and kinda like them. Whoops, there goes another person I thought I liked. Idiot. Misinformed, close-minded idiot.

Plus, you can’t complain to idiots about idiots; that just doesn’t work.

Ok, fine, I’ll stop talking to myself now.

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Friends, or lack thereof

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I don’t have a lot of friends. Actually, I have no local friends. I thought I did–sort of–but evidently I don’t. I have lots of email friends, and I make friends easily when I camp or take other trips. I’m open, gregarious, chatty. I find so many people when I am away from home to make friends with, and I wonder why no one like that lives near me.

I was friends with a woman, we’ll call her Isadora, a long time ago. We had a lot in common; we love animals, we love to read, we are not crazy about southerners and we are not fans of religion. I noticed that Isadora often contradicted herself, saying one thing one day and the opposite a few days later. This baffled me for a long time–like about 10 years. Then the penny finally dropped, it became glaringly obvious that Isadora was a compulsive liar. And about things that didn’t matter in the least, things there was no reason to  lie about. I spent about 5 years doing a very slow burn about being constantly lied to, and then it just got to be too much and I overreacted a bit and called a halt to the entire friendship. Over the next 6 or 7 years, I did some research on people who lie–even happened to catch an NPR show on the topic–and it turns out that these people are not always aware they are doing it. Somehow their brains just filter and alter the reality that enters, and what comes out of them may not be the truth, but it is their truth. They are genuinely not aware that they are changing reality to suit them. I think Isadora did this to enhance her image, to put herself in a better light for those around her.

Over those 6 or 7 years, I missed Isadora. And then one day we ran into each other at a grocery store, and it was as if those years had never passed, we picked up right where we left off. I thought that it would be different–this time I was going (back) into the friendship well aware that nothing she said could be counted on to be true. And that worked for a while. Isadora has a few other issues. She is borderline agoraphobic….but in an odd way. She works 3 days a week, and has no problem going to work. If what she says about it is true, she goes to the grocery store every day. She likes to go to a store called Tractor Supply and seems to go there nearly every day as well, or at least she was always saying she had to go there. But she otherwise doesn’t seem to want to leave her house. She is literally never gone overnight, and, Cinderella-like, always had to be home by 3:30 or so in the afternoon. In one singular moment of what I believe was truth, she indicated that she had to be home because if she wasn’t, something bad might happen. Something she could prevent by being home. She has many pets, inside and out. She has a husband who works as a handyman periodically. Apparently his being home is not good enough to prevent the bad thing from happening, she had to be there herself, which is of course a control issue.

So, my one local friend lies about everything and is afraid to spend time away from home except for work and grocery- and hardware-shopping.

She called me late last spring, after another lengthy time of no contact. I maintain assorted websites and the primary one had been neglected and so there were no updates. She called to find out if I was ok, since it was odd for there to be no updating. I responded, telling her that while that website had been neglected, one of the other ones had been quite active and updated regularly. She called me and told me that she had been checking all of them, of course. This was clearly not the case, because if she had been, she would have discovered that I had been quite busy with camping trips and other activities, and would not have had to call to ask if I were ok. I let it go, since by now I am used to being lied to. In the course of the conversation, I told her about our plans to retire to the mountains. Before we hung up, she said she would call me the next day.

I never heard from her again. Did she visit those other sites and did it strike her that she had told me she was reading them regularly…..but if she had been, she would have known what I was doing? Is it shocking for a person who does not realize she lies about everything to be confronted with the clear fact that she lied? Or was this something else? Isadora has wanted to move from this area since I met her, and for decades had discussed her definite plans to move out west. Since that is never going to happen (they live nearly at the poverty level so such a move is not feasible, at least at this time), was she upset that we had these plans, and the means to follow through with them?

Lately I have been in one of my modes of wishing I had a local friend. This is an impossibility. First, religion has this area by the throat and the people here are not capable of carrying on any conversation without repeatedly invoking the lord, which drives me crazy. The people here also do not do anything. There are no clubs to join to meet anyone who might not be a religious fanatic–no book clubs, no bike clubs, no walking clubs, no knitting clubs. No point in trying to start such a thing, since only church-sponsored activities are acceptable to the locals. I thought to check the adult education courses at the local community college, but the only offerings are yoga (no thanks) and possibly guitar lessons. So that’s out.

I did have another friend for a long time, a wonderful woman a few years younger than me. We went on 5-mile walks around town together and traveled to far-off places together. I recently also ran into her. She does nothing now and is not interested in walking or traveling as we used to. I asked about going for bike rides on the nearby bike path. No….her ex-husband made her go on a long bike ride 18 years ago and she has never wanted to ride a bike since (the words get and over and it came to mind). While she is not fanatical about her religion and is a funny, enjoyable person, I need someone who wants to actually do something.

So that leaves Isadora. Since I am so desperate for social interaction right now, I would welcome some chat time with her, lying and all. I sent her an email a couple of days ago, under the guise of telling her about a website she might be interested in, and I added that I hoped she and her family were all staying cool. I got no response, which was a surprise, she’s the type of person who always responds. Now I am left not knowing whether she is simply not going on the computer (she never was interested in computers and so she only goes online from work when she is bored), or if she is ill or otherwise indisposed, or if she got it and just isn’t interested in continuing a friendship with someone who is moving away in a few years. I’m not sure what I will do about this, if anything. I could call her next week, when I know she will be home and not at work. Or I could just let it go, since reconnecting will not lead to anything of substance. I really just want to talk to someone; it will pass, particularly as camping season rolls back around and I start finding a social outlet there.

I feel certain that there are other people like me in this county–people who are not fanatically religious, people who get out and do things. I suspect that, like me, they stay well under the radar and don’t mingle with the locals. So how can I find them? Or maybe I should just resign myself to being friendless while living here.

The new computer

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What a day. I hate buying new computers, it’s always the start of a long journey of frustration. This one required an hour-long phone call to India for tech support. The person I talked to was very nice, and the call was a little better than usual since I had nothing vested in this computer so if it couldn’t be fixed, I hadn’t lost anything, I would just take it back. With that in mind, it was easy to be calm and chatty with the guy. It was 11 at night there. He was in a small town. They were in a monsoon. When we were done he thanked me for bringing the smile back to his face and said “May happiness touch your feet.” No one has actually ever said that to me before. I can’t say I quite understand it, though.

Next came the Photoshop debacle. I got Photoshop 5 (not CS5, version 5 of Photoshop) back around 1998 or so. I have been using that as my base and have only bought upgrades since. Well, my luck ran out. Evidently version 5 cannot be installed in Windows 7. So I found a copy of CS4, the one I prefer to CS5, on Ebay and ordered that. I suppose it was time for me to have a new full version… So no photo processing for a while, till that comes in.

Next came putting in  hubby’s email. He is about 99% computer illiterate so I have to do it. I don’t want him using my email client, and I would rather not have to keep signing in to my iGoogle account since he has used it for his account, so I needed a separate program for him to use. I had to go through 3 to find one. His email is on our ISP. They require SSL security, but my AV program wants me to disable it so they can use their own security to scan email. Now we have two programs in there that seem to work with our ISP.

I haven’t even attempted to get the two printers to work with it yet. Another day for that.

It seems like a nice system and worked ok after talking to India and whatever tinkering he did to it. We’ll see. It will be frustrating if it goes back to not working after I have spent so much time getting our stuff on it….

Retirement

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We plan to leave Florida and retire to the mountains of either north Georgia or western North Carolina. I am well aware that there is a fairly large contingent of folks native to those parts who feel a certain hostility toward Floridians who retire to their region. I’ll admit that’s a tad off-putting, but I am hoping that we can come in under the radar. From what I understand, much of the complaining is about Floridians who leave Florida cities to move to rural communities in the mountains, and then they attempt to change those communities to more closely resemble the area they just left. This will not be us. First and foremost, I don’t like the area where we currently live, so I will welcome any change there may be. I like our house and our property here, but once you leave those borders, I hate it. I would never attempt to get our new home to resemble in even the remotest way the place we live now.

In fact, I don’t anticipate interacting with locals much at all. We have a list of priorities for the next house, and that list includes having neighbors that are visible but not within hollering distance.  Therefore we will likely not impact anyone in the vicinity of our new home (not that we have loud dogs, play loud music, drive loud cars, or in any other way behave in an obtrusive manner). As far as I can tell, only the realtor and the person who handles our initial banking needs will be aware of our Floridian nature, unless we choose to share it. We are conspicuously without southern accents, though (since we are Ohioans who have lived in NC, Canada, and NM before landing here).

I would opt for early retirement for my husband and go now, but I believe he will want to hold out for the 3 years until he turns 65. We are, nonetheless, already doing some minor preparations. Our bathroom was painted a bright and cheery tangerine orange, a decision I made while clearly having moments of insanity. It wasn’t that terrible but there is no way we could put this house on the market with an orange bathroom. So that is now a far more normal pastel yellow color. Today the man who installs vinyl floorcovering came out and we made arrangements to have the living room floor replaced, which is another thing that had to be done before we could put the house in the market. I have purchased some very large and sturdy trash bags, which I intend to fill with all the stuff and junk that has accumulated but which we will not be taking with us. That right there is easily a year-long endeavor (some will be donated, of course).

I’m very excited about this plan, I cannot wait to leave Florida. It’s not just the heat and humidity, which is terrible. Right now we can’t go outside without covering from head to toe to avoid being bitten by yellow flies. Yellow flies are vicious deer fly-like creatures whose bites will leave huge red, swollen welts on your skin. The heat and humidity have nothing on the flies. The other day I had to walk outside from the front door to the car to get something. It was 96 degrees and I didn’t want to put on my long cotton sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt and shoes to be outside for less than a minute. So I sprayed Deep Woods Off! on my lower legs–yellow flies generally swarm and land on the backs of your lower legs and backs of your ankles, spots that are difficult to swat. I drenched those parts in repellent, full well knowing that it was futile. On my way back from the car I swatted a yellow fly that had landed on the still-wet layer of repellent and was biting me, the swat leaving a large swath of blood. By the time I got back in the house after being out about 45 seconds, I could feel stinging bites on both legs as well as on my hands. Applying an ice cube to these bites cuts the pain considerably, so I spent the next few minutes rubbing ice over the bites (and repellent, yuck). This is a very typical result of being outside for less than a minute without dressing for a desert sandstorm. When we moved here about 30 years ago, yellow flies showed up sometime around July 4th and left sometime near the end of August. They now show up in May and leave sometime in October. I’m tired of having to stay in the house all summer to escape them. And then of course there are the fire ants. Not a good idea to stand in grass or dirt while wearing sandals. I recently went into our garden area and was checking to see if some bulbs I had planted were sprouting. Yes, I had sandals on. Mistake. I would say that one yellow fly bite is about like 3 fire ant bites, pain and swelling-wise. In rural Florida, the bugs are winning. By a very wide margin.

So really it’s the bugs I hate the most. Sure, the heat is terrible, but I think it’s a fair trade for the relatively mild, snow-free winters we have. I suspect that many of the other things I dislike about this area will not change–this is a small town and we will be going to a small town. The people will be about the same, except for the hating-Floridians factor (we don’t hate people from NC or GA).

I can’t wait to go.

Resolution

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I have discovered that I henpeck my husband. I never thought of it in those terms before, but a reference in a book I am reading caught my attention. I have decided to make a very real effort to stop doing it. This will have to be another thing that is done one day at a time. I have tackled other issues in that manner. Sometimes my online spending gets a bit out of control. I try to curtail it, and at the end of each day I am either proud that I went the whole day without placing any orders….or I’m not so proud. A similar thing occasionally comes up involving alcohol, but that’s another post entirely. So the henpecking will be something that I will try to cease doing one day at a time. It accomplishes nothing and I’m sure it’s annoying.

To my credit, I have noticed when I do it that I am invariably right. He pays no attention whatsoever–in fact, my pointing out his mistakes probably only compels him to double his efforts in that direction. Ultimately I end up/will end up having a right to say “I told you so,” but when the damage is done, that’s small recompense and I never say it.  He gets up most nights at about 3:00 and takes ibuprofen (on an empty stomach) and goes back to bed. I point out that if he continues to do that, he will destroy his stomach lining and end up bleeding from both ends, as happened to my father. Yes, I’m right….but it falls on deaf ears and after pointing it out once, I should quit. To continue to point it out qualifies as henpecking. He spends a fair amount of time in a terrible reclining chair that puts a strain on his back. When he reads in bed, he is so slouched down that his head is at my shoulder level when I sit next to him (he is a foot taller than I am when standing), and he is not only slouched, he is canted so far to one side as to almost be able to lean on an elbow, but not quite. And then he walks around unable to easily bend down to get things from a lower shelf of the refrigerator because his back hurts. I should have quit after just once making the observation that that is not a surprise, given the chair he sits in and his slumping posture while reading in bed. Again, falls on deaf ears, if in fact he doesn’t make a point of slouching even more.  His father was also an idiot; between that and being a man, he comes by this naturally.

My husband is a very timid creature, and as such he is unable to directly express his feelings and reactions. As do most timid sorts, he has become adept at the art of passive aggression. Rather than simply telling me to lay off, he hears me but he will do as he pleases (a directness that I would appreciate and heed), he expresses his displeasure with my nitpicking by doing small things to make my life more difficult. This is, of course, the blueprint for many, if not most, longstanding marriages. The wife henpecks, the husband retaliates with childish annoying pranks. Since women like to talk things out and men don’t, this is an endless conundrum.

Therefore, not only will my stopping the henpecking improve the quality of his life, I should, within a period of a few weeks, start to see an improvement in the quality of mine, assuming that his anger and resentment toward me is not so massive that it will have no effect. There are other forces at work here aside from the henpecking. And I’m not sure at this point how long I can go without saying something about the daily acts of idiocy that I observe. This post is just shaving enough ice off the top of the marital iceberg to make one cube. But I thought I would bring this up. So far this blog is at the bottom of a very deep, dark well, and nobody knows it’s here. I’m just talking to myself, and since I am privy to the whole story, it’s ok to be somewhat superficial.

Today is Day One of this new pecking-free period. We’ll see how it goes.

Enter the New Blog

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I have a lot of blogs and I have made some friends via those blogs. And so, as often happens…

Let me insert this. I have decided that it is very  much not a good idea to get to know owners of vacation lodging (B&B’s, cabin properties where the owners reside on-site, and other small inns, etc.) or proprietors of small local businesses. It starts out just great, you feel like the guy from Cheers, so happy that everyone knows his name, but ultimately it becomes a drawback. I had to finally stop going to a vacation destination that I loved because everyone liked me and we had such nice chats. So, after driving for nine hours, I would get there just wanting to get my cabin key and pour a bit of libation over ice and sit for a moment on my porch enjoying the country air. But no, I got hauled into the owners’ house, hugs all around, let’s catch up since I was there last. They meant well and I am not faulting them–after all, they had had a normal day and this was something new to add to that. But it was prolonging my time before porch libation, and I was so bug-eyed and tired from the drive that I didn’t feel like chatting endlessly about what we had all been doing for the last six months. So I finally just stopped going there and switched to someplace I could announce my arrival, exchange a minute or two of pleasantries, and be on my way to my little home away from home. I also made the mistake of getting to know the owner of the local liquor store. I now know all about the problems he had with his father-in-law when he got married, and other bits of trivia about his life. It reached a point where it would be rude for me to go in, select an item from the shelf, pay for it with a smile and a “how are you?” and be out the door and on my way home. I finally started sending my husband in for my purchases. To summarize, there is a lot to be said for anonymity, and I am striving for that.

…I feel constrained by my associations with the friends I made via my other blogs. If I want to write a post about something annoying, one of them may think it relates to them. And it very well might. Maybe I want to talk about something I haven’t shared with them, while cloaked in anonymity. So I am starting this blog. I don’t know you (probably), and you don’t know me (probably), and that’s great.