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See America First, Then the Rest of the World

I will start this post off with the note that by the time I started ninth grade, I had gone to as many different schools as years. For some odd reason, we moved. A lot. And never very far, once the move constituted less than five miles. We always joked that my Dad had gypsy blood or some kind of wanderlust.

I still feel that way. I cannot seem to feel content to stay in any one place for long. I’ve done better than my father, but I also seem to have the itch to go somewhere.

On our last adventure – our recent trip to Moab, UT and Arches National Park – we started chatting about what was next. And the best way to fill in the open spots of our travels, it helps to have an accounting.

I found a simple black and white drawing of the U.S. and started filling them out. Purple states are those I have lived in, the dark purple is where I was born (Iowa). I also did this for The Kid. The blue states we’ve visited. White are those left to explore.

Mom States

Streets States

For the most part, I will be revisiting states with The Kid and am hoping that sometime this year we will try for Alaska. I am excited to see Denali National Park before Trump releases the drilling morons into that pristine landscape and the final frontier we still have left in America!

MacCupcake

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The Real Value of Government Regulations

I just finished watching a documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. And it reminded me the value of government regulation.

In it, it spoke of the primary reasons for the number of young women dying – as well as some men – that it was largely the result of blocked stairwells, doors opening in and not providing information about fire escape in the form of drills or documentation.

And these were because prior to the fire, they weren’t “regulations” but rather “safety suggestions”.

Triangle-Fire-gs-1024x659Let me back up a little. The year is 1909, the city is New York. Hundreds of young women are working in the garment factory, cranking out clothing by working 60, 70 and even 80 hours a week. Sitting in row upon row of sewing machines, nearly elbow to elbow, without the benefit of union representation. Don’t want to work 10 or 12 hours a day? Quit and they will fill your spot before you reach the front door. Complain about the cramped conditions and maybe they will move you to the machines were accidents take hands, arms and even your life. Stop coming to work and lose those meager paychecks and you and your family starve or lose your home.

Now think a little about the conditions under which (mostly) women work: there aren’t any fire drills to show you how to exit the building should a fire break out. Sprinklers? Fire 9d6c9ce683dae7ef81e118676dec96a7alarms? They’re available, but not mandated, so of course the wealthy company owners aren’t going to spend money to have them installed. Fire escapes? Ditto for those as well. And to make things worse, lock optional escapes because it is mandated that someone had to check those women as they left, in case they opted to try and take home scraps of fabric.

146 young and not-so-young women and men died. Many of them by jumping from the ninth floor windows. Because New York wasn’t equipped to deal with buildings with so many floors, their ladders reached only to the third level. Once the fire broke out below them, they literally had no options.

Fortunately, something good came out of this. Regulations. Yes, REGULATIONS. Something to help safeguard the lives of the 99%. Something that the current administration in Washington wants to start chipping away at. To save money for the 1% (and worse, the über rich .01%). Because basic regulations don’t really apply to them other than it costs them money.

Trump is calling for the repeal of two regulations with the proposal of any new regulations and has been quoted as saying regulations need to be cut by 75%. All Americans should be aware and fight this. Once the regulations are overthrown, you will start to see things happening that common sense once mandated as against the people as a whole.Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 6.40.41 PM.pngWanna see drilling in the Arctic, the wild places of Alaska, Yellowstone National Park? Want to see fracking in every corner of America? Want to see Americans without safety protocols in place in constructions, mining, drug production, farming, manufacturing, automobile emissions, etc., etc., etc.

I’m really worried about our future. How about you?

MacCupcake

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The ‘Dumbing Down’ of America

I suppose that this probably puts me squarely in the “old lady” category, but I have to tell you this story. It is one of those ‘shaking your head’ in disbelief kind of stories and me and The Kid laughed about it solidly for like four hours on the day it happened and sporadically since it occurred.

My house is a computer connected sort of house. Routers – both wired and wireless -and computers and smart devices abound. I invested in a Nest thermostat about a year ago and have seen great reductions in the amount of heating and cooling we use in that time. I really like that I can make changes to the schedule and the temperature setting in the house without having to go to the hallway (where the thermostat resides) and can do it in the middle of the night with ease.

I had heard about some of the other devices being developed, so I opted to try another. I set me sights on the Nest Cam Outdoor, with installation at the front door. This is so that I can see who is there before having to try to get to the front door from my sewing room or bathroom or wherever I may be. You know, getting up and moving still takes a minute or two to get rolling ever since the bi-lateral knee surgeries.

While on one of my many trips for supplies, The Kid and I found ourselves at Home Depot. And they just happen to have a display for all of the Nest devices. Quite convenient if I do say so myself. So we take one of the purchase cards from the display and along with our other items, we head to check out.

img_3923Now, as you can read, you are supposed to take the card to the service desk and they ring it up and you pay for it… then they get the camera for you.

Well, this particular young lady took the card (and paint and glue etc) and rang the purchases. As she completes the sale via credit card, she places all the items a bag and hands it to us along with the receipt.

Let me reiterate: she places this 6 1/2″ piece of fiber board with some printing on it into a Home Depot bag and hands us it and a receipt that clearly shows that we bought a $200 camera. And then she turns to the next customer.

I’m not usually known for being tongue tied or at a loss for words, but this particular interaction caused me to be able to grasp exactly what she did. I am looking in the bag and then to my son and back again, trying to fit the pieces together in order that something makes sense!

I have to reach into the bag to retrieve the card and then assert myself back into a conversation with her. I have to have the look of befuddlement on my face as I hand her the card back to her and ask “…and you’re now going to actually give me the camera I bought, right?”.

Well, now it is her turn to be confused. She is looking at the card and then to me and back again. I ask her “you don’t think I just paid two hundred bucks for this piece of cardboard, do you?”.

I am shaking my head in disbelief. She tries to hand the card back to me. Even the generally-won’t-say-shit-even-if-he-had-a-mouthful quiet and shy young man looks at her and shaking his head says to her that she needs to get an actual box containing a camera. She turns to another clerk and holds out the card. I have no idea what she is thinking or how the hell she came to be standing behind a cash register in a store where tens of thousands of dollars must go through that store every day.

Her co-worker sort of shrugs and giggles at her and then looks at us and says that they will be right with us. They disappear behind a wall and I can her Clerk2 explaining to Clerk1 that she needs to find the box that corresponds with the code on the card. They are back there a while and I am thinking that they don’t have what we ordered and next comes that hassle that the charge she just rang up will take three days before the credit is applied when they come around the corner with the box.

And yes, I checked it and double checked the code on the box to make sure it is the right one and proceed to slice through the sticker to open the box… I want to make sure there actually is one inside! For some unexplained reason, I wasn’t sure that they didn’t know that there is actually supposed to be a product in exchange for the two hundred bucks and change! Clerk2 is watching me do this and does another sort of chortle kind of sound and make this gesture with her eyes to say ‘Clerk1 is kind of ditzy in a honest sort of way’.

Frankly, I am still shaking my head that this actually transpired! I mean, this isn’t a revolutionary new process for safeguarding expensive small items from sticky fingers… this is a time tested process. Any clue that Clerk1 now understands this is conspicuously absent from her face, but The Kid and I take the box and our bag and head towards the door. I look to my son and say, “Did that really just take place?”. He laughs.

We’re still laughing about it. It is steadfastly becoming part of our personal interaction – a “you had to be there” kind of inside joke. I’ve been wanting to write this story, but I had to go back and get one of those cards so I could take a photo for the post. This post. I’ pretty sure this will be one of those jokes that we keep between us for a long time. 🙂img_3922So, to end this post on a positive note, I wanted to show you my violets. I became the defacto owner of this plant when I took over a desk vacated by someone way  back in my job history. It has done so well that I had to separate it into two pots. The blooms this year are absolutely amazing… in this planter. The other one is barren so far.img_3921

MacCupcake

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I‘ve been mentally writing this post all day. Actually, its been in the works for several weeks. But after today, it was something that I could no longer keep to myself, nor question its validity.

One wonders just when you can experience your last love. That fluttering of butterflies in your heart when he crosses your mind. When you know you’re going to see him, if only for a few minutes.

Wondering if he feels the same way you feel? And the sheer amazement when you realize that he does. Its conveyed in such an almost invisible way that absolutely no one sees it, no one hears it, no one notices it. Just you. And him.

I remember my first love. The very first time that I gave my heart to someone and they gladly accepted it. When every breath and every thought is about him and you only hope that he feels the same.

And then you see him. And he calls you a pet name. One that would sound silly to almost anyone – to almost everyone – if you were to actually repeat it out loud. But has touched my heart so pointedly. Just thinking it repeatedly brings a smile to my face and a light to my heart.

Who says love is only for the young? Or maybe that love makes you feel young? Again? I would have never guessed in a million years that I could feel like this again. I thought that was all behind me.

But I retire for the evening, hoping that tomorrow I will get to see him again. And he will look at me like he looks at no one else. And he will glance back for one more look when we part. And he will smile and he will know.

Like I know.

MacCupcake

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The Cubicle Farm

I have almost exclusively worked in environments that have “cubes”. As I mentally tick through my jobs, I can find one or two which honestly gave me an ‘office’ – that is, a room with four walls and a door. Otherwise, its been the cubicle farm.

Cube Farm

Why this phenomena occurred, I won’t profess to know the answer, but somewhere along the line it made sense to corporate officials to build moveable, rebuild-able  cubicle farms for their workers. It gives them the sense of privacy, albeit a modicum at best, and some sense of their own space.

However, it doesn’t create enough of a buffer for most people. Want to really get some work done and you need to concentrate? Good luck because the guy who sits on the other side of your “wall” uses a hands-free device for his conference calls and for some reason believes he has to shout to make everyone hear him. Or the woman who thinks work is her own private dating service. Or the one at the end of the row who plays his music so loud that every single person on the floor can hear it. Even those who detest his choice in musicians. Or the guy who clears his throat every 10 minutes like clockwork.

I have invested in noise cancelling headphones of the highest quality. Which, for the most part, does what I need it to. But – and yes, there is always a ‘but’- it gets tiresome to have to wear them. That constant pressure on your head does get annoying. And it also seemingly makes you anti-social. And on more than one occasion, I’ve been startled to a scream because I was so tuned into what I was working on and so turned out to everyone and everything around me that someone tapping me on the shoulder scared me! I have also missed a fire alarm!

It isn’t always bad, don’t get me wrong. One place I worked the cube walls were only as high as your line of site, so when you were sitting you weren’t constantly distracted by movement around you. But, it was low enough that it fostered communication and interaction with the people around you.

Good and bad, these cubicle farms provide different benefits and negatives. And there is no doubt that they are here to stay.

So, what do you do? Grin and bear it, I guess. And kvetch here, so that I can continue to work where ever it is that I am.

What’s been your experience? I’d love to hear all about it.

MacCupcake

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Physical Therapy on Left Knee, Pre-Op Labs for Right Knee

Today’s schedule found the additional testing procedures needed for the other knee surgery on Wednesday.

Left knee was replaced on January 27th. The initial plan was to have the left knee replaced on Jan 27 and then repeating the same procedure to the right knee a week later on February 3. As is always true of plans, there was a hiccup to the plan and the second knee was postponed an additional week.

Since being discharged from the hospital on Saturday, January 30, I have been visited every day by home health and physical therapy. My initial thoughts about having someone in my home every day wasn’t originally very appealing, but any doubts that I soon had were won over by the ease and convenience of my traveling PT’ers. No worrying about traffic or weather or if there was enough gas in the truck or if The Kid was awake enough to haul me off to the other side of town to complete 30 to 45 minutes of work. And I could literally just wake up and do PT in my jammies minutes later!

Seems that I am progressing well and maybe even a bit a head of schedule. I just happen to believe in this situation that that it benefits me the most to be ready for my second surgery as much as is humanly possible. Even though there are days or hours when I have to wonder if I’ve taken on too much, for the most part I believe that this is the best plan in my case. Still relatively young and healthy is going to make the the least painful recovery and being able to realize the most dramatic benefits from this dual surgery.

Okay, that is my quick update to today’s events. On Wedensday morning, I check in for the other half of surgery and then a complete life turn of events into full physical therapy and recovery.

I’d love to be able to answer any questions you might have. And I would love to hear about your experiences. Please do not hesitate to write to me!

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