Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Observations of the impatient ilk

Being on the dole of the unemployment kind and being a people watcher, I often get caught up in observing how people treat their fellow humans in different circumstances.

One theme I've been exploring lately is that of patience. I've been a variously patient and impatient sort. I surprise myself with the patience I have with young kids in a class and yet the Boston in me erupts when I encounter obviously non-thinking drivers.

But I have found the most interesting reactions from people who make assumptions about me, especially now that I am unemployed. I have long been active in the extracurricular activities that kept me sane during my previous jobs and those activities haven't changed because I have the need to stay sane now more than ever. What's changed is that instead of working 8 or 9 hours a day, I now look for a new job, I clean house (where I used to hire help there), mow the lawn (used to stimulate the local economy there, too), and cook (used to buy a lot of prepared or takeout to save time, now I cook from scratch). On a school day, I have less than 6 hours a day as opposed to my previous 8 or 9 to concentrate on what I need to get done, whatever that entails. And yet, many of my acquaintance think that I should be able to take on new commitments or somehow do more than I am. Is this a rant? Yes. I am railing against those people that feel they know I should be doing "better." I should be better at keeping in touch, I should be better at housekeeping, I should be a better community member, you name it, I should be better at it, just by virtue of being unemployed.

Why did the standard change from when I was being paid to work? I'm figuring out that it's the matter of perceived "free" time. I do admit that I can do things now that I could not before because I now have the time. But there is a balance sheet that comes into play. Take cooking for example. The fact that I am cooking our meals from scratch has meant a huge cost savings in our money budget, but, conversely, a huge expense in my time budget. The easiest meals I prepare are a minimum half hour prep and about a half hour cleanup.   So I can make a pizza for a couple bucks instead of buying a take and bake pizza for $10-$12 or a fully baked one for $20. I spend a half an hour prep (while the bread machine does the bulk of the work during the two-hour lead time) instead of popping open a box upon arrival. Another example is now I am the bulk of the after school and summer time supervision for Resident Kid instead of paying for lots of after school activities and summer camps.

I am one of the lucky ones in terms of mental health (Death and Joblessness) and yet still I suffer the impatience of those amongst my acquaintance that believe I should somehow be able to get myself into a different situation if only I were really trying. 

I, ironically, don't have patience with these sorts. I have found that my mental health improved when I realized that I don't need the added expectations from other people's measuring sticks. I don't need the ruler rapped on my knuckles to make me try harder. Ultimately, my motivation comes from the fact that it's my family's well-being that is at stake here and it is beyond me to understand why others believe that their approval or disapproval will spur me to greater deeds.

I use the unemployment situation as the example here, but really, doesn't this apply in other circumstances as well? I should be more patient with those sorry, inexperienced folks that believe I should magic a job out of thin air. But, by my sarcasm, I find I have a long way to go.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer haze

The dog days of summer, open windows at night, lead to indoor/outdoor experiences of many kinds.  Often these things happen at night, when you feel least prepared or least capable of dealing with the unexpected. 

A neighbor mentioned a sighting of a baby skunk the other day, one that apparently was too young to figure out how to spray the dog that was merrily playing with it.  This particular neighbor has successfully live-trapped several young skunks over the years and relocated them to the "wild" on some public land just out of town.

The middle of the night is often when we get a whiff of our resident odoriferous neighbors, the windows open next to the wildlife highway to the delectable goodies in the backyard garden allow sounds and odors to waft in to tickle our brains as we dream.  Dreams can become nightmarish, or at least unpleasant, as in the case of an encounter of the skunk kind several years ago when Resident Kid was but a toddler.

The Resident Cat at the time was a fluffy orange cat with a kingly white tuxedo shirt front.  This cat was a He Cat of the macho kind and liked to prowl the 'hood at night.  One evening we were hit with a powerful strong smell of skunk and went to the back door to see if we could catch sight of what we had caught wind of.  In came He Cat streaking through the house, and, in his wake, that powerful strong smell of skunk.  It didn't take long to find him hunkered down under Resident Kid's bed, squinty-eyed and drooling, obviously having taken the full blast straight in the face.  

Now He Cat was normally a cantankerous type that didn't appreciate even the most desultory grooming attempts on our part and as a a result his long fur was often matted because we would get scratched or bitten if we tried to brush him.  This night was a different matter.  Nary a growl as I picked him up and dunked him in the sink full of the special skunk remover formula that another neighbor had found after their dog was sprayed.  I scrubbed and washed and otherwise took action that would humiliate any self-respecting cat, but this cat was taken beyond humiliation by the utter misery of full strength skunk.  This cat didn't even care that his apparent heft was belied by wet fur that revealed the scrawniest kittenish figure beneath the fluff.  All he cared about was that the homemade skunk remover formula worked.

Homemade Skunk Remover Formula:
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

Mix together (it will foam up hugely) and rub all over skunk sprayed area.  Rinse well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

7-Day Forecast for Latitude 44.06°N and Longitude 121.3°W (Elev. 3598 ft)

First significant (nearby) fire of the season broke out west of town (lightning), fortunately the weather isn't so blazing hot as it normally is this time of year...

7-Day Forecast for Latitude 44.06°N and Longitude 121.3°W (Elev. 3598 ft)