606: Independence and helping

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I prefer to do things myself.

Partly this is my nature, and more than that, this is my experience. I have been taught through many harsh life lessons that things do not happen unless I can make them happen all by my little old self. I have had many people who were supposed to be very important people to me, who were supposed to have my best interests at heart, who were supposed to be there for me when I was down and out – who weren’t. I learned that I can only count on what I can get done myself, with my own admittedly meager muscle, brain, wit, courage, and brawn.

I fight hard not to ask for help, and give in only when I cannot do it by myself. Even then, I usually have tried everything I know to do to get it done first, before I submit and give in, acknowledge my weakness, and ask for help. I do it only when I can’t, and I’ve tried.

So, when I ask you for help, hat in hand and humble, you need to understand what it costs me to ask you.

When you give me an exasperated glance, that long-suffering sigh, with that “how dare you importune me for this ridiculous, unnecessary, paltry, pittance of a request, you annoying woman” look you have perfected on your face?

Guess how I feel.

605: No, thank YOU

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I am so dreadfully sorry that I was in conversation with my husband, and neglected to notice that you held the door for us to enter the establishment. I am sure my error was compounded in triplicate because you are black and I am white. I can assure you it wasn’t intentional, nor do I expect such service from strangers, or black people in particular. Neither my husband or I am visibly handicapped, so you offered (of your own volition) to hold the door which you could clearly see we were capable of opening ourselves. That was both courteous, and kind of you.

What wasn’t, was your announcement in overly loud voice of that sarcastic “You’re WELCOME” when we neglected to immediately and profusely thank you ourselves for your kind (and unnecessary) gesture. Believe me, your deliberate rudeness put our unintentional forgetfulness squarely even and then some.

Why bother to offer a kindness (necessary or not) if all you are after is the public notice of your nobleness? And your conduct when you didn’t get your thanks (for whatever reason) certainly left us both with a clear impression of your “nobleness,” didn’t it?

Yes, it is our usual habit to acknowledge such a gesture with spoken thanks. Yes, we were engaged in our conversation, and we forgot to thank you. I don’t believe I have lowered myself to that level when my polite gestures have gone unrewarded and unnoticed, and if I ever have, I am thoroughly and utterly ashamed of myself.

604: Slavery in modern times

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Not all Civil War monuments celebrate slavery – many memorialize the Americans who served and died, whose relatives raised the money to erect a memorial in their honor, as a remembrance of lives lost in armed conflict. There is nothing stopping others (whose views and memories are different) from raising the funds and erecting new memorials that reflect their differing views. There is room to coexist.

I come from that part of the USA that has a unique history. We are the only American citizens to suffer defeat in armed combat – if you don’t count the recent military “actions” that were never rightfully called a war, even though Americans also fought and died there in armed conflict, too.

Georgia (and her Confederate sisters) was defeated. Yankees still to this day call what we did in those times as “treason,” although no Southerner calls what we did (honorably seceding from the federal union), treason. Many southerners fought that war for state’s rights, since many (most) southerners were not wealthy enough to even own slaves – what we are continually told (lectured) was the sole cause of that conflict. If the North thought the South committed treason when they seceded, perhaps freeing the slaves was not the sole reason they fought, either. Especially considering that when they freed the slaves, they did not promote them to equal status even in their own self-righteous northern homelands. Even into the 1960’s, a white boarding house owner in Green Bay, Wisconsin (among other northern states) was not allowed, by law, to rent a room to a colored man, even if he *was* a team member of the Green Bay Packers that they were all ostensibly so proud of.

My Wisconsin-born husband tells me gleefully about when the other sports fans disdainfully referred to his Green Bay Packer fans as “cheeseheads,” and how they  took that slur and made it a point of pride for the Packer nation. And he completely and willfully ignores how the term “Rebel” came to be a point of pride for oppressed Southerners during the very long years of Reconstruction that the entire region suffered under the hands of rapacious Yankees and the low-life Southern-born who sucked up to them, and who should have been raised better. Blacks like to claim that the repercussions of slavery still resonate today – and that, to a large extent, is still true for Southern people of whatever skin color.

LEGAL slavery ended in the USA as a result of the defeat of the Confederacy – and states’ rights died there, too. Slavery in modern times is primarily economic (overlooking the recent horrific actions of the Islamic State). Modern slaves are those people who, through economic need, are forced to submit to providing their labor for less than a living wage. I’ve been hearing a lot (from liberals, primarily) about how illegal aliens are beneficial to the USA economy and their illegal status should be overlooked and forgiven because they take the jobs no American citizen will take.

Well, DUH.

What do you think the South’s primary reason for importing forced labor (slaves) into the cotton and tobacco fields (labor-intensive cash crops) was, idjits? They were imported to perform necessary work that few free Americans would take, because the work was not worth the wages. That legal slavery wasn’t a whole lot different from the sharecropping that white and black Americans did, and it wasn’t much different from laying those railroad tracks across the West that the Asians did, and it wasn’t much different from the coal mining that the Irish immigrants and poor whites did. It was economic slavery. And now, in your enlightened liberal minds (ha!), you want to PROMOTE economic slavery for a whole new crop of human beings who happen to be primarily Hispanic.

Yeah right – we can be SOOOOOO proud of our self-righteous humanitarian progress in the USA, can’t we?

603: Work, and more work

I go to work every day, even when I am ill, because it is harder to do all the preparation work beforehand than it’s worth it to be out sick, especially when I am actually sick. I have stopped going to the doctor and dentist on school holidays, though. Usually, if school is out, the doctors and dentists are also closed, anyway, and occasionally I NEED a day off when I actually am not sick – that is worth doing the prep work for.

Lately, I have been finishing my straight eight, and donning working clothes to put in another shift remodeling our newest purchase: a new-to-us, but not new house. We have gutted the kitchen in preparation for the installation of new cabinets, counter tops, trim, and appliances, and have installed the new flooring and painted. The new ceiling and lighting fixtures, and the floor molding, go in after the cabinets are installed.

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Lately, we have been on our knees…not praying exactly, unless you count praying that this piece of flooring will install properly in line with the others already laid. It is a good time for reflection on the vicissitudes of life, when you are on your knees, praying or not. I heard once that being on your knees is the most powerful position you can assume – and I assume they were thinking of prayer. I do tend towards a less than pristine mindset, and being on your knees is good for lots of various things, including prayer. Nonetheless.

I think the next few days I will work on painting. I can do that standing up. I’ve been on my knees dealing with those stubborn flooring planks a little too much lately.

602: Stubborn

I understand that things can get difficult. Even when they are first world problems (which means they are issues of privilege), they are still problems. True, mine are generally insignificant ones, compared to life and death problems that many people the world over are struggling with each and every day, that is quite true. But they are still problems, even if they are insignificant ones (when viewed through that realistic lens).  Let’s be real, nobody is holding a gun to my head, literally (even if I sometimes feel like that figuratively). I still have choices (even when it feels like I don’t).

Understanding that most of my problems are small ones (nothing life or death, here!) SHOULD make it somewhat easier to suck it up, buttercup – and MOVE ON. *sigh*

Time to find my inner stubborn, and kick that ass into gear.

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600: Old and New

I have purchased another house. This one isn’t new, either, which means there are things that need to be fixed to suit me (and others, if I should decide that I don’t want to continue living in this place until I go to my great reward in the hereafter).

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Older homes become dated-looking. No matter how spiffy your home once was (at the very pinnacle of fashion), things change. That nifty and trendy avocado or burnt orange color scheme that was so popular once – isn’t now. Unless you want to maintain that home in the 1970’s style as a hipster showplace, there will be things to change and work to be done to bring the home into the current era. This is necessary even when the old, dated stuff is still mostly functional, especially if you ever plan on selling the home again at some future date.

Then, there are the things that some other occupant/owner of the home did in some previous iteration that you stand gazing at in absolute wonder and stupefaction, scratching your head and wondering, WTH? This includes funky things like:

  • a bedroom that can only be accessed by going though a bathroom, or, not quite so egregious: another bedroom (????)
  • a toilet installed smack in front of a bathroom door with one foot clearance between the front of it and the sink cabinet, such that it becomes a tripping hazard. Did they step OVER it to get into the bathroom previously?? And, when it comes to using that toilet, whose legs are that short?
  • a kitchen with no lighting fixtures. At all. Not even one. ?? You had lamps – in the kitchen?
  • the ever-popular favorite – doors installed so close to each other that each interferes with opening the other.
  • an elaborate, attached to the roof, shingled, installed cover for the central heat and air unit that funnels rain water right smack into the back door. In floods. Did it never rain while you were there?
  • windows that are painted shut. *sigh*
  • door hardware that does not match – literally seven different styles of knobs, hinges, and finishes in the one house. Did you buy a sampler pack?
  • exposed electrical wiring, or funky outlet placements – such as running the plug for the fridge through the side of a cabinet (all the way across to the other side) to be able to plug in the fridge. Not much experience in planning, hmmm?
  • a room the size of a closet – literally three feet by four feet – that has AV coaxial cable installed in it.   ???
  • Astro-turf (literally, plastic grass) as the master bedroom carpet. Indoor sports?? Needed that look of nature? It was the cheapest floor covering they had?

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Weird and questionable homeowner decisions aside, the last category of items you must deal with when you purchase a home that isn’t new are those things that are just worn out. This includes things like flooring, paint, siding, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, hot water heaters, central heat and air units, appliances, chain link fencing, the roof, and various and sundry other necessary (and costly, usually) things.

Still. I am sure that there have been people who have purchased homes I have owned who have scratched their heads over some of the things I did, too. Karma. Doing its thing.