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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Worst Trends of the 20th Century #43

The decline of civilization stinks. Along with the uprising testosterone came a total loss of consideration for others. Manners were dropped like hot potatoes and never taught again sometime in the generation after me. Wrapped in a sort of response to feminism, gentlemanliness became weakness. Men became coy about using their manners in the way they were raised. Fair enough, plenty of women said they didn't want the door opened for them. But nowadays I almost fall over in shock when a man swoops around to open a door for me. Saying, "Excuse me." in a non-bitchy, sincere way gets you a surprised hairy eyeball.

Manners these days are often met with hostility and disdain. If you show any old-fashioned courtesies then you must be a pretentious snob. You are putting on airs if you display social graces. I'd use the urban slang for these terms but I don't want to; having a vocabulary is as looked down upon as manners. How did getting an education for yourself become the mark of Cain? Bah. Let 'em hate.

It's become popular to hate. Where I was raised to never use the word, and instructed many times, "We don't hate," that's all gone. You're a fool to smile, a fool to be civil, a fool to be anything more than an ignorant, hostile asshole.

With these new codes of conduct you'd think that pride would remain. It does, but it's twisted. Instead of pride in your character and how well you treat others, people have pride in how they abuse others and get away with it. There's pride in getting over on your fellow baby, not in helping them. Standards have not just changed, everything that slides downhill with them have. Rarely do you get a pleasant business person when calling about any matter. Even if you're asking about something you want to buy, you get treated like an axe murderer.

The smallest of courtesies- thank you notes, for example- gone. These days you're lucky if someone even acknowledges receiving a gift.

Why? Wasn't life a little more bearable for everyone when we were kinder to each other? That old saying, "We all do better when we all do better" should be brought back.

And that's my soapbox rant for the day. Thank you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Sofa and Other Great Plans

This Summer will go down in history as the Sofa Summer. Back in April when my brother was here, we thought, "Well, it'd be smarter to get a sleeper sofa than keep paying hotels." And so the hunt began in May. What an easy solution! No problem, I thought. 

It's now the 3rd week of July. No sofa. My futon sits alone, all accoutrements piled on the other side of the sitting room, waiting. The Sofa That Will Be Mine sits elsewhere, waiting. This is what happens when there are 11 people, 4 households, 2 trucks, a wedding, a business, and 3 sofas involved. It's the Chinese puzzle that is my life, on steroids. How did it get so complicated? Take a furniture business run entirely by 2 guys, from sales to delivery. Take a handful of friends who want to trade off their furniture to each other. Throw in a wedding that's just a bit smaller than Chuck and Di's. Add one disorganized, not-very-highly-functioning person who wants to ringmaster the circus, and voila! Chaos and stagnation.

However emblematic of the season, the sofa is the least problem of this Summer's roller coaster. Every plan laid for the last 3 months has gone awry due to awful things. The big reunion on Long Island was cancelled due to a death in the host's family. Emily was going to visit here with her family but now her 9 year-old son who has CP is having surgery on both legs. My cousin won't be coming north anytime soon due to a (thankfully small) stroke. Another old family friend who was coming up was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer out of the blue and just had a radical hysterectomy (she's just leaving the hospital as I type- and so far, so good). There is frightening sickness everywhere and nobody gets a break. Even Strider hasn't been able to get away from her responsibilities and I haven't seen her since last November. Life is full of complications for us all.

But that's not to say other things haven't been great.
1) I sold an article about living in the Sawyer mansion and that'll be published next month. I've made a resolution to not write for free anymore. And so the Vermont Views deal went by the wayside, as well as writing for several other websites. I don't mind the work, but I do mind manipulation and disrespect. If you want to play with my head, and even moreso my words, you have to pay me.

2) In the wee hours I've been writing up a storm. My WIP book has been a joy to write in the quiet hours I've adopted since springing forward. This one may actually get finished!

3) I've reconnected to many people that were lost along the years via Fecebook. And I know how I railed about FB, but these days nobody emails anymore, it's all FB messaging. It's time-consuming but it's wonderful to have so many old friends and cohorts back in my life.

4) Billy has been so much better since getting insulin. I had no idea that a lot of what was going on with him- the shaking sweats, the memory loss, the mood swings and general depression- all came from his diabetic issues. That's over, hallelujah. Whether or not he'll move to Florida is still up in the air.

5) Food glorious food! Ever since I took probiotics for 8 weeks, my digestive troubles have gone away. I can drink coffee again! This Summer the produce has been delicious. This humid heat has done wonders for fruits and herbs. I can't wait for the veggie harvest. I can eat peppers again!

6) We have at least another year and a half in The Shire. Many things can happen in that time span, so I'm not even thinking about it.

7) Television is out of my life, and good riddance to the huge bill and crappy service. I don't miss it.

8) My greatniece is a married woman now. They are moving back to BC next week, her hub has completed his studies and the next chapter of their life is about to begin. Her parents (Niecely, Queen of Pirates and #1 Nephew) are still trying to sell their house and move to the beach. It's a tough market these days but I have faith it'll happen when it's supposed to happen. #4 Nephew is engaged, and back in school to go into computers, on the west coast. All my sis-in-laws are hanging in there and well.

9) Beest is happy and healthy, and has become a sweet companion cat. A far cry from the cranky, hissy, bitey Beest she was 2 1/2 years ago. Gal Friday takes her on walks outside with a harness now. Beest hates the harness but it's a riot to see her walk in it. You have to get your kicks where you can.

Yes, the world is a mess. I can't believe my eyes when I read the news these days. I stay abreast of what's going on and do what I can, but there's so much out of control that we can't do anything about. At least for now, watching and keeping an eye out for an opportunity to change things is the best we can do.

Even with the scares and troubles, life is as peaceful as I make it. We get by the best that we can.

Now I have to go do some things, but I hope to catch up with all my non-FB blogging pals later. As Ringo says, "Peace and love!"