These guys
Thursday August 26th 2021, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Life

The guys on the phone at two different stores yesterday telling me it would be weeks got me to start over again on looking: any brand, any anything.

Turns out the only dryers that were cheaper right now were ones with reviews saying how terrible they’d turned out within weeks and how bad the companies were at responding. It was not encouraging.

There were so many models that had zero mention of any warranty whatsoever; only a few had one year parts and labor, if that much–surprisingly even on upper-end machines. Don’t these guys believe in their products? (Is that a trick question?)

And then there was Speed Queen. Their cheapest model had a three year warranty, their middle ones, five, and their uppermost seven but at a price tag that there was just no way.

Turns out there are two middle electric models and I’d only been looking at the one that looked most like my washer, the one I’d been told would take weeks to get in stock. Skip that matchy-matchy thing and I could pay a hundred less *and* get an extra feature whereby it can take in a small amount of water, heat it up, and then steam your wrinkled dress shirts and make them perfect after you forgot to take them out of the dryer immediately the first time. Go figure.

I also now know that my elderly Whirlpool that took 70 minutes to dry a rather small load of towels, it wasn’t its age–their new ones would, too, and that it wasn’t my imagination that it was too small inside for the size loads my washer does.

So, needing to do something to get this process started and figuring I had a long long wait ahead of me so might as well begin it now, I printed out the number for that steaming model and headed over to University Electric in Santa Clara where I’d bought my Speed Queen washer a few years ago. I figured if nothing else they had an inventory so large they would have to have something in some brand available. I also knew that they had 102 years of getting customer service right.

I walked in, I looked for where I knew the Speed Queens were, I found a few floor models. Some of which were tagged with display-model clearance stickers, including the most expensive bells-and-whistles one.

I was sorely tempted.

It became my backup plan.

No sign of the one they’d told me wasn’t in stock nor the one on that sheet I’d printed out. I figured at least I’d get a seven year warranty (they confirmed that) on the fancy-schmancy over the five years of the one I’d come hoping for, even if I really really didn’t want to spend the extra (or any of this) right now with all the house expenses looming over us.

That’s when I went to find a salesman.

I told the guy that I’d made a point of coming back to them because when I’d bought my washer, their delivery guys had looked at my laundry room set up and were afraid the hose was going to spew across the room given the number of rotations per minute that new machine did. They switched out the super-cheap part the remodeling contractor had installed with their own, then waited while the machine filled and spun out once to make sure it was going to work out okay. It very much did.

I’d never heard of delivery/installation people who cared that much about doing right by their customers.

He kind of waved me away with yeah yeah that’s what we do, like, why are you even impressed–isn’t this just how you do it?

He didn’t think they had DR5 in electric. He explained that they can’t just order one, either, there’s a minimum number, implying that they would be in no hurry at this particular not-normal time if there wasn’t an immediate and particular demand from multiple customers.

And then he looked it up in their inventory list.

And that is why my new comes-with-steaming-function DR5 Speed Queen electric dryer is being installed tomorrow. It will be an inch narrower than my Whirlpool but, Dr. Who style, will have a larger capacity inside.



Left high and dry
Wednesday August 25th 2021, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life

It is amazing how good kids so young can be at a sport. Sink it sink it sink it with all those arms flailing away at them (but somehow almost never fouling.) Score 23-54, with Parker, zooming in from the right, scoring the final basket for that winning number from a goodly distance away.

Meantime, back to normal life if a bit wistfully, the Indian Free peach is going to town to a degree it never has before and I’ve noticed since we got home that the critters have, for the first time, been abandoning the ripe figs to go after those peaches that aren’t yet.

And the thing I learned today: it’s not just a pandemic chip shortage. It’s not just a new car shortage and resulting inflated used-car prices, nor of furniture held up in shipping backlogs.

It’s hitting the washers and dryers made right here in the good old USA. Did they have one in stock? The man laughed ruefully. Three to four weeks for a new Speed Queen to arrive, and I could almost hear an implied ‘if you’re lucky’ in his tone. The next store said the same thing.

It was so bad that I could smell our 15-year-old dryer trying to burn the house down (he couldn’t. That could be dangerous) and came running across the house to stop it.

Check the outtake, Richard said between meetings. I did–it was clear, and it wasn’t a burning lint smell anyway. At all.

That makes three major appliances that have thrown a fiery temper tantrum in the last few years, even if only the Maytag dishwasher actually succeeded in scorching the floor. Are we just that lucky or does everybody eventually go through this?

The top of the neighbor’s clothesline partly shows across the top of the fence and I’ve been wishing all day I had one. It could be a long month.

So: anyone have anything they particularly like or dislike about their dryer? Have you had one that’s lasted a long time? One that flamed out fast? Would you recommend what you have?



A little camp out
Tuesday August 24th 2021, 9:07 am
Filed under: Family,Food,Life

The kids had a small fire pit set on the patio, well away from anything that you wouldn’t want it near and as it was getting going I was pulling out the very few weeds I found at the edge of the lawn–no need to let those go to seed.

I was offered the fire as a way to get rid of that handful quickly. The kids got into the spirit of this way of being helpful and I found myself with Hudson holding something long that had fallen off I think the neighbor’s tree into the yard and was going to do the same after me. If he’d stood it upright I think it would have reached about to his nose. Even trying to balance that in that little fire pit was going to be…problematical.

One of the reasons kids do dumb things, according to a lecture we went to by a neuropsychologist years ago, is because the nerves in their brains haven’t fully developed the myelin sheath around them–not till between 18 and 21. What that means, he said, is that they physically cannot intuit that if they do this then that will happen.

To which I would say, though, they can be taught it specific instance by specific instance.

Now, my handful of weeds wasn’t going to be a problem but what he’d come up with quite likely was so I said, I don’t want to put anything in that could shoot flames up my arm.

He kind of went, Oh, with his eyebrows as he considered that and learned something new.

And so, his young cousin having shown me where it was, we went past the garage to the compostables bin and he threw mine in there for me, too.

Then the kids were offered a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers, and a Costco package of Hershey bars and the means to have at it from enough of a distance. The classic campfire dessert right there at home with their four cousins.

Turns out my daughter-in-law and her sister hadn’t heard our honeymoon story about the skunk and that’s always a fun one to share.

And then–ohmygoodness! After waiting his turn and cooking his marshmallow and making his s’more, there was Parker: offering it to me!

I don’t eat a lot of sweets anymore as my age catches up to my metabolism, but that one demanded to be enjoyed and praised and I tell you, it’s been a long time since a Hershey bar tasted that good. That s’more was perfect in every way.



And the sky! No smoke!
Monday August 23rd 2021, 10:20 am
Filed under: Family,History,Life

I’ve never been so glad we parked the car at the airport.

We spent the weekend visiting the San Diego grands, a trip planned before Delta was really a thing yet. Since it certainly is now, we had to decide, but being healthy and vaccinated there was just no way we were going to cancel.

Hudson and his cousin Hayes had turned eight and were being baptized, which the Mormon church does when children are old enough to start to discern and choose right from wrong for themselves and not just react to the world around them. It’s a joyful time, and there was a mini-reunion for our daughter-in-law’s family in the process. I adore her family.

I told them that between their late father’s book and one my mom had, I’d found out that their Swedish ancestor and mine had arrived on the same boat. It just took 150 years or so for them to arrange a marriage from up there. They laughed.

One uncle who’s a doctor asked me quietly if we drove or flew, and I knew what he was asking and explained that with my husband’s job he just couldn’t take off the extra two days, meaning, yes, we risked the plane. (Sorry!)

Twenty-three months since we’d seen any of them. The kids have grown and grown up so much. Hudson in particular seems so much more contemplative. Wise for his age. From age six to age eight is such a leap in development.

Maddy asked me why I can’t go out in the sun. I gave a very simplified explanation of lupus. She wanted to know, what does the disease do? I thought, let’s not freak the poor kid out, and put it in terms a six year old could understand: “It makes me hurt all over.” (Kidney failure, temporary blindness on one side, Crohn’s as a side effect, cardiac inflammation, central and autonomic nervous system–oh be quiet, brain.)

She considered that, and that’s the way it is and it didn’t bother me so she was okay with that. And then we ran to the other room and played some more.

The whole weekend had this inner songtrack on endless loop and I found myself humming it more than once with the kids. “I can sing this song, and you can sing this song… We’re gonna have a good time…” And we did, at long last we did.

It was over far too soon and our planned last-flight-home got delayed and delayed. Our son dropped us off at the airport with an emphatic, Call if they cancel, okay?

Thankfully they didn’t. We fell into bed at 1:11 a.m.



Raptor for Ronna
Friday August 20th 2021, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Wildlife

I posted yesterday before dinner, early for me.

About an hour later I got the news.

Ronna and her husband moved into town when Luke was a small child, and she was one of those people who is always looking out for everybody around her. Their family grew during the years they lived here and we hoped we would get to see their kids grow up.

But when the rent on their house hit close to four times our mortgage a few years ago, her husband took a job in Fresno and they moved to where they could buy their own house for the first time.

Eventually, he changed jobs again and they moved back. Sort of. Over near the beach about an hour away, and I wanted to figure out how to get together and catch up and see her kids bigger and all that–but for the pandemic.

Meantime, she’d taken up running.

Last I heard she was training for the big one, the Boston Marathon.

Two days ago, Luke was not just getting taller in pictures on Facebook, she was driving him to Utah for college; her folks live near there and she was going to get a visit in with them while getting him settled in for his freshman year.

Thirty minutes from arrival they were hit head-on by a drunk driver and rear-ended. By the injuries, it looks like she swerved hard to avoid the drunk, sparing Luke most of it and taking the brunt herself; he broke his shoulder. But they both lived. I have no idea about the drunk.

She has a long, long road ahead of her and the surgeries to try to save her leg have begun.

There are the covid restrictions on visitors.

Her brother works in the trauma hospital she was taken to, as do other people she knows.

Her sister-in-law’s brother was the first cop to arrive at the scene.

There is so much love surrounding her and her son right now, and someday when she comes home, man, we are going to celebrate!

I had wondered who I had bought this blank card for last year and why but in the moment I needed it it was perfect.

And then today, while thinking about Ronna and all she and her family are having to go through, and if anybody could handle it it would be her, but man–

–I happened to look up.

There was a Cooper’s hawk on the fence.

The nearest two tall trees they nested in are gone now and with an outbreak they’ve asked people not to keep their birdfeeders up. I hadn’t seen a Cooper’s but once in a quick pass-through in a year–but there it was, perched on the fence, then walking down it half the length of the yard, turning, pacing back, the late sun shining brilliantly against its long yellow legs.

When life is at its hardest and most intense, somehow, that’s when they come.

It stopped looking around for small birds and faced the sun, giving me a good look that it was an adult Cooper’s, and just chilled a moment there.

It let me move a few feet to my chair and my phone without being the least bit bothered by it. We took each other in.

I just let love for it, for thanks for the moment, for love for nature, just completely wash over me and out from me towards it. So grateful.

It fluffed its feathers out like it was glad to be home as I snapped pictures like old times, and stayed with me until it was done.



Delta didn’t Dawn
Thursday August 19th 2021, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Life

I raised an eyebrow as she walked in to the post office across and just ahead of me but it was to no effect. In that instant, in her reaction, it was clear she hadn’t simply forgotten hers.

By law right now you must wear a mask indoors in public places in this county.

She was having some issue with whatever she was trying to send, and so she spent a fair amount of time with the clerk explaining it to her, then going over to the side to fill out whatever, coming back to her, and back to over there, and was finally ready to come back again to that clerk.

Who was a very petite older Asian woman, very sweet, very soft-spoken, very smiling, trying hard to help the customer.

And in no position, neither culturally nor job-wise, newly working the front there, to ruffle feathers with her.

Yeah well I am. I got done, turned to that not-a-minority woman from about ten feet away and gave it my deaf-woman best. I was not shouting but I wanted everybody in that post office to hear me and I think it fair to say they did.

My tone was one of someone who’s very angry but trying to keep it under control. People stuck in their online echo chambers are not going to change till they get pushback from the real world holding them accountable for their actions–and I wanted to stand up for that poor clerk who couldn’t stand up for herself.

I wanted to say something the woman could not push back against nor punish anyone else for.

“I nearly *died* of covid and people who don’t wear masks have *no* idea!” I said, looking her straight in the eye. And thinking, Don’t you DARE do that to these good people here!

And turned and was gone.

And then I had to get over being angry because if I didn’t pray for her, and mean it, then I was on some level just as guilty as her: I know better.



Life above stuff
Wednesday August 18th 2021, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life

Yellow shadows from the windows, yellowed outside. So strange and by now so familiar. Reports that the fire near South Tahoe had burst ten-fold overnight.

I knew how lucky we have it–in places closer to the flames it’s all orange. All we have to deal with is the breathing.

My dyer friend Lisa Souza and her husband had had a pre-planned go bag ready by the door and today they were out of there. I try to imagine, if I had to put my whole life into our little car, what would I take? I can’t fathom it. But they had family they could go to and that is no small comfort.

I met her years ago with her yarns on display and her wheel steadily, peacefully whir whirring away inside a fairy ring of redwoods at Kings Mountain Art Fair and I knew I wanted to learn how to do that, too, and did.

She told me later, her colorway–I want to say Sky Drama? The colors of radiant blue sky and brightest sunrise–was a new thing and not her usual and she wasn’t sure her customers would like it until I showed up, exclaimed in delight, and made a beeline right for it and happily took it home. Well then.

So she dyed up more and it sold very well.

When her husband retired, they sold their house in the Bay Area and moved into the foothills where they had a small cottage built next to the house where they could take care of her mother. When her mother passed, Lisa’s dye work and shop moved in there.

I can only hold my breath and hope it’s all still in place when they come home. And that they can. And that so many others can.

Update: they’ve just arrested a woman they believe to have been the arsonist.



Turning the Page
Monday August 16th 2021, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Garden,Life

We got our first single Page orange (background story in link) last year.

After a freeze months ago it dropped a lot of leaves and I thought that at long last it was giving up the ghost. But nope, somehow it has sixteen little green reminders that Christmas is coming. It may drop some, it may not, but this is by far the most productive it’s ever been. I wanted to show it to my Mom, given all the memories attached to that variety, so here it is.

Meantime, a listing. Your own castle! Ramparts! Cathedral ceilings!

Looking at the guy in that costume trying very very hard to go viral, I remembered a friend in high school who carefully constructed a coat of armor. Steve had everybody he knew save the tear-off tabs from their cans of soda, back when those were constructed that way, and he sewed and wove them together, curl side outwards. It was quite impressive and memory says it took him over a year to do.

I wish I could put Steve’s up against this guy’s standard Disney version to see how they compare.

Um.

Dude. The bed? Like you can peel yourself out of that thing before any woman on the planet has walked away laughing herself breathless?

I’ve never before seen a listing demonstrating that the shower actually works. He looks a little rusty at this.

It gushes about how many tens of thousands of bricks were laid to make that weird weird house that please don’t notice doesn’t have heat. (Then how do you even get an occupancy permit?) But! A few rooms have wall-unit AC! Pass the ogre ravioli, willya?

All I could think was, but don’t they know they have volcanoes nearby and that bricks crumble in earthquakes?



Try a little harder, sir
Sunday August 15th 2021, 10:34 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Sitting in the otherwise-empty choir seats up on the stand and staring down into his phone, since he’d done this the last time he’d visited and I knew what we were in for, he didn’t see me as I quietly snapped his picture before church started. His mask was covering his lips.

He knows our ward’s bishop is a virology and immunology researcher at Stanford, and if he somehow didn’t know that, one of the speakers during the meeting mentioned that very thing in gratitude that we have someone right here who’s always been glad to answer any question anybody asks about covid or the vaccines. Which he’d helped study.

The man surely had gotten the same email notification that the rest of us did.

He knew that the First Presidency of the Church, the stake president whom he answers to, the bishop, the state of California, and the county health department had all said that masks are to be worn indoors in the face of Delta.

Okay, so he was wearing one this time, just not how they meant, and the expression on his face was, Yawannamakesomethingofit? He looked like a defiant teenager. This was not a good look.

He made me live my religion right there in my seat, trying to be understanding and forgiving–but that doesn’t mean you let someone continue doing something wrong without calling them on it in the kindest way you can. Except that I didn’t want to go anywhere nearer his germs.

We always sit at the front so I can lipread and we’d arrived before he had so there we were right there, close enough as it was.

He caught my eye looking steadily up at his, as one does when waiting for a teenager to come to their senses, and turned away, his face softened to a sadness. Mask still down.

I decided to take that as progress.

When it was his time to speak, he quickly pulled it up properly before walking forward to where the bishop could see his face.

And pulled it back down once he was a few rows behind him again.

It’s like he had to keep face, literally, to the leaders–but not the rest of us.

I quietly sent that picture to the bishop after we got home, then deleted it from my phone. It came with a note saying, With my deafness I may not always get what you’re saying–but nobody can hide from me how they feel about it. (Basically, that’s one of the perks that makes it as close to worth it as anything will ever get.) And that was not a happy man.

Since this was not the first time, either, I said, please let me know in advance if at all possible when he’s going to come so that I can stay home that day. Yay Zoom.

So in case anyone’s curious what the official stance of the Mormon Church is: here is the email that was sent out to all this week. Note that the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a retired heart surgeon. Who wore a face mask for long hours throughout his career because that’s just what you do for those you’re caring for.

And I quote:

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We find ourselves fighting a war against the ravages of COVID-19 and its variants, an unrelenting pandemic. We want to do all we can to limit the spread of these viruses. We know that protection from the diseases they cause can only be achieved by immunizing a very high percentage of the population.

To limit exposure to these viruses, we urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated. Available vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective.
We can win this war if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders. Please know of our sincere love and great concern for all of God’s children.
The First Presidency
Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
Henry B. Eyring


The house that turned into a prune
Saturday August 14th 2021, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Life

There is a single-family home in Silicon Valley that’s actually under a million. It was surely a part of the area’s plum and apricot orchard past. No heat, no air conditioning, apparently no sewer nor septic nor running water, the front steps, porch, and the roof hanging over them are actively caving in, and they do not show you the inside.

Rustic.

The listing says its city says it’s historical. I think that ‘built in 1998’ is a deliberate typo to try to avoid attention and having it become officially registered as such, because it’s not on the city’s formal list yet and I’m sure the sellers and presumably future buyers are quite happy to keep it that way. This house was built by hand, board by board, it was lived in, it was loved, and my dad’s friend’s stepdad painted such things in his day. But in its third century it is emphatically a tear down. Ash wood to ashes, dusting to dust.

That stepdad was William Henry Clapp, who did Impressionist paintings in Paris with Claude Monet and then came home to Oakland to continue his work.

Some of the fruit trees showing in Street View appear to have been ripped out since, and that’s a shame, because that was the one good thing about the property.

But man. 863 feet. A 7649′ lot that backs up to the busiest commercial thoroughfare in the city. $749k.

I can imagine the photographer not quite daring to walk inside nor putting his weight on those boards.

I still want to know how it looked like to live in it, back in the day. What did the cabinets look like? The stove? Whether the oven was like Great Aunt Edna’s on Richard’s side, whom we visited in Idaho as newlyweds, who still had her mother’s big iron wood-burning range from when the railroad came through and totally made their pioneer town. Her family had water rights so the train tracks were brought their way.

She would reach her hand inside the oven to tell if it was the right temp for baking the bread yet. She crowed to us that when there was a power failure, all her neighbors knew they could still cook and bake over at her house. And did. She teased them for going all fancy and putting in those electrical ones that did all the work, even measuring the heat (which she could do as well as any machine known to kitchens) but which don’t work when you need warmth the most against a cold winter’s day.

Somebody’s Aunt Edna, by whatever name, lived in this little house, once.

Where it did not snow.

But the railroad was near enough to ship their dried fruit out into the world beyond.



Sequoias
Wednesday August 11th 2021, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

This looks really cool. Let’s all go climb a redwood!

This is also looks like a nope nope nope nope nope. Note those protective horizontal lines: they don’t go down to each step, rather, they’re assuming you don’t stumble, slip, and fall through those large gaps.

A friend of mine grew up in rural Humboldt County among the redwoods, and–stop me if you’ve heard this one before.



Do the right thing
Monday August 09th 2021, 10:11 pm
Filed under: History,Life

Man, they’re not messing around. Finally.

Sutter Health sent out an email: all their healthcare employees must be vaccinated by the end of September.

Meaning, since it takes a month to become fully vaccinated with the more effective two-shot types, knock it off and get started now, and if you don’t, well, the state has decided the same thing, too, so you won’t find any another healthcare job in California unless you do right by your patients. Just do it.

And: all hospital visitors/people helping patients must show proof of vaccination to enter any of their hospitals or have had a negative test within the previous 72 hours, with documentation in hand. They specifically say they do not do the rapid test. And their clinics have outpatient surgery centers and are legally hospitals.

There may be limited exceptions but you’d better have a really really good reason and you will not bluff your way past. If your partner is having a baby and you haven’t been vaxxed or tested? Sorry, Dad, you’re not coming in the doors, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like having a swab scrape the inside of your head repeatedly–remember, babies sometimes come late. Or early. They specifically call out expectant parents and tell them what the deal is. You won’t see your wife and baby till they get checked out of the hospital if you haven’t done due diligence to prepare for their safety and well-being, not to mention the hospital staff’s.

About time. Overdue, but at long last they’re making the irresponsible more responsible for their choices.



Someone put heart and soul into that one
Thursday August 05th 2021, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Life

This house. Absolutely gorgeous. All that woodwork. The curving swirls in the granite at the fireplace! The details in the wooden staircase! The interior-courtyard greenhouse just waiting for a mango tree! I only saw it because my cousin in Arizona pointed it out and said she would move there in a heartbeat.

She’d have to arm wrestle me for it.

Okay, so there’s the obligatory ’50’s pink bathroom. I say it’s earned its quirk. Besides, Heidi says she’s already lived in an older home that had one, so as long as we’re daydreaming I’m claiming dibs.

But looking at the map, we live in the only area in the state with a statistically zero percent chance of a wildfire, and with a friend waiting by the minute for an evacuation order from the Bootleg fire, that is no small thing. Gridley is near Chico and Chico is where the evacuees headed to from the Paradise fire.

We would for sure have room to take a bunch of them in there, though.

(Edited to add: and the library is across the street and down one, there’s a grocery store next to that, and the local Mormon Church is across the street at the end of the block with another grocery store in an easy walk from there.)



Kindness is everything
Wednesday August 04th 2021, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Lupus

Got the state auto fee bill in June, paid it pronto, but it came with the every-other-year requirement that the car be smog-checked.

It’s a freaking Prius, guys. It’s a ULEV (ultra low emissions vehicle), it’s not… Okay, arguing with them in my head, now c’mon, has that ever worked out yet? Alright then.

It’s also still a pandemic, and I knew my husband couldn’t take the time off work and I knew it meant I would be sitting outside for far longer than I ever, ever do, especially in summertime. I was just mentioning to the cardiologist yesterday about going completely blind on the left for two weeks after five or ten minutes of June sun exposure years ago.

So I put it off till I couldn’t anymore.

At least the place has a–what do you call a drive-through metal pavilion the size of a small school bus? You’d park under it to keep the snow off your car in, say, Wisconsin. You for sure don’t see a whole lot of those around here, but this place had one.

It was up against the building and there were four distanced chairs and a bench set up under it. Three people were already waiting, but my only other option was going to be somewhere with no roof whatsoever. The sign said “Be seated and an attendant will be with you shortly,” so, okay then.

There was only one guy. And he was not coming shortly nor was he attending to anyone.

About 45 minutes later he did finally finish one guy’s car, then two more, and at that point I was next and two more had joined the wait.

At which point I was the only one wearing a mask.

The worker did walk past us a few times because the door to the office was behind us.

He avoided eye contact. He avoided conversation. He was covered in tattoos, all but his face. And to say he was not happy was an understatement–one of those times coming out of that office he looked like someone you’d be afraid would suddenly pull out a gun, he was that angry. At what, I have no idea.

But I do know the two who came after me had struck up a conversation about cars and the one guy was making roll-his-eyes comments about the wait. This was after he’d had some frustration about not being sure if he should comply with the sign, go to the bay and announce his presence, just wait, or what, while the new arrival had assumed he knew when he didn’t either.

I figured, you come to a place that doesn’t do appointments and you take what you get and you plan on that. You read the sign and sit like it says. RTFM, guys. And yes this place used to have a TV blaring in the office for your wait but, covid.

All five of the others looked at my MadTosh knitting (thank you Our Local Yarn Shop in Olympia, WA) during their waits like, oh if only…

My heart went out to the guy trying to take care of everything with no help and people kibitzing as if he couldn’t hear over the traffic. It’s not that they were being terrible or mean, it’s that the previous set had done a bit of that too and it can’t be fun to have to listen to that all. day. long. while you’re working hard, alone. It didn’t help that his dog was there with him (it was apparently in the room behind the office) and the dog was barking almost nonstop while he periodically tried to quiet it while the machinery did its thing. Sometimes he even succeeded.

The grandmother in me totally kicked in. I wanted to give the poor guy a break, so I made a point of looking up and noticing him with my eyes, smiling a bit when it felt right, simply acknowledging his humanity every time he went past (which was only a few times.) I had no idea if he even saw that.

When it was my car’s turn about 80 minutes in, I apologized about the deafness and he had no idea about facing the person so they can lipread (no, no mask) and he didn’t but we muddled on through.

But here’s the thing: when he handed me my paperwork and car key a half hour later there was this moment of

I’ve been sitting here staring at the monitor

I don’t know how to describe it

like he was acknowledging my humanity back and trying to figure out how to say thank you but there were no words so he was just silently glad for having been offered a bit of an emotional break in his day. Something had eased.

And I have no doubt he did better at dealing with his other customers after that because he’d felt that and felt seen in that moment.

To my surprise, so did I.



Heart to heart talk
Tuesday August 03rd 2021, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Life

Warning: medical stuff ahead.

Adverse reactions to the covid vaccines are required to be reported. That’s one of the side effects of its having emergency approval, and I’m guessing possibly a contributing factor to why they’re still provisional.

From what the cardiologist said today, mine clearly was. As it should be.

He came with the latest studies on why a booster shot might be needed, telling me that the Pfizer is 95% effective when it’s given, which is phenomenal for a vaccine, but for people who got it back in January, in the face of the variants that have emerged since, it’s now 39% effective. April means I’d be at 65% now, according to the ongoing testing coming out of Israel, which has been serious about studying this disease. (While I thought, that explains Lindsey Graham, who is both older and got his in December.) Note though that the long-vaccinated are still almost universally protected from dying of covid or even serious illness so far.

The good doctor made it clear he wants the FDA to get to work and fully approve the shots now so that it can get on with approving doing those boosters, which for now one cannot get.

He was also clearly feeling me out to see if I would want one, and the answer was, autoimmune flare or no, emphatically yes. And yes it was a pretty serious flare in reaction to the second shot but it petered out fairly quickly. It was nothing like how extremely, life-threateningly sick I was in February 2020.

That was the answer he was clearly hoping for. He wouldn’t have to worry about me, then. (Note that there were two old women in his waiting room who were wearing their required masks under their noses. While waiting to see a doctor for their hearts. It’s a struggle.)

And then.

With all the hard work of moving heavy stuff for the termite guys, I confessed to episodes of sudden shortness of breath and almost passing out a few times and being forced to sit down fast. It resolved so quickly that he would have dismissed it as not being cardiac related.

And yet I do have a history of cardiac involvement. Virtually all lupus patients eventually do. I’m sure I freaked out the termite guys with one, just one cardiac cough while they were working–they had no way to know it was just a reflex.

He looked at the chart: precisely ten years since the last echocardiogram and stress test. Time to do it again, just to be sure.

I said, what if I’m fine and it’s a waste of time because it shows nothing?

He looked at me and didn’t quite laugh out loud and said, Then we’ll be glad!

Well okay then.