Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Everything Update

Dear Readers,

Much has transpired since last we spoke. Rather than try to string together time and sanity to do individual topic updates, I thought it would be more efficient to throw it all in a blender and see what oozes out of the mix.


After an initial flurry of optimism generated by actual business coming in the door, my LLC has been conspicuously quiet for the last 3 months or so. Part of that is the seasonal nature of the business. Part is probably not enough solid business contacts to support a growing business. I’ve got a lot of people who say they want to send me business, but the grand total of those who have actually come through and sent me work can be counted on one hand.

So, in order to keep the family fed and the lights on, I took a temporary job about three months ago while continuing the “all options on the table” job search and business growth plan. The pay is not great, but it beats unemployment “benefits”. On the plus side, the company I am temping for has wanted to hire me since the third day I was in the office. Initially, I demurred since we were just getting to know each other, and I had other irons in the fire. Now, I’m just waiting for them to put a bona fide offer in writing. They didn’t choke when I threw out a salary requirements number. We shall see what, if anything, develops there. 

I fly out to FL in a few weeks for an in person interview with a company based there. I’d say it’s encouraging to have a company willing to pay for a flight, hotel and car rental to check my teeth, but I’ve been in that position before. There’s no guarantee that it will mean an offer. If there is an offer forthcoming, it will likely come down to the money (since a major relocation would be involved).

There are several other positions I am pursuing one of which is particularly interesting to me. It would be a work from home position which has a lot of appeal since we intend to homeschool the wonder midget.

Then there was the recruiter who called today about a position I interviewed for a few years ago that is open again. I suppose it’s too much to hope that that company will see the error of their ways and shower me in money.

I’m not giving up on the LLC. If the floodgates open on that front, I’ll be ecstatic. If not, I can’t afford to sit on my thumbs and not do anything.


M&M, the wonder midget and cutest not so little girl in the world, continues to grow, dazzle and amaze. She is on the downhill side of 5 and a half going on 25. She weighs in at a well-proportioned and lean 52 pounds and measures just a hair or two short of 4 feet tall. All we did was blink, and…BAM!!!...suddenly it’s getting difficult to hold her. I don’t turn down her frequent requests to be carried or held unless I absolutely have to since it won’t be long before it’s physically impossible for me to do so.

I predict she will be the first female drafted into the NBA (not WNBA) as a point guard where she will have a successful 10 year career before retiring to have kids and cure cancer or solve the world’s energy problems. When she is 50, she will be elected first empress of the world for life at which time she will ban all partisan politics and biased media reporting (transgressions of the imperial edict will be punishable by banishment to the surface of Mars where you can live out your partisan fantasies…if you can breathe).

Seriously though, her birthday falls in November which puts her in an awkward scholastic position. Were we to enroll her in public school, we would not be able to officially enroll her until fall of 2018. Then, it would be the choice of kindergarten or kindergarten. Since The Queen has been unofficially homeschooling her since she was old enough to speak coherently, M&M is already well passed pre-K and most kindergarten level school work. Heck, she already reads at a second grade level. So, the plan is to start homeschooling her this fall as an official first grader (I think) and adjust course work as necessary. We will take care of socialization through homeschool coops and play groups with kids of varying age groups. Once she is older, we will investigate having her attend extracurricular activities such as band and sports in the public school system depending on her interest.

Here lately, M&M has been demonstrating behavior well above her age level. She is a very serving and polite young lady who gets compliments everywhere she goes. When The Queen (or, more rarely, I) gets sick, she is right there to help take care of what needs to be done including fetching water, reading stories, hugs, etc. I’d take credit, but it’s all The Queen’s doing.


Poison ivy is a right evil bitch. It’s even worse when you are a highly sensitive red head that was unaware that the pesky vines you were pulling and cutting off the fence were, in fact, poison ivy. Two days and a couple of hot showers later, The Queen was covered head to toe in misery inducing rash. That was about 3 weeks ago. At its worst, the rash covered about 75 to 80 % of The Queen’s body. Her eyes almost swelled shut early on. Poor thing looked like she’d been beat up by Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, due to The Queen’s other health issues, she is unable to take the only known medical treatment which is either oral prednisone or intramuscular injection of same. We’ve tried pretty much everything that can be had over the counter. The rash has finally started receding. The worst areas remaining are her hands and forearms. I am hopeful that another week or two will see her right as rain.

In other news, we have a new mantra in the house: All Ivy is EVIL!

Avoidance and paying others to deal with any future ivy disposal needs will be the primary means of defense.



Here about two months ago, The Queen Mum (Oma) and her consort (Opa) relocated from the  outer realms to cohabitate with us here at Castle Erickson. The genesis of this move requires a little backstory.

Oma has been suffering with early onset Alzheimer’s for several years now. Her condition is not as bad as some we have known, but it does have its challenges. She recognizes us in the sense that she knows we belong there in the house, but she does not know our names or relation to her. We don’t think she remembers her own name, but it’s hard to tell sometimes. Her short term memory tops out at a couple of minutes. Overall, her health is excellent, and she is fully ambulatory and able to eat. She is, however, starting to lose her grasp on basic hygiene and other skills, and she has a bad habit of stashing food in odd places (only to be rediscovered once it is fully rotten). She is also exhibiting “Sundowner’s Syndrome” which means she gets very confused and active, almost manic, when the sun goes down. It’s apparently common with Alzheimer’s patients. Fortunately, so far, she has been a very gentle and benign patient with no major outbursts or aggressive tendencies. Hopefully that will continue. Given her overall health, we expect her to live another 20 years barring unforeseen illness.

Opa, Oma’s husband of 50+ years, had been caring for Oma on his own in addition to dealing with his own health issues for the last couple of years pretty much non-stop with the exception of our semi-regular weekend visits. Opa and Oma are within a few months of each other age wise; however, their physical conditions could not be more different. Opa’s warranty expired a long time ago, but his condition has been getting progressively worse in the last 5 years. Over the last 6 months or so, we had been noticing his energy levels declining to the point we were concerned. We are pretty sure he had a minor heart attack back in about March or so, but we could not convince him to see a doctor about it. So, that remains a guess. We finally prevailed upon him to come to our house “for a visit” with Oma to rest and let us give him a break from having to do it all for the both of them. So, in early June, they packed a week’s worth of clothes and came to our house.

As you would expect, a little love, genuine concern and regular meals goes a long way to keeping people happy, healthy and wise. Over the next couple of weeks, Opa’s desire to go home went from “maybe in a few days” to “maybe we’ll stay with you all a while longer” to “what do we need to do to move in?” We moved heaven and earth (in some cases, literally) and had their house cleaned out in short order (with lots of help from The Queen’s brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews). There is a renter lined up to rent their house for the next 6 months following which the plan is to sell it. So, if you want a killer deal on a recently remodeled (professionally) manufactured home (double wide, 2 bed 2 bath) located in Granbury, TX, drop us a line. We’ll work out a deal. Land not included (since my brother in law owns the dirt).


MS…TD is living somewhat of a parallel life to mine…albeit in mirror image. She, her esposo – The Jack of All Trades, and Niece I Do It, recently moved in with MS…TD’s father in law who is getting on up there in age as the saying goes. I, being the wonderful brother that I am, provided some assistance in the moving process. While it wasn’t the worst move I’ve ever been involved in, it was definitely in the running for a top 3 finish.

The winner and holder of the life time achievement award for bad moves was Number One Follower’s practice wife. There are two infamously memorable and epically bad moves with her fingerprints all over them. The first time was when we helped her move out of her apartment at midnight (which I found later was because she was skipping out on rent with no forwarding address)…the cockroaches were less than thrilled when we woke them up by lifting their couch (yes, THEIR couch…dozens of them). And let’s not mention the dryer lint caked on the laundry closet wall. I’m surprised the whole complex didn’t burn down. The second one will not be discussed…I’m pretty sure I came close to witnessing a murder that day (and I would have been only too glad to aid and abet the disposal of the body in the process).

But,  I digress.

In other news, MS…TD is now a genuine published author. If you are into sorta kinda romance/fantasy/smut novels, you can get your fill here , here and here. I am not currently an Amazon affiliate. So, I don’t make a dime off the referral, but MS…TD will be grateful for your support. I provided a decent amount of editing and beta reader input as well as some technical consulting on her debut novel. I was asked to beta read the second novel and got a chapter or two into it before I had other commitments get in the way. Not being a connoisseur of the genre, I can’t say if they are good, bad or ugly.

I will say that MS…TD utterly ignored my advice to change the name of her main character in her debut novel. Somewhere, I have a copy of the manuscript with the name changed to Horace. I like that only slightly better. Beau. She seriously named the lead male in a semi-romantic novel with fantasy elements…BEAU!!! Pardon me while I puke. In the most loving way possible for a human being to hurl, of course. Mephistopheles would have been better. Elmer Fudd would have been better. Sodom Wanna Gonorrhea would have been better. But, no…Beau it is. Shake my head.


My father, who will henceforth be known as Reporter #6 (he had an actual, minor, credited role in Mississippi Burning), has also put his English degree to use and published a couple of novels. I’ve read a version of the first one. I have a pre-publication copy of the second one somewhere that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. Throw a few shekels at the old man if you’re of a mind to. He tells a decent story even if it’s hard to pin down a genre.


Last fall, Twig decided to uproot and move to Georgia to continue her college education in nursing school. Apropos of nothing, her high school sweetheart, is also stationed at Fort Bragg as an Army Ranger in training. I suppose I will need to give him a blog name now that he is family.


Yes, a regression is in order. Prior to Twig leaving on the midnight train to Georgia, our budding Army Ranger, henceforth to be known as Gearhead (for his true passion is cars), asked my brother in law, Jack of All Trades, for his blessing to take Twig’s hand in marriage. JOAT’s response was something along the lines of “not yet” which caused a bit of drama. Twig and Gearhead proceeded to make plans for a December wedding despite the drama. Unfortunately, the vagaries of Army life made definitive planning impossible at best. So, the young couple decided to “elope” and get married over Labor Day weekend. Their plan included a vaguely defined idea to hold a reception when time and schedules allowed. Now, for those of you who don’t remember your recent weather news, Labor Day Weekend and Georgia equals landfall for Tropical Storm Hermine. Twig and Gearhead were supposed to meet the chaplain at a Starbucks to get hitched. Well, the Starbucks closed so that the baristas could head for the hills. Not to be deterred, our young lovers got married in the cab of the chaplain’s pickup in the Starbucks parking lot while the storm raged around them.

They seem happy from what I’ve heard, and it’ll be a great story for the grandkids. Word is they plan to return to Texas when Gearhead departs the military sometime in 2019.


I Do It continues her edumication in the fine art of animation in which she hopes to make a career. She is a very talented artist, but I have no idea what the job prospects are for a college graduate with an art degree in animation.


Numbnutt, the ½ dog, and Taco, the wonder bunny, have been joined by Tinkle Splat The Wonder Cat (on the right) and Sunny (on the left whom I call Ginger Snap).

The Queen named the dog because, “He acts like a dork.” M&M named the rest of the menagerie. We weren’t entirely sure about Sunny’s gender when he first came here, but he seems to have overcome any lingering doubts about his gender by demonstrating said sexuality without concern for gender or species (much to Tinkle’s perpetual dismay).

Numbnutt is about to turn 12, and he’s slowing down a bit. We almost lost him last fall to an acute case of aggressive gastroenteritis. He recovered, but you can tell he is getting up there in age. He’s slowed down a bit, but he’s still a very loyal and sweet dog.

Taco is a recently widowered bunny after his paramour, Sky, departed for the great rabbit hole in the sky. So far, I have been successful in rejecting any attempts to play matchmaker for the poor, lonely and extremely virile bunny.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print for now. Further updates as events warrant.


  1. Good to know you are all doing ok. Was wondering as posts were skimpy.
    Re: Oma: take her to the doctor for a work-up. Sometimes a low B12 level can look like mild Dementia, although if you have sundowner's going on... the other thing to look into would be some form of Homecare. Some Hospices are taking on folks with dementia, and the respite/help for you and the Queen as caregivers can be huge. Medicare should cover most of the expenses, although, as you are an insurance guy, you probably have a solid handle on that.
    Good luck on the job front. Sounds like you have a couple of good irons in the fire. It just takes time.

    1. Suz, in re: your suggestions about the Oma - I will pass along the information. Getting her to a doctor will be a challenge as we can only suggest and encourage. The Opa is loathe to seek medical attention short of imminent death (which is part of the reason he is in such a state). Getting him to take her for an evaluation would rate high on the miracle scale. I'm hopeful that the job situation will work out soon.

  2. Whew! I needed that update! I've gotten so far behind on reading (and posting) that I'm guilt ridden. I'm going to do a better job of reading my favorite blogs again - I feel like I miss out on so much when I neglect my reading list :)

    1. GunDiva, you're welcome. You have been a bit preoccupied of late. So, don't beat yourself up too much.


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