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11:49 a.m. - 2012-04-05
Estimates and Definites

Here I am typing my first Word document with the new computer. After 7 months with Word Pad I hope I remember how to deal with editing tools and such. Training a new Spellcheck to accept my creative spellings, exclamatory nonsense words, and storehouse of Yiddish New York-ese is going to be a pain in the patoot. And forget about the Grammar Check, I guarantee that after a week with me it'll have a nervous breakdown.

I can't believe it took 7 months for me to get a new tower. I'm trying to think of what we got in the meantime which was so important that replacing my machine had to wait over half a year but aside from Mick getting a new laptop I can't think of anything. Then again it's only been a month or two since we finally caught up with our tails and are managing to fit all the essentials into the budget. Okay, there's the non-essential cleaning service, but when I broke down the cost-per-use into a daily number and saw that having the cleaners come in once a month costs less than if I had a daily Starbucks habit I let go of any residual guilt. Everybody has their treats and vices. Some folk have a swank cup of coffee every day and I have two very efficient ladies come in once a month and give the first floor of my house a thorough going over. They even bring all their own supplies- soaps, waxes, paper towels, etc. Good deal.

Also a good deal, or deals in this case, were the estimates on having the soffits done and having the wooden part of the front stoop replaced (the bottom half is poured concrete). Both estimates came in a goodly bit lower than my frightened pre-guestimates. So much so that we're having the gutters replaced when the soffits are done. Not the downspouts, just the horizontal bits. They're dented and scraggly and grungy looking. Mick asked around and heard from a couple people at work who'd used the soffit guys on their houses and all reports came back good. Pleased as punch with the job they did- fast, professional, tidy and did solid work. The stair guys are an unknown. The builder himself is a nice guy but his partner (the one who does the measuring and draws up the estimates) is an asshole. He thinks he's amusing, but any man who disses his wife of 27 years by 'joking' that instead of asking "How was your day, dear?" when he gets home he asks, "Why aren't you dead yet?" is just a creep. How this came up at all was because his arrival to do the estimate coincided with Mick's return from work and when Mick and I greeted each other with smiles and kisses the estimate guy made faux gagging noises and smirked, "It's obvious you two haven't been married long, just wait until you've been together for 27 years." Then he segued into his 'joke'. He then went on to make several more 'jokes' at his wife's and kids' expense. Disgusting. Mick wanted to take a poke him but realized that slugging the stair guy probably wouldn't do our estimate much good. Now that we're up to speed with the measurements and will be dealing with the actual building crew from here on out we're relieved. I can't believe someone so hateful and obnoxious is the front man of a business which deals directly with the public. I'm guessing that's one of the reasons their prices are so good, it's a reward for putting up with that cretin.

Anyhoodle, back to breaking in my new machine. So far it's going okay. D-land and Word Press are being glitchy, and I still can't get Haloscan comments to work at all, this is especially annoying because I finally got my blog roll and favorites list back. Between not having effective anti-virus and losing all my friends' cyber addresses when I had to use Lappy I was thrilled to be back into my files from my old desktop and was looking forward to catching up and tendering many sincere apologies about my long silence. Now...fuh. I'm still hamstrung. At least for a little bit while this new machine and I duke it out. I will win, promise. Go me, I am far less terrified about this changeover than any of the previous ones. I'm not claiming any kind of computer proficiency, I think I'll always be kind of a technotard, but at least this time I haven't gone tharn and feel like curling up under my desk and weeping. It's more of a weary resignation that yeah, it's gonna take a while but I'll figure out all the doodads and protocols eventually.

One sad thing, my old keyboard isn't compatible. My magic keyboard, trusted friend and sturdy writing warrior. Survivor of soda and coffee spills, cigarette ash, and the occasional frustrated bang of a clenched fist while I churned out over 4 million words on it. I absolutely understood Andy Rooney's devotion to his ancient Underwood typewriter. Writing is a lonely business and your tools become more than a means of setting words down on paper (screen) they are allies. Being 'things' in no way diminishes their value or friendship. As ball players have a favorite bat, chefs a beloved knife, so too do writers have their dear ones and my old keyboard was mine. It was a pal. I'm already looking around for some kind of mounting brackets that will let me hang it on the wall here by my desk. There's a space above to my right between the bookcase and the window that'll do just fine. The keyboard can be there smiling down at me with its worn keys (no paint at all left on 'e' 't' and 'backspace') and can gently mock the new guy- reminding this sharp shiny newbie it has a long way to go before it's anything but a greenhorn. If computer keyboards can be Velveteen Rabbits then my old pal, that battered survivor of over a decade of hard use, has definitely become 'real'.

Heh. Here I am all up and running finally and I don't know how much work I'll actually be getting done over the next two weeks. Spring Break starts today for Wolf and tomorrow for Mick. They do leave me be, unlike the ex and Alex who could NOT be broken of barging in every 10 minutes demanding I answer such earth shattering questions like: "What's the number for Pizza Hut?" and "Where do we keep the milk?", but just having the guys in the house changes the mojo. I can't quite manage to sink into the word coma. One ear is always cocked against disaster. At the very least I'm forever having to be aware of their bodily functions. The bathroom's right outside my door and neither of them has figured out how to prepare anything but the most basic of foodstuffs. Bowels and bellies are always on my mind. To say nothing of Mick aka: Mr Busypants and his aggravated astonishment over how Wolf can spend that much time on his butt playing video games when there's chores to invent and microscopic untidiness to set right. Fortunately Mick has assigned himself the task of scraping and painting the garage wall which faces the road. It's not a matter of clean clothes outside, dirty underwear beneath where nobody sees it, the garage's other sides are a door that takes up one whole end and the other two walls are completely shrouded in gigantic lilac bushes. To get in there and try to paint those walls would be imposs. The scraping and painting will keep my needs-to-be-busy husband occupied pretty well and he'll indulge in an orgy of punishing bicycle rides too so the friction between Mick the Chore Meister and Wolf the Incredible Sloth Boy should be kept to a minimum. I hope.

Please understand I am not disrespecting my husband's hard work. Without him I don't know if this comfy happy life I lead now would have ever been possible. Mick's drive to get things done has paid out big time. We make a good team, he and I. His determination to accomplish stuff is good for me. After 25 years of futilely banging my head against the unbudging obstinacy of Aspies I'd given up. I'd accepted that nothing ever got finished and that half-assed and broken was a way of life. Mick's tenacity to do things and do them well is a tonic to my wearied soul. And I give him the necessary balance that tempers his anxious perfectionism. Mick can get too wrapped up in making something happen right now and gets frustrated and angry well beyond anything helpful to the cause. My Zen is the safe port where Mick can stand down and get off that sometimes too demanding treadmill of work and goals that must be met or Bad Things will happen. Mick's come to understand that Life is a process and I have gained the joyful relief that YES! I will have a working washing machine, a balanced checkbook, a car that doesn't overheat at a long stoplight. He gives me faith and confidence and allows me to want. I give him reassurance that it'll all come to the good in the end even if it's not a straight path getting there and that happiness is allowed even if all the T's aren't crossed and all the I's aren't dotted yet.

You know, even if we get another 40 years together I cannot imagine getting to a place where I ask Mick, "Why aren't you dead yet?"

Thank goodness! ~LA

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