The furnace got the permanent boot out of the house today. Long overdue, too. Last year, during the heat of July, it died on us and had to be revived, after 4 days in line with other people also sweating their asses off. Good to get it out of the way in May. Two guys are hammering and drilling downstairs.
The top of the line furnace also had a lot of proprietary equipment, meaning when the blower motor went out, it could not be replaced with a run-of-the-mill motor from the local parts store and a handy YouTube instructional video. Nope, it was Lennox or nothing, and that’ll be $1800, please. Oh, and the motherboard might be bad, too, that’s another $1100.
And that is how we got around to telling them to pull it all out and put in a Trane. $200 on a replacement blower motor you can find at any parts warehouse, if it fails after the 10-year warranty.
I got My Side of the Mountain from the library. Flipping anywhere, the first I read was... “I smoked fish and rabbit, dug wild onions by the pouchful...” I remember reading this when I lived in England. I walked out of the house with it, down to the big fields where the escapee from the nut hut chased us girls, and, seeing no major opportunities for interference from adults, cleared a plot of land and planted onions and flowers. That is where I would sneak off to when I needed to be alone.
One day, a group of boys from school cornered me and my friend there and dug up the rows of plants with their heels and one of the boys spat at me, in the face, and in my mouth.
It was pretty horrible.
I try to think of who that boy is now that he is a man. Does he remember doing it? And what about my friend, did she remember seeing it?
When I told my father, he marched me over to the boy’s house and knocked on the door angrily. A woman answered and flatly denied her son would ever do such a thing.
He brought me home and we did not discuss it further.
I saw the kid at school that following Monday. He was from a nicer part of town, lived in a posh house, wore the best clothes. He smirked at me as I passed him on the playground. I told him, “I know what you did and I have a long memory.” That wiped the stupid grin off his face.
Speaking of getting stuck in the past and needing to move on with the life currently being lived with every heartbeat, I got a planner and I began work on it today. After a couple of decades of electronic information only, it is strange to return to the page.
My coworker in NY turned me onto it, and I love it. I started outlining some 5-year goals and more up close, 1-year goals. I am going to use it as an accountability buddy, to keep me focused. I made the decision to not call my writing ‘work,’ because even if it one day moves over to being a source of income, I do not want to think of it as work. It harkens from the one ability I trust (“Oh Jo, how could you, Your one beauty!”) and I would not feel great about smudging it with the thought of it living with money pumping through its veins.
The back pages host a Dream List. I am going to make a vision board and when the vision changes, I’m going to update the board on a new page. A good friend of mine taught me about vision boards and after I stopped rolling my eyes at the thought of cutting and pasting (really pasting, like with a glue stick or my sidekick, tape), I thought about how worthwhile it is to visualize your goals. Outline who I see in my life, what I see myself doing with my time, referring back to and reflecting on it in times of uncertainty, when direction is unclear.
I pasted a piece of wisdom courtesy of Panda Express at the front. A book should be used, stickered, covered with experiences. I have this one little hard cover sketchbook I’ve been adding to for 10 years. I am not much of an artist, believe me, I have tried, and will continue to, but I like sketching things, with my left and right hands (because the quality is about the same) and I have found the memories follow the drawings and so that is a nice way to remember life, too. Give it a try. You only need a notepad and a pencil to get started. (and glue, and scissors, get thee to the visualization!)
In the last 10 months, I’ve read everything Armistead Maupin has written, both fiction and non-fiction and I’d like to add a post-script to my previous thoughts on the matter: his open relationship with his spouse has me shaking my head. He has woven it into most of his storylines, and I have gone as far as to tune into some of his social media to try to glean the current state-of-the-state.
One post from his husband Christopher went into great detail about cruising a guy at the Y for a hook up and the melee that ensued when the guy asked about his HIV status in a way that implied clean or unclean.
The shrapnel from the comments about cruising guys while being married from readers went right over his head, as one would expect from a male used to the privilege of barging his way through the world with an it’s-my-hair-I-don’t-care attitude. He made it clear, he’s in an open relationship, get over it, or move onto clipping the shrubs, but most definitely do not impose your moral judgment.
Have you ever met anyone in an open relationship who is enjoying it? Someone is getting screwed; not usually the one out doing the screwing.
But, I’m biased. I’ve been gaying it up since forever, and, whoa, some things are trapped way back there in the 1990’s, back when you could get into the only gay bar in town with no checks on IDs, when wearing a pride flag on your person could get you beat. When going to a Pride march meant you were going to get crap hurled at you and yelled at. Like crossing a gigantic picket line.
But, I’m burned out on the flashbacks. We need to move forward, stop trying to wow the world our audacity, going OTT (Over The Top) with We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used To It.
For example, I have had more than my fill of gay men in chaps proliferating in Pride parades, eating up the news media. A couple years ago, I wrecked an opportunity to write for a magazine after I met with the creative team and realized just how much of the content they would be devoting to drag queens.
This is not the gay world I’m living in. I am living in a world with everyone. I don’t care if people do drag or if I go to a drag show. I happen to feel news media is space better used to address more vexing matters whether related to being gay or not. Seek out people who need a voice, and with a little research, give it to them. It’s a big world out there, folks.
The creative team did not agree with me mainly because one of them was a big star in the drag queen world. A lotta star-spangled toes stepped on in that meeting, let me tell ya. “No cake for her.”
I think they were totally over reporting news and wanted something light and bright. There is a lot more to our gay world than that, point made and now we can slide past this topic and move on.
I’m trying to come to terms with the governance of my state in recent weeks. We have Brexited the Rights category entirely. (also a newsworthy story) I revisited The Plan to Move out of Missouri with my wife again and once again we wait.
One denial of rights leads to another and another and then a border wall and a ghetto and then trains to camps and... go skim yourself a copy of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. He details all the pathological lying tactics it takes to overpower and demonize a group of people in order to purge society of whatever will give those in power the most bang for their buck with the greater population, whatever the cost.
A history we will no doubt keep repeating.
Hot camping update, everything is still flooded and as a result many camping plans have been ditched in lieu of staycations. The Army Corps is releasing even more water our way from dams about to burst. It’s hot as hell, but I’m heading to Michigan for work tomorrow and then back again a short while later with the entire brood for a Little House next to the Lake family vacation, mother and father in law and cousins in tow. I’ll bring a rubber band to snap my wrist every time I think I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut. I’m gonna have a little blister. Note to self: learn to let mother-in-law out-mother me.