"You gonna get another job?"...

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Everyone tells you how having pets will reduce your stress and make you live longer. Clearly the Experts don't actually own pets. 11pm. Time for bed. So I go to turn off all the lights and tuck myself in. Of course this means The Dog wants to go Outside. So instead I go back to the computer and fuck off for another 20 minutes or so. I hear The Dog barking so I think she's ready to come In. No, she's off somewhere, barking at something. Meanwhile, the golden retriever the neighbor is babysitting is also Out and proceeds to bark at me. By the time I get all this untangled and manage to coax The Dog back In, The Cat is at the back door and I have to keep him from getting Out as we come In. I succeed, but of course he manages to bugger off 10-15' and then just stop right in my way and act shocked and offended when I step on his tail. Meanwhile, as I'm typing this to come down from all that stress, The Dog barks at...something. I have no fucking idea. Has she hoarded a rawhide that The Cat got too close to? Who fucking knows. The point is, they only way owning pets reduces your blood pressure is when you put a gun in your mouth and blow the back of your skull out, allowing the blood to all go somewhere instead of into the rage furnace that comes from constantly dealing with pet fuckery.
 

jack

The Legendary Troll Kingdom
I haven't owned a pet in a while now. It's actually a relief.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
The heatwave finally broke--but it is going out kicking and screaming and determined to crush my spirit. Yesterday was unexpectedly below 90 and 4 days next week are supposed to be below 90. Today is supposed to be below 90 as well, so I was planning to go outside actually enjoy doing some outdoor chores. Then I got back from the afternoon dog walk and it was currently 90 out of 89. Had some errands to run. Got back and it was up to 92. Humidity is low and it's actually fine to do stuff outside, but it's the principle: Fuck you, you fucking fucks. It's supposed to only get to 89 today. Why is it 5:45 in the afternoon and it's 92?!
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bleah. One of my projects is organizing the basement. Or more accurately, I've decided to turn part of the basement into a 20th century video rental store. I don't do streaming and since there are no video stores, I don't ever rent movies. I guess I could get a library card and get movies from the library, but it isn't the same--wandering around, looking at the boxes, picking one out and renting it, dropping it in the drop box. So it hit me I could keep one side of my basement for basement stuff and put up a divider and make the other half into a video store museum. And then if I want to watch a movie I can go down and pick one out. (That's part of the problem--I have movies I'd like to own, but I only have a finite amount of shelf space in the living room. A "video store" in the basement would solve that.)

But it is an overwhelming task. For various reasons, the side that I want to be the video store is the side I put all my existing shelves and cabinets etc on, so it's all got to go over to the other side. And I'll have to figure out how to fit it in with the stuff already piled against that wall. On top of that, when one of the guys renting shed space abandoned his car he left boxes and boxes of tools and stuff that I had to get out of the shed so I could clean it up. Some of it is probably worth keeping, so I've got to go through all that. Then there's the boxes and boxes of stuff that I decided to salvage from the last house I bought--stuff like file folders and camera tripods, DVD-VCR combo players, etc. And finally there's boxes and boxes of stuff that I used to renovate the place--cleaning supplies, power tools, paint supplies--you name it. So it's really just a miserable chore. Add to that that a storm came out of nowhere and is putting me into cocooning mode and that The Dog isn't bothered by many things, but when the shelter got her she had heartworm and apparently she spent 6 months in a crate in the basement of her foster home while she was recovering from heartworm, so she not only won't go in the basement, me being in the basement for extended periods is one of the few things that upsets her and makes her nervous.

Still...I've got at least 45 minutes before dinner and nothing else to do, so I guess I should get back down there a bit. How do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time.
 

Lanzman

No-one of consequence
Same problem I faced clearing out four U-Haul pods and getting the stuff into the apartment's attic, the garage, or now our shed. Just do it a bit at a time until it's done. It took us what, three years to finally clear the last pod? Something like that.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Bleah. Decisions, decisions...complicated by OCD tendencies. Basement cleaning was a lot more productive than I thought it would be, so I've got some positive momentum on that. But it's also nice enough today to work on my TARDIS so I was all set to do that (more on that later), but I realized I also have a partially mowed lawn that could use my attention. So now I've got to choose one for starters.

The TARDIS is around 12 years old. It's an outdoor TARDIS so the elements have wrought havoc on it. Multiple repairs and waterproofing efforts have occurred during that time. It's also been moved halfway across the country and then 3 miles down the road a few years later. None of that has done its structural integrity any favors. At first it sat on a plastic sheet footprint, initially on bare earth but later with a brick under each corner. After the big move it sat on a concrete parking space. This looked nice and seemed like a good idea but in reality it allowed water to pool at the base instead of being absorbed into the ground so all the wood rotted from the bottom. When I got to the latest location I thought I repaired the base and I moved it back onto grass. But apparently the existing rot carried over to the repairs. And the ground underneath settled at different rates (even with pavers under the corners), creating warping. So I'm going to have to somehow get the whole structure up in the air so I can construct a new base under it. I have a plan, but I'm sure it is going to involve a lot of sweating and cursing and has a good chance of failure.

But I've recovered from the afternoon patrol, so I guess I should get to work.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Decided to mow. Made a dent in what remained before it started to rain. After it got heavy enough to abandon mowing I decided to work on the TARDIS, but in the time it took to put away the mower it got heavy enough that it was pointless to try to do any outside work. So now I'm taking a quick break before heading down into the basement.

Oh. Big fun: I realized the boxes in the hall closet WILL fit in the kitchen cabinets. So I need to move those into the kitchen so I can move the boxes from the basement into the hall closet.
 
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Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Procrastination* anecdote: Now that I don't work nights and, indeed, my time is my own, I'm starting to settle into a fairly comfortable routine. Got hygiene, breakfast, news, etc, done in time to walk The Dog and still have an hour or so before lunch. So I decided to get back to work on the lawn. But we had some rain yesterday and so a few small branches were down. This spring I finally had time to burn a brush pile that had gotten bigger than my garage and grass is finally starting in where it was, so I'm loathe to start a new one until fall, so I gathered up all the branches, broke them down and burned them in the fire pit. Since I had a fire going and this had taken up a good chunk of my pre-lunch lawn mowing time, I decided to start lugging trash up from the basement organization project to throw in the trash cans. But once I got down there, I spotted this big rechargeable worklight one of my shed renters had left and remembered I'd meant to get it on the USB charger last night, so I decided to bang that out before tackling the trash. Also took up some cleaning supplies and other items I'd decided belonged upstairs. As I'm headed to the computer I'm trying to find the charging port on the light and am stopped. It has an old-school power cable like a laptop or some other electronics that charge with a transformer built into the plug. I head back down, thinking I'll see if I have one the right size in my old electronics box but then I get the bright idea to just search through the boxes of junk my shed renter left because the cord is probably in there.

Ultimately, I ate lunch a half hour late, didn't get any grass cut, didn't take out any trash, and didn't find the light's charging cord. Now I'm back from the afternoon dog patrol and gathering my strength to finally go tackle the lawn.

*OK, "procrastination" isn't the right word, "getting sidetracked."
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
And now, another chapter of the ass bleeding nightmare that is my life. The afternoon dog walk. I did not want to go on the afternoon dog walk. Heat index of 105. But The Dog wanted to go. So I filled up her water bottle and grabbed the umbrella for emergency shade and out we went. At first I had hope. She stuck to the shade along the edges of the yard and explored the yard at a leisurely pace. But eventually she headed for the gate. But at least she picked the level shady side of the creek and went all the way down to where there's a little hollow that she likes to lay in to cool off and drink water.

Then she crossed over to the sunny side for the way home.

And went up the hill and took off for the far side of the field, where she's had some luck catching groundhogs.

It's too fucking hot to run after her so I'm walking briskly and grumbling and determined to turn her for home when I catch up to her. She heads off up a side trail and by the time I catch up she's nowhere to be seen. There's about 4 different directions she could've gone, so I get out the dog whistle and start trying to call her with no luck. I spent 10-15 minutes stomping around the area in the heat, blowing the stupid whistle without results. At this point I decided my best option is to go home and get the car in case she headed out on the long patrol and see if I can spot her on the streets on the way back. Because it's dangerously hot, she's a black dog, and the water I brought for her isn't going to do her any good when it's with me and she isn't. Drove around all the likely roads. Got out and walked some fairly extended stretches that aren't car accessible and just resigned myself to going home. Of course she was waiting on the deck when I got home.

All's well that ends well and as we as she was, I wonder if she found more water to cool off in, but it's definitely stressful. I know how bad she is about crossing roads. Dogs are just crap about understanding moving cars. So once I got her in, I had to grab a shopping list and go get groceries. And then put away groceries and bring the laundry up from the basement. So yeah, I'm pretty tired and ornery right now.

And now she's off barking at something.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
So fucking tired. My failures, everyone else's... Adding on to losing The Dog yesterday, I got checks I ordered. I'd accidentally started the series one book of checks earlier than I needed and the bank was closed for Juneteenth (the day after I ordered the checks). There was no apparent way to fix the order myself on Deluxe's Website but I eventually figured out how to get past the useless automated system and someone fixed my order.

Or so I thought. Actually they just created a second order. So now instead of having 1 book of duplicate checks, I have 4 books of duplicate checks--1 book that overlaps the one that was in my desk drawer and 3 in the second order that overlap the last 3 books in the first order.

When I went to the supermarket they were out of pork chops. And tuna. It's like living in the Soviet Union. So I altered my shopping plans.

Awhile back I was preoccupied and drove too close to a trash can and knocked the housing loose on my passenger side mirror. Now I repair it and it comes back apart. And I repair it and it comes back apart. I'm...pretty soon I'm just going to have to admit defeat and shoot a sheet metal screw in to hold it in place.

Last night I forgot I let The Cat out (I'm pretty sure I let The Cat out last night--he's nowhere to be seen inside) and now he's missing and it's my fault. Pretty sure he'll turn up, but feeling bad for forgetting him.

But the kicker... Why do people stand you up for plans they make? I have a shit ton of bamboo that was piled in the driveway when I bought the place. It's stuck up in rafters of all my sheds. There's a yard on my walk that has a little 5'x5' bamboo accent on the fence and one day I happened to run into the person who lives there and ask her if she wanted more bamboo. She was thrilled. Well yesterday she texted me to ask if she could come get it today and I said fine. So she asked if between 9 and 10 would work. That's kind of inconvenient, as I'd likely be walking The Dog at that time but I just agreed and worked my schedule around it. So I ran around and got everything ready. Then I ate breakfast. Then I typed this. It is now 10:07. Can you guess if anyone showed up? Why do people do this?
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Just random musings while in a minor funk: I've either got summer allergies or a summer cold. Given that I actually felt better while outdoors, I'm going with a cold. Lately I've had good health enough that a relatively minor cold is making me really unhappy. Also, my wintertime belly refuses to go away. I realize part of that is getting older and refusing to adjust my diet any farther. Part of it is likely due to adding in some exercise--as I build muscle its weight replaces fat. Its bulk replaces the fat. But also my belly is fighting me. "WHY ARE YOU STARVING ME!?!? I'M BIG AND HAPPY!" The exercises aren't fun either. I decided I really can't do 6 days a week, so I planned to take Wednesday off in addition to Sunday, but I got busy yesterday and pretty soon it was evening and I was like "yeah, no, I'm not exercising right now." This cold may have something to do with that too. My body is like "nope, I don't care if you're trying to lose some weight, you need to get some rest." On top of it all is the heat. I'm a combination of cheap and believing your body needs to be acclimated to the weather so I keep the house fairly cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I have to go out and the heat saps my strength and having the house relatively warm makes it hard to recover from being out in the heat. On top of it all, it's been easy to drink too much some of the last few evenings so I need to get back on top of that again. Right now I'm going "there's nothing to do!" and looking at my big Things To Do list and going "I don't want to do any of those things!" Maybe I just need to take a day to veg out and relax.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Hallelujah. This afternoon The Dog puttered around on her walk and took 10 minutes to cover maybe 3 blocks, decided she'd had enough of the heat and headed home. I did exercise before lunch. After the walk I looked at indoor chores and projects I could work on. Well, after I farted around on the computer a bit. I should be working on writing a series of articles for the real estate investors' newsletter as well as e-mailing elected officials about real estate issues, but instead I got to work on organizing the big hall closet. That was mentally tiring enough that I'm here, taking a break.

As mentioned before, this house was added on to. My bedroom and the kitchen used to be the back of the house. When it was built it almost certainly had an outhouse because the bathroom is right behind the kitchen and, when I remodeled it, there was evidence that it was a little room that was tacked onto the house between the kitchen and my bedroom. Later they extended the house straight back enough to create a large...dining room? When they did this they just framed around the bathroom. Behind the bathroom are stairs to the basement. I don't know when they went in--there is the ghost of another set of stairs out of the basement in the corner of the house under the kitchen. In fact one of the kitchen base cabinets has a boxed out area to allow headroom for the stairway. When you open the door to the current stairway you're looking straight at the ghost of a back window to my bedroom that got drywalled over in the bedroom when they extended the house. This is a long way to go to say that this left say, a 4-5' wide space between the basement stairs and the outside wall on one side. So they turned it into a, say, 12' long hall closet. I eventually plan to panel the back wall of my bedroom so I can add a hidden door to this closet from my bedroom.

But that's all another story. The point is that I'm organizing the basement so I can clean it up and turn part of it into a 20th century Mom & Pop video rental store. A few weeks back I got the bright idea to bring some of the banker's boxes of files up out of the basement and stash them in the back of kitchen cabinets. I wondered why I hadn't done this when I moved in. Then I remembered it was because they were about 1/2" too wide to fit inside the cabinets. BUT! There ARE accordion files and other boxes in the hall closet that will fit in the kitchen cabinets. So I need to organized that closet and move as much stuff into unused space in the kitchen cabinets so I can move stuff up from the basement to put in the hall closet. And of course when you have a huge ass closet, it's very easy to just go "I'll chuck it in the hall closet until I decide where it goes" so there's a lot of just junk in there too. So organizing it is exactly as much fun as it sounds.

To make it even MORE fun, there's a stack of towels in there. I decided they should go in the linen closet in the bathroom. (SIDEBAR: The linen closet in the bathroom is a bit Dr. Who--it's bigger on the inside. Since it is a relatively small bathroom the only place for storage is above the toilet. But instead of the standard over the toilet cabinet, I bought a big base cabinet for a garage or laundry room, flipped it upside-down so the drawer is on the bottom, and cut a hole through the wall so half of it hangs out into the basement stairwell. So actually you see the ghost of the old bedroom window and the back of the linen closet.) The problem is, the linen closet is also a disorganized jumble. So I had to stop organizing the hall closet so that I can organize the basement and organize the linen closet so I can continue to organize the hall closet so I can organize the basement. So yeah, I needed a break. But it is coming along. Just a lot more slowly than I'd expected. There are shelves at the front end of the closet and I decided I should tackle tidying them up before moving into the long space above and below the coat rack. Well, I've got another 20-30 minutes, so I should probably get back to it.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
"He who hesitates is lost." He who does not hesitate is also probably lost, but maybe he got enough of a head start that he can make it.

I've invested in real estate in some capacity since the mid 1990s. By 2008 or so I'd been won over to the argument that real estate was the best path to financial independence and by 2010 I started looking for ways to invest in real estate. That's also the time I got a dog that eventually developed bad separation anxiety so career level jobs for someone with my skills and experience were difficult to commit to--if one could even find them.

By 2009 or so I also realized Portland--and Oregon--was doomed. But that was also the summer I spent weekends riding my motorcycle along the Columbia River Gorge and up into the hills and mountains along it so I resolved to hang in there and figure out a way to stay. But by 2016 it was inescapable that I needed to leave Portland. After reading some articles, doing some research, and creating a weighted spreadsheet I decided to move to Louisville Kentucky.

My first house in Louisville was twice the size of my Portland house, cost half as much, and was closer to the city. For a bit, I looked for another house to buy as my first rental, but the move and getting settled in had eaten up some of my money so I opted to take an entry-level part time job with one of the city's big employers. The hours just about worked and I got promoted to management pretty quickly but I got comfortable so I didn't spend as much time looking for promotions and a career path as I should've. Anyway, the hours I was already getting were about the limit of my dog's sanity.

Well, things changed--as they always do--and the job stopped being fun. With a new facility we all stopped being unique valued members of a close-knit team and became interchangeable cogs who were only recognized for anything when we screwed up. So it was time to leave. I also decided it was time to buy my first rental property. While I was working on this an old college friend roped me into working on a company split he was involved in. It was work from home, the pay was good, I hadn't found a house I liked at a price I was willing to pay, and it wasn't even a sure thing yet. I've always said that when you're unemployed and someone offers you a job out of the blue, you take it. So I did. And of course I wound up buying my first rental the same week I started the job.

I worked on the house when I could and when the contracting gig finally wrapped up I was able to finish renovating it. I can't complain because without the contracting money I probably would've run out of funds due to unforeseen expenses. But I got it finished and rented and took part time work with both the Census Bureau and one of the other big local employers. But by this point the property market was tightening up. I used to be able to fill a legal pad with promising properties that you could get for 25% below the asking price, on some days you were lucky if you could find 3. And of course there was the pandemic. In the end I found a house owned by an estate that they were trying to get rid of. It wasn't in great shape and wouldn't make a good rental, but I could fix it up and live there, so I did that and rented out my original Louisville home. Not long after that my dog and then my cat both died. My plan was to own 3 rentals but I was having no luck finding anything. My friend had another project--for even better money--so I took it. Hated every second of it but the money was good.

The census wrapped up and eventually the pandemic wound down. The project wrapped up and I got another dog and cat. Then my friend needed a babysitter for a week while recovering from hip replacement surgery so I took vacation, loaded up the dog and cat and spent a week in Wisconsin. While this was happening my employer decided to add a 3rd shift. Now a day is 24 hours long and a shift is 8 hours long, so the only way you can run 3 shifts on an assembly line is by having people work with no lunch break. Assembly line work is demanding--even 2 nights a week (I was reserve staffing for people who were sick or on vacation--they'd stick me wherever I was needed in the line) and I wasn't sure I could work 8 hours on one 10 and one 20 minute break, but I decided to give it a shot. But the first day I got back we got a letter that there would be mandatory overtime. Since they needed to train the new shift, they'd need people to work extra hours. I put in my notice and worked out my 2 weeks. I had 2 rentals and no debt so I thought I'd try retiring. It was *almost* possible but there was no margin for error or the unexpected. And with only 2 properties, if one missed rent or became vacant that would be catastrophic so I took a part time night stocking job with one of the big hardware chains. Part time entry level work sucks because your coworkers are the kind of people who do part time entry level work and it was frustrating, but I didn't want to get promoted. Oh, and just after finishing training I managed to find my last rental, so I had to try to get it remodeled while working a part time job.

Eventually I got it renovated and rented out (by this time I was using a property management company instead of dealing directly with renters). I planned to continue working until I rebuilt my cash reserve but of course they started seriously cutting back hours then. Isn't that the way it always works? I realized how much I hated the people I worked around and how much night work was screwing up my sleep schedule and decided to retire again. Of course then I got whacked with unexpectedly high taxes and the next month I got whacked with an unexpectedly high tax preparer bill and the month after that one of my renters was late with their rent so I'm finally just starting to get to where I thought I'd be 4 months ago.

I've mentioned all this before but I can never just tell a short story that gets right to the point. The point is, after I'd decided to move to Louisville but before I'd moved, unbeknownst to me, the Metro Council decided to create a mandatory Rental Registry. If you owned a house that you rented out, you needed to be in their database or risk punitive fines. Then, about the time one of my houses was coming vacant, Metro Council decided to pass legislation that you had to accept Section 8 tenants and felons at properties. I managed to place a tenant before the law went into effect and not much later state government invalidated it. But in the mean time Metro Council updated the Rental Registry so that you had to submit an affidavit that your properties all met local codes, pay an annual renewal fee, and allow random inspections of your properties. I somehow misunderstood this and thought that, since I got my last property registered before the law took effect, I'd been grandfathered in, but no. On top of that there's some kind of mandatory lead testing waiting in the wings and if that's what I understand it to be, it is a dealbreaker. I'll have to tell my tenants they need to move out so I can sell my rentals and either start over outside Jefferson County (which I'm getting too old for) or try to make do on what I've earned and maybe get a part time job again (which I decided I hate too much).

See here's the thing: If a house was built after 1978 there's a good chance that there's lead in it. Lead plumbing, lead based paint, whatever. Lead isn't really that big a deal. I've never lived in or owned a house built after 1978 and I'm fine. When you buy, sell, or rent a house, it has a disclosure and the steps a person can take to mitigate lead exposure. The buyer or renter is also free to do testing and not sign the deal if they don't want to. Generally, when I've bought houses, the Realtors tell me I don't want to know the results of any inspections or testing. Because if I do, then I have to disclose to future prospects it if the deal doesn't close. One day--one day fairly soon--I plan to sell my rentals and put my money back in the stock market, where there's a nice 7-10% a year with no work. But if I'm forced to test for lead, that creates a real risk for the value of my properties. It's the whole "ignorance is bliss" thing. If you tell someone the house they're buying probably has lead in it because it was built before 1978, that really doesn't bother them. But if you go and test for lead and find out you have lead, then you need to spend to mitigate it and it creates a read flag and excuse for offering less money for future buyers.

So if I'd moved back in 2009 or even 2007, when I was realizing Portland was fucked I could've been ahead of the game on this. Of course that's like the argument that if I'd stayed in the Marines I'd be collecting a nice retirement by now. I could have had both my legs blown off by a landmine or something. It's pointless to obsess over things you didn't do. I mean, unless you should be exercising and you're looking for an excuse to procrastinate.

***
On a completely unrelated note, it rained like a bastard last night so it was so miserably humid this morning that The Dog only wanted to patrol for 15 minutes. And while I was typing the above, it got pitch black and the next wave of rain is pounding down now. Also takes the energy out of me and makes me want to just lay around like a slug (the poor night's sleep didn't help either).
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Organizing a hall closet is a lot more tiring than you imagine. Not because it is physically hard work, but it is emotionally exhausting. That's where you stick all the stuff you really don't need anymore but are too attached to to throw out. You know you should just throw it out, but the memories are too strong. Oh, there's some crap you manage to get rid of but most of it is memories from different phases of your life or hopes and dreams that never quite panned out. Still, I got it done. Or at least done enough. I mean, now I've still got to go back in and stuff smaller boxes into the kitchen cabinets so I can put bigger boxes from the basement that won't fit in the cabinets in the closet, but I've gone through everything.

The basement is going to be grueling. The original packaging for the microwave that died 3 years ago, the printer--and its packaging--that had to be retired because it didn't work with Windows 7. Fun stuff like that. A whole basement full.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Made it to church today. Had an interesting thought. I'll spare you my entire Stargate/BSG theory of theology. I'm sure it's upthread at least a few times, but I've been thinking specifically about prayer lately. Since the 'ronapocalypse, the church stopped getting the monthly missal with the readings and Mass in it and have a big annual book. They also use a big computer monitor, which is good because the yearlong missal is fairly useless. But in the back it has several pages of prayers. Old traditional prayers like the Act of Contrition and the Apostle's Creed and assorted litanies; how to pray the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary. It got me thinking.

Interestingly, early 1970s Dr. Who likely also played a role. Specifically two 3rd Doctor serials: "The Daemons" and, to a lesser degree "Planet of the Spiders." Particularly in "The Daemons," an ancient race of horned aliens have been guiding and shaping humanity and The Master decides to use this to try to harness the power of the last Daemon to control the Earth. To do this he needs a coven to perform certain rites and rituals. The local white witch declares that this is magic and the Doctor retorts that it is merely science. She counters by asking if all the rituals are just so much window dressing and The Doctor explains that they are important to focus psionic energy. At this point they basically agree to disagree on whether it is magic or science. In "Planet of the Spiders," a group of...4? 5? A group uses a chanted Tibetan mantra that opens a gateway to a distant planet--again, religion that is indistinguishable from science. So I've been wondering if these old prayers that have sort of fallen into disuse are more important than they seem; if just praying your feelings from the heart, which seems more sincere on the surface, is actually LESS effective than reciting a specific incantation of words.

OK, that was still more recap than was probably necessary, but that's me. The point is, for a few years I really haven't seen a necessity of going to church. If you're Catholic, it's a pretty familiar routine and then you get the same couple dozen Bible readings on a set rotation; the Priest makes some kind of sermon on what it is about. But since Priests are human and therefore of a range of skill and intelligence, I suspect I often understand the Gospel readings better than the Priest. But then I realized I hadn't been considering the power of the gestalt--how a coven needs 13 people to work; how they needed 5 people in the other story for the ritual to work; prayer...groups? If you've got someone who is sick, you have everyone in the group pray for them. I don't know that there is any empirical evidence but they actually seem to have more of an effect than just happy thoughts or the prayers of 1 or 2 people. So I wonder if the act of having a congregation participate in the Mass has an important effect, much like saying specific prayers the way they are written.

Who knows? Again, if I had more time and money than I knew what to do with, I'd study theology. Not so I could become some kind of preacher but in an attempt to see how all the different religions and beliefs fit together and see if there is something in common behind them all.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
On a more mundane note, The Dog's afternoon death march is torture. Not a miserably hot day today, but still up around 90 with plenty of sun. And today she decided to do the full death march that she hasn't done in quite awhile. Since it wasn't deadly hot and she's mostly been picking a trail with lots of shade for the afternoon patrol, I didn't bring the umbrella. Mistake. Got it done uneventfully. She had the sense to wait for me when she'd get ahead so I didn't lose her again. But still... By the time I get home I need to drink water and have a quick rest. But since it's 82 degrees in the house, it's really hard to bounce back from a fairly punishing outdoor jaunt. Oh well, it sounds like she got off the rug I need to vacuum so I guess I'll tackle some chores. On the one hand, I'd like to not work Sundays but on the other hand I like to get the weekend chores done. I would've liked to go downtown for the afternoon patrol too, but the AC is out on the car and that's just too much of a drive to ask of The Dog.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
So my friend who drives me crazy but is probably my best friend wants me to work for him again on a data migration project. I said "no" because I know it will suck and every second of it will be torture, but it's a pile of money that would be a big push towards the finish line of The Plan. I've agreed to do shit I didn't want to do before because I needed the money. It's part of being a man. So I agreed to do it if he gets the money and decides he wants me. I really hope he doesn't get the money and doesn't want me but if it comes down to it, I can be miserable for a year for a wheelbarrow full of cash. I've done it before. I can do it one more time. When I'm a millionaire I can tell people I don't want their money, but right now I'm not a millionaire.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Touche. I'd forgotten Joseph Campbell.

Today has been a gut-check day. Again, nothing terrible, just an accumulation of annoyances and indignities. We're into the 2nd week of July and only 1 of my renters has paid. One of my HVAC filters is in a difficult to access crawlspace so every 3 months I go to that property and change it myself (the property manager's handyman claims he won't fit in the crawlspace--and anyway I'm cheap) so I drove around to check the other properties. One had a low spot next to the driveway where water would collect on the way to the storm sewer. I filled it in with dirt and sod and did some drainage work but I see it is back and worse than it was and I don't understand how that happened. The other one has a basketball hoop in the backyard, set in concrete. Or rather "had," because I drove past twice to confirm that for some reason it is now laying on the deck. This put me in a foul mood for the day, so during The Dog's afternoon patrol, every stupid thing I saw a stupid person doing set me on edge further (and it was such mundane stupidity I can't even remember any of it now, but at the time I was like "WHY ARE YOU DOING--you know what? Never mind. Carry on.") Then we got home from a walk that started at the day's high of 90--to find they'd stealth revised the day's high to 94, which is what it was during the walk.

Oh, and I got my loan statement which continues to annoy because I've been paying interest and a tiny amount of principal while I rebuild my emergency cash fund so money keeps going out but the debt never goes down--and every month there's a new emergency that pushes getting the fund caught up back another month. Bah. I've still got another week to get my rents, but I'm not optimistic. I can see myself trying to figure out how to make it through this month on 1/3 of my projected cash flow. I'm tempted to sell off some more stocks to pay down a chunk of the principal. I held onto more than I had to in case my plan went sideways and I needed some emergency funds. I'm starting to think I'd rather make a dent in this loan. I don't know how people have a mortgage hanging over their head their entire life. That would drive me bananas.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Read your Joseph Campbell. Power of Myth and that stuff. Explains it quite well.
...although I kind of suspect Campbell approaches it from a secular perspective; that myths are just a human method of explaining the world around them, not that there is actually something out there that has an intelligence and powers beyond our ability to understand that wants to influence human development. I could be wrong, but thinking back to some clips I saw...from a PBS series?...based on the book, I remember it being that way.
 
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