Sunday Stealing

1. What has been your favorite part of the year so far?
New Year’s Day. This is 2020 we’re talking about here. It has all been downhill after that. Well, except the song below and the others in the series. Bummer that there are only two left, this month and next month.

2. Have you started Christmas shopping?
Nope. I don’t do that. Experiences, not things, folks.

3. Do you like your handwriting?
After doing the morning pages for about a month, the only positive thing I can say about my handwriting is that if anyone ever does find my handwritten journals, they won’t be able to glean any secrets from them.

4. Song you could hear over and over and over again.

5. A favorite quote.
Work to live, not live to work.

6. Last dream you remember.
I was on a train and someone kept asking me what I weigh until finally I told them to stop being a snorf, at which time they turned into a creature akin to Q*bert, but made of lavender upholstery.

7. Most expensive object you want to buy right now.
Speaking of upholstery, a couch. I’m moving and my furniture is 20 years old and shot, especially the couches. Hoping to downgrade to just one, as opposed to a sofa and a loveseat, because as noted above, experiences, not things.

8. Describe your eldest family member.
Sociopathic enough to be in politics.

9. What has your weather been like?
It finally feels like fall here. Cool, rainy, and cozy.

10. Do you enjoy your job?
I like the work and I appreciate the mission of the organization I work for.

11. What is your favorite everyday item?
My Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. It’s nearly seven years old, but it’s a fabulous piece of technology for what I use it for–casual games, reading, surfing, and watching shows on the go. It’s a shame Amazon doesn’t make them any more.

12. Are you currently obsessed with any TV show?
Two, actually: The Spanish Princess and The Undoing.

13. Book you’d like to read before the year ends.
Currently reading Half of a Yellow Sun.

14. Describe kindness.
Kindness is a willingness to put someone else’s needs before your own wants and convenience. It’s people who wear masks, hold doors open for others, step to one side when walking toward someone who is carrying packages, hang bird-feeders, and, when told of someone else’s hardship or struggles, offer help.

15. Describe your favorite candy in great detail.
Smooth, rich, melts in your mouth, and delivers a nice bit of magnesium.

October Rubble

I had the best of intentions for Horrordailies. I had the time because I didn’t have to commute. I was writing morning pages and clearing my head of all the static that accumulates there so I could be creative later in the day. The building was quiet because it’s only about 60% occupancy.

And then it started.

The jackhammering.

Some genius in the company that owns my apartment building decided that now would be a great time to renovate the pool, and every day, Monday through Friday, for eight hours, I get to hear jackhammering right outside my window.

This is with my windows closed. Turn your amp all the way to 11 and you’ll have an idea.

Oh, they say they “have” to do it now. It’s a “small window” before the ground freezes. The concierge mumbled something about permits, budgeting, and contractors, and how if they didn’t do the renovations now, they wouldn’t be able to open the pool next summer.

Which is a steaming dogpile, because the tenants weren’t informed of this until October 1, and the work started on October 5. If they got the permits quickly, then they could get them just as quickly next September. If they knew several months in advance, they should have canceled the work and then rescheduled it for next September, when the majority of tenants would most likely be back to working in offices.

I raised an unholy stink, as did other tenants, and this week we heard all about this fabulous new “hospitality suite” on the 17th floor where the noise doesn’t reach. Then I learned that this hospitality squite can hold seven people.

No. Not even with social distancing. I live in a youngish area. I see how people rip off their masks as soon as they leave the building. I also see how some people, like my next-door neighbor, never wear a mask even though they know very well that it’s required in the building. I know she has one, because I slipped one under her door. She’s just too vain to wear it. She likes to pretend she doesn’t understand English—except that I know how to tell her in Russian that she needs to wear the damn thing because I don’t feel like dying for her vanity.

The building management has given me permission to work in an empty apartment, but I need to try it out and see if I can use my organization’s VPN via their internet access. If I can’t, I will have to schlep to my office in D.C. I did that last week and it was peaceful, but I don’t feel safe taking Metro so I have been taking Uber in and walking the 4.5 miles home in the evening for some exercise. I can’t do that every day, however, because I don’t feel like paying $75 a week to Uber and dealing with a hike home every day.

At any rate, it’s a miserable situation and it will continue through the end of the month, after which they will be laying the tiles down and then the annoyance will go from sound to smell. I may have to send Inigo to birdie camp because although he seems to be okay with the noise, fumes can kill a bird very quickly.

Point is, I’m pretty exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically from this fresh hell, so turning on my computer in the evening and writing even more on top of the writing I do for my job is the last thing I want to do.

I suppose there’s always National Blog Posting Month, which is November, and then we’re into Holidailies for December. That is, if I’m not packing up to move out of this horror show.

Maybe they’ll find a body. Then I’ll have something to write about, boy howdy.

Lead Legs

I’m generally not one to believe in ghosts, but every once in a while I’ll have a physical reaction to a place–a historic site, a field, a house, a grave. It’s the same kind of reaction every time. I’ll stop to look at something, and out of nowhere it will feel like my legs are being pulled down into the earth. The first time I felt it I was six or seven years old. My Brownie troop was going to march in a parade, and the starting point was a cemetery. We gathered on the pavement at the entrance gate, and when a car game through, we had to step off to the side onto the grass. My legs got so heavy I just froze, and when the troop leader told us to come back onto the sidewalk, I said I was stuck.

She came over to me and asked me what was wrong.

“I can’t move. I’m stuck.”

She looked down around my shoes.

“It’s just grass. You’re on a grave. Someone is buried there and you’re standing over them. They can’t hurt you. Come along now.”

She put her hand on my shoulder and boom, just like that, the feeling went away, like someone had replaced the cement in my legs with air. I felt so light I could have floated down Main Street.

It happened again at the Alamo. I normally don’t get creeped out by sites where a lot of people died, but the Alamo has a very bad vibe to it, for me at least. I felt uneasy almost from the second I stepped onto the grounds. At one point it started to rain, and everyone dashed inside. I dropped my umbrella and when I leaned down to get it, I put my hand on a wall and my legs felt like someone had turned on a giant magnet. One of the other tourists, a middle-aged man, asked me if I was okay.

“You look like you’re going to pass out.”

“I don’t like this place. It’s…bloody.”

His wife nodded and gently touched my arm. “Yes, it’s unsettling.”

As soon as she touched me, boom, just like that, the feeling went away. I thanked them for their kindness, put my umbrella up, and got out of there. I was creeped out for days after that.

Image of The Alamo by Ron Houtman on Unsplash.

Same with Gettysburg. I had taken a bike ride around the battlefield with friends, and we stopped for a water break. I stepped off the pavement onto the grass to retie my sneakers and the feeling was so strong, I fell to my knees.

“Lead legs?” one of the guys said.

I nodded.

“Maybe use a lower gear. The next part is uphill.”

He held a hand out to help me up, and when I put my hand in his, boom, just like that, the feeling went away.

It most recently happened to me at a cemetery in Spokane, Washington, but that’s a tale for another day.

Ever experience anything like that? What happened? Where were you when it happened?