Let me start with a mea culpa: I have been neglectful of my blog. It's not entirely inexcusable -- we had an internet outage at our house that lasted nearly five days, and necessitated our ISP install a repeater on a tower more accessible to our line of sight. While that was a frustrating outage, the result has been better than good and we are experiencing faster speeds and better reliability than we had for some time. I'm really rooting for these guys (directlink) as it is a local business here in Parker, and anybody that gives Comcast a run for their money is ok in my book!
Now for a bit of an update. The Thanksgiving holiday was one of the best I have ever had, and the time with family in the days that followed was especially sweet. We had fun together: went into the woods and cut down a Christmas tree, went to the movies to see Harry Potter, stayed up too late and drank a little too much at least once, and laughed a lot.
The days that followed the end of the holiday were taken up with starting a new job with the Douglas County Office of Veterans Affairs as a brand new, uncertified and unaccredited, veterans services officer. I have italicized job, not to diminish its importance or to indicate that it isn't really a job. It's a real job, and I even get real money (or so I have heard), a stipend of about $200 per month. At my last job before I retired, that would have represented about three hours of labor. After working about 17 hours in the past two weeks, I realize that this is a job that I could work as many hours as I want and it would still never be done. Kind of like housework, but a lot more rewarding. The job is about helping veterans and their families file for their benefits and assisting them with their appeals if they become necessary. It has all the potential to be the best job I ever had.
The office is only open three days a week, and I am the fourth in an office set up for two people, so we'll see where this goes. I haven't hotbunked on a desk since the shiftworking old days in the Surveillance and Warning Centers of Okinawa, south Florida, and south Korea. I was a lot less conscious of the teeming petri dish effect in those days. I am stocking up on alcohol wipes for the telephone, keyboard, mouse...it's really rather hopeless. A line from Glee kept coming back to me this week, "I can't help feeling there is an excess of dried skin in the air." Additionally, I am only the second female ever on the team. That's never happened before! I'm joking. It's just so funny for it to be happening at this end of my career. As always, I am in very good company with dedicated gentlemen doing their best to help other veterans.
In the meantime, the Christmas tree sits soaking and unadorned and the presents I have been stashing in the spare room need to be wrapped and mailed with little love-notes for the recipients. I'm not sure I can do the card thing this year. It just seems so forced and artificial. I certainly don't want to write one of those letters that plays the whole year back. I really have had quite enough of this year, and I am all for clearing the decks and getting on with the next. Maybe I will send out Valentines instead?
I'm also trying to get rid of some stuff we don't need anymore. Stuff associated with caregiving, and stuff left from the merging of two families into one house, and stuff that is just stuff. Why is it so much harder to get rid of stuff than it is to collect it? And what is some of this stuff, anyway? In the midst of this purging of stuff, we missed the last two recycling collections -- which for some reason are only every two weeks here -- and so we are totally buried in newspapers and cardboard with the more than occasional wine bottle. I'm trying not to let it make me crazy, but I don't think it is working.