The Newsletter: Issue #7

So…

Does anyone know just what the fuck is going on in the world? I sure don’t.

In any event, let’s try to dissect it.

Around the World

So admittedly, I was really busy in January and February looking to secure housing for myself and my family. I mentioned in Newsletter #6 that we had been served a termination of tenancy (let’s call it what it was: an eviction without cause). And so I had to really get that all sorted and was a little busy to pay much attention to the two things in the world that went completely sideways whilst I was largely occupied.

First, COVID has gone even more bananas than around Thanksgiving, when Lord Omicron took the reigns and unleashed unprecedented and largely unmitigated fury through out the United States (and the better part of the world). Now, Omi is still everywhere, but even more toxic and deadly are the pollsters advising the Democrats and Republicans alike that COVID can’t just be controlled… it has to be forgotten, or it’s goodbye Midterms.

So now, when community transmission levels are largely at the same level they were when my husband contracted COVID back in December 2020, as well as at the peak of the Delta surge over the summer, the CDC and Biden folks have decided that they now have the power to redefine what words and figures mean, and what was high before is now low. The economy is public health, actually… didn’t you know? Take off your masks folks! Get back to work! Get back into the restaurants and spend, spend, spend!

But it didn’t end there. On the same day that the CDC released their updated guidance and community transmission levels, it was reported that hundreds of children actually died of COVID during the last two months, and that the efficacy of the vaccine for ages 5-11 comes in after only a few months at an abysmal 12%. Moreover, kids under 5 still do not have a vaccine, and while the Biden Administration’s forward-going plans include a massive effort to vaccinate that age group when it’s approved, no such timeline has been offered for it. (Oh yeah, and there’s that pesky little detail that they’re out of money, all this depends on them getting more money from Congress, and they haven’t even ordered more than 10% of the planned Paxlovid treatments yet.) Still…

Also, the CDC Director in a very purposeful statement correlated masks not just to an object of sound and proven public health mitigation that acts as an astoundingly effective Non Pharmaceutical Intervention when done properly, but to one that was at the same time a mark of shame. This lady – who, along with all of her other colleagues at the CDC continue to work remotely at least until April (according to the internal memo released just last week) – branded masks a mark of shame, calling them publicly “a Scarlet Letter.”

For those unfamiliar with the book, The Scarlet Letter is about a woman back centuries ago in New England who had an affair with a priest, got pregnant with his baby, but kept the secret so was branded as the town ho, forced to wear a red letter A on her clothing for the rest of her life to make clear that she was a woman of ill-repute, an Adulterer who should be scorned and shamed.

Masks. A scarlet letter.

Second, of course, is the Ukraine situation, which is just a fucking nightmare and so evident to me about a bigger plan by Putin to restore the Soviet Union and – I don’t know – destroy the world. More on that next time I suppose, maybe I’ll be calm enough to talk more about it when my Potassium Iodine is delivered.

Around My World

So I did end up securing housing for my family of six, and what a wild adventure it has been.

And by adventure, I naturally mean I’m surprised I lived to tell the story.

We did have to relocate to a neighboring city, which is unfortunate and pretty overwhelming still for my kids. But, as all moms do, I’m figuring out how to completely change my own life – yet again – to make it work out so they can spend a large bulk of their time every week still back in the community from whence we came with their social groups and friends and such.

Otherwise, the house is pretty nice. We have it all set up. I’ll share a post about it later, actually – the house itself; and the strange parts about the neighborhood… but what’s big is that I’ve decided to use our own experience as a catalyst for another blog series, in which I share my own story, as well as interviews with other renters, experts, and advocates in the housing apocalypse that is going on in California right now. You won’t want to miss this, it’s coming April 1st – and both I and many of my interviewees are naming names on this one.

So consider this your official announcement, and if you still haven’t signed up to get these babies in your email box, now’s the time!

You Can’t Unsee This

I just love this new feature of the newsletter because it’s deliciously horrid and hilarious – all wrapped up into one.

Admittedly, I did not watch the State of the Union earlier in the week. For one, those are historically boring speeches loaded with lies and propaganda; and I knew I would get the highlights from my dad and Twitter.

Of note, I was disturbed to see that weird clip of tipsy Pelosi standing and rubbing her knuckles together like some fucking weirdo; and I was confused to hear the president refer to the Ukrainians as “Iranians” (like is reading from a teleprompter that difficult?). And naturally, all the bragging and praising of the maskless crowd infuriated me. Why? Because all the praise by Op Ed pundits at the Washington Post failed to be clear with average Americans that the only thing that actually made that safe was that PCR testing was required, and had identified a number of cases in advance. Quick and convenient PCR tests are still – after all this time – not readily available to all Americans.

What really got me was hearing about, and later seeing this photo from Reuters make the rounds, of Boebert and the other one heckling the president. Now look, I’m not always a fan of him, and I think his COVID response in the end was a total fucking joke… but heckling the President of the United States at the State of the Union? Just trash. Take it to the junk yard, ladies.

This meme I saw perfectly encapsulates that moment though, and is now all I think about when I hear someone mention those two:

STFU Fridays

So as I said, we’re in a new home and it’s a duplex. I kind of figured that it would come with the territory that we would hear some of what goes on over there, and they’d hear some of what goes on over here.

The first day we were moving stuff over, the neighbor came over and introduced herself. Her name is Christine and the first words out of her mouth were “are you generally quiet people?”

Depends on what you mean by quiet.

In reality, we are generally quiet people, but I do have kids and – you know – some things that just have to be done. Like dishes; which I assume most people do. But lo and behold, last night Christine came over at 11:15 at night to complain about noise she heard. The only thing I can think is that we were doing dishes… but honestly also, who comes over at 11:15 in the evening and rings another person’s doorbell?

The bottom line, of course, is that when evaluating whether or not you should actually say something, to anyone about anything actually, is that you should first shut your fucking mouth, open your fucking brain, and consider whether or not you should shut the fuck up about the topic permanently. It would have been one thing if we were blaring music, having parties, screaming and slamming furniture into the walls in the middle of the night – all things, ironically, we have heard Christine do repeatedly (in particular on nights when her gentleman friend that drives a Tesla comes over).

But just asking “are you quiet people”? Or having the audacity to come over to a person’s house in the middle of the night to demand they stop doing chores?

I mean… shut your fucking mouth, open your fucking brain, and consider whether not you should just…

Heather’s Holiday Update

I’ve always tried to not turn my blog into *too* much of an all-about-me, this-is-my-life, hey-look-at-me-and-my-mundane-experiences-they-are-so-interesting website. But you know I’m a writer and sometimes (most of the time) the only thing I have to write about is the boring as balls things I do on a day to day basis.

Yes I said “boring as balls,” and sure that may be vulgar but most of my days are boring and vulgar and gross, which if I were to think of an image that all three words sums up nicely, a man’s testicular area would provide a perfect ostensive definition. Of my days. My long and pathetic days.

Moving on.

Things have been really hectic though, lately. This always seems to happen around Halloween. Life is super boring, days are filled with the usual banality of my stay at home existence, then all of a sudden things get busy and the next thing I know it’s May the following year and I couldn’t tell you what I actually did for the preceding six months.

It’s like a coma only without the brain injury, or the sexy doctor there waiting for me to wake up. Just more days describable as balls.

dontgiveacarpThat’s where my holiday update comes in! Maybe none of you gives a single carp about what I’ve been doing, but unless any of you can provide another way for me to remember it all amidst this flurry of holiday activity, it’s literally my only way of knowing.

And don’t start in with any of that “live in the moment” or “pay more attention to your surroundings” garbage. I’ve tried both of those and the results were tenuous.

(Just kidding I’ve never tried anything, my head is in the clouds. There’s nothing I can do about it but accept it and move on.)

So I have a few updates…

1. I lied about that whole not being too into Pinterest anymore thing.

I mean I didn’t really lie. I’m not into Pinterest anymore. It pisses me off. I used to be the one who did all the special, cute shit. Before Pinterest. I did cute shit before Pinterest did cute shit (if you thought I sounded like an obnoxious hipster there, you would have thought right).

Now every party or family function I go to has done all the special, cute shit. There’s nothing special about the cute shit anymore, thanks to those assholes over at Pinterest, because now everyone does it.

I said I wasn’t going to do it anymore, and that’s where I lied. I’m still doing it. Not because I want to though, just because now I feel completely inadequate as a mother if I don’t. It’s like walking your kid to school – if everyone’s doing it, and you just send the kid alone with a crow bar in case anyone approaches them because you’re completely aloof to what’s going on in your community (except the need for said crow bar) …well once you realize that everyone else is accompanying their children to school, you feel like a complete slacker as a parent.

That’s how I feel about the special, cute shit on Pinterest now. Like the mom who lets her kid walk to school alone with a crow bar.

I did a lot of stuff I saw on Pinterest for the holidays this year. I mean A LOT. The most ludicrous were the reindeer juice boxes.

I made these reindeer juice boxes I saw on Pinterest, and thought about also making an ice bucket that looked like Santa’s sleigh that they could sit in but hated myself so much by that point that I put the kibosh on that one.

So I made 24 of them. Not that I can think of 24 people who will have a single interest in drinking Minute Maid Fruit Drink out of a straw that doesn’t properly fit in the hole provided, but you know… I made them anyway.

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Better to be safe than sorry about quantities is what I always say. And to always do things I have no interest in doing simply because everyone else is, even though I’m not entirely sure why.

2. I started a Neighborhood Watch group.

You know how I’m always whining and bitching about where I live? I mean I haven’t lived where I live now for very long at all, but it seems like everywhere we move to some sort of dumb shit like people stealing off our patio, or gun shots in the distance, or 55 people living in a two bedroom apartment running what appears to be a sex ring…

…things like that – always going on around us. It might be because we’ve rented in apartment complexes. Or maybe it follows us.

(I wish I was joking.)

Well then we moved to this really nice neighborhood, to a family-owned home. I mean it’s nice – the houses are beautiful, the landscaping by the HOA is really well done, and the majority of the neighbors are awesome. But then some of the typical crap (speeding cars, loud parties at night, thefts off our patio…) started happening, which made me realize that ghetto stuff happens everywhere…it’s how you deal with it that makes or breaks it for you.

Then I joined this Facebook group for the community and learned that a ton of people were fed up with the same shit I was fed up with, mostly surrounded around Christmas packages being stolen off people’s patios and scammers coming to people’s front doors… and suddenly I realized that not only was I not alone in being irritated with it all, but that this might be the first time putting my money where my mouth is would result in something actually happening for the better.

So I formed a Neighborhood Watch group and – shockingly – it’s thus far been a total success. I mean 40 people showed up to the first meeting, which is insane because when I was actually getting paid as a community organizer lo those many years ago I cried tears of joy if 3 people showed up to a meeting.

I also think a part of it was my secret desire to be a vigilante. You all can imagine my disappointment, then, when our designated sheriff told me I couldn’t chase the perps down myself…

3. I planned the stupidest Christmas Eve dinner for my tiny family that will throw the majority of it in the trash.

One time my daughter looked at the tacos that were on her plate, walked over to the trash, said “no mommy, no” and just threw that shit right away. If I wasn’t thinking about doing the same thing, I would have grounded her.

Cooking for me is hit or miss. And not like hit or miss in a minor way – we are talking grand slam home run out of the park that ball is nowhere to be found, or Jesus Christ why the fuck are you here?

Combine that with the pickiness of my father and children, and it’s a wonder anyone isn’t on the anorexics watch list.

So my dad is planning to be relatively anti-social this year, which means that I’m going to be making a Christmas Eve dinner for us to eat around noon with him. You know, so he doesn’t feel alone for the holiday, even though he’s chosen for it to be that way.

Here’s the menu I’ve picked:

Guacamole and salsa appetizers (my husband and I are the only ones that eat either);

Caprese salads (my husband and I are the only ones that eat tomatoes);

Duck soup (I’m trying to appease my husband, everyone else has asked for Gogurts instead);

Green bean casserole (when my dad saw that on the list, he said “why the hell are you making that slop?”);

Sweet corn succotash (I make this all the time, the bell peppers always find their way into the trash);

Honey Baked Ham, Prime Rib, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes (I’m pretty sure this is the only food that will be eaten);

Jello (because fuck you everyone, I’ve done enough).

4. I budgeted more for the dog’s Christmas outfit than anyone else in the family.

My husband’s budget? $0 – he already has plenty of nice clothes.

Mine? $15 for new pantyhose.

The kids? $18.99 for dresses off the dress rack at Costco (to be fair, they are very nice…)

The dog’s? $35 and special ordered on Etsy. I only actually spent $28, but that’s still more than everyone else, and …well, Etsy.

Dog

So the next time you wonder where I’ve been lately…why I haven’t written much, or what I’ve been up to…

…well, there’s a good chance that I’m spending more money on my dog than anyone else in the family, cooking meals I know that no one in my house will eat, doing projects I hate myself for doing for reasons I can’t quite articulate, and organizing vigilante groups in which we are not actually allowed to be vigilantes, but whatever it’s fun and maybe they’ll appreciate my psychotic love affair with my dog since so many of them seem to also have psychotic love affairs with their dogs too…

Hopefully after the holidays I’ll have more relevant, less all-about-me things to write about.