Thursday, January 20, 2011

Facebook Rant

I love Facebook. Where else would you communicate with people you barely know, don’t know at all or haven’t seen in thirty years? I am finding out interesting stuff about these people. Sometimes you find out you have something in common. It’s like eavesdropping. How else would you know how inadequate your life is compared to everyone else by reading about how wonderful their life is? But certain things about Facebook really annoy me.

THE GAMES. I have no interest in playing games. I don’t like card games, board games, video games, nor computer games. I don’t answer game requests no matter how close you are to getting 10,000 points or if you lost your cow in Farmville. JUST LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE. I waste enough of my time on Facebook as it is.

THE LIKES. I don’t mind "liking" a nonprofit or a local business that I really use, but seriously "liking" some corporate entity like stupid Sears or something? I am not doing free advertising for anyone.

"CUT AND PASTE AND REPOST IF YOU AGREE". I am not cutting and pasting and reposting anything even if I do agree. It’s too much work. And it’s stupid. Where does this CUT AND PASTE AND REPOST stuff come from anyway? It’s a little weird.

FRIEND REQUESTS from people that I have absolutely no connection with. I have to wonder about these. Do they really want to be friends or are they just fishing for my information?

Inadvertently getting STATUS UPDATES from people I never want to EVER see again like my ex-husband. Unfortunately he is a contact for people that I actually want contact from. How else would I have learned that he re-married. I immediately blocked that little gem, but the damage was done. For a while he was coming up as a friend suggestion before I learned to block it. Unbelievable.

The constant "improvements". Why the hell do I have to re-do my profile just because some Facebook geek decides that the format isn’t good enough?

Despite all this irritating attributes, I will still keep using it. I don’t really have anyone to talk to at home except my daughter who sometimes isn’t in the mood to hear my comments and tells me she "doesn’t care". I know some people assume that’s it’s a substitute for real interaction, but sometimes it’s all you have. It’s fun to make comments and have other people go off onto tangents. It’s fun to learn that the people you barely knew in high school have the same interests as you. It’s useful for setting up get- togethers, networking or for sharing knowledge. But I will still bitch about it. And ignore Farmville.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010: BLECH! Or Maybe MEH.

I can’t say that 2010 was a great year or a terrible year. It was kind of year where nothing major happened, good or bad. At least nothing really emotionally wrenching, like my divorce last year in 2009. The year was just a series of crappy little incidents. It was a re-building year for me, only I haven’t rebuilt much.

This was a year of large, expensive items breaking down. In January my dryer died. I hate it when appliances die. It’s like the universe is out of whack. Things are supposed to last forever. My car also had to have a starter and struts replaced. Who would have thought a nine year old car with 90,000 miles on it would wear out? The computer crashed twice and my kitchen faucet had to be replaced. My pool skimmer is not moving anymore, but I am ignoring that for now.

2010 was also the year I tried camping and racing. This was a mistake. I had an Xterra race in Show Low, which involves a swim, mountain bike, and run off road. Show Low is at 6,000 feet, so you would think that the weather would be cool. Instead, it was in the 90's during the day. Racing and camping do not mix well, especially if your camping neighbors decide that the camping experience includes drinking and talking loudly well into the night. Mountain biking is hard enough, especially since you went over and under logs, negotiate rocks, hoist the bike over a fence twice, all while trying to get enough oxygen at high altitude so that you don’t pass out. I was looking forward to going home after the race for a good night’s sleep, until I found out that I had no air conditioning.

The air conditioning dying in June was the worst malfunction of mechanical things.. Four nights and days of 90 degrees inside the house. I forgot to put a bag of chocolate chips in the refrigerator and they melted into a big lump. My daughter put up bolts of cloth on the windows to futilely try to block out the sun. I was exhausted, because at night, it was difficult trying to sleep in spite of the suffocating heat. Of course, you have to wait around in the hot house for someone to come and fix it.
To top if off the Tempe Town Lake dam burst and the races I had signed up for were canceled. At least I didn’t have to pay to have that fixed. I had been anticipating doing these races all year and my enthusiasm for racing and life in general went downstream like the contents of the Tempe Town Lake into the Salt River.

Then a rat decided to take residence right outside a bedroom window. I discovered this when it reached 114 degrees out. I guess his hidey hole was too hot, so he decided to take a nap right outside the window on the ledge. He laid down on the window sill like he owned it, and would peer at you unconcerned through the window. It was creepy seeing the rat face at night with the sharp, little rat teeth.
He was a roof rat, with an almost cute face and big ears, but the tail is monstrously long and he has powerful back legs for climbing up the walls so that he can chew through your electrical wires. Everyone said he was bad news and would re-produce prodigiously, so he had to go. I set a rat trap on the window sill and baited it with peanut butter and rat poison. He didn’t eat the rat poison, so I was stuck with dealing with a live rat. I had to let him die in an unpleasant, slow manner. I felt really guilty that I couldn’t kill him quickly.

Somehow, I muddled through all of this and I managed to retain my sanity. I guess I should be happy I have a roof over my head that is thankfully fairly new. I can deal with things breaking down, but I am still not used to doing it alone. Having a spouse around to handle things kind of insulated me from reality. I would rather not have to have things break down at all, but the universe doesn’t work that way. Everything goes to hell eventually and has to be replaced, sometimes at the worst possible time. At some point, I will have more confidence that I can handle mechanical problems by myself and life is certainly giving me enough chances to practice dealing with them.

So in 2011, I am going to be happy everyday that something doesn’t go wrong. Maybe, I can get to the point where I can just get something fixed without a lot of anxiety and dread. And if another rat shows up, I’ll dispatch him quickly by drowning him in the pool.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Did I Get To Be This OLD?

When I see older people who are hobbling around with a cane or in a wheelchair, I always swear that I will never get to that point. I would not like being unable to move around freely, in fact it would be like death to me. I wonder how they got in that condition. Was it disease, bad luck or that they just didn’t take care of themselves earlier in their life? Sometimes your health goes to hell despite all your best efforts. Sometimes you can limit the damage with good eating habits and exercise. You like to assume that you have some control over how you age so that you don’t end up looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering what the hell happened to me? It gives you a measure of sanity, even if it is an illusion.

Time snuck up on me when I was trying to ignore it. I am now fifty-six, which seems kind of old, but not real old. I assumed I would always be married, would never move again, would never get seriously ill and I would always be continent. The first two are wrong assumptions, but so far I am not sick nor wear diapers. My face and some body parts seem a little more saggy than they used to be.

I had a child late in life, but now she’s graduating high school in a semester, so babyhood is far behind me. I will be an empty nester soon. I have lived longer than my older sister and in about three years, I will have lived longer than my father. It kind of sucks to outlast your parents, which is natural and your sibling, which is not. I don’t have much other family, only have one aunt and uncle at opposite ends of the country. I envy people who still have their parents around.

I also envy the energy, optimism and prettiness of youth, but I wouldn’t want to go back there. I learned life lessons from painful experiences that I wouldn’t want to re-live. How to deal with an alcoholic, how to deal with a parent with Alzheimers, how to deal with a family member’s terminal cancer. These experiences that teaches you about yourself and others, but they are damned painful lessons. When you are young, you assume you and your family member will never die, nothing will ever go wrong, no one will betray you and nothing really bad will happen to you. Life has other ideas. With age, you learn how to deal with the bad stuff. You make peace with yourself, but you get a little sad and cynical.

I wouldn’t mind having a younger body. After I run a hard race or a triathlon, I am deeply exhausted and it takes me a long time to recover. Most people my age don’t bother to race hard or even to exercise, but I like getting painfully out of breath and making my muscles hurt. I feel like I am defying time. It’s kind of life affirming to move hard and fast, and I get a smug sense of satisfaction when I can run faster than someone in their twenties.

I can’t train as hard as a younger person. I probably am not as fast as I would have been even ten years ago, if I had been in the shape I am in now. I have to work harder just to be slower than someone younger than me, but I am still faster than I ever was in my life. Age doesn’t stop you from improving, if you work at it. It also doesn’t stop you from doing remarkable things. The recent broadcast of Ironman Hawaii had an eighty year old competitor who intended to keep at it until he could no longer do it, like say age 120. He wasn’t fast, but he was tough. I hope to be that physically tough when I am that age.

It takes more work to maintain the body when I am older. I need more medication, more yearly medical tests, more doctor visits. Colonoscopys are not fun. Neither are mamograms. I could never figure out why a round body part has to be squashed flat in order make a film of it. I can’t eat as much as when I was young, nor can I eat food like cheese without dire consequences. My digestive system starting going down hill in my thirties. My thyroid started going downhill in my forties. Who knows what this decade will bring. Besides menopause, that is, which is bad enough on its own. Who knew that the lack of hormones could make you lose sleep, make you mentally deficient and REALLY irritable? It’s like reverse adolescence, only I am going deteriorating, not growing up.

So I am hoping that my body will age slowly and my mind even slower. I don’t want to become rigid in my thinking and never take risks, anymore than I want to be in a wheel chair. Assuming that dementia doesn’t overtake me, I want to keep learning about the world and myself. I want to keep stepping into the uncomfortable areas of my mind. And I want to keep trying to outrun twenty year olds.