The Furnace is On!

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Meet Claudio, my Fiat. Tolja it was cute! Fun to drive, too.

Defcon one, people, the furnace is on. I repeat: THE FURNACE IS ON! Apparently it’s October or some such nonsense. I wasn’t ready for that. I never am. Sure, it means I get to wear my winter clothes (have about 2 weeks’ worth, if I layer – I need to go shopping), and be all bundled up under multiple blankets, but I still prefer spring and summer over fall and winter. For one thing, my joints hurt less in the spring and summer.

There are, of course, some differences. I’ll be starting a job that I think I’ll like, for the first time in I don’t even know how long. For the first time in 8 Octobers,* I have a car that does not have a leaky roof, OR duct tape holding it together.

The accident that caved in my driver’s side door was in November 2007, just after Thanksgiving, two months after I’d been laid off. I was visiting my aunt in Tulsa, planning to head back to Colorado Springs the next day. That got delayed while I tried to figure out how I was going to make a 700-mile trip without a driver’s side mirror. You don’t realize how much you use something until you can’t.

Reliable as it was, it was getting to the point where I had to do something. At the least, it needed a tune up; the engine was starting to run a little rough. The trim on the driver’s side was long gone – the accident ripped it off and created a gaping hole in the door. In order to be street-legal, I had to patch that up, cover the exposed sharp metal, because this isn’t Mad Max time just yet. So, when I got home, I taped up the side, covering the metal and the hole. It lasted a few months before I had to change it. A little longer at first because I had a carport, then when I had to park it outside, it deteriorated a little more quickly, but not much. It didn’t even last two weeks when I got back to Ohio. Fortunately I still had a pretty-good sized roll; I was able to replace it as needed.

It also needed a new top; the one on it had been there since it was new in 1999. Convertible tops may last longer than they used to, but they weren’t meant to last 17 years (the top itself was dated March 1998). There weren’t any holes in the top itself, but the back window, which was plastic, had some cracks, and after one particularly cold winter and unintentionally vigorous scraping, the ancient, brittle plastic crumbled and left a gaping hole in the rear window. I used packing tape for that for a couple months, because regular clear duct tape was only translucent, not transparent, then I heard about Gorilla tape’s clear stuff. I didn’t have to change that once. The accident caused slight frame damage, so the driver’s side door always leaked in the rain. I added duct tape to the door seal to close that up a bit. It helped. Oh, and the side windows didn’t fit properly anymore. Had to tape those to reduce the wind noise and resistance. And the sunroof frame itself was falling apart. The two hinges that attached it to the car had disintegrated, leaving the back of the sunroof unfettered by chains, or in this case, screws. Taped that.

Tell ya what, I am more than ready to swear allegiance to Gorilla tape. It survived a particularly nasty winter intact. I didn’t have to change it once.

Friday before last, I was reaching into the trunk of my car – I have a trunk, now! – to get a grocery bag, and pulled something in  my shoulder. No idea what, but it made a noise like I’d never before heard, popping like something was snapping apart. I didn’t give it too much thought that evening, because it was only a little sore, and that shoulder was sprained multiple times for the last 20-odd years, so it’s pretty much always aching.† Saturday morning, though, oh, I felt it. It got bad. I was almost hyperventilating from the pain. I’m stubborn and wasn’t feeling up to going to the doctor (urgent car or ER), in part because they don’t listen and would probably put me on the cardiac ward because sudden shoulder pain is a symptom for women, and give me a saline IV for the kidney function. In large part, if I’m honest.

I took my last Vicodin (from when I got my tooth pulled in 2014) and went back to sleep once it finally kicked in. Thought maybe giving it a rest for a few hours would help. It didn’t. So I managed to get myself to Walgreens. Ever drive a stick with one hand? Nope, me either. By the time I got to Walgreens, I wished could, though. Didn’t want to bother anyone. They have lives, shouldn’t have to interrupt them for me. No one wants that. Desperate, I picked up a bottle of Aleve (which I’m not supposed to have) and Tiger Balm, and headed home. Popped two of those and spent the rest of the evening in bed, watching television, arm in a sling I made, using my tablet because it hurt too much to type. Hell, that hurt too, but not nearly as badly. If it didn’t feel any better Sunday, I was going to have to see a professional; I think I managed to convince myself of that much. Sunday morning was much improved, so long as I didn’t push it. I did sing in church that morning, which was the end of my exertions for the day. Well, not completely, there was the Bengals/Ravens game that afternoon, which was absolutely insane in the 2nd half. Who dey? Not the Ravens, not for a while, now.

Yes, this was a distraction. The Pope came to the US and met with Kim Davis. The Vatican is saying it’s not an endorsement of her position, she’s saying “See? Even the Pope agree with me!” There was yet another shooting, this time targeting Christians, and there is yet another barrage of “we need more guns/guns kill people” posts on my newsfeed. Well, there’s a little difference; the people who often cry “more guns” the loudest are now upset that it’s about the shooting and not about the target. Trump is being his usual classy self, and Ben Carson, a physician, is saying things that would make me want to see a different doctor. Planned Parenthood’s funding is in jeopardy because of an agenda that actually has nothing to do with PP, but is all about appealing to a base that refuses to listen to anyone else. Abortion is legal. PP also provides birth control and education, which have proven far more effective at preventing abortion than has prayer, abstinence and making it illegal.

The gulf continues to grow, the sides more and more convinced they are right, and far less likely to listen to the other, and the people in the middle are being pressured to choose. John Boehner is stepping down because he can no longer be a part of this. I wouldn’t be surprised if in arch-conservative circles he’s now being painted as a liberal traitor. It’s all become rather either/or out there, and I’m tired. So tired. Liberals OR conservatives aren’t tearing this country apart; it’s liberals AND conservatives, both the people who make the decisions and those who keep voting to put them there. I’m about at the point of apathy myself, somewhere I don’t want to be. This is why I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore, and why I haven’t written many posts all summer. I just can’t.

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*Eight Octobers made me smile. You know what October means, right? Where the name comes from? Used to be the eighth month of the year, before the Caesers (Julius and Augustus, specifically) went all Narcissus and had to have their own months.

†Yay, genetics and poorly made and poorly fitted bras!

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