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Showing posts with label boarders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boarders. Show all posts

Saturday, May 14, 2016 6 comments

An Upgrade

Multitasking: Charlie’s eating and sleeping all at once,
while I’m feeding him and typing one-handed!
Sun Tzu said, "the wheels of justice grind slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

Karma was awfully busy around FAR Manor this week, preparing for the runup to Thursday’s court hearing. Whether you believe Karma’s a b***h or not, she got awfully cranky having to work overtime on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Big V has insisted all along that she should have custody of Charles, regardless of her unwillingness to take care of herself and her fractional ability to take care of Skylar. She kind of spilled the beans at one point: what she really wants is the benefits and tax deduction she'll get for having custody, while we actually take care of him and have the expenses. The wife is already taking her and Skylar to their various appointments as it is. So she did what anyone does who doesn’t want to acknowledge reality: constructed a narrative.

Because of various things, mostly having to do with DD’s upcoming wedding, I worked at home Tuesday so Mason and Fizzle’s kids would have someone at the manor for them when they got off the bus. Thus, when Big V called, I got an earful of narrative. Most of it is pure crap, especially the part where she says we’re not allowing her to see Charles—in fact, when I had to go down there, I would take him inside to see her if he wasn’t asleep in the car seat. The crux of the matter is, we don’t let her have unsupervised visits. That’s not our doing, that was a stipulation from DFACS at the time we got him. Signed papers and everything. She seems to think that we should blow them off at her own whim, regardless of the consequences (which could involve Charlie being relocated and none of us get to see him, but Big V and rational aren’t even nodding acquaintances).

Anyway. In her rant, she said she was going to file a Motion to Intervene to get “grandparent’s rights” (which means more in some other states than on Planet Georgia). In case I never mentioned it, my mom worked for a Federal judge when I was in high school. I’ve been behind the scenes at courthouses more than most, so her waving writs at me didn’t faze me much. Seeing I wasn’t giving her much satisfaction, and was in fact poking holes in her narrative bubble, she called the wife to rant at her—and then… here’s where Karma got mad. She called Charles’s lawyer and screamed at her. Now this lawyer is a volunteer for DFACS. She teaches law as a day job. So she isn’t paid to put up with weapons-grade crap like Big V throws when she’s in one of her moods. And… she’s originally from New Jersey. Yup, Big V pissed off a New Jersey lawyer, and you know that isn’t gonna end well.

So the DFACS advocates all know each other’s business, even if they don’t always get along. Charlie’s lawyer didn’t need a whole lot of poking to learn that Big V is legally-blind, one-legged, can’t drive, and depends on us to get both her and Skylar to their various appointments. So she decided to make life difficult for Big V.

So now we come to yesterday morning. Figuring the 8:30am scheduled time wasn’t going to happen, I brought my work computer since there’s wifi in the courthouse. And indeed I was right. There was a rather large spec review, and I got through all 13 documents before they called us in. Meanwhile, Splat and BB sat with us to see Charlie. We’ve never had a problem with them visiting, although we both wish they had actually done it more than a handful of times. At one point, BB took Charlie and was making all these adoring noises. He started crying, and BB said, “here, take it” and gave him back to the wife. Yes, take “IT.” Meanwhile, Big V was off to the side, bad-mouthing us. Like we cared.

Just after 11, we finally got called in. Big V was looking all self-righteous, and got pretty steamed when she got the papers from Charlie’s lawyer. Shoulda kept your big freaking yap shut, sis. But when we got started, the judge said “we’ve got a conflict with one of the lawyers, come back at 1:30, and we’ll deal with this Motion to Intervene in July.” Seeing as neither the wife nor I had managed to grab any breakfast, we had no problem with that.

So after a nice leisurely lunch, it was “hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to court we go.” Big V was not there; since her tossed wrench got deflected for two months, I guess she couldn’t be bothered. Too bad, it would have been interesting to see her reaction. The DFACS lawyers and staff not only dug into Charlie’s case, they started laying the groundwork for Skylar’s. Meanwhile, Charlie charmed just about everyone in the courtroom—the caseworkers, the lawyers, and even the judge smiled at his “I’m content” growl1. But when Splat took the stand, it became an utter trainwreck. He really didn’t want to incriminate BB, who face-palmed a few times while he testified, but he was under oath and seemed to understand that. Finally, one of the DFACS lawyers asked, “do you want to save time and just turn custody over to [the wife and me]?” Interestingly, the judge quashed that question.

The upshot was, Splat and BB both admitted to having a serious drug problem, and they were unable to take care of Charlie (living in their car is another minor detail), and they wanted us to continue taking care of him. So now we’re officially a foster home, as opposed to a safety home. That means we get some more benefits (which is what Big V wanted for herself), Charlie now has his own insurance, and Splat & BB have nine months to clean up their act. Meanwhile, there will be scheduled visits (although our policy of “you can see him whenever you want to” is still okay), and Big V will likely get scheduled visits once her motion is considered in July. The question is, whether she’ll just be seeing Charlie, or Charlie and Skylar, by that time.

In Big V’s case, it would have been better to keep her yap shut and let everyone think she was nucking futs, than to open her mouth and remove all doubt. Meanwhile, she has killed any willingness on our parts to help her with… anything. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.


1 He has some fairly distinct vocalizations. There’s the raspy wail for “I’m hungry,” the smooth one for “Rock me, I’m ready to sleep,” the growl that can mean “Everything is awesome” or “Pick me up NOW,” and one I can’t really describe that means “I want to go home now.”

Monday, January 11, 2016 9 comments

Our Newest Inmate [UPDATEx2]

I have been sort of quiet about this, but the wife… well…

Already sleeping (and snoring) in my sling
I’m joking. This is Charles, the offspring of Cousin Splat and his wife (let’s call her Badger Boobs, for the pawprint tats that show up when she wears something low-cut). The tale of his arrival at FAR Manor is definitely an exercise in the weirdness that reigns in the free-range insane asylum.

So. Charles was born Friday. BB (not to be confused with DD, as the latter would hurt you for that) is not exactly the most stable isotope on the periodic table. As Cousin Splat is Big V’s offspring, I guess he was comfortable with that. One problem with BB is that there was some question about whether the baby was Cousin Splat’s… but one look at him dispelled all doubts. The other problem is BB is on probation for drug issues, and may not have exactly stayed squeaky-clean during her pregnancy. So there was a test.

Now here’s where stories diverge. BB claims the only stuff they found in her system were what they gave her at the hospital. Other claims were that the baby tested positive for meth, and yet another that his bloodwork was “fine.” Howe’er it was, DFACS asked Cousin Splat if he had any relatives who could provide a “safe house” for the kid. He gave them the wife’s name. They called Saturday, paid a visit Sunday, and Charles came home with the wife from the hospital today. [UPDATE #2: The pediatrician says they found amphetamines in his system, not meth. Bad enough, but not horrid.]

You can’t hear it, but he’s snoring in my sling right now. BB thinks the sling is an awesome idea. I like it too, because I can have both hands free to type.

According to the agreement, he could be here “up to 45 days,” although the case workers said that could run a lot longer. I expect an immediate return to the old 3am feeding/diaper change runs.

UPDATE: I forgot the funniest part of the story. We spent much of the weekend preparing for the new arrival, which included digging out a bunch of stuff from when Mason was a baby. Hearing the noise in the living room, he went to see Daughter Dearest and Fizzle setting up the Pack&Play. “I know what that is,” he said, and came back to me. “I’m gonna have to cover my ears. Aunt DD’s gonna have a baby.” Of course, I explained the situation to him, and he was fine with that. He can’t wait for Charles to get old enough to play with.

Monday, July 20, 2015 5 comments

Send in the Crowd

So over the weekend, Daughter Dearest drafted me to help her fiance move… to FAR Manor. With The Boy moving his stuff back to Newnan, the other upstairs bedroom is open and so there’s room.

This IS my happy face. Especially at 6am.
Just what I always wanted: get dragged out of bed at 6am on a Saturday. She also recruited BrandX to help as well. He drove the truck (pulling a trailer), and we took the minivan (with the center and back seats removed to make room for Stuff.

Oh, did I mention he has joint custody of three boys from a previous marriage? Only one of which is his? So it wasn’t just his stuff, it was his and the boys’. At least he had coffee and biscuits waiting for us. I drank four cups of coffee to get functional for the day, and that was about as much as the Jitter Control Module could take.

In the end, we got everything packed. With no room to spare anywhere. We had some issues with mattresses wanting to escape the trailer, and finally found a long extension cord in the truck to tie them down better.

Back at the manor, we had enough energy left to unload the trailer and the bed of the truck. There was a bunch of small stuff behind the seats in the truck (an extended-cab Tacoma) that didn’t get removed… and then The Boy took off with the truck. Daughter Dearest was rather furious.

So expect some more really weird reality in the coming months. I have to come up with blog names for the new players.

Monday, September 15, 2014 9 comments

OMG WTF Lobster?!

Lobster's better sideDespite the goofy picture, this is one of the toughest kind of posts to write about.

So it seems that Lobster, a former inmate at FAR Manor who was kicked out a couple times for various reasons, ended up moving to Louisiana. His bio-father lives out there, and is in prison for drugs, and you could say in this case that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He (Lobster) has never had good impulse control, and one time trashed the detached garage in a drunken rampage.

So anyway. Louisiana. He’s out there in Livingston Parish. He moved in with a woman 20 years older than him, another thing that was a kind of pattern for him. They probably did drugs, rock and roll, and the other thing.

I have no idea what happened for sure, because there isn’t any detail, but M.A.E. got word from a mutual friend and said meth was involved. Whatever it was, I’ll just excerpt from the news article:

A Livingston woman was found dead on her living room floor Saturday morning in what authorities are calling a homicide. … [Her] lower abdomen and throat had cut marks – from what is believed to be a knife or other sharp object, authorities said.

And he admitted to it.

And this guy was living at FAR Manor, on and off, for several years.

I think I officially have the weirdest life among white-collar types.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 1 comment

A Farewell to EJ (aka @theAmazinGimp)

I haven’t blogged about it much, but +E.J Hobbs had been living at FAR Manor for quite a while, helping out where he could and mostly staying out of the way. (No girlfriend conflicts? No arrests? No drunken rampages? What was there to write about?)

But I digress. A friend of his from high school days lives down in Chamblee—once the father in law’s old stomping grounds, now he calls it “Chambodia” because of its large East Asian population—and has been trying to get EJ to move down there with him. There are several advantages… EJ’s home nurse skills have a wider pool in a more populous area, and there are plenty of McJobs to tide him over until he can get a better one. Plus there’s MARTA, a major advantage when you have neither car nor driver’s license.

He put it off for a while, hoping to build up some money so he could hold his end up, but in the end his friend decided he’d prop up EJ for a while. So on Saturday, the wife gave him some furniture, we loaded up the truck, and away we went. The Maps app made things look easy enough: I-285 to I-85 south (the freeway that Tina commuted on in White Pickups, you may recall), first exit, a couple of side roads, we’re there. We only missed one turn, and that we fixed by cutting through a QuikTrip parking lot to get back on track.

While EJ’s friend works Saturdays, he took the afternoon off to make sure we could move all his stuff inside. It took about 15 minutes to cart it all in. I asked for a decent Vietnamese restaurant, he pointed me to one on Buford Highway, and I treated myself to a really good lunch before heading back to FAR Manor. Meanwhile, the wife attacked the horrible carpet (seriously, who puts white carpet in a rural house? crazy people, that’s who) and made some marginal improvements.

Now, it’s just me, the wife, and Mason. I need to get that room upstairs converted to a library before she has a chance to object…

Sunday, August 04, 2013 4 comments

Weekend Roundup

It’s been a busy week…

Awake and ready to go!
The few minor issues with my new-to-me Miata are electrical. The driver-side power window isn’t working, and Solar installed a manual crank. This is a common workaround among Miata enthusiasts, as the replacement parts for the power windows can run several hundred smackers. Since the passenger-side power window works, this is something I can live with for a while.

What I can’t abide is the lousy stereo. It’s original equipment (1992), an AM/FM radio with a cassette player. Just for grins, I stuck a tape in it earlier this week, and now it won’t come out. Worse, the left channel was gone. I put it down to a blown speaker in the driver-side door, especially since I wired a spare (home) stereo speaker box into the connector and got sound. So, it was off to Best Buy for a pair of Pioneer speakers. One of the “fun” parts of this replacement was that the Miata’s speaker mount uses three screws, and the new speakers came with four slots. With a workbench clear enough to use (yay!), I used one of the existing holes and marked the places for the other two. A few minutes with a Dremel, and I had the slots I needed.

Since the Miata uses a plug connector for the speakers, I drilled the rivet out of the old speakers and clipped enough wire to insert in the holes that the new speakers provided. A little quality time with a soldering gun, then a screwdriver, and I was done. Except that I still didn’t have a left channel. What…ever. A day or two later, I pulled the left-side speaker, and found that I hadn’t done a good job with one of the wires. More soldering, put it back in, and now both sides have sound! I’m still going to replace that head-unit, though. I’ve wanted a stereo with aux-in (or better yet, USB-in) for some time now. All it takes is money, right?


The Boy will have a hard time
borrowing this one
One of the drawbacks of the ceiling fan in Mason’s room has always been that it had no light. I looked at attaching a light once, some time back, but it didn’t work out. So earlier this week, Daughter Dearest bought a ceiling fan with an attached light. I got on it last night. It wasn’t exactly a “no problem” swap, but it wasn’t all that difficult once I got all the tools together. I’m (re)learning that keeping at one of these projects will let me finish it sooner than I might think. I put the old fan (with detached blades) in the box and sat it in the living room.

So today, the wife says, “you need to get that fan out of the living room.” It took me two seconds to decide where I wanted it, and about 20 minutes to put it up. (Mason helped by carrying the detached blades out to the garage for me.) I nailed a 2x4 across two rafters, used four screws to attach the hanger, and it doesn’t get much easier. I didn’t feel like dorking with splicing into one of the nearby light fixtures, so I got a 3-wire cord I’d clipped off some dead appliance in the past, and spliced it in. Run to an extension cord, plug it in, and away it goes. There was an initial blast of heat, as it flushed out what was up in the rafters, but it was soon moving ambient air around. So… if you’re ever wondering how to dispose of a working ceiling fan, putting it up in the garage seems to be a pretty good idea. Yes, it clears one of the light fixtures by about 3 inches.


And I leave you with a Mason pic (that is, a pic by Mason). He asked to take some pictures yesterday morning, and got a good one of EJ snoozing (or pretending to) on the futon.

Kids take the darndest pix.

Saturday, June 02, 2012 3 comments

Evil Twin Moves In

Evil Twin shows Mason
how to catch a lizard
The “more evil” half of the Evil Twins needed some space from her parents—her brothers have long since left the state—so of course she came to FAR Manor. This isn’t a bad thing for a change: unlike M.A.E., she helps (a lot) with Mason, and has her own car. She also doesn’t have the baggage associated with her own rugrat.

As I type this, she’s out looking for a job. Unfortunately, she does share M.A.E.’s functional illiteracy issues, so good luck with that. She’s also Daughter Dearest’s age, but looks (and eats) like a teenager.

While the wife isn’t 100% thrilled to have an extra body at FAR Manor, I’m not griping for a change. As I said, she helps a lot with Mason—which leaves me free to blog, write, or take care of things in or around the manor. She’ll help some with the dishes, too.

Best of all, she’s usually up for spending some time at the patio or even on a berry-picking tramp through the woods. Wife & Daughter Dearest seem to see “outside” only as a place to work. There’s that, certainly, but it also offers recreation. On calm afternoons or evenings, we’ll take Mason out to the patio, light the tiki torches and the firepit in the table, and watch Mason burn off some energy. Sometimes, I get pictures. This morning, the three of us went tramping around and found about a half-gallon of blackberries (a month earlier than usual!) and a cup of blueberries. We probably hiked two miles all told, which explains why Mason wanted to be carried a lot toward the end of the expedition. He’s usually good for about half a mile.

After lunch, I laid him down for his nap. He protested, as always, but dropped off fairly quickly. Well, he didn’t drop off so much as climb down and curl up under his bed. This is something The Boy did fairly often, but his bed didn’t have near as much clearance underneath.

So things have been fairly quiet at FAR Manor for a while. I wonder how long that will last.

Monday, March 12, 2012 7 comments

Just Shoot Me

Big V came up here Wednesday and spent the night. “It’s for this week,” says the wife, “until she gets her glucose under control.” Like The Boy, Big V has diabetes — and like The Boy, she does absolutely nothing to keep it where it needs to be. So her levels have been running anywhere from 220 to 490 (100 is ideal), and “until she gets it under control” could be a long, long time. She had the audacity to ask me for ice cream over the weekend, then I had to chase her away from grabbing a box of Teddy Grahams in the kitchen. Maybe I should just give her the gun; it would be a lot quicker and there’d be more of her left in the casket. Yes, I’m being morbid, but that’s pretty much the situation.

Of course, with Big V up here at the manor, Skylar is here too. Of the two, he’s less hassle. Usually. There’s always the screaming matches with Mason over some toy that one didn’t care about until the other one picked it up.

Monday nights are extra-special. The Voice is on, and SWMBO insists in devoting her full attention to it, and woe to anyone who makes undue noise while it’s on. That wouldn’t be so bad, but Mason sleeps in the living room for now. I need to show her Hulu, so she can watch her shows on the iPad once Mason’s asleep. Of course, if you try using the iPad in Mason’s presence, he’s all over you wanting to play Otto Matic or something. I think once things warm up more reliably, and Big V is no longer here, we’ll move Mason into the guest room until he’s old enough to want The Boy’s old room upstairs.

I give this situation another week. By then, Big V and SWMBO will get into their own screaming match over something and Big V will drive home in her powerchair with Skylar in her lap.

But to end this on a more pleasant note, Mason got his first ice cream cone this weekend. He also got his first taste of kiwi, and I’m not sure which he liked better — his eyes lit UP over the kiwi, and he gave me the Happiest Kid in the World grin when he saw me bringing his cone. Of course I got a pic!

That’s pretty much the way things are at FAR Manor for now. As always, I’ll have to wrest an afternoon from the clutches of everyone else so I can get a few things of my own done.

Sunday, November 20, 2011 10 comments

Revolving Door

I really ought to install a revolving door at FAR Manor — M.A.E. lasted about a week at the free-range insane asylum this time. At the beginning of the week, she told us she was going to visit with Lobster for a night. One night stretched to two, three… and Lobster has a girlfriend living with him, so I don’t think it was that. However, I did get a call on my smellphone while I was at work from some guy named Jesse (I think it was). I figure she hooked up with someone on Facebook. Again.

So I was working at home Friday, because I had a meeting on Wednesday, and she came in without my noticing. I often work with the door closed to keep Mason from demanding more granddad time, so that wasn’t unusual. I also managed to miss the “discussion” she had with Mrs. Fetched, who had talked with her baby-daddy when he called earlier. So…

M.A.E. asked Mrs. Fetched, “Am I going to get Moptop this weekend?”

“No.”

“Why not?!”

“I don’t want her here this weekend.” There was the minor detail about us not being here all afternoon today, and M.A.E. almost immediately blowing off everything after she promised us she’d do anything if we let her come back, but Moptop does antagonize Mason a lot. Sure, he gives it right back, but the constant shrieking does get annoying.

So M.A.E. stomped upstairs to make some phone calls. Mrs. Fetched called up the stairs after her to bring the phone back down with her. She didn’t. This is where I first learned of M.A.E.’s presence, as she stormed back downstairs, slamming the door behind her, then out. “If you’re leaving,” Mrs. Fetched advised her, “you’d better take your stuff with you, because you’re not coming back.” M.A.E. gave no response. We found out later she went down to Big V’s with the boo-hoo routine, then got Cousin Splat to give her a ride into town (presumably to meet her current… whatever you want to call it).

• • •

Left to right: Mason, me, Skylar
The 80s song, “Me and the Boys” might be my theme song for this week, since that might be what’s coming. Since we get Thursday and Friday off, and everyone else is going to be gone anyway, I took the rest of the week as vacation (or more like staycation). Skylar is another revolving-door inmate at FAR Manor, in and out a lot, and I expect that Mrs. Fetched will find many “reasons” to leave them both with me.

I’m hoping that Big V will start picking up some of the slack, since she’s had cataract surgery and can see a little better now. Funny how things work: just when he’s where he’s not screaming in his sleep at night, and is starting to play a little better with Mason, they take him back.

One of the Evil Twins is here for a couple days, so I just may get a few things done while otherwise abandoned with the grandkid. Her sister is visiting some friends, and she’s getting stir-crazy.

Monday, November 14, 2011 2 comments

The End is Just the Beginning

Squawking chicken
Somebody pinch me. Bonus points if you’re female and I get to pinch back.

It appears that we have outlasted the chicken houses!

Tyson’s, using their usual “company store” debt-slavery tactic, demanded some rather pricey upgrades to the chicken houses to renew the in-laws’ contract. They said “nope,” and thus the last batch was scheduled to leave around the end of March. However, since the entire paycheck goes out the furnaces during winter grow-outs, the in-laws pulled the plug after the last batch left Friday night. Permit me a brief…

WOOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!!

This leaves the farm with four empty chicken houses and still a small hill of debt remaining. Several possibilities have been bandied about for making the houses pay the rest of their way — some kind of greenhouse seems to be the idea that we all keep coming back to. It's actually not a bad idea; the houses have lights, water, heat, and ventilation. And fertilizer. Lots of fertilizer. If we replace some of the roofing tin with plexiglas, we can get some sunlight into the middle of the houses as well. I’m pushing for herbs (cooking, not smoking) as a primary crop, since the stores charge like two bucks for an ounce of leaves and they can grow like weeds under the right conditions. The agent at the ag coop that has the loan had several good suggestions for marketing and lining up customers. The upside is, you can go away for a weekend and not come back to a thousand dead chickens to pick up.


In less pleasant news, M.A.E. seems to be back at the manor. She can’t seem to pick friends who can handle her desired lifestyle, which is to spend the entire day on Facebook and do as little as possible to help around the house. She’s brought her daughter (Moptop is no longer a good moniker for her as her curls have gone for now) over for weekends and she and Mason have a great time antagonizing each other.

Gotta take the bad with the good, I guess.

Monday, September 26, 2011 No comments

Lobster Toss

Lobster's better sideLobster hasn’t been at the manor for more than a few minutes at a time since we returned from the resort. We specifically told him to not bring his girlfriend over here, especially since he hasn’t even started divorce proceedings, so he (and she) have been at Big V’s place. Another instruction I gave him before we left for Michigan was: “no drugs over here, or you’re outta here.”

Well… back when M.A.E. was still here, the first night we left for Michigan, he and a friend (that Mrs. Fetched told him to never bring to the manor) went in the detached garage and did some meth.
According to M.A.E., he was so whacked he probably doesn’t remember her cussing him out. So last night, Mrs. Fetched told me I needed to tell him to pack it up. Fine, whatever.

So tonight I sat down to check the state of the Internet and it immediately started thundering. I unplugged the power strip and figured that telling Lobster to come get his stuff would be a waste of time because he’s: a) too lazy to get off his girlfriend and do it; b) hoping Mrs. Fetched would forget about it if he put it off long enough, because she has a history of doing that. We’ve been down this road before; I grabbed a couple of garbage bags and waded into the nightmare that is the former bedroom of The Boy and Snippet (and Lobster, sleeping on a mattress at the foot of the bed).

The pile of dirty clothes behind the door was immediately recognizable as Lobster’s, so I shoveled clothes into one of the bags. After removing our towels (so that’s where they all went!), the remaining pile of clothes fit easily into one bag. I started on a second pile, but began recognizing some of those as The Boy’s things. I did, however, find a suitcase that belonged to Lobster so the clothes that looked clean went in there. Things that were obviously garbage went into the trash.

As I was finishing up, Mrs. Fetched made her slow way up the steps. After seeing what I was up to, she joined in. As with anything the wife does, scope creep ensued and (after figuring we got all of Lobster’s stuff bagged up) we started going through all the other crap laying on the floor. There were dishes, cups, a few empties (mostly beer but there was a Crown Royal bottle too), more socks, more towels, more socks, and even more socks. I took a deep breath and dived under the bed and found… more socks, among many other things including several empty photo albums for Mason and a bag of (thankfully unused) condoms. Many little bits of paper and other articles of trash. The iPad charger and an All Dogs Go To Heaven DVD. The lighter I’d been missing (for starting fires in the patio table firepit).

But the crowning horror was yet to come. Daughter Dearest complained mightily about the state of the bathroom when she was here last weekend. She even taped a note to Lobster on the mirror, ending with “if you would clean up after yourself, maybe you could keep a girlfriend.” We found the note in the bedroom; I was surprised he didn’t wad it up or shred it. But the bathroom hadn’t been cleaned up beyond removing the note. Mrs. Fetched, who has cleaned up a dead man’s blood in the bizarre reality that is life at FAR Manor, started by mining out the mildewed washcloths and towels piled in a corner. She asked me to bring a broom, the mop, and the mop bucket. Figuring she’d want me to bring up the cleaning stuff she forgot to ask for, I added it to the load.

So that’s where we are tonight. Mrs. Fetched is cleaning up the biohazardous upstairs bathroom, after I took some risks picking up crap in the bedroom. Tomorrow, I’m getting a large bottle of rum and drinking myself happy.

Monday, August 15, 2011 3 comments

Clearing House

This is what the room that M.A.E. was staying in looks like at the moment:

Mrs. Fetched finally got tired of saying she was going to chuck her out and actually did it. I’ll be at work when M.A.E. comes waddling in after a long weekend of boyfriend-banging, expecting Mrs. Fetched to take her to a doctor’s appointment, but I’d love to see the look on her face when she sees this. Nothing says GTFO like removing all the furniture.

This is the state of the carpet after we applied an entire can of cleaner. She and especially Moptop were none too careful about what they spilled on a white carpet. We’ll probably end up ripping all that out and putting in a wood floor, since we have enough to do this room.

Meanwhile, The Boy got tired of saying he’s moving to Wisconsin and appears to actually be doing it. A friend of his says he’s lined up a factory job for The Boy (he works there too, juicy union wages), and The Boy says he’ll never get along here, so he packed his car last night and is cashing some checks for the trip as I type.

I’m of two minds about The Boy leaving: there are risks, but there are also risks in staying here and working a construction job. The difference is, he has a well-defined safety net here. On the other hand, it’ll be a good experience for him. If he thrives (and survives a Wisconsin winter), he will be happier than he was here. My family is across Lake Michigan, a long drive to be sure but shorter than all the way back to Planet Georgia. I ended up wishing him well, while Mrs. Fetched just hopes he’ll cough up some of what he owes us. Only one way to find out, I guess.

One thing I’m not conflicted about: the move has put a massive strain on his relationship with Snippet. She wants to stay where she already has a job, even if it’s a part-time retail job. More importantly, all her friends are here. (“All her boy-toys too,” said Mrs. Fetched.) She’s been the one putting pressure on him to stay — the exact wrong thing to do with anyone having the in-laws’ genetic code. Telling him (or Mrs. Fetched) something they don’t want to hear only makes them more determined to do what they’ve already decided. I didn’t bother to tell Snippet that, though… she doesn’t listen any better than The Boy.

Finally… we forklifted Daughter Dearest and her belongings over to the college to begin her senior(!) year on Saturday night. She’s staying with a lady from the church choir she sings in while at college, so we’re saving a ton of money on room and board while DD has a nice quiet place to study. The lady has no Internet access, but DD managed to “find” an unsecured wifi node…

So the manor has mostly emptied out for a while. It’s just Mason, Lobster (who is allowed to live here because he helps Mrs. Fetched with the chickens), and sometimes Skylar.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2 comments

Wednesday Wibbles

Wow, two in a row! As always, welcome to the new follower:

  • Luca Veste — book blogger, adult student… and father of two daughters! Oh, I’ll bet we have some stories to swap about our kids.

With the manor rapidly re-filling — The Boy and Snippet are back (sigh), and M.A.E. and Lobster show no signs of leaving anytime soon — I’m getting crowded in both time and space. M.A.E. in particular seems to always need something, and isn’t exactly Janie-on-the-spot about helping out. At least Snippet is showing some sign of wanting to take care of Mason… even if she’s inadequate about it.

Speaking of Snippet, she came in yesterday with an awesome sunburn. She wanted to show it to me, and first pulled down the front of her shirt to show her neck — then hiked up the back to show me her shoulders. As she wasn’t wearing a bra, it’s beyond me how I didn’t get an eyeful of boobage along with the acres of redness. I found her some spray-on burn ointment, and it seemed to help. At least she didn’t pull her shirt off again. This morning, she headed to work with plenty of coverage.

With summer in full burn (see above), I made a pasta salad this evening for tomorrow. FARf-alle (bowtie) pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, an onion, a squash, a bell pepper, some broccoli I found laying around in the fridge, garlic, mozzarella fresca, and Vidalia tomato-basil dressing. Lobster doesn’t want to wait for tomorrow, when the flavors will be blended — he’s grabbing a bowl on the way to work. (Oh… did I mention Lobster has a job? He’s working night shift as a welder.)

At least I got some writing done yesterday! I’m going to try keeping up the momentum tonight.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 5 comments

Wednesday Birthday Wibbles

It’s not only Mrs. Fetched’s birthday, it’s also Towel Day! You know what that means: today, she’s 42 again! She was supposed to get dinner at her favorite Italian restaurant tonight, but Big V dumped Skylar on us so we ate leftovers and watched Dawn Treader.

Since I haven’t had any new followers since last week, I get to skip that part. I do love the followers I have though!

Sometimes, taking a stroll with the grandkid has side benefits. I found this sign lying in the grass not a quarter mile from the manor, complete with bullet holes. It must have been lying there for longer than I’ve lived here, over 25 years now, because it was never standing along this road. I took a steel wool pad to it to get it to the state you see here (it was pretty grimy). Mrs. Fetched thinks I should give it to either the county or the state, but I figure they just tossed the sign aside — they haven’t used that particular wording for a long time.

A “Pass With Care” sign came with the manor; I want to hang it in the bathroom.

Mason’s second cousin Skylar (yes, with an “a”) has been spending a lot of time at the manor. You can think of him as a half-time boarder if you like at this point. He and Mason play together like two near-toddlers do: when they’re not trying to kill each other, they have a lot of fun. Skylar is four months younger than Mason, but has the in-laws’ genetic heritage that has already made him a bigger kid.

Having Skylar around has reminded me about Mason’s rather well-developed sense of personal space. Mason has a definite bubble, and if another child gets into it uninvited he can get more violent than absolutely necessary. For example, I’ve had to pull Skylar away to stop Mason from methodically whacking him over the head with whatever toy he has in his hand. But bedtime isn’t twice as difficult, because they wear themselves out chasing each other around the dining table, and they’ll chatter with each other in the morning instead of demanding to be let out right away.

The upside is that Moptop hasn’t been around near so much. M.A.E. reached an agreement with the baby-daddy, where they each get her a week at a time. To make matters better (for us), Moptop was sick and someone else got to take care of her. But she won’t be our problem much longer: Mrs. Fetched tonight texted The Boy, Lobster, and M.A.E. to let them know they have until June 1 to find new lodgings. We’re basically done with letting them use our space without much of anything in return.

We’re going to see Mom in North Carolina week after next. Brand X is graduating from high school over Memorial Day weekend, so Mrs. Fetched is videotaping that, and I got tagged to preach this Sunday. That means the creative energy I’d be putting into a #FridayFlash will instead go toward a sermon. Such is life.

But with the deadwood out of here, it will at least be a quieter life!

Sunday, May 15, 2011 No comments

Goings-On

Friday the 13th was pretty long, what with Blogger “routine maintenance” turning into an brownout lasting over 36 hours. All the posts were there for the reading, we just couldn’t add new ones and you couldn’t comment on the ones that were there. That made it a little difficult to post my Friday Flash, but it was more than a little weird anyway. They finally got it fixed late Friday afternoon, but tending a drunk brother-in-law meant I wasn’t able to get to the computer anyway.

Thursday evening I spent out at the Backyard Retreat, straightening up the sides of the excavated area, then stacking the rocks to make a little retaining wall (shown here). Amazingly enough, I ran out of rocks before I ran out of excavation. Oh well, lots of things grow well on Planet Georgia, but rocks grow best of all. I’ll find more. I also smoothed out the surrounding dirt and built up the corner that needed it.

With the work done, I took my Kindle and a flashlight, gathered up some of the scrap wood around, and got a little fire going. It was a warm enough night that the fire wasn’t strictly necessary, but it was nice all the same. I smeared myself up with lemon balm and had very little trouble with bugs. Turns out the floodlights out back give enough light to read a Kindle by, so I didn’t even need the flashlight. We all went out there last night; even though it rained in the morning the chairs were already dry. Mrs. Fetched had a long list of things she would have done different (i.e. that I did wrong) but still liked it. It will be shaded all afternoon through the summer, which will make it pretty nice for evening chill-sessions. It was cool enough that a fire was welcome this time, and we sat out there until sprinkles sent us inside — naturally, after we went in, it cleared up and the moon was bright enough to make the surrounding sky blue.


I’m getting ever closer to the day when I just tell everyone who isn’t Mason, Mrs. Fetched, or Daughter Dearest to find different lodgings — immediately. It appears that The Boy is possibly getting back together with Snippet — AAAAARRRRGHHHH. The Boy had a bunch of friends over, and then blew us off when I relayed commandments from Mrs. Fetched about everyone leaving by 11:30, then… oh, this is good.

I have a view of the driveway from where I sit at the computer, and this one car would pull in, then back out again — then did it again about half an hour later, then again. Around 11p.m., I saw another car pull in — with cop lights. Forgive me, but my first thought was Drug bust time! and I went out to see who was going to win a free trip to the Cinder Block Hilton. Turned out she was here because Snippet parked her car in the middle of the road. Someone called, the cops checked things out and found check stubs with this address on it, and Snippet hustled away to move her car… to Big V’s. She parked it there then walked back to the house. I told The Boy again to get everyone out, and he left with Lobster and Snippet — leaving at least one friend in the garage to sleep there all night. Idiot.

Meanwhile, Lobster is smoking pot (I smelled it one evening) and is still having sleepovers with the not-exactly-divorced woman, both of which could bring trouble to FAR Manor, and he never seems to have money to pay the room and board he agreed to. M.A.E. is just becoming useless, spending all her time on Facebook or on her smellphone and not doing anything to help out around the manor. Enough with the leeching, already.

Mason had a stomach virus that made life for all concerned rather miserable (I had to change clothes twice last week after he barfed all over me), but seems to be getting over it. He’s learning new words all the time, and getting more aggressive with his insistence on doing things himself. He can feed himself pretty well now, gets mad if we don’t let him buckle the strap on his booster (and he has to re-buckle it several times after we unbuckle him when he’s done eating). As always, he loves going outside. He’ll ask to blow bubbles (“Bubboosh?” which is just too cute) but once outside he gets distracted by rocks and plants.

Speaking of plants, a weed called prickly lettuce has gone berserk around the manor this year. Seeing as it’s edible, and has some medicinal qualities (although there’s some dispute about its soporific attributes), I’m inclined to let it go where we don’t want something else. I’m going to have to make a salad of some of it and the wild garlic that grows along the roadsides. Too bad the wild carrots (aka Queen Anne’s Lace) come around later in the summer, or I’d add some of it too. The blackberries are looking pretty plentiful this year; I might be able to get a gallon or two within 100 yards of the manor this year.

Tomorrow… TFM turns 6. That’s a ripe old age for a blog.

Thursday, March 03, 2011 3 comments

And Another One’s Gone, Another One’s Gone…

The end of Snippet looks to be a permanent thing now. M.A.E., who is plugged into the goings-on of The Boy better than I am, tells me that Snippet has moved in with whoever it was she slept around with on The Boy. Meanwhile, he’s found a new prospective girlfriend, whom I met this evening. A few too many piercings for my taste, but M.A.E. says she’s more mature than his typical interest (and has a kid of her own).

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about Lobster. He seems to have hooked up with someone — she’s ten years older than him, and not exactly divorced. In fact, according to M.A.E.* she wasn’t even separated when she hooked up with Lobster on Facebook. So I guess she moved out in the last couple days, and Lobster is slowly packing his gear and moving in with her. It is with no sense of irony that they are living in Cumming (Georgia).

I hope this doesn’t blow up in Lobster’s face. He lets his small head do too much of his thinking, and people (especially on Planet Georgia) do get shot on occasion in situations like this. But for now, it looks like Lobster will be moving on and once again going off the radar in our ongoing soap opera.

Although Big V’s grandson Skyler might replace him…


*I’d have her write this post herself, except her spelling is atrocious. ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011 5 comments

Snipped!!!

She even looks like an older version of Snippet…
Hooray, I say!

Things started going our way about a week ago, when Snippet finally got her mom’s truck like she said she could. Her dad put her on his insurance, and away she went. And has been at the manor for less than 24 hours since then.

I think The Boy was happy to get a little space at first, but it may have been that Snippet only stayed with him because he has access to a car most of the time. Now that she has her own vehicle, she’s been pretty scarce lately.

Last night though was the first time I really dared to get my hopes up. The Boy met me on the way to choir practice and swapped my car for Mrs. Fetched’s. “What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I’m going to give Snippet a little chewing out,” he said. “Basically, I’m gonna let her know she can choose either her friends, or me and Mason.” That’s not quite as controlling as it sounds — he’s never had a problem with her going to visit one of her friends for an evening or even an entire weekend — but when she’s gone pretty much constantly, after being up his butt for so long, there’s some questions that need to be asked or at least implied.

He was gone all night (which didn’t please Mrs. Fetched) and came in this morning. “How did it go?” I asked. He just scowled, shook his head, and carried Mason upstairs. M.A.E. and I high-fived.

Our quiet jubilation was dampened somewhat this afternoon, when Snippet called him and The Boy decided he needed to go to Krystal’s to talk to her. “He’s gonna patch things up with her,” I thought. “She’ll come back,” said M.A.E. We clung to hope, because he packed a couple garbage bags full of her clothes and took them with. Mrs. Fetched phoned in after and got the scoop: she “has feelings” for an old school friend and “isn’t sure she loves him anymore,” and “doesn’t want to live at the manor.” Of course not, she doesn’t have to use him for transportation anymore. He then called us on the way to get Lobster from work, and said he’d need help “getting the rest of her $#!+ downstairs.”

Happy dance! M.A.E. and I high-fived again and even hugged.

My continued jubilation is dampened by The Boy’s hurt. Having been slept around on and dumped when I was his age, I have a pretty good idea of what he’s going through right now (minus the having a kid part). The Boy does let his Flaky Emotional Artist side fly a little freer than I do with mine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have intense feelings about things. I opined that he’s now free to find someone who truly loves him, although M.A.E. (who has also gone through the love/dump wringer) thinks he should just focus on himself, Mason, and his music for a while. Sound advice.

I’m sure Lobster will be happy to have Snippet out of the picture as well. It’ll give him more space in the bedroom, and he won’t be summarily kicked out when Snippet wants a little nooky. ’Course, he’s getting a car tomorrow, and has a date on Saturday with someone he met on Facebook. Seeing as she’s about 10 years older, maybe he’ll have a different temporary roof over his head pretty soon…

Sunday, January 23, 2011 6 comments

Woohoo! I think?

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, they’ve been dashed so many times before, but right now it looks good…

While I was having a mostly peaceful day at work on Friday, the drama at FAR Manor had no cease. You mean if I’m not there, it still happens?

Rewind just a little… we’re getting a Krystal in the retail district. For those of you not familiar with Krystal, Jack in the Box and White Castle are supposed to be similar: tiny little burgers. Anyway, The Boy, Snippet, and M.A.E. all applied for jobs there. The Boy knows the manager at an Alpharetta branch, so he had a kind of “in” for all three of them. With the inside track, all three of them got interviews, and all three of them got hired. But it seems that Snippet, who already works at the Calvin Klein outlet, maneuvered things so she got the last day shift position, leaving M.A.E. being offered only a night shift.

So M.A.E., who has Moptop to take care of, was rather cheesed about the situation. And so was Mrs. Fetched. If Snippet actually did anything close to the bare minimum when it came to taking care of her own baby (Mason), that might have been understandable. But this don’t cut it. Mrs. Fetched, who has put up with Snippet’s behavior for far too long, had enough and told her she had three days to pack up and go. The Boy, silly thing he is, tried to take Snippet’s side and got into one of the characteristic shouting matches that seem to be a staple on that side of the family. Anyway, he decided to follow Snippet out the door, and they both left Friday evening. What’s funny is that he posted something on his Facebook to the effect that we chose M.A.E. over “our own family.” (As if he didn’t choose his girlfriend over his own son? DUHHHH Something about rocks and glass houses should go there.)

Is Snippet finally out? Oh please oh please… but like I said, I’m trying to not get my hopes up here. The Boy going with her is expected, but not desired — he at least takes care of his son sometimes. Mrs. Fetched gives him two weeks before he misses or fails a breathalyzer test and ends up in jail. I sort of doubt it will be that long.


Then M.A.E. and Lobster both went visiting friends, so it was just us and Mason last night. Practically, this meant little change in caring for Mason from before, except I no longer have to waste time or effort trying to get Snippet to do something useful. He’s doing pretty well, eating a lot when he eats and butting heads with Moptop. One evening this week, Moptop was getting seriously exercised because he had her baby doll in one hand and was pushing the doll’s stroller with the other. After several attempts at getting Moptop to play with something else, I told her “Mason’s just getting in touch with his feminine side.” To my amused shock, Moptop said “Oh,” and went to play with something else as if she understood. M.A.E. was there as my witness, and both of us were trying not to laugh and almost hurting ourselves holding it in.

We enjoyed a week of Mason sleeping through the night almost every night. Now he’s back to waking up around 3 a.m. I wish I knew what was goobering his sleep cycles. But he’s proving himself a very clever baby… he even recognizes the Apple logo on the MacBook and iPad as an apple. Last night, he was crying, and pointed down the hall at my bedroom saying “apple, apple.” Mrs. Fetched realized he wanted me to get the iPad and play Angry Birds for a while; once I fired it up he was calm and happy. He loves watching it, and occasionally messing up a shot.

I’ve started poking at the White Pickups sequel some more. If I’d known about the Amazon contest (which opens Monday) a month ago, I’d have had time to prepare the entry. Ah well.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 4 comments

Making a Virtue of Necessity

It’s Virtual Monday at FAR Manor, having come off a 3-day weekend. Mrs. Fetched has been working on a video (for a — wait for it — poultry convention!) and the client said they wanted widescreen after she showed them the first (standard screen) cut. Oops… we never did get around to upgrading her system (a G4 dualie “Quicksilver” that is only now showing its age after 7 years), but a copy of Final Cut Express 4 has been sitting around in an unopened box. Given the requirements, it had to go onto my MacBook. I plugged in my 1TB external drive, pulled all her stuff over, and let her get at it.

Of course, since we were starting with a standard (4:3) project, moving it to widescreen (16:9) involved more than opening the project and continuing. It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say the project fought us every step of the way, but Mrs. Fetched wanted to get it done so we did manage to wrassle it to the ground and hogtie it in the end. One of the hassles was that I had to install and run FCE as the admin user — a rather unpleasant surprise for a Mac user, especially when it’s one of Apple’s own products. We’re used to things not being so cranky. The upshot was, I was fenced off from my writing files for most of the weekend while Mrs. Fetched worked or left things for me to deal with.

Undaunted, I picked up my new replacement Kindle and finished reading Walden. Then I started on another book I transferred to the Kindle, one I hope you’re familiar with. I wanted to give it a once-over to note a few awkward passages, but then I remembered the note-taking capability…


This actually has worked pretty well so far, and I’m 2/3 of the way through the book. So not only did I make a virtue of necessity, it was a happy virtue. You don’t find many of those.

I’ve found that the AppleTV thing has been really helpful when Mason is tired but still fighting sleep. I can stream Groove Salad or Ambient Alternative, then the photos of the animals start a few minutes later. Mason watches them, gets still… and zzZZZzzzZZZzzz…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 7 comments

All the Extras in One Shot

One thing you can say about the snow: it gave me the opportunity to get all the extra people at FAR Manor together in one shot!


From left to right: M.A.E., Moptop, The Boy, Lobster, Mason, and Snippet. If you’ve wanted to put faces next to the names, here they are.

The Boy and Snippet built the snowman. I, um, accessorized it.

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