Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Curse of the Dark Cloud

It's at times like this when I truly believe we all have to have adversity hit us between the eyes a few times in order to get things into perspective.  It doesn't have to be life threatening, just annoyances to drive you bonkers.

This past week has been such a time for us.  We don't have much to complain about really, but things happen to annoy us and  because we're older we don't cope as well as we used to.  We tend to get flustered easy.  When that happens, the male of this couple usually goes ballistic.  I listen, not happily, to the tirade then I leave.  I don't like to be any one's whipping person and least of all my male partner.

We have had a spate of things happen in the last week which would make any person fly off the handle, and it happened.  The initial aggravation happened with my car.  It's old. I love it. I don't want to buy a new one. I want this car to live forever.  Alas, I know that can't be the case but honestly, does it have to die a little at a time?

I heard a "thud".  I heard the "thud" again.  Then it happened for the third time.  I decided I better have the "thud" checked out.   My mechanic of choice is a guy who is honest and an expert in my particular car.  He said to me, "What's wrong?" I told him about the "thud".  He looks at me and says, "Did this "thud" happen when you were driving or when you started up the engine?" I told him it seemed to happen whenever it wanted to happen and I didn't really know when it originally started...(I'm of the belief if you ignore "thuds" in the car, sometimes they fix themselves...this one didn't fix itself).

Into the garage it went...The "thud" was fixed along with the removal of $600.00 from my savings account.  One problem solved...

Driving into the garage, I see my partner in crime waving at me.  Now what? I thought.  The dehumidifier was running for the first time this season and ran and ran and ran for over 36 hours straight and didn't take out 1 millimeter of water from the air in the basement. 

The male partner started saying words I've only ever heard from drunken sailors or really angry bikers.  I'm not sure I knew what the words meant but I could guess.  Along with the dirty word tribute to the dehumidifier came some choice words aimed at yours truly. Why? you ask? How the Hell should I know..I think I was the closest thing there that would maybe make some kind of reaction...Who knows?  I left the house in my newly non-thuding car.

I came home several hours later to an empty house, the male partner took of as well, and turned on the dishwasher.  It started, then sounded like it was going to blow up.  I shut the damned thing off.  A little while later I tried it again.  No good, not even a groan.

I went down to the basement to access the damage to the dehumidifier and to see if there was something I could do to get the thing to suck out some water. ran ok but it didn't do anything except run up the electric bill. I did find a customer service number to call.

Thinking I'd get a run around but I'd try anyway, I called the service number.  Amazingly, the response was a real, honest to God person, who spoke English with no accent, well, there was an accent, but it was an accent from Georgia, (the US Georgia, not the Asia Georgia in what was once know what I'm talking about).  Wonder of wonders, success, I was able to tell my tale of woe, and was referred to another person who stated the company would buy back my dehumidifier for a full refund.  Wow, I couldn't believe it.

The male partner in crime came home still in a snit.  I let him stew a bit before telling him the news about the dehumidifier.  I figured I deserved the glory a bit longer before sharing it.

The dishwasher was still in some sort of limbo, but there was no way I was bringing that up at that time.  I went out to my car, turned the key and "THUD". 

I looked under the hood of the car and noticed oil drops under the thing.  Not a good sign in anybody's book.  I came in, called the mechanic, as my male partner in crime glared at me saying, "Jee-sus H. Christ, NOW WHAT?" (I didn't think it was prudent to bring up the dishwasher then either).

So, the good news is, the dehumidifier will be sort of fixed (buy the purchase of a new one when the check comes), the dishwasher repair folks came and fixed the dishwasher(I finally did tell the other person int he house about the dishwasher), the car goes back to the fix-it shop in the morning, and all will be fine again with the world...except the leather chair in the living room has decided to shed it's outer a sticky, gummy, and really quite disgusting way...The furniture guy will be calling me back...

Honest to God....I realize all this crap is inconvenient and not things that are really a big deal, but honestly...I've had enough this year, between deaths, sicknesses and all sorts of mechanical breakdowns I'm yelling, "Uncle, Uncle, Uncle!!".

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cultural Diversity....Upstate vs. Northern vs.Downstate New York

We live in "Northern" New York state, not "upstate".  Upstate usually refers to folks who live just north of New York City, like Westchester County and the like.  We Northerners don't consider "Westchester"  north at all.

When we travel anywhere we're cautious to say, we're from "Northern New York" not Western New York or Upstate New York.  We in Northern New York don't like to get clumped into the "upstate" group.  There's a good reason for it.  We are very different than our lower state neighbors.   We are certainly more rural and more like our New England neighbors to the East of us....For crying out loud, I have been know to make left or right  turns and end up in Vermont, it's happened more than once, I might add....I have this disability called "directionally challenged". I bet if I wrote a paper for a grant to research this disability I'd get the grant money in no time.

There are more than geographical differences though, a lot more.  We are truly a different culture. We like things to stay simple.  We don't like a whole lot of change.  And...we don't like people from downstate telling us what's good and what's bad, especially when they come up here to get away from all their things downstate, then decide to tell us how we can make it better up here.

Most of us, in the North, are loca-vores.  You know, we try to eat local, shop locally and buy things from our neighbors and the stores we can go to "downtown".  Yes, we have a downtown, and it's vibrant, ask all the folks from downstate who frequent our downtown regularly.

Here's the rub: I get it that they like this area, we're clean, we're calm and we're alive. But honest we're not dumb.  We know what we want and what we don't want.   The problem is, some of these folks who regularly come up here think they know what's best for us.   Never mind that they thought by coming up here they were getting away from some of the things they hated down there...

They come up here for all the amenities we can provide, without the craziness they're leaving behind, at least that's what they're thinking.  The problem  is, they don't seem to realize when they "suggest" to bring in some of the "essential to life" things like Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, Chico's and high rise buildings, they're making the place they came to, to get away from where they were, more like where they came from...

I know all about progress and continuing to get along with the times and all that hooey, but that's not what most of this is about.  It's about money, greed, and taking something away from folks who've lived here for years.

We were once a small town, small community, small population, that lit up during the Thoroughbred racing season.  The craziness of the invasion of the masses would last about 21 days.  However, because of greed and money making the season is almost 90 days now.   The town almost bursts at the seams with folks from all walks of life. The good, the bad and the ugly...although not so many ugly.....It's a true representation of the haves and the have-nots, most of us being the have-nots and most of them being the haves...or wanna be haves.

As a general rule most of the downstate folks are very nice.  You have certain ones though who can ruin everything in a matter of minutes.

I used to war a button on my lapel that said, "Ask me I'm local".  I don't wear it anymore after some incidents I was involved with, or one of my friends.  I took the button off and tossed it into the circular file.

Wearing the pin, I was walking downtown when a man about my age poked me in the shoulder and said, "Hey! YOU'RE supposed to help me!!"  I looked at him and said, "OK, what can I help you with?"  He said, "Where the fuck is the place (snapping his fingers.....and tapping his foot) know.....where you get that fucking rotten egg crap water?" I have to tell you I can swear with the best of them, but not to a total stranger who I'm asking for help. We live in a town with lots of mineral springs and some is like "fucking rotten egg crap" water.  I tried to figure out which of the springs he wanted to go to when her said, "What the fuck? Why bother with you fucking idiots up here. You're all a bunch of fucking faggots."

That was my first experience with the cultural diversity of us vs. them....I know I can't generalize but it got better...

The next incident for me was when I was nearly tackled by a couple of women who were shouting so loud and talking at the same time I couldn't understand what they wanted of me.   I asked if one of them would repeat what they were asking, The result of the request was: "Gees what're you deaf or somethin? Why bother." As they walked away.

After that I decided I would not be going downtown any time soon.  I'd wait until the masses of humanity left the town and went back to wherever they were from and leave us alone.  I haven't decided if I'll wear the pin this year or not....