Sunday, May 29, 2011

Women's Work Jeans

  • Why is it that manufacturers haven't figured out that women do work that's just as hard and heavy as men?
  • Why can't we find heavy (14+ oz) denim work jeans? Why are women's jeans only 11 oz denim?
  • Why are the pockets in women's jeans so short? Why don't they go down to the top of the thigh like men's so they're actually useful?
  • Why can I find a plethora of women's work slacks (lightweight BTW), but not work jeans?
  • Why do manufacturers think all women wear pink? Or want stretch-elastic waists? Or low-rise and "fashionable"?
  •  Why do we have to pay more for size 2/4 when they're almost half the material of a size 12?
  • Why do we have to buy men's/boy's rugged jeans that don't fit properly in the waist if they fit in the hips?
  • Why do manufacturers who do make a few bits of working gear for women think only large women do real work?

All I want are a couple pairs of heavyweight denim work jeans, with useful pockets, in a size 2-6 (depending on how many layers of long-johns I have on beneath). I want some room in the seat and thighs because I actually have some muscle and do a lot of bending and stooping. I want a normal waist that I can tuck a shirt into and it stays tucked, and one that doesn't gap too terribly or fall down when I have my Gerber knife, Leatherman multi-tool and H&K 9mm on my belt. I don't want cutesy pink camo, or kiwi or mango or floral... these are work clothes, they're going to get muddy and grimy, because I'm working not going on a date. And by working, I'm not talking about a little light gardening or milking a goat in the parlor. I need jeans that will stand up to construction, hauling firewood, clearing trail, digging trenches, butchering game and spreading manure as well as tending a large garden and herding livestock.

I might be just a tiny "poptart" but I pull my weight (and then some!) and I need clothes that can stand up to it!   (and, yes, someone did just call me a "poptart" recently LOL)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Word of the Day: Mumpsimus

For your vocabulary expansion and conversational pleasure, may I present...

Mumpsimus: a stubborn person who insists on making an error in spite of being shown that it is wrong

Anti-Hallmark Moments

... when you just don't care enough to send the very best.

I am seriously crispy with all the chaos and personal interaction lately. Individually, none of the events would be that traumatic or overwhelming or unmanageable, but everything all at once like this has put a serious dent in my mental state and ability to function. My anxiety is riding just below panic attack levels consistently, my ability to eat and sleep is all jacked up, and I basically feel like a hollowed out dry husk right now (albeit a quivering, vibrating one). The least little thing is enough to set me off, and I just want to go hide in a deep, dark cave for a few weeks to recuperate. I have zero energy reserves, despite any frantic/OCD motivation I may have to get things done.

I'm already starting to have difficulties dealing with people... the first sign that side of things is going downhill is when I can't parse what they're are saying anymore. Yup, already there! It's like trying to follow the bouncing ball on screen, but the words are moving too fast and nothing makes sense, and I keep losing whole chunks of what their saying like the audio is cutting out. Add in all the phone conversations (which I already have a hard time parsing) this week, and my little noodle is thoroughly over-cooked. Even though I'm home alone right now in the relative silence, even Ripley and Charlie's little noises and comments are tweaking me out and I'm about ready to go kill the friggin' song birds who are twittering outside non-stop... if those loud squawking ravens come back, they're going to be .22LR target practice for sure! I literally cannot deal.

These past few weeks are probably the most trying on the anxiety front since we got out here. I seriously, seriously, seriously, please God have mercy, hope that it's not indicator of a permanent change of state around the place... or else I may have to move to Greenland or Antarctica. I feel bad because it's not that I have anything against people personally, or that I am Scroodgey and don't want to be helpful, or that I am angry/frustrated/feel taken advantage of or whatever.... I just can't physically/mentally/emotionally deal with it at these levels for long durations. I mean, there are periods when even just having my husband and animals around is too much!! I just hope my new neighbors and everyone in town can understand and not take it personally or hold it against me because I'm a bit broken and wired funky. I don't want them to disintegrate, nor do I feel like they are a burden... I just need a bit more quiet space and time to recharge between interactions. Maybe I'm just oversensitive, but I have had so many issues with folks getting angry/upset with me because of the Aspergers and anxiety before... I just don't want it to happen again since I plan to be here permanently and don't want any troubles.

Flip me over and turn down the heat, cuz I'm certainly burnt on this side!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mud, Moving, Neighbors, Dodgy Front-Ends & Sick Kitties

No real progress on the cabin yet, although we did pick up the pier blocks for our porches, plywood for our stair treads, lumber for our window sills, and some used railroad ties for the skids/sleepers under the sheds.

Mostly, the name of the game these days is MUD... mud... mud... and more mud. It's messing up everyone's moving and building plans. To our east, K&S are having a rough time getting their building supplies down the East Trail and got their Mountaineer stuck up to the running boards the other day and had to use our Hi-Lift jack to get out of the mire and then as a come-along to winch them out onto solid ground. To our west, R&G got their forklift stuck in their yard up in Fairbanks while loading up the trailers to bring everything down here... since we almost got our truck stuck on the West Trail the other day, they're not even attempting to bring the forklift and their building materials down. And, of course, we can't really get any of our materials down the West Trail either. Everything must be done in small/light loads using the ATV and a sled since a trailer's wheels would get stuck (as previously witnessed).

We rented a small UHaul trailer to bring the last of our stuff out of the storage room in Fairbanks so that D&L, our friends who just moved to the Fairbanks outskirts from Louisiana, could have our storage room since climate controlled storage is hard to come by up here. Well, the trailer we rented was a serious POS -- no brakes and a front tire that decided to go flat made it a real treat to to up and down our windy mountain road. It wasn't great for G driving it down loaded, but seriously sucked for me driving it back empty... thing was bouncing around like a Go-Go dancer for 150 miles, sure couldn't take any downhill curves with any speed. Luckily, when I returned it, they knocked a few days off the rental because I bitched about the state of the equipment.

Of course, this lead us to take the truck in to get the brakes checked. And it turns out that we need some serious work done on the front end (steering and suspension) as well as new brakes all around. The mechanic basically said it as a miracle that we hadn't had an accident yet, especially given all the towing and the road conditions lately. I agree that the steering has been pretty drifty recently, with the steering wheel being more of a request and suggestion than a command. So G-man is up arguing with the mechanic today since he thinks the estimate I was quoted on Monday is way too high. Granted we have a big custom lifted truck, but the costs of labor in the estimate seemed way out of proportion even to me (twice the cost of parts??? come on guys!), and we could get brand new higher-end parts (with shipping!) for the costs they listed for refurbished parts. That's not entirely uncommon up here, especially when a woman brings the truck in, the truck has any mods at all, and the customer lives in the bush. Sad, but true. I'm sure that G will get them sorted, or we'll just order the parts and do the work ourselves after G drives home *slowly* with R&G this weekend when they move down. Always safer to drive a gimpy vehicle in a convoy in case something does happen.

So, I've been up in Fairbanks most of a week, except when I came down here with R&G's 2nd load (riding 4 hours cross-legged in the tiny jump-seat with the cat and G's guitar) and then towing the empty trailer back up. Between moving loading our stuff, helping D&L unload their stuff, helping R&G with their packing as much as I could... I'm seriously exhausted! Now G is up in Fairbanks for a few days, and I'll be trying to finish up sledding back the rest of our stuff and building materials with the ATV... and maybe get some more drywall work done... maybe.

Charlie kitty also had a vet visit to look at her chronic weepy eye, and is now on antibiotic drops to see if the tiny ulcer will clear up... so far, she's doing ok but hates the drops. Doc gave us the fluorescent dye drops to check on the ulcer every few days, and if it clears up we can stop the antibiotic drops and switch to the steroids. I have to say that I *LOVE* our vet, he always makes time for us whenever we come in from the bush and he is more than willing to send us meds by mail and do consults over the phone/email. He even said he'd come out to our place once/twice a year once we get our livestock to do health checks on the whole bunch of them at once. How awesome is that?!

At this point, it looks like we're just going to have to move into the cabin without the walls and floors being finished and work around stuff. It sucks to have to move everything from room to room and use drop clothes and all, but I'm so freakin' tired of living in this tent! Since a lot of the stuff we had in storage was fragile/electronics and is already safely in the cabin, the rest of it might as well be... right?! I mean, we have to work around that stuff now, so we might as well work around all of it. Figure we can load up one floor, fix the other, then move everything to that floor and do the remaining floor. Nifty stuff like trim and porches is last on the list. We might not even get the porches on completely this year, which means that we won't have the roof done completely/properly this year either... but we still have the uber-mega-mother-of-all-tarps that we didn't use last winter that we can use this winter if we have to. Whatever!! As long as we have a weather-tight, insulated cabin with sturdy floors & walls, level surfaces to work with, doors & windows that open & close, and a wood stove that keeps the place warm I'll be good!

I just feel bad for K&S, R&G, and D&L who all think they'll have something livable and warm by winter when they're starting from scratch and don't even have any land cleared yet. I'd love to tell them that they've got plenty of time to make it... but if the weather and trail conditions don't cooperate and they aren't building from a pre-cut kit, I doubt they'll make it. Both K & G have oodles of construction experience, but they can't dedicate full-time to the building process and all that experience doesn't mean diddly if you can't get your materials on-site! I wish everyone the best of luck and will try to help out as best I can while still getting our cabin work done.  JOY!!!  I think my anxiety disorder is going to be triggered for the next few months... will need to get my Rx filled next time I'm in town!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Random Rants

This has been/is/will continue to be a very stressful month for me, particularly with the Asperger/Anxiety issues. So, since this is my blog and I can rant if I want to, I'm going to let off some steam :) These aren't targeted at anyone in particular, they're just things that keep popping up with different folks at different times in different circumstances... I'm probably just really sensitive to it because of my own issues and the way I was brought up.

Raising children -- ok, I don't have kids, never wanted kids, and really can't understand why anyone would have or want them other than prophylactic failure or continuation of the species, so I realize that I really don't have room to comment on parenting. But, there are a few things that bother the living crap out of me and I just can't fathom. 1) If you have them, control them. Basically, consider teaching them and enforcing upon them the general order of a sentry -- quit your post only when properly relieved, conduct yourself in a proper manner at all times and alert the commanding officer when necessary. Seriously, kids need to learn to be quiet/respectful and do what they're told until given other instruction. And learn when it is and is not appropriate to interrupt. How hard is that?! 2) Limits -- have them and enforce them... really! Children should not be allowed to do whatever they want whenever they want no matter what the circumstances. They should learn early that their parents' and visitors' attention are not all for them... when guests are over and/or work is being done, children need to stay quiet and out of the way unless instructed otherwise or there is an emergency (see #1!!). 3) Having kids doesn't mean that one or both parents gets to opt out of doing work and running errands no matter how young the kids are (see #2!!). And neither parent should get stuck minding the kids all the time or expect outsiders to mind them either. If you aren't willing to take care of them, or can't tolerate being around them, then either don't have them or teach them damned manners!

Asking for help -- I realize that we're just a smidge more self-sufficient and counter-dependent than most folks and would probably risk loss of limb/property before deciding we need help, but some common sense should apply if you're going to ask other people to for help... 1) make sure you actually need it first, especially if the person you want helping has a life of their own. 2) If it's an emergency, it's ok to scramble someone else for assistance... but make sure it's a real emergency not just an overreaction. 3) If you have too many "emergencies" too frequently, consider this an indication that you're doing something wrong and have a serious lack of planning/action on your part. Remember -- lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine. 4) If you want non-critical assistance, let folks know at least a few days in advance so they can schedule it... at that point, you're on their schedule not the other way around. 5) If you want non-critical assistance, ASK for it... don't just hint at it and hope the other person offers. That's passive-aggressive crap... do that nonsense too often and people who are normally receptive and helpful WILL get pissed off at you. 6) Boils down to: Everyone pitches in for a real critical issue, no advance warning or politeness is expected; ordinary assistance requires planning, politeness and respect of others time. And whatever you do, don't act all weird and pissy if someone calls you on your shit or isn't available to help you... especially not if they've already told you better ways to do whatever it is you're doing. And if you keep screwing up communal stuff, expect people to get irate. If you won't listen and make others lives more difficult, how can expect others to keep helping?

/end rant due to panic attack

(Great. Now where did I put my Valium?!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On Graciousness and Hospitality

It has recently come to our attention that some folks think we're gracious and generous.

I'm not exactly arguing with them, but I never really thought about it before and certainly don't think I'm particularly gracious and definitely wouldn't consider myself the most hospitable hostess :)

I guess it depends on your definition, or what definitions you're going by LOL

I'm totally not charming, tactful or delicate, and wouldn't say I was all that tasteful either. I can be generous to a point, but don't think I'm particularly spectacular in that department... I might give you one of my layers and be a little cold if you're freezing, but not the coat off my back if it means I'll freeze.

My hospitality begins and ends with a place stay and a bit of food and water if I have it. I might make some meals for you if I'm already making something for myself, and I might even give some thought about what you'd like when I'm planning dinner. I'll show you where everything is, and if you want something after that, feel free get it yourself. I try to make sure you have the basic amenities for a comfortable stay like a blanket, a wash cloth, a basin and a water jug... but it's not luxury accommodations or anything, there is no maid service or mints on your pillow every night. I don't go out of my way to entertain you.

I'm just willing to help if I'm able and it doesn't put me out too much to do so... that's what I'd expect of any human. But, I guess this mindset isn't that common anymore going by the reactions and comments I get from the folks I've helped out and shared ideas/plans with. It's a sad comment on the state of our society when a recluse with Aspergers, social anxiety and stunted empathy/interpersonal skills like me is considered gracious and generous by comparison.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Irregular bush report...

So back to normal service and less of the ranting and a quick update to all of our regulars.

Over the past couple of weeks we've been relatively busy. Tom's visit was good, although we achieved a little less than we'd hoped for, but that's the bush for you.

We did get into Fairbanks last week and picked up our kitchen cabinets... W00t! we just need the internal wall to put them up against. We also dragged our western neighbors 16' camper behind us on the way home, which was completely special. We lost the right rearview mirror back in the fall, and we've been waiting for a replacement (which wasn't there when we were in Fairbanks unfortunately). So we had kitchen cabinets in the bed of the truck, so no regular rear view, and the left which was fine when we only had the cabinets. Then the trailer, and the rearview was completely useless. Fortunately very little was moving that day on the Elliott we only passed a couple of semi's coming in the opposite direction, and had nothing behind (I think anyway) or in front of us from Fox to Livengood.

Well that was the easy part, then we had to haul it down our raggedy ass trail, where it lost one storage hatch, the air conditioning trim, and the step, which wasn't that bad considering. Then we pulled up, and I tried to side swipe our storage shed (hey I couldn't see jack out the right side). We got re-combobulated and pulled up. Only to have the truck die. The battery has seen much action with our winch, and it's feeling a little tired, well given I left the lights on for about 30 minutes while we unhooked the trailer, and we had some broken electrical wire (another casualty of the trail) sitting in a puddle, I suspect the battery was in severe need of a nap. It was, and we charged it overnight, and it ran like a champ again. We have a new replacement that's going in tomorrow.

So the trail is holding up at the moment barely, the mud under the surface is still frozen, but in a few days or so it's going to melt, and then it'll be next stop South Africa (or somewhere in the southern hemisphere, that's about our lat/long but south and east). So I suspect we'll be leaving our truck at our old standby place the next time we take her out to the road, and using 4 wheeler to bring things back.

Anyway part of the reason for bringing out that camper was that our western neighbors Rose and Greg (who I hope don't mind me stating their names) were coming down to work on their property, they're expecting to move down here Memorial Day weekend. So we should have some nearer neighbors.

So they arrived on Friday evening, so being neighborly, I dragged their trailer (an 8' single axle) down to their camper, or at least tried to... Here's the result...

Oopsie... Yes it's resting on the rails. Their Camper is parked about 20 yards from our place in our clearing (since it's clear... that's why it's a clearing) while they're working on their own clearing, luckily the sinkage was only on the other side of our shed, so a brisk 15 yard wade. Also note the return of Lake Wardle, however this year it seems to be draining a little better than last year. Please observe that Ripley is giving us her best "Blue Steel" look, (or was that "Le Tigre") with crooked front paw. She's such a ham. It took about 15 minutes in the morning (this was taken at about 11pm) to get it out of the bog, with many thanks to Hi-Lift such a simple design, with a myriad of applications.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Food Assistance Stupidity

Out of curiosity, I looked into the Alaska Food Stamp program. For the most part, everything makes sense, although I do question some of the work-related eligibility requirements as a tad over-stringent given our geography and economy; however I have some serious qualms with a couple of covered and uncovered items.

WRT subsistence hunting and fishing:
  • Covered: necessary hunting and fishing equipment
  • Not Covered: firearms and ammunition

Huh?!? So what exactly are we hunting with? Bow & arrows? Spears & clubs? Harsh language? The least they could do is offer some lifetime limits on appropriate calibers of firearms and a yearly allotment of those ammunitions. Say, for each family member, one 22LR & one 30-06, with a yearly allotment of 100 rds each... that should do it for most real subsistence hunting situations in this state (you can get a moose and some grouse).

WRT purchased food & food products:

  • Covered: Snack foods like candy, potato chips, chewing gum, and soft drinks. Vegetable seeds and food producing plants, roots, and trees.
  • Not Covered: Items for food preservation, such as pressure cookers, canning jars and lids, paraffin, freezer containers and wrapping paper.
WTF??? You'll let someone buy nutritionally void GARBAGE on food stamps, but not necessary equipment to preserve nutritiously wholesome food?! And you'll cover the seed/stock to grow edible plants, but not the means to preserve any of the harvest?!

And this is why I think the government officials responsible for developing and regulating these programs are asshats and cause most of the abuses in "social welfare". I know a lot of folks think these sorts of programs should be eliminated entirely, but I just want them managed properly and logically if we're going to pay for them!