Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Getting Comedy by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Sometimes I wish I had a sense of humor. Sometimes I wish I could get jokes easily and laugh all the time.

Other times I realize that I do have a sense of humor but I also have this problem with being literal.

You know, like people on the spectrum.

As I recall, my father was the worst at joking around. He was constantly teasing me because I was always and forever trying to explain why his joke didn’t make sense.

Then again, he more than once stared at me like something was wrong when I sat at the dinner table. And every time I stood and looked around wondering what was wrong. Once I was standing again, he’d say, “Since you’re up,” then he’d ask me to get something from the kitchen.

As often as he did it, you’d think I’d learn. I never did.

And I’m pretty sure I’m not his only child he did it to, but boy did he get me the most because I was that gullible.

But the big one was his jokes.

I still don’t get the elephant in the pajama’s idiocy. An elephant could never fit into a human’s pajamas. Elephants are too big to fit into even the largest man’s clothes. I mean really, just consider the numbers. The record for the largest human, in weight, is what 500, 600, or maybe 800 pounds? I have no idea, but I do know it's considerably under a ton. A full-grown elephant weights in above the ton mark and as someone with weight issues, I know twenty pounds makes a difference in how something fits, a hundred pounds would have the clothes either falling off a person or splitting seams, depending on which way the poundage went.

You try putting an elephant in an 800-pound man’s PJ’s and said PJ’s will be rags. I guarantee it. Meaning the joke makes no sense.

And if my memory was better, I’d remember more of my father’s inane jokes, but it doesn’t matter, I never got them.

Konnie, and frankly several of my friends, once insisted I needed to write a humorous story. Want to know how that’s going?

It’s not.

That story is stalled out and I seriously doubt I’ll get back to it. As far as I’m concerned it isn’t funny. Ironic maybe, but not funny. I don’t do funny.

And I have yet again become acquainted with someone who has decided it's his personal calling to get me to laugh.

His first attempt?


Which got our coworkers to laugh at the glare I gave him. I don’t like puns. They are so inane! Heads up everyone, puns don’t work on me.

What does?

Well, the first real laugh he got out of me, wasn’t a joke. One of our coworkers had been sneezing a lot, and she said something on the lines of, “I wonder how many more times I’ll sneeze before the end of the day?”

The jokester responded, “564,” or some such random and large three-digit number.

Okay, I admit it, I cracked up. Not at the number he pulled out of his head, but at the very idea of anyone even presuming to predict how many times a single person would sneeze in about three hours’ time.

The next time he got a laugh out of me, and only a small one at that, he pretended to be Elmo asking us if we could count to three.

He’s pretty good at voices actually, but that wasn’t funny as much it was cute. At least he now knows not to try puns on me.

And honestly, it may also depend on the mood I’m in.

Case in point, sometimes I can watch Gilligan’s Island and laugh my head off, other times I can’t even stand the idea of watching Gilligan’s Island and all those inane antics. Then there was the one time I watched Gilligan’s Island and cried. But that was not long after Tom died.

I wasn’t thinking about how goofy Gilligan was, I was thinking about how much I missed Tom and how I wouldn’t have had those DVDs of all three seasons if not for Tom. They were a gift from him. To be honest, I’ve done the same thing about the three seasons of the original Star Trek, for the same reason even.

Though I have to admit it was Gilligan who got me through those first few months without Tom.

I realized I had adjusted to his loss when I stopped crying, stopped laughing, and finally found the show inane.

The thing is, I’ve watched it since then, several times, when I needed cheering up. Currently, I’m at the place where I find such comedy inane.

Me write comedy? Never!

Anyway, happy writing, everyone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Of Disabilities and Injuries by Konnie Enos


I know I’ve mentioned how my daughter has been taking over the stay-at-home-mom chores around here. Recently we managed to convince my youngest that she could not do this alone and he has become her right-hand man.

Yeah, things are getting done regularly.

Then life happens.

First, my daughter got costochondritis (inflammation, in this case in her ribcage). The doctor’s orders are rest and no heavy lifting. Nothing that causes her more pain.

Little brother picks up as much slack as he can, and I’m trying to do more as my schedule allows. She still needs more rest and isn’t better yet.

My son, as usual, complains, but he does make efforts to increase what he is doing to pick up the slack.

Then what happens?

While doing his usual running at night, he trips over a dog and bangs his knee into the wall.

Now in our house dislocations are rather common and those that have them just put the joint back into place then wait until the pain subsides before going about their business again, usually a matter of minutes. However, now and again, it’s serious.

By yesterday afternoon my son is visibly limping and his knee is swollen and painful to the touch. I take him to be seen. What does the doctor tell him? Rest, elevate, and ice. Also, no weight bearing for as much as a week and only as tolerated. He gave him crutches. He will also need further examination to know the extent of the damage.

So now he and his sister are out of commission.

There are still three other people living here.

My oldest daughter still at home can’t deal with excess stress. She will spiral into the abyss when stressed. Between her college classwork and the chores she can and does do, she can’t handle anymore.  So she will continue to feed the dogs, take out the garbage, and wipe high contact surfaces with disinfectant wipes regularly.

Hey, every little bit helps.

Due to physical limitations, I can’t reach anything below my waist or above my head. I’m also working full-time. So my chores are wiping down the table and counters, finances (i.e.: paying the bills). I also do dishes and cook dinner when it’s my turn. (My currently out of commission son and daughter usually take their turns with both those chores.) I can only manage dishes on my days off.

Now doing dishes with of those nifty machines designed to clean dishes isn’t a taxing chore. We do not have a working dishwasher. As you can imagine, doing the dishes only twice a week would not be a good thing.

Of course, I have not eliminated all members of the household yet. We are a family of five.

So there is yet one household member who has no physical or time limitations on doing chores. Someone physically capable of scrubbing toilets, sweeping, mopping, washing, drying, and putting away dishes, wiping down all kitchen surfaces, even taking out the garbage and feeding all the dogs. And, even though he does none of it, he is capable of cooking a few things. In other words, the only chore he isn’t capable of doing is staying on top of the finances and paying the bills.

What chores does he do?

Well, he makes sure his largest dog is fed. He also does some of the chauffeuring and is generally the one who fills the gas tank and makes sure the car is in working order.

What he rarely does is any of the indoor chores and then it’s only a few dishes. Nothing else.

What is his reason for not doing anything else?

His chore is bringing in the money to pay all those bills.

How does he bring in all that money? He is receiving VA and SSD. Yes, he worked hard before he got his disability but just because he is very justifiably unable to hold down a job, doesn’t mean he is unable to do chores.

I only have two and a half weeks left of work (temporary job). So I can just see the mess this house is going to be in for the rest of this month while I try to work full-time and keep up with what chores I can since I’m certain my husband will not step up and pick up some of the slack.

This means, of course, for the next two and half weeks dishes and cooking dinner won’t be done daily. Most likely only a couple of times a week.

So for the next three of four weeks (while my children heal), our house is going to be a disaster.

And life goes on.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Work, Pets, and Nano by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Okay, who has time to write?

I come home from work and I have trouble keeping my eyes open long enough to eat dinner and I get home around four in the afternoon! How do people manage when they work eight-hour shifts?

I can only work twenty hours a week. You would think, what with me working half as many hours as most people, I’d be able to find the time to write more than once every other week!

And this would be October! Nano is less than a month away, and even if we were meeting in person, which we’re not, I can’t make our meetings this month (for prep) because I have to work.

Because of work, I can’t make my knitting group meetings either. In November, my writing group will have some virtual write-ins, and some would be in the evening, if I can stay awake that long, I could attend those.

Too bad they never have write-ins on Mondays. I have Mondays off.

Konnie is working too, but she doesn’t even attempt to do Nano and the one time she actually managed to write 50K in a single month her family was less than pleased with her.

Actually, when Tom was alive, I generally only managed 50K in November, because Tom expected me to quit writing for the month once I reached it. Needless to say, after he died, I managed a lot more words during Nano. This year, I have the feeling, I’m not going to do as well, since I’m only sure I’d be able to write three days a week. The three I’m off.

And still, Konnie won’t even take part in Nano. Maybe once her nest is empty.

Nah, that’s not going to happen.

Her second oldest has major health issues and needs help while her youngest is on the spectrum and doesn’t want to leave the nest. So, essentially, she only has one child left to leave the nest. And that’s only if her oldest son manages to stay out of the nest. He’s yet to prove he can manage a budget.

Not that Konnie hasn’t tried to teach him how to. She’s done everything she can to make her kids ready to live on their own. In fact, she taught all her children everything her youngest daughter has down pat. And the only reason she hasn’t left the nest yet is she’s having trouble finding a job in her field.

It’s hard to break into a field with only a degree and no work experience. I keep hoping for her sake she finds something soon.

But even with just two kids at home, Konnie wouldn’t have the time to write more, since she’d be left with the three members of her family who need the most attention.

My next issue is my carpal tunnel is acting up. Probably because I’ve both been trying to improve my typing speed and knitting a Christmas present for Konnie’s husband and those needles and thread are quite small.

I just wish I could say his present would be finished by Christmas. Yeah, not happening unless I forgo doing Nano.

As far as writing goes, I have one other impediment to it.

That impediment is called Patches.

I swear every time I open my computer, he decides he wants to cuddle. How do you type when your cat is trying to put himself between you and the computer? Konnie doesn’t have that problem, because the only cat in her menagerie wants nothing to do with her. Kind of a sore point with her, because Tiger will go to me!

At any rate, her dog isn’t a lap dog. The only lap dog in her house isn’t her pet, and he knows not to get between Konnie and her computer. Patches doesn’t care. All that matters to him is getting my attention. Why he decides he needs it when I’m busy, I’ll never know.

So anyway, who is doing Nano this year? And who is ready for it?

Do you have a project in mind? I do. Not sure it will work, but I have an idea to start with.

More importantly, do you have a writing schedule? Or do you wing it? I usually wing it, but with my schedule, I’m going to have to go with a schedule. It’s all new to me.

And do you outline extensively or go by the seat of your pants? I used to always go with the seat of the pants, but the last little while I’ve been going more with something somewhere in between the two. Maybe in a way, I always have, I just didn’t bother writing down the outline before.

So, what is your method?

Anyway, happy writing, everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Musings and Ramblings by Konnie Enos


Did you ever have one of those days were you just can’t form a coherent thought? I seem to be having one of those weeks.

I already knew I didn’t want a topic too broad because it’s difficult to narrow it down. However, to narrow of one means you can’t find enough material to fill the page. That being said, my issue seems to be I can’t come up with a subject, to begin with, and if I do I can’t put it into an intelligent string of words. My brain seems more fog than anything else.

Now, this could be a lack of sleep.

For one reason or another, I’ve had too many nights, far too close together, where I ended up not getting to bed until midnight or later. Very unusual for me because I generally get up early particularly right now when I have to be to work so early in the morning. Believe me, going to bed at midnight or later when you have to be up at four doesn’t work.

 Now I do occasionally have one of those nights where I just can’t seem to get to sleep and for some reason just never feel tired. This is generally precipitated by my picking up a really good book though not always. Sometimes I just get caught up doing something or other (usually on my tech) and I neglect to pay attention to the time.

Then there is always the far too regular around here trips to the ER. My most recent one consumed nearly twelve hours. Now twelve hours isn’t all that concerning but when you consider I didn’t even head over there until about two in the afternoon then it becomes one of those late-night experiences.

This most recent experience was all the longer than it would normally need to be, not because the place was packed (as far as I could see, busy, but not packed) but because they’d had to turn off each and every bit of computer tech in the entire hospital to protect patient information from a hacker. They were doing everything old school. Paper charts, paper orders, no emails. Waiting for paper reports to be delivered from one place to the next.

I think the bulk of my stay was just waiting for things to be processed and delivered. Even discharging me took twice as long as usual because they had to wait for the paper forms to be hand filled in.

Of course, this means I didn’t get home until nearly two in the morning. Believe me, if you’re going to bed at two, you are not getting up at four. Then again, I was still sick enough to not even consider going to work.

On top of all that, my house has been in a bit of an upheaval as the oldest of my sons packed up what few belongings he had and moved out of the house, into his first apartment.

Now since he has very little in the form of worldly possessions his new apartment is not bursting at the seams with stuff. Since he owns no furniture, it’s empty. The big exception, of course, is a twenty-something, single male in this day and age can’t be without his gaming system. Now I’m personally unsure how he’s going to use it with no TV, but I’m equally sure that TV will be at the top of his list. Maybe even before a bed.

For me, a bed would be the first thing I’d consider because there is no way I’m sleeping on the floor. For my son, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

On the other hand, he’s smart enough to realize his first consideration needed to be how he was getting to and from work. Being young, and lacking a savings account, his options weren’t extensive. However, his current lack of a driver’s license limited him even further.

He now owns a bike.

At least now my husband doesn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to get our son from work then hustle home so I’m not late for work. Of course, this is possible because our son’s friend also moved into his own apartment. So we won’t have to transport him to and from work either.

Though it gives me pause to consider these young men moving into apartments by themselves with little or no furniture. Not to mention neither one of them has a car. Probably a good thing the apartments they moved to are near where they work.

All in all, I’m not sure I’m functioning at full capacity right now.

How are you all doing?

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Job Hunting by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I have been really busy the last couple of weeks, but I finally found a job. Just a temporary one. At least it’s a start, and I needed the money a couple months ago.

Have you any idea how hard it is to look for employment when so many places are by appointment only or worse still, online only.

And I say worse still because those sights never actually route you to where you can apply. Or at least I don’t think any of them did, but it sure got me on a ton of email and text alerts for jobs I’m not qualified for.

Some of the jobs were physically out of my ability range, and several were out of my skills range. What’s up with that?

And I can’t tell you how many times some website or another notified me of full-time positions when I had clearly indicated that I was looking for part-time work. My doctor said I could only work twenty hours a week.

I also received several notices and “offers” from a company in Idaho Falls. I can’t afford the gas for a job clear up there. What are they thinking? That’s just absurd.

They also keep sending me jobs that require a CDL, I at no time said I a CDL. Man, I can’t have a CDL, since I recently learned no one with Diabetic neuropathy cannot have one. I guess I’m lucky I can still legally drive at all. That may change.

And I have no idea why they keep sending me job offers for CNA’s or nurses when I have no such licensing or skills. Never in a million years.

I did find a couple that sounded promising for me, right up until I noticed the bit about having to lift 30 pounds. Yee gads, people, you’re lucky I can walk, give me a break.

And there are only two jobs I’m sure I applied for.

One where my friend gave me the link direct to the company’s website, no middle-man site, and the one where I applied in person, after my bishop got me the interview.

I know I tried several times to apply for the at-home job through Amazon, but well, I kept clicking past all the job service’s ads and ended up back at the main page before I actually got to the point of filling out any application.

And as I already said, my current job is only temporary, but I’m hoping this COVID nonsense ends before I have to get serious again about job hunting, because I don’t look forward to going through those dang websites again.

I wouldn’t mind if they were straightforward and easy to navigate and that every time you tried to apply for a job you could actually apply without signing up for more texts and emails or dealing with ads.

And I mean really? Ads? Selling things like life and homeowners insurance, to people who don’t have jobs? Are you nuts? You’d have to be.

And somewhere in there, I ended up getting emails about applying for unemployment. I’m not eligible for unemployment. I haven’t worked in well over a decade.

Why do they have to make something so simple so hard?

As far as I’m concerned, sometimes the internet isn’t helpful at all. Sometimes, in person is the best way to go.

After all, how could I know if some of those at-home job offers were scams when I couldn’t check them out? My only info was what the website gave me. It seemed weird.

Oh, and I did get another job offer.

They called me, saying I had applied.

I had? Really? Not only was I pretty sure I never got to the point of actually applying for a job on any of those websites, I never heard of the company. I immediately went online, trying to find out something on them, only to discover it was a pyramid scheme. I’m too smart to get caught up in one of those again. Once bitten, twice shy and all.

I’ve also been working on my typing speed. Hopefully, by the time this job is over, I can find something using my improved typing skills which isn’t minimum wage, which would be a big help.

Aside from all that, I’m working on my sci-fi, the problem is, I keep finding plot holes in the first nine chapters. I haven’t even gotten to the end; I constantly going back to fix new problems.

At least I’m finding them now and not later.

Anyway, how is your writing going? I hope you’re doing better than I am.

Happy writing, everyone!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Of Road Trips and Phone Calls by Konnie Enos


This week my daughter had a doctor’s appointment about an 8-hour drive from our home. This requires some planning to make it on time. After covering who was going (i.e.: drivers and patient), securing a place to stay, packing needed items, and procuring road snacks, we loaded up the car and left the house.

We did not, however, immediately, head out of town because the car needed a full tank before starting on such a long trip.

After being on the road for a while, we all needed a bathroom break. When we stopped all three of us got out of the car without our phones.

Yeah, I know, an amazing thing in this day and age but my daughters aren’t glued to their phones and I hadn’t even thought about the fact I was leaving it in the car. After all, I wasn’t going to be out of the car that long.

Not long after we returned to the car the phone of my daughter and the designated driver started ringing. (Other daughter doesn’t drive and I don’t do long distances. My max driving time is two hours and even that is iffy.)

Anyway, she answered her phone and it was her youngest brother.

I’m not at all surprised he called, even after such a short time. After all, I had left him home alone with his dad. My husband, being his normal self, manages to annoy all his children, the youngest daily but since he is on the spectrum, it’s really easy to annoy him. I’m honestly surprised he has called only three or four times since.

I mean between his father finding ways to annoy him daily and his nearly daily need to discuss his favorite shows with someone, which is usually me since I’m the only one in the house who will listen, I expected regular calls.

So his call didn’t surprise me, nor did him calling every phone but his youngest sister’s before he tried her phone. After all, she was driving.

No, what surprised me is what he said about calling every phone in our car.

You see he told his sister he’d been calling us for two hours and was starting to panic since none of us had answered our phones.

Mind you as soon as we knew he’d been calling my other daughter and I checked our phones. We had one missed call from him each, both while we were out of the car to use the bathroom.

But according to him, he’d been trying to get ahold of us for two hours.

My daughter excused our not getting his call was because we’d been driving through mountains for the last couple of hours.

Of course, we were driving through mountains, just not for a whole two hours.

As I mentioned, we’d stopped for a bathroom break, our first such break on our trip. We planned all our stops as close to two hours as we could. That’s right, two hours.

Two hours previous to his calls we were barely leaving the city.

We not only weren’t in the mountains yet, but we’d also left the house no more than half an hour before.

So according to my son, he got frustrated and annoyed with his father, who he is spending three days with, within thirty minutes of us leaving the house.

 Worse, now he had to call because his brother, who was supposed to be gone the whole time we were, had returned home already.

My two boys get along like oil and water. On top of that lately, my older son has been moody, grumpy, and fairly hostile.

Now my son has to deal with his clueless dad and his grouchy brother.

I kind of feel for him, and my sister. The last time he called I let him know I was busy.

His solution?

Call his aunt.

So my sister got the opportunity to listen to my son talking about his current favorite shows and what’s happening in them.

Though honestly, I can’t do anything about how people at home are annoying him when I’m in a different state.

I’m sure when I finally get home I’ll get an earful from my son.

Oh, the joys of motherhood.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Curve Balls by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Life has a way of throwing curveballs.

Right now, those curveballs are kicking my you know what.

I haven’t been able to work for the last eight years because of my heart condition, the problem is, in the twenty-six years before that, I only had one job, and it only lasted six weeks, about all I could handle of it. (It stressed me out.)

Yeah, I wasn’t handling stress well before I was told to avoid it because of my heart.

Now I need a job.

Problem one, my doctor said I can only work part-time.

Problem two, aside from my CHF, I also have flat feet and asthma and am obese. I can’t stand long or walk far without one of those things causing problems.

Problem three is of course my work history, totally nonexistent for more than two decades of my adult life and well, what skills I did have thirty-four years ago, I can no longer use, because, well I am now physically incapable of doing custodial work.

My skill set these days is more suited for an office, but well, I can’t type fast enough to be considered a proficient secretary, and while I know MS Word, I do not know MS Office. I’ve never even managed to figure out Excel.

And then there is the whole being on the spectrum thing. I’m just having trouble getting everything done I need to do, and my to-do list keeps getting longer, while I sit around trying to decide what is most important.

I have honestly always had trouble prioritizing and now that I don’t have anyone around to keep me on track.

I miss Tom!

Of course, if Tom were still alive, I wouldn’t be in this boat, since while he was in my life, I mostly didn’t have to work, and for that one anomaly I found a solution that didn’t require me to work after I quit.

Then again, part of the stress of that job was transportation since my job was in the completely opposite direction of Tom’s job at the time and we only had one car. Let alone that we were living clear out in the country.

But it doesn’t change that I have to avoid stress.

How do you avoid stress in a work situation?

I mean really. Work is stressful. Finding a job is stressful, particularly during this pandemic while so much is closed. I find it especially hard to trust all these online job sites, and I’m getting tired of having to navigate through what is essentially ads without even finding a real job offer.

I want to talk to a real person!

And I still need to improve my typing speed. You would think with all the typing I do that I would be pretty fast, but I’m not. Just ask any of my friends I’ve been in word sprints with. I’m always last, period.

My average is twenty-five words per minute and secretaries need to type at least fifty. Yeah, I have a long way to go.

What really bugs me, is I did take typing in high school, and to pass that class you needed a net word count of sixty per minute. I did pass the class, but somewhere in the years where I didn’t have a typewriter available to me, my speed slowed down considerably, and I haven’t been able to pick it up.

Maybe more word sprints would help. I have no idea.

All I know is, I need to try harder.

I need to do more than just set goals, I need to set daily goals and I need someone I’m accountable to who will keep me on track.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set a list of goals for a day, and by the end of the day, I didn’t get any of it done, or very little, and it doesn’t faze me. Now if there is someone expecting me to do something by a certain time and date, by golly I’m going to get it done.

Too bad, I have no one making sure I get my everyday chores like dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping, changing the litter box done.

The only chore Patches yells at me about is feeding him. So, he isn’t much help on the rest. In fact, he gets in the way when I try to do them.

I’m trying to do laundry; he’s playing in the laundry baskets.

I’m trying to do dishes; he’s climbing all around the sink.

I’m trying to sweep; he’s either attacking the broom or chasing the dirt away from the broom!

At least mopping and vacuuming scare him away, but he also gets in my way when I’m trying to dust!

Happy writing, everyone!