We Were Chuffed, Y’all!

Summer Fundraiser 2015, Day Four

Here we are on the fourth day of our 2015 Summer Quarterly Fundraiser! Whoo, boy — when part of the week is spent visiting Purgatorio instead of doing fundraising posts, the experience distorts time. Moments become elongated while hours disappear behind a cloud of pages. Label me FRETFUL when I can’t set off my bombs.

I had been soo psyched up to continue the battle with the Forces of Evil (HateNotHope), and instead here I was muscled into silence by our non-functioning phone and internet. As much as I’d have liked to, I couldn’t yell loud enough to be heard by those bumblers. [By the way, have you noticed they’re not real smart? I told one person those HnH folks “weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer. More like plastic butter cutters”.].

My Irish was up, ready to do battle and then the Karma Dude closed the gates. BWAH! No fair!

The Baron and I are so different. Not able to work directly on this fundraiser, he spent his time in Coventry virtuously clearing out his Gates of Vienna “To Do” box. Me? I spent much of it wallowing in books: at least the Kindle worked.

Let’s just say we utilize our resources differently.

Tip jarSo now, back in the real world again, the B has all that work accomplished and is being doubly virtuous about not comparing our methods for handling stress. Except for a bad case of chiggers from wading up to my knees in the rudbeckia (so much for gardening instead) all I have to show for it is a lot of new information. I can tell you a few things I didn’t know (or know as well or in the same way) before we were cut off from the world. To me, learning something new in the face of frustration is both a distraction and a solace. I’m sure that’s a Tolkien paraphrase from somewhere or another but it’s true: feel sad? Learn something.

For instance, I discovered these books —

  • One concerned the leading new theories about heart disease. What we need to know about homocysteine and three essential B vitamins to maintain healthy blood vessels. In sum: throw out all those cholesterol tests your doctor gave you, and be your own doctor/researcher to the extent you can. The more you know the less fearful you’ll be. Yes, the Baron will get another vitamin to add to his collection; he doesn’t mind.
  • Why “adverse” childhood events wreak havoc on your body’s immune system. With enough of these adversities experienced by age 14 or so, in the long term you’re much more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, obesity, depression, and all those other “diseases of civilization”… unless you figure out how to compensate for them. The information is awe-inducing (Cartesian duality sure didn’t do us any favors when it comes to our mind/body split) and revealing. Who knew the gut is lined with brain cells?? Those mid-life crises will eventually become predictable and, as needed, preventable. But none of that will change until we get over not being in charge, and certainly not until we begin treating children with care and deep respect. Hint: they don’t “grow out of it”. [The Baron has proved these ideas by omission: he briefly had a bout when young of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. But it all disappeared when he met me 😉 of course. Other than the macular degeneration caused by sitting out in the noonday sun painting landscapes for two decades, he has no ailments. And I plan to keep it that way as long as I can. As he said, “There’s not much to say about my normal childhood.” Normal is boring. He discovered this in college when many of his friends had Stories to Tell and he became the Listener. Annoying to some of us, he remembered the Stories].
  • Then there was the intriguing life story of a middle-aged Pakistani woman of high birth who became a Christian (during the 1960s and following). No one proselytized her — what Christian missionary would dare? Their work was limited to the poorest of the poor, to what Pakistanis called “the sweepers”. In other words, just as it was in Paul’s time and is now in, say, China, Christianity is for those with nothing left to lose but their misery. Yet this wealthy woman was converted via a series of vivid dreams. After a long period of solitude — the woman even baptized herself in her tub — when she finally came out of the closet, her shocked and humiliated family built a social cordon sanitaire around her; all her Muslim servants fled. She movingly described their tarnished “honor” due to her own behavior and beliefs. A fascinating story about metanoia (no, she never uses the word), and how “the mighty are brought low”. In this case, a haughty woman learned humility and forgiveness.

Of course throughout all of this I was fretting, envisioning all of you clicking on to an empty site. [Thank you, Vlad, for filling that space.]

Books are my escape when I feel helpless. In this case, I was cornered by events I had so carefully planned to circumvent should they arise. As I said in the comments today and in a note to a donor:

We’d been without internet connectivity for what seems like eons. A few nights ago a storm — somewhat noisy but not obviously destructive — took out our phone and internet. We just got back on an hour ago [I was writing this at mid-day].

Living in the Back of Beyond has its advantages in these days of governmental intrusion, but to have all our [my] back-up systems fail at the same time? Can you say “quelle horreur”? Neither can I, or at least not well.

The B figured out the hours of outage our phone company owes us. Sure they do; I’ll wait for the check and the apology. This internet connection is (sadly) the best of the lot so far but it can sometimes go out for nuthin’. No one wants to invest in the country poor. Not enough ROI to bother. So we get the beta version of whatever’s on hand, and glad to have it, we are. Our enthusiasm reminds me of the county’s excitement when a McDonald’s franchise opened.

These tortures have their variations: Call the landline A and the internet line, B. Sometimes A is gonzo, B running fine. Other times they trade places and B is deader’n a doornail, while we can easily call out to give the phone company what-for. But this time they both went out.

C is the back-up: our cellphone, except that we live in a cell tower-free zone so we have to drive to a place that’s connected. The catch is that D — the Damnable Car — is not running. In this catastrophic failure (to borrow Steve Coughlin’s phrase) the car had failed before the rest of the dominoes fell so we couldn’t even leave Schloss Bodissey. All my planning and foresight up and died on me during the Quarterly Fundraiser. I mean, we put this week off until we knew our Henrik would be available for technical problems, but he couldn’t wrap a fix around any of these hellish disasters.

The final attempt: desperate times call for sweaty palms… Even though we really don’t have “coverage”, if I go outside and stand next to the pear tree then move slowly in any random direction I may get three fluttering bars for a minute or two — enough to call kith or kin to ask them to report our outage. That’s what I did the first night.

Last night the B went outside himself to dance the pear tree boogie — voila! three bars fluttering on the screen. This time he managed to reach my middle son and give him the information for the phone company. Middle son is an expert at telling big orgs what they need to do and hang their regs about whether he’s “authorized” to report our problem. M.S. even managed to return a call to our cell phone (2nd return call evah: my daughter made the first one years before she died, when this phone was new. She was tickled that we’d caught up with reality in the form of a cellphone). The verdict from the phone/internet company? We would have to wait until 2 p.m. today…

…they were two hours early.

Being less sanguine (catastrophic failures make me feel helpless) than the Baron I resorted to the stored electronic page on Kindle. But, gentle reader, I do remember I already told you that…

And yes, it’s lovely to be back online. At other times when we’ve been rudely disconnected, I’d remind myself “at least we’re not in the midst of a Quarterly fundraiser”. There you have my major coping mechanism in life. I call it “At Least”. I think the shrinks call it “minimizing”. Fat lot they know. It’s a balm and a solace when, for instance, one wakes up in the early morning cold in a dormitory full of other semi-orphans to remind oneself “at least I’m not in a concentration camp.”

During the other outages recently, I’ve reminded myself “at least we’re not trying to do our Quarterly Fundraiser”. But this time we were doing just that! And we were also engaged in fighting the Forces of Evil! If only it would have rained again, I could’ve gone outside and done King Lear on the heath… except it doesn’t translate well to a muggy summer night in Virginia with the stars above and only the frogs for background noise. Hardly sturm or drang. Just electronic silence in the poorly-connected rural South.

It’s not a resource-free zone. But it’s resource-deficient.

Nevertheless, we are so very fortunate! Even during this imposed silence, y’all continued your donations! That was a true show of faith in us! How heartening! [Calm down, Dymphna. Cut the dash bangs!]

You should know I’m practiced at getting blood from a turnip and making supper for six on the leftovers. Your gifts will be put to good use keeping our infrastructure repaired and running. We’d have to move to The City to have a reliable connection, but then it wouldn’t be Schloss Bodissey. Like home-grown tomatoes, we don’t transport well.

So we’re back for now. The weather forecast for tomorrow is ninety-one degrees Fahrenheit, with a sixty percent chance of thundershowers. Oh Lordy. The Karma Dude couldn’t be that mean, to rain on our parade twice in a week, tearing down the banners, could he? He’d better not.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Meanwhile, y’all are doing your part. Today people came from the four corners (or at least three of them) to keep us going. We heard from:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup on our sidebar, or the donate button, on the main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

8 thoughts on “We Were Chuffed, Y’all!

  1. Remember Marty Feldman and Gene Wilder in the Young Frankenstein as they were down deep in dirt, digging up their monster corpse at midnight. Marty: “It could be worse.”
    Gene: “How?”
    Marty:”It could be raining.”

  2. I heard someone — a radio personality? — say Schumer would normally be entirely pro-Israel, but in this case he’ll go along with Obama in desperate hope of securing nomination to the Supreme Court. Schumer on the Supreme Court! Heaven help us all.

  3. I read Bilquis Sheikh’s inspiring story in the early ’80’s as a new Christian. Much later I did some study and the Anglican Canon lecturing us for several courses turne out to be one of the missionaries who helped her through her conversion! Small world.

Comments are closed.