Friday, July 3, 2020

12007.03 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 13 of PanCascadia

We rolled into Deliverance Mitchell, OR, late last night, after a long day of errands, last-minute gardening, packing, and oh yes, HITTING A DEER on the way. We cannot revisit the horror of hitting a young deer, seeing it struggle to get up with its mom standing over it, hearing it cry, and OMG I AM TRAUMATIZED FOR LIFE. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I need a shaman, a hex remover, something. I did tell the very nice dispatcher that I called (because clearly I couldn’t just…drive off) after he asked if I was okay that yes, I was fine, except that I was going to burn in hell because I was a horrible person.
So there’s that.

This road to Mitchell began on NYE, when there were fireworks nearby. And Kingsly disappeared, only to be found upstairs in the attic room, shaking, in the corner. Hmm. Several days later, we had an Airbnb booked in the smallest town I could find within driving distance, that also had a fenced in back yard. Mitchell ho!

When friends asked about our choice of destination, I chuckled and with great exaggeration told people that Mitchell had oh, a few hundred people or so… but that was a lie.

It has 103.

On some sites it’s referred to as a ghost town. Seriously. I figured though that the smaller the town, the less likely there would be a big fireworks show, and hopefully the DIY fireworks would be at a minimum, or at least there would be less than in Silverton. Where, of course, it’s a week-long shitshow of noise; it would be one thing if it were just one day, but no, it’s day upon day upon day. Now, back in January we didn’t know there’s be this small issue of a global pandemic and that all fireworks shows would be cancelled….but the point about Silverton being overly noisy still stands.

We set out late yesterday in part because of taking care of urgent matters, such as adorning Harmilda in her latest cow cloak finery.

I felt the IMPEACH TRUMP flag was a nice touch as well. Now, I’ve driven enough through rural OR and CA and seen enough stupid Dotard signage that has likely not been vandalized, so I’m hoping the Dotardian snowflakes can just MAN THE FUCK UP already and leave Harmilda and her cloak alone, unlike when some asshat stole and burned her festive patriotic attire two years ago. One can dream that the deplorables have learned kind of self-containment.

It was dark when we pulled into town, and I had this eerie sense that I was playing a part in a slasher flick, where the stupid people go into the decrepit barn where they hear distinct chainsaw sounds because they’re looking for a beer tap or something equally unnecessary. Because there we were, on an unlit gravel road, with darkened houses that looked like they were falling apart. I decided it likely that the good Citizenry of the town of Mitchell were simply staying on the downlow, so that their little hamlet was overlooked by the Directorate until such a time as when they could be overthrown. Smartly done, Citizens.

And as we were pulling up to the house, what should cross the road in front of us but – A BLACK CAT. No lie. I believe I said something along the lines of “Oh OF COURSE a black cat, the eternal HARBINGER OF DOOM, because OF COURSE! FUCK MY LIFE.”

But because I’m known for my chipper demeanor and always looking on the bright side of life, I will note that Sir Kingsly took to the premises right away and began patrolling for King Cobras immediately. We have not yet seen any, and so his successful eradication rate remains at 100%. So brave. There is a shack nearby that looks perfect for exploring later. And it is blessedly quiet.

Shortly we are heading into town, and I am staking my ground by wearing my “Cycling in America – Greeting the President” shirt, but at the same time will use my Rage Cow face mask. This should confuse the locals enough such that I will be able to nimbly dash away should any kerfuffles begin. I shall report back. #courage

Oh yeah, one last thing: #WEARAFUCKINGMASK

 Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

12006.17 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 11 of PanCascadia

Under cover of noon, we made our escape from District 7 and set out for District 11, a journey that was fraught with peril. The barren landscape had occasional notes of interest - the spray-painted graffiti on a passing traincar of “Death to the Trump regime” – and roving bands of unmasked “tourists” who were clearly in service to the Directorate. 

We persevered, however, and made our way back to The Manor, where nature had already started to reassert itself. Sir Kingsly set upon his patrols immediately, and has thus far kept King Cobras at bay. In a mad fit of determination and prioritization, we began planting tomato plants upon our return, in order to ensure provisions for Pandemic Winter. 

Our next priority: planting the Illinois Everbearing Mulberry tree. 

Never let it be said that we are unable to focus on the truly important things. 

We have also re-commenced teaching the local neighborhood urchins the ways of the Kingsly. 

Me:….blah blah and they were bred to hunt King Cobras, so lo, we see that there are in fact no cobra sightings in Silverton.
Child: But I don’t think there are any king cobras in Silv…
Me: EXACTLY. Kingsly is doing an excellent job patrolling the estates. So brave.
Child: But…
Me: Yes.

Regarding said importance, the Matriarch had her first scans this week after starting treatment; she’s been on her cancer regimen for two months now (ie two cycles). Today was her appointment with the doctor to discuss the results. 

They are stellar. 

Yes, even the Medic Citizen was astonished at how effective the treatment has been thus far. Everything has improved, from lungs to liver to bones. The Matriarch claimed that there was no longer anything visible on the lungs or liver, but we are skeptical until we have a chance to obsessively pore over actual results or scans, dissecting each spot and likely labeling it as something it's not. She’s feeling well. Normal Brother cooks delicacies for dinner daily; tonight I believe pheasant-under-glass is on the menu. 

All is well. 

#fornow #notgoingtojinxanything

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

12005.28 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

The stress of the tightly-controlled life in the District may have gotten to us slightly last week, as we lost our shit, as they sometimes still say in the quaint old vernacular. It perhaps started a Saturday ago, when the Matriarch woke up with a red eye and soreness. Likely pinkeye, one would think. We called her doctor’s office and waited for a call back from the doctor on call, hoping that we could get a prescription for eye drops.  Finally, the call came.

Random On-Call Person: Blah blah questions about the eye.
Me: Blah blah answers.
ROCP: You should take her to the ER.
Me: (silence)
Me: For pinkeye?
ROCP: Yes.
Me: ……yeah, that’s not going to happen.

That was Saturday. Sunday, the rash came along, on the Matriarch’s neck. Of course, our first thought was the hellscape that is shingles.

Me: Does it hurt? At all?
Matriarch: No, it just itches a little bit.
Me: Okay, good. Don’t touch it! It’s probably another allergic reaction.
Monday morning we are attempting to get some work done. The home healthcare person is there, and I overhear her talking to the Matriarch.

HHCP: Oh this rash! Does it itch or hurt?
Matriarch: It hurts! Not very itchy.

Wait, what?

Me: Wait, what? You said it was itchy! Not painful!
Matriarch: No, it hurts!
Me: Why didn’t you tell me that?
Matriarch: Ow, it’s painful.

The HHCP is glaring me as if I’m a horrible person.  I set up a telecall with the doctor’s office, and wind up talking to a PA who’s extremely thorough and helpful. Really. Given the pattern of the rash, we assume it’s shingles, and she also gets a referral to an ophthalmologist to check out the eye, because that too could be shingles-related.

So to recap. Me, attempting to work on something with a deadline. On hold with annoying music for going on 30 minutes with ophthalmologist’s office. Normalish Brother is talking VERY LOUDLY on the phone, with pressing questions:

“Did Sniffles do terrible?”
“For some reason they didn’t like Cactus and Walrus – it was too adult. I thought it was perfect for kids.”

The Matriarch needs lunch. Kingsly is bored. The doctor’s office is calling with a question. The pharmacy is texting. 


But because we can’t really do that, we just….keep on. Take the Matriarch to the eye doctor. Pick up her prescriptions. Stay up late working, in blissful quiet. Have a cocktail or six.

We have figured out though how to “help” Normalish Brother with his budgeting issues. He leaves his computer at the Matriarch’s residence overnight, and we will be logging on to fix the cash flow so that it is properly allocated. Every Nickelodeon cent will be going – as it should  - to additional episodes of The Oblongs, with Helga as the star power. This will right the ship forthwith, we are quite sure.

With the meds, the Matriarch is improving and her shingles never got to the extreme “shoot me now” stage, which we know about from personal agonizing experience. In fact, her recovery is proceeding apace to the point that she is now looking at her computer and going through her emails. Which likely means that looking at Facebook isn’t far behind.

We are dead.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

12005.17 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

There was unrest in the District today, when the NewGendarmes came for the citizens across the street. We heard loud noises and yelling, and in looking out the window, saw that our neighbors were among the first Olds slated for the Disappearing, upon proclamation from the Directorate. They did not go quietly, but in the end, the NewGendarmes fulfilled their orders and Myrna and Chester were no more. 

(Normalish Brother claims they simply rebuffed the Vaporization Summons from the NewGendarmes and went back into the house, but he’s always been a bit Pollyannaish about such things.) 

The Matriarch continues to improve, and has taken to issuing complaints about the quality of the gruel and her overbearing workload. To which we say, those salt mines won’t salt themselves, now will they. 

We continue to look for foodstuffs that will tempt the Matriarch to eat, and the other day this took us Xielo Artisan Bakery in Ventura on a quest for cannoli. Not only did we find cannoli, but we also rounded out the trifecta of the Matriarch’s favorite desserts with cheesecake and napoleon. We then surprised ourselves by actually making lasagna from scratch, sauce and all. It was superb, and will never be recreated, because in attempting to find a recipe we only found ones where the reviews noted how excellent the original was, “with these few changes.” Such as using totally different spices, different cheese, adding cream, using zucchini instead of noodles, etc and so on. In the end, we went freeform. 

And, through our Canning Underground connections, we have continued to source yeast and other provisions necessary to create our forthcoming Pandemic Buns. They will be distributed to our fellow resisters as we continue to fight the plague that has beset the Districts, aka the Orange Dotardian Menace. The virus is a secondary concern.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

12005.08 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We have reached our breaking point. No, actually, that might have been a few weeks ago, when we realized what bad shape the Matriarch was in, that we’d be doing most of the heavy lifting here, that we might not be seeing The Manor, our garden, our boozy jam business for some time. But consider today a further fraying at the edges.

It started last night when, as usual, the shoddy IV medical equipment we have in the US necessitates my turning it off manually, lest it keep beeping at 1:30AM. Then, we spent half an hour trying to get the damn tubing off the IV so that we could flush it, but gave up, figuring we’d do it in the morning. Morning dawned; it had occurred to us to use pliers for leverage, and the damn thing still. won’t. come. off. Not with pliers, not with alcohol swabs, not with hot water, not with brute force that (no lie) left blisters on our fingers. We have a work call in a few minutes and are waiting for Asshole Brother to show up; he knows about said call but can only be bothered to saunter in a few minutes ahead of time. And, when he does show up, is greeted at the door by Kingsly, after which (as I’m rushing to the door) AB proceeds to casually open the door, giving Kingsly an opportunity to make a run for it.

Now seriously, what kind of clueless asshole goes anywhere and lets the resident dog escape? Don’t we all do the “open door a tiny bit and scootch in without letting the dash out” maneuver? Dear readers, apparently not.

At this point I shriek “DON’TLETHIMOUT!!” so of course AB slams the door on Kingsly’s head.

This devolved into my yelling to watch out, AB calling me the “psycho with the psycho dog,” me calling him an asshole.

Needless to say, AB and I are barely on speaking terms at this point.

Or rather, it’s the usual phenomenon of him being an ass and then thinking that everything is still fine. I’d wonder if this is a guy thing, but no, I know women like this too, who lash out and say whatever asshole thing is in their heads, and then don’t at all think that it’ll impact whatever relationship there previously was. As if it’s fine to treat people like that. As if words don’t have consequences.

They can all just fuck right off.
Of course, into this tableau started my work call, and the guy starting the call said “Hey, Tasha, how’s your mom doing? I haven’t asked in a while.” Which, well, went over about as well as expected, though I did manage to note that she was improving slowly and that it's just been a shitshow of a morning.

So here we are.

We eagerly await the day when we feel comfortable leaving the Matriarch on her own for a few hours, though quite frankly, it doesn’t matter much that AB is here when we’re not. Along with his assumption that it’s no big deal for me to have given up my life in Oregon to be in California, there’s also the assumption that he is More Important, and that everyone else can take care of things. So, the only thing he does when I’m not here is to call me to tell me that the Matriarch needs something. No really. “Hey, when will you be here? Mom needs to go to the bathroom.” I am not making this up.

On the bright side – I am nothing if not eternally chipper and optimistic – the Matriarch is improving enough to be almost dangerous. She has twice now gotten up on her own to head to the bathroom….only to be brought up short by the tether that is the IV nutrition. Sigh.  We shall be even more alert to the slight stirrings through the monitor that indicate restlessness and a desire to hit the open road.

On a final eternally chipper note:

Let the Baking Games begin.

And may the odds be ever in our favor.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

12005.06 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Preface: this morning, after hearing Semi-Normal Brother talk for three weeks about doing it (and only talking), we went ahead and took the shower doors off in the Matriarch’s bathroom. After purchasing a drill. And going somewhere else to buy actual drill bits. It took about 2 minutes, the only difficult part being lugging the extremely heavy glass doors out of the bathroom and into the bedroom, and we asked SNB to move them later. We will note that the Matriarch was alert this entire time, watching us struggle with those damn doors and wielding our trusty drill.

So. Early this afternoon we returned from District DIY Dog Park, and went into the bedroom to check on the Matriarch after leaving her to the devices of SNB for a couple of hours. Whereupon we discovered her not quite as askew as previously, but still awkwardly propped up on the bed, pillows every which way, head at an odd angle. Cue incredulousness, followed by – no lie – an uncontrollable fit of laughter at the absurdity of it all. Meanwhile, SNB is back in the kitchen, yammering on about Nacho Libre or whatever.

We fix the pillows just so, as we know the Matriarch likes them. Then:

The Matriarch: “Did you see what Andy did? In the bathroom? He took the shower doo…..

OH no. No no no no no.

Me: “Mom. No. No no no no no. Don’t you remember ME, with the drill, this morning, taking the shower doors off and lugging the VERY HEAVY DOORS into the bedroom? ME? Brilliant Daughter? Favorite Child?”
The Matriarch: “Oh, I guess you’re right.”
Me: “YES I AM. It was ME. After waiting three weeks for SNB to do it. WHICH HE DID NOT.”

Ten minutes later, when I returned with her freshly-baked peanut butter cookies right out of the oven, I reminded her of our conversation:

“Now, as I stand here with these warm cookies, let’s recap. WHO was it that removed those shower doors this morning? Who could that have been?”

I await the day when suddenly SNB is getting praised for making rice pudding every morning, checking blood sugar several times a day, turning off the IV pump at 1AM every night and changing the nutrition bag at 7AM, buying and setting up a humidifier, getting up to help the Matriarch to the bathroom every couple of hours, planting the whole garden, using a handy-dandy new drill to put up a hanging basket, keeping people updated, scouring the internet for various supplies, setting up the cable tv in the bedroom, adjusting pillows and blankets, doing laundry, cleaning the house, paying bills, crushing pills, BELGIANS IN THE CONGO.

Oh, sorry. Got carried away there for a second.

We need a drink.

Pandemic Diaries IV

12004.28 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We returned from our patrol of Area DIYDogPark to find that Normal Brother had made potato soup; there was a bag on the floor with what looked like potato peelings, so naturally we asked if that was garbage to be thrown out.

Normal Brother: Yes….but you really should start a compost bin.
Me: …….
Me: I…I’m not really sure I have the time for another project at the moment.

We seriously contemplated putting NB on the Vaporization List, but will hold off. For now.

The Matriarch did enjoy the potato soup, and is slowly gaining strength, but still has no interest in watching her usual shows on tv. However, we’re quite sure that once she starts tuning in to the daily pathos and absurdity of the Days of Our Pandemic briefings, she will be as morbidly fascinated as the rest of us. What insane ramblings will the Dotard come up with today? What juvenile insults will he throw out? What sarcastic and brilliant barbs will Citizen Cuomo respond with?

We can hardly wait.

12004.29 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Христос Воскрес! On this Easter day, we were sorely disappointed that we were unable to go to the usual midnight service, to then walk around the church 3 times in the freezing cold night, to then listen to a service that would go on for hours and hours. And hours. We soldiered on, however, and decided to make вареники in honor of the holiday.

Very quickly, we discovered how impossible these are to make in a tiny kitchen with no counter space. Nevertheless, we persisted. The Matriarch had one bite, and proclaimed them “good” – which, when compared to our GrandMatriarch’s usual comment of “буває хуже,” is a grand compliment.

Kingsly showed himself to be a true Ukrainian, as he turned up his royal nose at the beautiful lamb chops cooked by Normal Brother, but was most pleased with the sour cream. He is also excelling at keeping this part of CalCascadia free of King Cobras, as we have yet to see a single one. Coincidence? I think not.

12004.30 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Kingsly was on the hunt today, prowling through the bushgrass fields in search of traitors to the cause. Or maybe it was rabbits he was after. Regardless, he was in brave pursuit of any and all interlopers.
We were especially ragey today, given that the Matriarch still struggles with basic things like, oh, say, BEING AWAKE. Standing up. Moving. Eating. We are very close to the point of calling the so-called doctor and demanding an answer to the question of WHY they felt it was a good idea to starve the Matriarch for 2 weeks, so that she’d be too weak to do absolutely anything regarding the cancer. And then there’s the guilt, as everyone everywhere is on the “all healthcare workers are AMAZING” bandwagon and we keep thinking “well apparently not ALL of them, since they brought the Matriarch to the brink of death under their care, amirite?”

So. Much. Rage.

12004.31 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

It is uncanny – truly so! – how many times now a home care worker has said, with some puzzlement, “I’m surprised they didn’t give that to you when the Matriarch left the hospital.” Sometimes it’s something relatively minor, like Maalox or syringes. And sometimes it’s really fucking important, like the spirometer that she should be using to, you know, strengthen her lungs.

Perhaps these were too expensive to part with, in a health care system that charges $50 for a single aspirin. Mayhap they should have just jacked up the price even more, like, say, CVS has apparently done, as I discovered today when I went online to see if they had said spirometer or a pulse oximeter. By reading the reviews, it was clear that prices had uncannily – there’s that word again – gone up threefold for such items in the last few weeks. Odd! I’m sure it’s mere coincidence.

We did manage to have a very productive discussion today with May; she is the person from the IV nutrition place who’s been coordinating everything, and is by far the most competent and professional medical worker we’ve dealt with. Today she called with the results of the Matriarch’s blood test: electrolytes etc look good, but her hemoglobin is down inexplicably. We asked what we could do about this, and noted how critical it was to get her stronger so that she could resume cancer treatment. May said she’d send the results to the doctor, and then her oncologist, and in the ensuing conversation, we may have said the following things: “they need to get their fucking act together” “it’s their fault she’s in this state” “I don’t care how they do it, but they need to figure this shit out” “they’re responsible for starving her for 2 weeks so that now she’s too weak for her cancer treatment” “they can come to the house to give her her shot” and finally “if they can’t manage that after letting her fester in the hospital for 2 weeks then they can just FUCK RIGHT OFF.”

Sometimes, I have such a hard time making my feelings known. I will work on this. #feelmywrath

12005.01 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Recently, in a moment of foreshadowing and (quite frankly) brilliance, we purchased Children’s Advil – the only liquid pain relief available OTC, or at least the only one we could find in this time of Hoarding and Irrationality. Last night our efforts were duly rewarded, as the Matriarch had a headache at around 4AM. We administered the standard dosage of this fruity elixir and hoped it would work.

Highly attuned as we are to the Matriarch’s stirrings every several hours, we woke up at 7AM, heard nothing, dozed off. Woke up at 8AM, went to check on her status, and…..she was sleeping soundly. Same at 9AM, at which point we woke her up to give her the medicated mouthwash for her mouth sores.

The Matriarch: “I slept like a log – I feel so rested!”

Hmm. Am I the only one who had no idea that Children’s Advil was really just straight laudanum?

12005.02 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Normal Brother was almost placed on the Expedited Vaporization List today. We had gotten the Matriarch up and in the wheelchair, and she insisted on seeing the rest of her Kingdom (we have not yet had the heart to tell her that she is now a mere citizen of District 7). She was wheeled to the patio area, to gaze upon the splendor of flowers brought in by Brilliant Child (aka me). After a time of survey, Normal Brother wheeled the Matriarch back to the bedroom to rest, while I stayed on the patio to supervise Kingsly as he eradicated any evidence of King Cobras from the premises.

Brilliant Child then went to the bedroom to check on the Matriarch……to find her completely askew on the bed, feet practically draped over the edge, head wedged awkwardly on the wedge pillow meant to be used for sitting up, not lying down. This was the “assistance” of NB, who then dashed off to yet another critical call about the budget for Baby Shark.

He yet lives, but is on the Vaporization Purgatory List, where it’s not quite clear which way he’ll go.

We are also compiling a list of companies we will not patronize in the post-Dystopian era. 

Today’s addition: Ace Hardware, which apparently had its online ordering system put together by sea monkeys.

We will be adding to this list as needed.

12005.03 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We are starting to suspect that we do not in fact have Normal Brother and Idiot Brother, but rather Idiot Brother 1.0 and Idiot Brother 2.0. It might have been the “she doesn’t need carbs and proteins, she needs vitamins!” comment that put us over the edge, but suffice it to say, we told Something Brother that hey, he might as well stay home tomorrow. Take a break! The day off!

It may keep him from Vaporization, it may not.

The Matriarch made it to the doctor’s office today, wheeled in. The oncologist didn’t seem to appreciate my many questions, as he made a couple of comments along the lines of “well with your medical background” and “so what else do you want?” etc. But he can just fuck right off because his track record here isn’t very stellar, now is it. Regardless, the Matriarch got her shot and is on a different pill, so the cancer treatment restarts. Finally.

We are tired.

12005.04 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Useless Normalish Brother was banished from District 7 today, and it was……rather lovely. We did everything ourselves – as usual – but with blissful silence in the background instead of LOUD CALLS about the budget for Baby Shark.

We’ve also realized that it’s not the virus that will kill us. It’s us. We will all kill each other.
We are also a bit tired of the commercials that show people doing cute and quaint things while in quarantine, like painting foraged driftwood with hearts or dancing in harmony with someone in the building across the street, all without a care in the world. Meanwhile, over here in the WasteLands, we’re sitting around seething about all you assholes who’ve never baked in your lives buying out and hoarding all the fucking yeast in every store out there. Really? Yeast? You all know it doesn’t last forever, right? It has an expiration date? So you had better get on with making your twee pearl-sugar-encrusted cardamom brioche buns, bitches. Good luck with that.

Us, we’re going to be over here working on our new Cooking With Viruses show, that will focus on what one can cook or bake with “things still to be found in grocery stores.” First up: fun with monkfruit sugar and barley! Yes, the mind reels.

12005.05 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Normal Brother received a slight reprieve today, as he came by and made brisket, and it was uneventful. He has moved a step away from the Vaporization List, but of course, tomorrow is another day.

We also went to the store to pick up our canning jars – because just as everyone now has visions of being a creative baker cheerily turning out the most ethereal of buns and bread, they also seem to fancy themselves as canning mavens, not realizing how much effort and experience goes into making a decent jam.

Hahahahahahahaha! Dare I say I look forward to reading about their endeavors?

In the meantime, we are crowdsourcing a supply of yeast BECAUSE THERE IS NONE TO BE FOUND HERE. Really people. Give up the vision. Trust us on this.

Shopping takes so much longer these days. The line to get into the store. The wandering, not sure if something is sold out (HELLO YEAST) or is simply in a different place. Buying unfamiliar things, because our usual brands are sold out. So tiring – of course, not as tiring as having to wait hours upon hours in a line to pick up free food in this, our shithole country that’s rampant with cronyism and inequality and inadequate systems and people bartering for flour and doing shady midnight runs for PPE and the Dotard musing about injecting bleach (YOU FIRST) and omg it’s all so tiring. 

Right now we are glad of two things: that the Matriarch is improving, albeit slowly, and that stores sell single-serving cocktails ready to swig down, not even needing a glass. Cheers.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Pandemic Diaries III

12004.18 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

The Matriarch is now home.

She is in horrible shape. Much worse than when she went in. She looks like she didn't eat for 2 weeks...because she basically didn't, as they didn't start IV nutrition until this past Saturday.

Those bags I dropped off every day, with cards, tchochkes, etc? Untouched. You'd think someone might have noticed them piling up day after day, but apparently not. Her lips are cracked and scabbed over. She can barely stand up, much less walk.

With the IV nutrition, we need to test her blood sugar, and to get that testing equipment, the pharmacy needs diagnostic codes. I told the case manager/doctors this yesterday. And today. Did anyone bother to provide that info so that I could get the testing equipment? Of course not.

No, they don't have Covid-19 as an excuse. I asked several times when I was at the hospital pointlessly dropping off gifts/supplies - they only ever had a few patients.

Today's home health nurse, however, was excellent. A gem. Dawn, thank you for caring so much.

Tomorrow morning I have a telecall with the Matriarch's doctor/PCP. I originally set it up because they discharged her without letting us know what meds she's been taking and how, since she still can't eat/drink/swallow. Now, however, I have a few more questions. It will not be pleasant.

I am so angry that I am preternaturally calm. This is not a good sign for them. Vaporization would be the easy way out. #feelmywrath

12004.19 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Maybe this was Putin's goal all along, that after making fun of the Soviet Union for so long, that was what we'd become.

Because we have.
Today at Area CVSShoppe, everyone was buying the one thing that was plentiful: alcohol.

A citizen walked past me clutching a precious 4-pack of toilet paper.

Me: Omg, they have toilet paper? Really?
Him: Yes, there's still a few left, aisle 1!

This is what we've become. A shithole country where people are dying needlessly, with a lack of medical supplies, and a Dotard as president who's the stupidest most narcissistic person alive and who communicates by tweet so that he can brag about his ratings during a pandemic.

Where people are lining up for hours to get basic provisions from food banks, because the inequality that has defined this country for so long is finally coming home to roost.

We are weary.

The Matriarch slept all day, though we have told her that tomorrow we start the early-morning calisthenics. When I spoke to her PCP this morning and asked what kind of fuckery this was, I got the usual pablum: "Well, we don't know what's going on in the hospital, that's up to them, blah blah bullshit." Maybe you SHOULD fucking know, especially if you're recommending someone go to the hospital in the first place. Lesson learned: if you can avoid it, do NOT put anyone somewhere where you can't check up on them EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. DAY.

Finally, the foraging continues as we continually find new sources of sustenance in the far reaches of the District. We're not sure what kind of fruit this was, but here's hoping it's edible. Or at least not poisonous. #easycomeeasygo

12004.20 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We spoke to the oncologist today via telecall. This is a relatively accurate recounting of the conversation:

Normal Brother: Thank you for making the time for thi…
Onc: How is she doing?
NB: Well, not great. As you know we brought her in two weeks ago and….
Me: She’s in HORRIBLE shape! Why the hell did she get no nutrition for TWO WEEKS?
Onc: I’m sure they were thinking she’d start eatin…
Onc: I’m sure they thought it would be shorter…
Onc: She started getting nutrition on Saturday….
Me: Yes and that means TWO WEEKS OF NOTHING.

So that went well.

I have established a hierarchy for our Home Nurse Citizens. Good = offering. Meh = nada. Dawn got boozy cherries. Yesterday’s, who didn’t seem to know what she was doing, nothing. Today, Nancy and James were awesome, both got boozy jam as tribute. We have standards to uphold here in CalCascadia.

I also told the oncologist that we needed a wheelchair, so that theoretically we can take the Matriarch to appts. This led us to a place called Merlin's, which brought to mind a muffler or car repair shop? Ha ha, how silly! No, Merlin's is a MAGIC TRICKS AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT emporium. I am not making this up.

The Matriarch is being subjected to the type of discipline we are known for in District 7. We have been instructed to get her to swallow protein drinks even in small amounts, and so we have called on our inner drill sergeant. The words “suck it up!” may have been uttered today. Several times.

No mercy. We are at war.

12004.21 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Kingsly has shown how seriously he takes his patrolling duties in the District, as he brought Kingsaroo with him this morning to teach the ways to the next generation. He continues to keep a suspicious and wary eye on Normal Brother; with the shortages continuing to plague the Wastelands’ distribution channels, no one can be trusted when it comes to critical items like cheese sticks. No one.

We then went to patrol the Compound, where the Elite are allowed free rein in this time of quarantine. Kingsly was pleased.

The Matriarch is more or less the same. Sleeping much, as we continue to force necessary provisions into her. We anticipate a full recovery before Ukrainian Orthodox Easter in a week, and will put her to work in the galley making paska. So has it been written, so shall it be done.

12004.22 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

Kingsly continues to alertly patrol the WasteLands. All bandits and hooligans are dispatched in an appropriately unmerciful manner.

The glucose monitor we use to monitor the Matriarch's blood sugar (because the IV nutrition is 80% glucose) stopped working. After 3 days. We bought a new one, but why is everything in US healthcare so shoddy? There were also no alcohol swabs at the store, because.....why? What the hell are people using these 1-inch square swabs for??

The Matriarch continues sleeping. She doesn't want to wake up. We are working on getting a home nurse to help out. We are discouraged, dispirited, disheartened.

We are exhausted.

I often think the Fates are just a bunch of asshole bros sitting around in togas drinking shitty beer and trying to one up each other. "Oh you thought THAT was bad - hold my shitty beer, bro!"

Fuck them all.

12004.23 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We often think of Dirty Sock and Zen as our patron saint of sorts, embodying the principle that just when one truly gives up all hope, one gets stuck on a log and is thus saved from a soggy death. So it was that this morning, the Matriarch was coherent. Almost chatty! She ate some applesauce. And then slept all day, but we’ll take it. We have summoned nursing assistance that will start tomorrow. Our goal is to whip the Matriarch into shape by, say, Saturday, so that she is able to make the Easter paska.

Later, Kingsly and I stood at the fence separating the WasteLands from FormerWorld…. and boldly made our escape. We stood among the sage plants and breathed deeply of the fresh air, and were soothed. Noting our escape route, we then returned to the WasteLands, to continue to fight with our brethren against the Dictatorship.
We also puzzled over the odd house on the hill. Citizen Amanda, Keeper of that District, informed us that it belonged to Citizens Belafonte and their 12 dachshunds. We are not making this up.

In this time of pandemic, Normal Brother is also WFH. This may be the only time I hear the following words said unironically on a call:

• Can I give you the PJ Sparkleton budget now?
• Nacho Libre will fit in the same budget.

And last but not least:

• Okay, let’s go with whatever images Baby Shark has.

Finally, other words that have never been said to the Matriarch before tonight:
“You’re as bad as Kingsly! Stop spitting out the pill!”

When the Matriarch gets better, we. are. dead.

12004.24 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

The K̶o̶m̶m̶i̶s̶s̶a̶r̶s̶ home healthcare citizens showed up today to take the Matriarch in hand and get her ready for the big paska-baking juggernaut this weekend. It seemed to go well, as she falls into line. We also brooked no tomfoolery today with the pills and crushed them into a fine powder, surreptitiously slipping them in with the daily gruel. Victory was ours.

The Matriarch has also expressed an interest in “what’s going on in the world” (cue disbelieving and slightly maniacal laughter), so we will attempt to hook up the transmission device in her bedroom so that she can watch the daily ramblings by the man-child untethered from reality, aka the Dotard. The ramblings might be considered comic relief if this weren’t the Time of Pandemic, but what do we know?

Kingsly and I continue to explore the territory beyond the fenced-in confines of the WasteLands. We plan to start our shiny new Life Beyond with our latest creation: Little Miss F’in Sunshine. As we like to say, nothing sells boozy jam like a pandemic.

12004.25 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

The Matriarch is showing signs of improvement. She is more vocal, and has been reminded to refer to us as “Favorite Child.” For some reason, this elicits chuckles from the Kommissars; we fail to see why this is amusing.

The Matriarch’s doctors are now suddenly eager to schedule telecalls with us to discuss her state. Quite frankly, we are not interested, unless it would be to tell them that we are working to get her back to how she was several weeks ago so that she can get back to her cancer treatment. Perhaps they recall that? The treatment she had to stop because of their shoddy and inexcusable incompetence? I do not namby-pamby around with niceties like Normal Brother does; rest assured, they will Feel. My. Wrath.

Between catering to the whims of the Matriarch (which is as it should be), squiring Sir Kingsly around to his Area Patrols (ditto), and attempting to keep our job, we are remiss in responding to messages from fellow Citizens. We will endeavor to return to our former steadfastness forthwith. #courage

12004.26 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We are in a state of status quo: the Matriarch was not as active today, but is still focused on viewing the Luddite device known as a “tv.” We were unable to get the cable to function today, but tomorrow will make the supreme sacrifice which is: calling the cable tv company to sort this out. #thehorror

Our fellow citizens may be pleased to know that we will resurrect the blog for the sole purpose of recounting the conversation we had this morning with the person from the doctor’s office. #epic

After our work call this morning, a casual “team” one meant to function as a happy hour stand-in of sorts (a 9AM cocktail seemed de rigueur, no?), we realized that we had managed to convey the following: our Big Boy collection, our url hoarding, our baby goat love/obsession. #nowords

Finally, Kingsly was in his element at Area DIYDogPark, as he discovered a space that hearkened back to his ancestral caves and the Time of Hunting King Cobras. Every day he becomes more reluctant to return to the “real” world, or what passes for it these days. #can’tblamehim

12004.27 NPD, Captain’s Log, District 7 of CalCascadia

We were determined to scale the highest peak, so to speak: figure out the Matriarch’s cable tv situation. A call to Spectrum revealed that we’d need to run a cable from the kitchen to the bedroom. Fine. A visit to Home Depot revealed that there are complete morons out there who think it’s fine to spend 40+ minutes in line discussing paint swatches and trying to return something using 3 different cards and discussing fuckall whatever else. They all were placed on the Expedited Vaporization List.

Finally, however, tv was achieved for the Matriarch. This seems to have perked her up, the ability to watch the news and Wheel of Fortune. We shall join her tomorrow in our traditional viewing, during which we yell out the “correct” answers using our superior wisdom.

Meanwhile, Kingsly and I are using our panga to forge a path through the LandBeyond, even as we return to the District WasteLands at the end of the workday so as to not be discovered. We await the day our fellow citizens will join us in rising up. #Resist!