Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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We've been at my folks' place since Sunday. Dad had carpal-tunnel surgery on his wrench-turnin' hand on Monday, and he was very worried about how it was gonna go. If he can't use his right hand, he might as well check himself into the rest home, since fixing cars and building stuff (and caring for my mom) is what keeps him alive. 

The good news is that the surgery went smooove like buttah, and 10 minutes after he got home he made himself an omelet with his bionic hand... so he's fine. Now that he's a few days out his fingers are a little black and blue, but it's really all good.  Today at 2:45 we take him for his post-op follow-up, and then we'll head back home. 

We have this rhythm here at my folks' place where my parents get up early (around 7) and fix themselves some coffee and a small bite. It wakes me up, but I stay in bed snoozing. I They are so sweet and kind to each other in the mornings, and it makes me happy.  Then my mom goes back to bed, and my dad goes out to get coffee and bullshit with the guys at Steve's Transmissions for a few hours, and he gets home around 11. By then Matt gets up and brings me a cup of coffee in bed because he is the best, and then he hangs with my folks a bit while I build up the courage/strength to put on pants and go out to the kitchen with everyone. By this time my folks' morning sweetness has worn off and they're both back to interrupting and my dad answering for my mom and then my mom getting defensive and my dad not understanding why she's suddenly pissy and then I explain Communication 101 and then a lightbulb goes off for a moment until they both find it easier to deem me too preachy than it is to try changing how they talk to each other.  

So I'm still in bed at 11:58am. I need to get out there and I don't wanna. 

Anyhoo.

I have been go-go-go since the end of October, as companies are rushing to spend their training budgets so they don't lose them for next year. I've had classes in TX, Denver, Philly, and then I took a class in DC, then we went to CT for Thanksgiving, then we had a gig in West Chester on Saturday, and then we left for NJ (here) the next day.  I haven't had a day off in a while, and I need one.  The emails are piling up (work emails and friendly emails) and I haven't had much time to even read them let alone reply. If I owe you an email, I promise I'm working on it. 

Next week (Dec 3-6) I teach a class at UPenn again, and the following week (Dec 10-13) is another class that I just don't feel like teaching since it's the week before our big Christmas Show (which is on the 15th), so I'm having my pal Joyce teach it. We're gonna be building sets and rehearsing and panicking that week, so there was no way I could be away for the week. With Joyce teaching the class, I'm not making as much on the class as I normally would since I have to pay for her airfare, hotel, and instructor fee, but I'll still make something, and something is better than if I had just turned the work away and gotten nothing.

I have a ton of other work to do and no desire to do it... I'm not sure if this is some low-level depression, the start of the winter blues, or just general laziness. Probably some combo thereof.

In other news entirely, a few weeks ago I was taking a class in Washington DC and I took the train down. DC's Union Station has a bunch of mall-esque stores in it, and I was worried I was gonna be cold as I walked to/from class, so I popped in a store I'd never heard of and bought a warm undershirt for $19.00. And now, I have a new fucking addiction... these HeatTech bra-top undershirts by Uniqlo. Most bra-top undershirts have a totally useless shelf-bra, but these things have this kinda combo shelf-cup configuration that HOLY BALLS actually handles my mutant titties better than any other actual bra I have ever worn.  Going from a 40DD to a 32-Pfffft is impossible to fit, and these things work (they actually work!!), praise jeeeesus!  I bought a bunch more, so I pretty much haven't taken one off since November 13th... and ta-daaa. I am comfortable and warm (and perky!) for the first time in well over a decade. 

Perhaps that is TMI. Perhaps I don't care.

It's my blog, and I'll TMI if I want to. :)

Ok, time to get motivated. Bleh.

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Winter blahs, I prescribe a full spectrum light in your work space. At the minimum a daylight spectrum light. It makes a huge difference in my mid-winter demeanor.

I was up in central Massachusetts for the holiday and holy balls, a couple hundred miles northeast and you notice how much earlier the sun goes down up there as opposed to in Philadel.

And yes, TMI. But you be you. I now know more about the state of your chest than I ever did before, or am comfortable knowing. #nerdworldproblems

And if you haven't taken off a shirt since November 13th, perhaps it's time to give it a rest and maybe launder it.
I've been meaning to get a full-spectrum light for a looong time, but just... haven't. Perhaps I shall Amazon One-click one into existence. :)

And dooood, I shower with this undershirt/bra on, so IT'S CLEAN, OKAY? (I kid.)
(googles "heat tech bra top undershirt uniqlo")
AAAAA-LEE-LUU-YAH!!!
I have the opposite of your boobs. My bra size is 40 A.72 or something. I buy 40 Bs with push-up padding, so there's extra mass inside the cup, so the bra will fit. I would buy 40 As. They don't exist. I will buy damn near anything that has padded cups. Did you get the one with camisole straps or wider straps?

So this one time I was at a Barenaked Ladies concert at the Spectrum (RIP), and people were throwing their bras onstage. It was New Year's, so Steve and Ed would take the bras and put them on the Christmas tree upstage. It was a very polite crowd, so bras were being passed via the crowd to the stage. Every time a bra made it to the front, Steve or Ed would bow in thanks, and add it to the tree. I happened to be wearing a leopard print bra that I didn't hate, but wouldn't have shed tears if I never saw it again, and I was considering trying to get it passed up to the stage. Then a huge burly bearded guy in the front row passed a bra to the stage, and Steve did a double take and asked, "is this yours, sir?" Then Ed said, "What size is it, a 40 A?"

I decided not to participate.

Digression is the better part of valor.

Glad you're taking good care of your folks. Fist bump of solidarity.
Ahhhhh yes, boob-shame. I know it well.

Remind me to tell you about The Summer I Went Crazy and had a one-night stand with a guy in Philly and the boobs of shame. Let's just say my Victoria's Secret push-up bra did a wholllllllle lotta false advertising, and the let-down was SO AWKWARD and AWFUL. (Oh. Looks like I just told you.)
OMG I now have to email you. I remember ALL boob conversations we have ever had.
I'll have to check out the bra-top undershirts. My man boobs are getting out of control with your run of the mill bra.

(Thrilled beyond words to hear that Dad's bionic wrench turnin' hand is fully function.)
Hahaha! It's a "Bro" or a "Manssiere." (Thanks, Seinfeld!)
Great news about your Dad!
Also I love that you get the chance to hear your parents being lovely to each other.

Xoxo
 

There's a difference between being a proud small business where you're not tied to big dumb corporate rules so you can be flexible and agile, and being so small that you still have a single AOL email address on your website.

I want to support the small guy, but if they still use AOL, how can I be confident that my credit card info is secure in their office?

This one local place sells kitchen appliances. They have cutesy commercials featuring the owner's two small boys. "I'm Cameron!" "And I'm Gavin!" "And if you have trouble, call us and we'll make sure it gets handled RIGHT!"  I wonder how creepy it would be if I called up the store asking to speak to Cameron or Gavin to complain about a bill or a customer service issue. They would call Child Protective Services in 5 minutes. And what the fuck does that say about their family dynamic (or Dad's business acumen) that a 7 year old is their accountable executive in charge of customer satisfaction?!

Anyway.

We need a new washer/dryer. The one I have currently is the set that came with the house. I would love to get a set of stackables, and then put a shelf where the dryer currently is.  The washer/dryer used to be in the basement, but my house's previous owners brought them to the main floor of the house, taking up the hall linen closet with the washer/dryer. So I'd love to reclaim some of that closet space since I currently have none whatsoever, unless you count bedroom closets.

I heard a thing on the radio this morning about how small businesses should consider buying "CyberInsurance" in addition to general liability insurance and worker's comp, because small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.  Really? I know of a zillion huge corporations that were brought down by the ransomware viruses and no small businesses that I use were hit. But maybe that's because large businesses have a higher percentage of dumb people who surf the web at work, clicking on shit they oughtn't... and granted, I'm a small (vaguely tech-related) company, so maybe the percentage of employees who work for my company who click on dumb shit is 0%. 

But I figure Cameron and Gavin (or their mom) click on dumb shit pretty often, so they probably need CyberInsurance. 

The only people who use the term "cyber" are people who shouldn't.

In other news, we spent this past weekend (Saturday through Tuesday) at my folks' place. We hadn't seen them since Christmas, which is waaaaay too long. My mom tore a muscle in her right shoulder, so in addition to her back and her legs being in constant pain, let's add her right shoulder to the laundry list.  My dad has days where he's very weak for no discernible reason, so we needed to go up there and just help them out a bit. They felt so awful that they decided to cancel Easter dinner because my mom couldn't cook and my dad couldn't clean the house, and they both felt that having a house full of people would be too much.

So we offered to come up and do all of the cooking/cleaning, so now Easter is back on. 

We're in the car now heading back up there. We'll be there for a few days. I'm so excited it's finally starting to get warm... this fucking winter might FINALLY be behind us.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Easter, Passover, or April Fool's. :-)

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"So we offered to come up and do all of the cooking/cleaning, so now Easter is back on."

Yer gud.
I'm torn between "har-har, you still use AOL," and "oooh, you were a savvy early-adopter." I say that because among lawyers, it's often an early-adopter thing. As in, a lot of lawyers were quick to get word processor machines and Palm Pilots and Compuserve numbers -- but then they didn't upgrade, whether because it was a pain to migrate the files or it got too expensive (because they needed to hire IT staff/consultants) or time-consuming. And if you're not at a firm where they give you a LawyerName@ThousandDollarSuitBigLawLLP.com address, then why not keep using the same AOL address ("number") that your clients and their world-of-mouth referrals have been using for 20 (!) years now.

Also you can take my WordPerfect when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Hope yer Easter trip goes well!
Michele Grant 3/31edited
I think I saw WP on the shelves in a store recently, and it made me happy. I don't have much preference in word processor programs (I tend to use Wordpad in windows or Google Docs) but I did use WP in college and remember it fondly.

I also happen to know a big tech company that still uses Lotus instead of Office, so there's that.
WordPerfect (actually an entire suite by Corel) is regularly upgraded. I had a learning curve from Quattro, which is what Lotus 1-2-3 became, to Excel; I still think Quattro is better in a lot of ways but I'm more likely to start something new in Excel now. The Corel version of PowerPoint leaves a LOT to be desired, though.

I avoid Google Docs for functionality, privacy, security, and subpoena reasons, and also because of the risk that anything Google could just disappear at any time for no reason, and there's no recourse. The risk is small, but I'm unwilling to take it.
Entirely reasonable. I suspect if I was doing anything that, you know - mattered - I would have the same mindset.
🤘 Scripsit forever 🤘

Love it.
 

Hi all!

We've been up at my folks' place since Sunday. We were eating dinner and I got a text from my dad that he had to call an ambulance to bring him to the hospital because he blew out his knee and couldn't put even a toe's worth of weight on his right leg.  I called him and he was TERRIFIED, and absolutely convinced this was "the fall," meaning the injury an old person has in their late 70s that begins the rapid decline to death.  I kept trying to tell him not to order the headstone quite yet, but he was really, really upset. By the time he got out of the ER and back home it was 11:30PM, so we all agreed Matt and I would get up to NJ on Monday (the 13th).

So, apart from snowcamming (which is now over), I have been almost entirely offline since we've been up here. I haven't read OPW or LJ; I've done maybe 10 mins max on Instagram and Twitter.  I'm sorry I haven't been more responsive.

So yep, we're still up at my folks' place taking care of them since my dad blew his knee out on Sunday.  Strangely, Mom seems to be doing MUCH better. I'm thinking with my Dad down for the count, Mom realizes she needs to step it up a bit, and she has! She isn't nearly as forgetful.  Maybe the extra responsibility is good for her.

Since we've been here, we let my folks handle their own breakfast as a test to see how their mobility is for the day... but then we wind up handling lunch and dinner plus all chores (laundry, cleaning Mom's bedroom commode, cleaning/prepping her CPAP, meal prep and serving/cleanup, shopping, snow removal, med checks, laundry, washing the kitchen floor, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, etc.)

Yesterday (Thursday) I took my dad to the orthopedist to figure out what's broken on him and what the prognosis/path forward is.  Diagnosis: Torn meniscus, but luckily it's not an entirely fucked meniscus. It should heal with some PT and TLC in a few weeks... he's already markedly better yesterday than he was on Monday when we arrived, but he absolutely still needs a walker, which means he can't carry anything.  My mom can't carry anything either... so the small "care-related tasks" like dumping and cleaning my mom's bedside commode is impossible for either of them to do... let alone carrying food to the table. So as much as we want to get home and get our lives back, we need some kind of plan to have these small tasks handled. I cannot rely on my brother or sister-in-law, which is sometimes frustrating but understandable. My parents' neighbors have offered to help out, but cleaning a chunky pee-filled commode isn't something you ask a neighbor to do... that's a family job. (Sorry for that visual.)

Matt has been so good anxiety-wise lately... the CBD + Xanax combo has been working miracles. However, yesterday was a Very Bad Day and a reminder that he is not "cured," and a reminder he mustn't get cocky and not take his meds.  Caring for my mom, caring for my dad, and caring for plus worrying about Matt yesterday made me wonder how people with kids care for several people every day of their lives with no break whatsoever. I was wiped out. 

My parents have been very kind and appreciative this visit, and they keep telling me how truly grateful they are that we're up here and able/willing to help.  I'm very happy to have been up here, too.  In the evenings once we're done with dinner and all of our tasks are done, my dad and I (and sometimes Matt)  wind down by binge-watching Nurse Jackie.  I've been enjoying it. When I asked him why he chose that show as opposed to the other million things on Netflix, cable, Amazon, etc., he said, "I like Edie Falco, and I wanted to watch something without explosions for a change."  My dad? Watching something without fast cars or explosions? WEIRD. :-D

Selfishly, I'm also happy to have ridden out the storm up here with my folks because Delaware got a ton of ice and apparently Arden and north Wilmington lost power for a good long while... parts of which didn't get power back until yesterday (Thursday) with crews from North Carolina helping out the local power company workers. I know our house lost power at some point (even if just for a moment) because I tried remoting into my home computer yesterday and couldn't, which tells me it turned off unceremoniously. (My computer stays off if the power gets cut.)  So I have no way to know if we'll come home to a freezer full of warm, stinky food or what. (Though Joe Trainor just stopped by our house a few minutes ago to return a soprano sax we rented for the sold-out Billy Joel show we did on Saturday night down at the beach, and he was able to use the garage door OK, so the power's onbviously on now.)

Today is Friday, and I'm not sure when we're going back to DE. We really wanted to go to a concert on Saturday (tomorrow) night, and Matt has a final rehearsal on Sunday afternoon for an Able Arts skit they've asked him to be a part of for their show next week.  We may just go home for the weekend and come right back up here.

It's actually been pretty OK being up here. I feel very appreciated and useful. 

Anyway, I promise to be more present online when I can. I'm sorry that I can't be a better or more responsive friend now... right now I need to keep focusing on being a good daughter and a good partner. 

Love you all.

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3/17 '17 3 Comments
Don't worry about being a responsive friend right now. Charge your emotional batteries.
Holy smokes gurrrl. If you want to feel bad about something... No, I can't even kid about it. Just don't.
Thomas Boutell 3/17 '17
Like they said - don't worry about being online / responsive / whatever. If anyone asks you to be otherwise, feel free to have them discuss it with me. I'll explain it (more or less) nicely. *smirk*

On to the folks:
1. It's not 'the fall'. I'm with you on that one. You're Dad is WAY too much of a badass for that. Uncomfortable? Sure. Annoying? I bet.
2. Feeling useful - I'm happy to hear this. Family emergencies can be... draining. Feeling appreciated for what your doing can go a long way towards countering that.
3. Mom: It doesn't shock me that 'needing to step up' is helping her in some way. If it's not her that needs looking after, she's always been first up to bat.
4. Staying for a while in NJ? I'm coming back during the first week of April. I would like to humbly ask that you consider having me come lend a hand if you're still in NJ at that point. Like I said before - this stuff takes a toll. I would like to help cover that if I can. Before you dismiss this (I can just imagine you reading this) - please - seriously think about it. I'm HAPPY to help, and your folks have always been nothing shy of awesome to me. They've MORE than earned it. :)

Sending lerv. Lots of it.