|Unsurprisingly, vacuums abhor Nature, too.|
Rather, you've just accidentally stumbled into a whiny rant from which there is no escape, assuming you don't know that there are an infinite number of other websites only a click away.
Our subject du jour is "stress" - and how we personally try to cope with it.
• Yesterday, daughter Jarlsberg made the long drive back to Oklahoma City (always a source of parental worry). No sooner had she departed than previously unpredicted storms popped up along her entire route. And for those who don't live in Texas or Oklahoma, we should specify that when storms "pop up" (which sounds cute and fun), it can also mean the appearance of volleyball-sized hail traveling faster than the speed of sound, and tornadoes whose sizes are described on a scale ranging from "F1" to "F5" depending on how many times you use the F-word upon seeing the funnel heading your way. (Spoiler alert: she made the trip without incident).
• We simultaneously had a visit from a (ha!) service technician from Frontier Communications. The idea was to increase our Internet speed - a gift from Frontier for having screwed up our account every month for an entire year. When the tech left, our Internet was indeed blazingly fast for the 5 minutes it stayed connected. And - oops! - our television was completely out.
We subsequently spent four agonizing hours on tech support lines - getting hung up on at least three times despite our inordinate civility and goodwill - and ended the day with Internet working sporadically, but still no TV. Which wouldn't be a great loss, but when Drudge is screaming in red headlines "NUCLEAR WAR AT ANY DAMN SECOND!" it does rather pique one's curiosity about what might be happening on the news.
• Added to this, here at Castle Jarlsberg, we're preparing to do some major renovations. How major? Let's just say that the word "gut" is the most frequently used verb. For those of us who are, by nature, barnacles, it can be highly disconcerting to entertain the idea of throwing things out, tearing things down, and then having new things built, painted, patched, plumbed, or plundered by the same sorts of pathological "service providers" that Frontier Communications uses to terrorize their customers.
• And then there's all the usual background stress, including that pesky "possible nuclear war" thing, random Facebook killers (happily, that one has sorted itself out), pro-Trump and anti-Trump people beating the snot out of each other in Berkeley, the infirmities of advancing age, the stock market (we lost a bundle today), and - oh yeah - a blog deadline!
How We Cope With Stress:
• We'll bet you said "by drinking," right?! HA! Well, okay, we do have a snort or so of Clan MacGregor.
• Cheap Chinese food also works in the short term.
• But the most important factor in reducing stress is: listening to a good, loud vacuum cleaner. We're not joking in the least. For us, that jet engine whine with just a soupçon of suck is the sound of peace and relaxation (not to mention a great help with our unending smoke-detector-shriek tinnitus).
At this very moment, we're using the Amazon Echo device (with 7 microphones reporting our every utterance to the NSA) to play an endless loop of a vacuum cleaner in order to keep our heart rate beneath that of a meth-addicted hummingbird. And when we go to bed at night, to soothe us into stress-free slumber, we'll listen to our MP3 recording of a vacuum cleaner in a thunderstorm.
In any event, just complaining about all of this stuff has helped us feel a bit better. And if we unfortunately stressed YOU out in the process, well, here's 8 hours of sonic relief...