The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

Notice: For Little Fluffy Cats Who Love to Nag

Due to a shortage of personnel (the Sick Man likely gone for good, my Number 2 in maternity leave, and my Number 3 on vacation), yesterday I worked 12 hours straight. I wasn’t totally alone, though. Ms. MiniD’s ex-BDJ (aka boy du jour) who used to work here, came back from college for Christmas break. He  was looking for something to do, hours, money, and lucky for me, he fell into my lap.

I didn’t realize that I would be here that long until about 12 noon, when I looked up and thought, “Oh, hell! I’m going to be here another seven and a half hours,” at which point I hastily left to make a pit stop at the Post Office and back home. I retrieved my laptop and brought it back to work with me.

This notice is for the Little Fluffy Cat who loves to nag: Last night, I pounded out a chapter and a half and 5,000 words while waiting for the phone to ring. (Obviously, it didn’t, or I wouldn’t have had the time to accomplish so much.)

The Cat is one of my biggest cheerleaders, and she also has a strong streak of momliness in her too. Lately, the momliness is more apparent than the cheerleader, but I don’t mind her continual chipping away at my bad habit of procrastination. This is because I know I’m being bad, and I need something nipping at my ankles, now more than ever.

Thank you Little Fluffy Cat. If you see me on Facebook, I know you’ll yell. Just remember, all work and no play makes the Pandemonic a sad literary figure.

How to Be a Bad Mother-in-Law

My recent trip to San Francisco to visit my son had me thinking about motherhood and mother-in-law-hood. Actually, something else had me thinking of mother-in-law-hood, and it was something that happened a week before. I related the entire thing to my Internet Boyfriend/Friend, because I was quite upset. It’s nice to have friends to bounce stuff off of. He was very comforting, in that he provided some calm insights.

A couple of weeks ago, I started cleaning out my office here at the office. It’s where I do my work that is not associated with our business, but instead with business I started doing out of my home several years ago. I don’t make much money from that business, but it involves using the computer to design things. When I had my office at home, it was rather messy. When we moved to our current home, my husband said it was too nice of a place for me to have a home office which tended to be messy. (At the time, the nature of design was somewhat cut and paste. That’s why it could be very messy. Nowadays, everything is digital. No mess.) My husband decided to give me office space in our building, which is how I got a private office.

Anyway, I started throwing things away, and at a bottom of a box of very old cell phones, I found an envelope I had not seen before. It was addressed to Mr. Demonic, and in it was a copy of a letter I had written to his mother back in 1998.

My mother-in-law wasn’t a bad person, but she didn’t like me. My own mother died not long after I got married, and I needed a mother figure. She was exceptionally nice to both my children, her only grandchildren. The purpose of my letter was to express my opinion, as I am apt to do. Perhaps I should not have written it at all, except at the time I was up to my eyeballs in personal crap, and my children were very young (8 and 11). Life was coming at me from a hundred directions. It was a very stressful time.

My mother-in-law used to send my children gifts for the major holidays. She lived in another Tundra city about 700 miles away. She would wrap up the gifts and send them individually. My children, being small and extremely competitive, often wondered why one package would arrive, and the other would take sometimes days to get here. They, being of small minds, thought she was doing this on purpose. If I saw any small packages coming, I would secrete one if the other hadn’t arrived.

One day she called and my daughter answered the phone. They had a long conversation, which I didn’t mind. When my daughter hung up, she asked me where her package was. (?) I didn’t feign ignorance, because I knew nothing of a package. My son’s package hadn’t even arrived yet. Then she said, “Grandma said you have my package and won’t give it to me.” Then she went on to tell me I missed her aunt’s birthday and she was sad.

I was not amused. After all, why didn’t my mother-in-law say your father has the package and won’t give it to you? Why didn’t her father (Mr. Demonic) remember his own sister’s birthday? At the time, I could barely remember six hours into the past. I felt that I was being made the bad guy, when I was the one who regularly sent cards and photos and did all the Christmas shopping for both sides of the family.

In my anger and frustration, I penned a note to my mother-in-law. It began “I love you like a mother, but…” Because I did love her like a mother, and I couldn’t believe that she would try to make me look evil in front of my own daughter. In the note, I explained that I had no idea what my sister-in-law’s birthday was. I said that I was so busy, I had not yet sent my own two sisters their birthday cards (one being two months before, and the other a month before) and that they were still sitting on my desk. I said that side of the family didn’t send me birthday cards, nor would I expect them to. Then I admonished her to speak with her son about such things, especially about parenting if she didn’t like the way I did mine. I also told her that it was ME-the Mother and Wife- who made the plans to visit them. Mr. Demonic did not like going “home” as he didn’t see it as his home anymore.

Though I was angry, I thought my note was reasonable and concise. I didn’t refer to her in any hostile tones, I certainly didn’t call her names (and I wanted to), and closed by asking her to be considerate of my feelings.

She rarely spoke to me after that. And obviously sent a copy to Mr. D, who never once mentioned it to me. Perhaps wisely.

Though I was hurt, I got over it. Eventually, my mother-in-law passed away, and then my sister-in-law.

Seeing the note recently as I did jolted me into the same panic-stricken mode of ten years ago. It’s funny how many things lie just below the surface.

After I discussed this with MIB, I felt much better. I couldn’t change the way my mother-in-law was, and probably was looking for her love and approval when I should not have expected her to provide it. After all, I took away her baby. In the end, the only person I could change is myself.

That’s why I’m not going to be a bad mother-in-law.

Admonished to Quit My Boring Job

I just opened my Gmail account (something I might do once in a blue moon). I only have it for this blog, as I have other accounts as myself, the real person behind Pandemonic.

Gmail is great, because it normally stops SPAM cold. I spend most of my day with my real email just deleting junk. Gmail was so good, that I had not received any letters from Nigerian businessmen begging for checks and, especially nice, no come-ons to make my penis bigger. Thank goodness for the latter, because I don’t have a penis and if I did, I would be trying to hide it, not make it bigger.

I was happy and spamless. Until today.

A glaring email that stuck out amid all of my WordPress notifications said “Quit Your Boring Job! Work for Google!”

I’d love to quit my boring job (actually, it’s not boring, anything but, but I’ve had a snoot full over the last ten years or so), but I don’t think that Google is going to save me.

If it were that easy, I would have sent them a resume years ago.

Back to General Silliness…

My husband, the Dear Mr. Demonic, went out of town yesterday. I think he’ll be back today. He’d better be back before the symphony tonight, as we have a date.

I use the opportunity for an empty house to do things I don’t usually do. You know what they say… “when the cat’s away, the mice will play…” Well, I’m guilty as charged.

I used to do crazy stuff while he was away, like paint the bathroom or buy unfinished furniture and finish it. I don’t mind painting small bathrooms, and I really needed that little cupboard that I stained cherry to match my kitchen table. Ah, but that was years ago. My current take on the painting situation is that they have professionals that can do that, and much quicker too. As I get older, I find that I “need” less junk. I used that cupboard to store linens, and now I have decided to give my tablecloths and place mats to the Goodwill. The cupboard followed suit.

My initial plan last night was to knock off a couple thousand words on my novel. I really want to get to the end so I can start editing in earnest. Oh, but how plans can get waylaid…

First, my daughter, the Ms. MiniD, called from California. This call was nice; bubbly, full of news. She was positive, for a change. Of course, she was positive that she needed money, which was one of the purposes of the call. (The major purpose, if you want my opinion.) But it was not all “Mommmmeeeee, I love you Mommy!” which is normally how a call begins if she wants something. (Oh, she wanted banana bread too. I guess that chocolate zucchini cake didn’t sit well with her, although her roommates chowed it down.)

Ms. MiniD also thanked me profusely for sending her David Beckham poster. It’s a monster of a poster from Pottery Barn Teens, and she loves the Becks (or whatever they call him). Then she went into a long launching of how she needs to get a job, and how she hasn’t filled up the gas tank in her car since I left there three weeks ago. I was amazed at her resolve to let her tank go down to fumes before filling up again. Luckily, in California, there is no hint of hurricanes, so their gas prices will stay the same – high. Ours has already gone up 30 cents in anticipation of a storm that hasn’t arrived yet, and we live in the freakin’ Tundra!

I didn’t want to cut my daughter short. After all, I don’t get many happy phone calls from her, so I let her talk about her roommates, her classes, the food at the school, etc. This was a nice bonding experience, but the call cut into my precious computer time.

After the phone call, I got up to stretch my legs and get a glass of wine, when POW! the muscle in my neck (on the right side) spasmed. I had been fearing this happening for a while. It’s happened before, and I can tell when it will happen again. I have to blame my current condition on carrying a huge purse. My doctor says I should stay away from heavy purses, and usually I do. I started carrying this massive tote on my trip to the Left Coast four weeks ago, you know, to have everything handy just in case. After I got home, I neglected to change purses.

Wine and Advil go great together, but the pain was too intense for a long sit-down with the computer. I managed to write a book review that I needed to get out, and that was it. The situation called for another glass of wine, a ThermaCare wrap, and digging the heating pad out of the junk drawer. After a night of sleeping with a rolled up hand towel under my neck, I feel a little better. Not much, but a little.

As for the general silliness, my internet ex-boyfriend (MIB) and still-friend and I participated in some real whacko nuttiness on the instant message the other day. Our conversation took a turn to the weird and funky. We decided to collaborate on a sci-fi fantasy novel set in space. As he is the bona fide scientist, he will provide expertise on the technical aspects, and I will concentrate on the interpersonal. The funny thing is that we live thousands of miles apart and have never met. We plan on never meeting until after the book is published. Maybe not even then.

Two Very Interesting But Time Wasting Applications on Facebook

OK, I admit I am old. I can remember when there were no answering machines, much less cell phones with voice mail, and when only rich people had color TV. I remember when my dad brought the first microwave oven home back in the early 1970s, and when you could easily buy a damned good car for $160. (That’s what I spent on my first one.) If I stretch my memory, I could probably tell you about when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. That was back when it was flat.

But, I’m not that old. One “with-it” thing I did in the last couple of years was to get on Facebook, once they cleared a path through the coeds and college guys. But, no, I didn’t join on my own. I don’t think I could have figured it out.

My son invited me, okay?

At first it was just to keep up with him and his buds at school. Then my daughter joined, and of course I had to spy on her, too. Well, those of you who know me well, know that she got herself into quite a mess over on MySpace when she was 15. I’d rather not delve into the grisly details, but let’s just say she was a bit precocious for her age. A-hem…

Then, of course, some of my online pals joined and it was a party of sorts. A party where I would swoop in but only occasionally and chit chat as I was checking in on the kidlets.

It wasn’t long before MIB (my internet boyfriend) began to invite me to partake of some Facebook games. He’s big into the Knighthood thing, and he spends a lot of time on it as himself and his alter ego. (I’m not sure how that works. I tried having an alter once, but it got to be too confusing for me. Every once in a while, I’ll slip into that personality, but I there is no way I can be both at once.) One of our other mutual friends hangs out there a lot as well.

I couldn’t get Knighthood, but I kick ass at Scrabble. Facebook had a “Scrabulous” game, very much like Scrabble. In fact, they ripped it off so well, that Hasbro had a fit and commenced to sue. Facebook unceremoniously dismantled Scrabulous, without a so much as a head’s up. I was right in the middle of a great game, beating my son, soundly I might add.

In wake of the demise of Scrabulous, I was turned onto a couple of other games. It was slow go at first, but now I can see that if I don’t stop myself soon, I’ll be ready for an intervention, rehab and a 12-step program.

One of the games is PathWords, which is Scrabble on Adderall. I was terrible at it at first, because successful playing requires good peripheral eyesight and a fast draw on the mouse. My eyesight is, well, failing. I have two sets of bifocals, one for reading and the other for computer work/violin. It took a while before I could get used to seeing the entire board instead of concentrating on one word or area. As for the fast draw, I’m pretty quick with a traditional mouse, but slow down with the laptop. I also play (sometimes) while working, and have had to minimize the screen when taking important phone calls. I’m still in the game when I do that, but my score suffers.

The other game is one my son turned me onto. It’s called Kanji Box. For people who know me, they know I am learning Japanese. Sort of. Kanji Box is helpful with the characters, but it has no sounds, which makes relating one symbol to a word rather difficult. Sure you can print out the Kanjis for study, but I find I learn better in the altogether. Kanji Box is a quick drill of assorted Kanji symbols. You have to get 40% to move up. I started at the Grasshopper stage and at 30% I’m still there. Last night, I vowed to get 40%, so I sat online for two hours trying to achieve that. No such luck. The Kanjis are so difficult (like righteous and parliament), I’m wondering if native Japanese even know the terms.

Just think. I used to be addicted to Bejeweled.

Those were the good old days.

An Entirely Strange Dream

Last night was the first time in seventy-two hours that I finally got a decent night’s sleep. I’ve had other things on my mind, including payroll, cabling my house and getting the phone back (a long sad story that ends with the sentence “And that’s why I HATE AT&T!), a power outage at work resulting in loss of a server (it’s still down), my kids in California calling me for this item or that, and other deadlines too numerous to outline here. After all of that, I was spent and really wanted to sleep. So, I drank a half bottle of wine last night, something I don’t usually do, and downed a Tylenol PM.

I can report that I slept well.

However, I did have one entirely strange dream, which I’m going to write down here before I forget:

The set up: As some of you know, I had an “Internet Boyfriend.” I say “had” because even though we are still friendly, he’s no longer MIB. He had a summer filled with a lot of activity and took a short break from here, which was fine by me. Our interactions have been very sparse, considering that we used to chat almost every day.

The dream: I dreamt that MIB was in bed with me last night. The weird thing was that my husband was also in bed. I was sandwiched right in the middle of the two. In my dream, I was dead tired (much like I was really) and really wanted to go to sleep. MIB was to my left, dressed from head to toe in a long nightgown. It wasn’t a girly nightgown, but a plain white one. My husband, on the other side of me, was dressed in what he normally goes to bed in – a tee-shirt and his underwear. That’s what I was wearing too.

MIB was turned toward me, and talking the entire night. It was quite annoying, so I turned away from him and toward my husband and started drifting off. My husband was perturbed at the internet boyfriend in the bed, so he turned away and started twitching, pounding his pillow, and generally making a huge commotion. I couldn’t fall asleep because of it.

I tried to sleep on my back, but I’m not much of a back sleeper. Besides, I had MIB on one side of me talking about this and that, and my husband on the other side rolling around in bed like a mini-earthquake.

And so I drifted off to sleep, but it was a dissatisfying type of sleep. It was like sleeping on a train or airplane or in the hospital. You think and hope and pray you will get some rest, but because other things are going on around you, part of your brain is somewhat alert just in case it has to wake the rest of you in the event of a crash, turbulence or a nurse coming to poke you in the ass with a needle.

Unbelievably, my real sleep went fairly well. When my alarm went off at 6 a.m., I got up, turned it off and went back to sleep so quickly, I didn’t even realize I had done it.

I hope I dream something more soothing tonight.