FOWC – Scintillating Mattresses

Scintillating. I suppose that depends on how you happen to feel about mattresses because I was not home all day. We were out buying a mattress. While whining and complaining about the pain in my back, I commented that we really need a mattress.

When I mentioned this to Garry, he nodded wildly and said “YES!” which is not how he usually responds to my wanting to spend money.

After some serious checking on prices, i realized that no matter what you do, you are going to spend about $1000 on a mattress. A little more or a little less, but that’s what it will cost. Here, it was a bit more complicated. We have 100 pounds of latex mattress and just getting it off the bed and out of the bedroom — where it will lay waiting for further action in the basement was an issue. We don’t have a dump here in Uxbridge. Many towns don’t and those that have dumps are not happy about taking mattresses.

Why? Because they are BIG, that’s way. We have a lot of trash in New England. We were building up trash before the rest of the country was settled, so there aren’t a lot of places left for dumps. It would cost us a solid $200 – $300 to get rid of the current mattress and Owen would need at least one big strong friend to get the new mattress upstairs.

We paid a couple of hundred dollars more than we would have online, but I also think we got a good mattress with a good warranty. They will deliver the mattress this Thursday. They will unpack it, put it on the bed, take away the old mattress, then clean up all the rubble left by unpacking. Garry will get to have his surgery and come home to a really comfortable bed. Or so I fondly hope.

AND we got to try out the mattress for 90 days, so if it isn’t quite the thing, we can pick the other one. I like this one because it’s just 12 inches and our bed was not really designed for huge, overstuffed mattresses. Also, I thought the 12 versus 14-inch versions felt much the same to me.

The answer for everyone who needs a mattress (other than a twin)? It will cost about $1000. Whether you buy it online or buy it locally, it will still cost just about $1000. You can spend less, but how soon do you want to replace your mattress? This one has a 20-year warranty and we have 90 days to test drive the mattress. If we don’t like it, we can exchange it.

And that’s where we were all day. I wasn’t answering comments or writing. We were scintillating ourselves into a new mattress. To be honest, I’m kind of excited about it. I’m hoping this is going to improve my life.

Nothing can improve the quality of life more than a really comfortable mattress.


I would have thought almost a month later, that this issue would have been resolved. Certainly when the Supreme Court of California ordered the administration to reunite all those children and their parents by July 27 — less than three weeks hence — that we’d be further along the process at least.

We aren’t. I wouldn’t give any odds of this getting done. Some goon in the Trump administration announced — on the news last night — that they are planning to get it done by matching DNA samples.

So, if a child was adopted — they will literally never find his or her family. Because families are not made up exclusively of related-DNA groups. There are adoptions, sibling and cousin groups and many other relationships that count as “family.” 


The kids in the orphanage in Nicaragua where we adopted three children didn’t cry. They’d already done their crying someplace else.

They might have looked concerned but they didn’t cry when passed from one person to the next like a bowl of mashed potatoes being passed at Thanksgiving dinner. In their tiny heads, they had figured out the futility of complaint. There was no use crying, it wouldn’t change anything.

They had already lost everything.

Children cope with abandonment. They will appear to cope at least. And how they appear to cope is that they don’t cry. It won’t be long before the little children who have been separated from their parents by American immigration officials, who feel the same as if their parents had abandoned them on the side of the road, it won’t be long before they stop crying. Because crying won’t change anything.

In their minds, they have lost everything. They don’t know about immigration law or Congress or what their parents are doing to find them. They have been abandoned as surely as my three kids in the Nicaraguan orphanage. And while my kids have grown up and are good, decent, loving people, they were damaged by what happened to them. There is no talking it through, no making sense of it. The damage they suffered was organic, visceral, sudden, and terrifying. And permanent.

So it is quite disturbing that any elected official would consider causing such desolation to a child as part of a political strategy to gain an advantage in negotiating an immigration bill. This is intentional psychological maiming of children done to win concessions, a border wall, perhaps, or drastic limits on legal immigration from various countries or from everywhere. The cost of this strategy will be enormous. People’s lives will be permanently changed by what happened to them as small children in these terrifying detention centers; they will grow up hurt and damaged. And there won’t be eager adoptive parents on the receiving end, committed to teaching their babies to cry again.

The kids in the Nicaraguan orphanage were there for a million different reasons – death, poverty, illness. Every reason was an accident in life. No one planned to inflict the pain of abandonment on their children, it just happened as a terrible consequence of hardship. So there was the fact of abandonment and its terrible effects on the psyches of young children, but there wasn’t an intention to harm them.

The deep and durable harm being visited on border children right now by our United States government is fully and completely intentional. The government means to harm these children and it is doing so in our names. Yours and mine. And now the perpetrators are quoting the Bible as justification for their actions. Lord help us.

We can’t allow this to continue. We can’t be part of intentionally maiming children who came to our country for safety. We are people who rescue the hurt and wounded. That is what we need to do now.


Photo by Dominic Chung 道明 on Unsplash

Tell your Congressional representatives to support the Keep Families Together Act. Call or write your elected Representative and Senators today. Remind them that we are not a country that intentionally harms children.



What Would You Change?  by Rich Paschall

If you could do your life over, what would you change?  Would you choose a different career?  Would you choose a different house or apartment?  Would you consider living in another town?  Another part of the country? A foreign country?

Would you travel more?  Would you see other towns, other regions, other countries?  Do you have adventures that remain unfulfilled?  Do you wish to do more exciting things?

Here’s a big one for you to consider.  Would you change your mate?  Would you have more or fewer children?  Would you stay single or get married, depending on what you current circumstance is?


Many people like to say that they would not change a thing.  They would do everything the same way.  Some say this defiantly so, as if defending the life that they have led.  That may be just a front, however, for certain family or friends.  Would we really do things the same way?

No matter what we insist to others, we all have made mistakes that we regret.  Would we not change these mistakes, if only we had the chance?  Would we not make better choices if we had the chance to choose again?

Do you recall a statement that you said you wish you could take back because it was insensitive?  Do you recall the gossip that you took part in, only to realize later that it was just a way to put down a coworker, neighbor, or family member that you just did not like at the time?  Wouldn’t the passage of time make us wise enough to refrain from such things?  If we took part in these things with the knowledge of our lifetime in front of us, would we not take a different course?

Perhaps you have seen the article, frequently reposted on social media (I have seen it a number of times, anyway), that talks about The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. These were collected by a nurse and published in a book.  It is summarized on Collective Evolution website. The list indicates that if these people could live their lives again, they would not take the same paths.  When they looked back from death’s door, there was plenty to change.

Top on the list was having the courage to live your own life, rather than that which was expected.  As we grow up, there are expectation of parents, grandparents, other family members, teachers and even our communities about what we should do in life.  Our roles are frequently defined by others and we, as loyal children and friends, take the path expected of us.  Would we now decide on “The Road Not Taken?”

Every male patient wished that they had not worked so hard.  They missed family events or other adventures while they worked extra hours.  From the perspective of the end of life, the choice was clearly a wrong one.  Yes, many need to work harder to support their family, but did we choose work, when another choice would have been better on a particular day?

Many wished they had the courage to express their true feelings, or that they had stayed in touch with old friends, or that they allowed themselves to be happier.  Perhaps they regretted all of these things.  So I ask the question again, what would you change if only you could?

If time and health are on your side, then you can still do many of the things you missed earlier.  You can still make amends for bad choices, thus undoing some mistakes of the past.  Of course, we can not now change everything, but that is no reason to be sad about the past.  We can use what we learned to move forward with better choices.

I think the desire to make up for missing some things in the past is one of the emotions that gives rise to the “Bucket List.”  Of course, you may put things on the list that are new to your thought processes, but how many of the things you would list now would actually be things you feel you missed out on in the past?  Is there some adventure you should have pursued in the past that you can still do now?

While there are many decisions I regret from the past, and some that I regret now actually, I have one basic problem with a “Do Over.” If I had made different choices in the past, would I still end up in the same place? You see, there are many things about the present I like as they are.  If I had gone a different route, would I eliminate some of the things I like about today?  Would some of my close friends be missing?  Of course, I would not know they were missing if I had gone another way.

Friends meet up in Strasbourg

Friends meet up in Strasbourg

My jobs in recent years have allowed me to make new friends in other countries.  In fact, one of my best friends lives in France.  We have travelled to France, Germany and England together as well as much of the USA.  I can not now imagine a life that does not include him.  I never thought of these travels or friendships when I was young, so I could not have consciously made the choice to end up where I am.

Because of my love of my current adventures and friends, I guess I really do not want a “Do Over.”  I just hope the knowledge I have gained from past mistakes will allow me to make better choices in the future.

From where you are right now, do you wish to go on with the knowledge you have gained, or would you rather have a “Do Over” realizing it may take you to a different place?


So there you are, in your car on your to somewhere. The open road lies before you and you are cruising along at a comfortable 75 mph in a 60 mph zone. You aren’t worried. There are rules and then there are the “real” rules. Everyone speeds. The general rule of thumb is about 15 miles over the limit. Push it more than that, and someone might decide to ticket you, especially if it’s toward the end of the month and it’s time to fill up those books and hand them in.

You can usually get away with whatever you are doing — as long as everyone else in the lane is doing pretty much the same thing.

On this particular day, a car shot past me at what must have been supersonic speeds and cut me off and sped onward. It’s scary getting cut off at those speeds. It takes at least seven car lengths to nearly stop. To fully stop, add at least one more.

I breathe. I continue driving. There’s always some dickhead on the road who has something to prove.

About two, maybe three miles down the road, I see this same jackass pulled over by cops. He isn’t pulled over by one cop or even two. He sped right into a troop of police officers on their way to an event of some kind … and they ALL pulled him over. There are cop cars everywhere. Lights are spinning, sirens are wailing. This guy is doomed.

Everyone was writing a ticket. Dozens of cops. ALL writing tickets for different things. Dangerous driving. Speeding. Crossing lanes without a directional. Cutting off the police chief.

Whatever they could think of, he was getting a ticket for it. I figured it would be thousands of dollars before he found his way out of the storm into which he had driven.

He deserved it. I felt proud, yet somehow humble.

I looked at the police. I grinned at them. I popped up my thumb — and the cops popped up theirs. Karma.

Sometimes, the magic works.