EITHER, OR, AND WHATEVER by Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Either, Or, and Whatever

I don’t want to complain. Okay, I really do want to complain.

I was just beginning to feel a little optimistic about the house. We got the rotting door removed the side of the house. It’s a lot warmer without the draft. The front door has been insulated, finished and if we get it painted, it’ll be perfect. We put up a set of gutters which, with a little luck, will help our roof survive.

Home. With snow.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a banging sound and I could never figure out where it was coming from. I thought it was outside, that the drain pipes from the gutter were banging against the house.

It turned out to be the boiler. It was replaced was in 2009. Which turns out to have been 10 years ago. Ten years?

2009 was ten years ago? How did THAT happen? I calculated last night that our boiler was 12 years old when we bought this house in 2000. Which meant that our boiler is 31 years old. We’ve been pretty good about getting it serviced regularly. The parts we’ve replaced have all been parts that normally need replacement. Sort of like the boiler version of changing the oil, replacing brakes, tires, and windshield wipers.

Thirty-one years for this boiler is a lot. About 10 years longer than this system was supposed to work, since it was an inexpensive unit. While I was busy congratulating myself on having somehow, with the grace, love, and caring of friends, the boiler was quietly aging.

In addition to all the other indignities of getting old, you get to outlive your “stuff.” Your new roof gets old.

It’s not fair! I still maintain that one roof is the only roof you should ever need. You shouldn’t need three front doors or four hot water heaters. The shed shouldn’t rot. The Hollyhocks shouldn’t die. The well shouldn’t need major repairs. Having fixed the septic system, it should survive us.

Whatever deities you may worship, Murphy’s Law rules them all. How in the world can I save up five or six thousand dollars for a new boiler?

Okay. I’ve complained enough for one day. Maybe for an entire month or two. And there really is no way to live without central heating in this climate. I’d love to say we’re going to save up the money but there are still other things that need fixing. I guess something will work out.

Either this, that, or some other thing will happen. I have to believe. It’s the only option I have.


I’m alive for two major reasons:

  1. Because I didn’t take a lot of advice I was given. I had been misdiagnosed and had some bad doctors.
  2. Having learned my lessons the hard way, I did my homework and sought out the best doctors for whatever needed to be done.

In earlier surgeries, I tried to make life easier for people to visit me, including a working husband. Now, I find the best, most respected surgeon … even if he or she is a long drive from home. It’s my life on the line.

Dealing with breast cancer in both breasts — two unrelated tumors — and ultimately getting Boston’s best surgeon and plastic (rebuilding) surgeon was complicated, but I found a doctor who was a friend of Garry’s brother (who lives in Minnesota, but the doctor lived in Boston). The “local” surgeon had 30 surgeries and told me what I was going to do. No choice. She believed she already knew what I needed.

I spent a month finding someone with hundreds of hours who was head of the women’s surgery unit in Boston. It was a very nerve-wracking month hoping cancer wouldn’t grow much while I sought the best doctors I could find.

There is a lot of advice I wish I had gotten but didn’t. Instead, I got some excellent advice from myself.

The most critical information I can give you is to make sure you are using the best doctors and hospitals. Local doctors may be able to set a broken leg, but for anything more complicated, they might kill you if you let them.

I took my own advice which is how come I’m here to tell the tale. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t been my most powerful advocate, I’d be an ex-blogger.

This is my best advice. 

Life is unexpected. Shit happens. Cancer, heart issues, diabetes, arthritis. You name it, we get it. No matter how well you take care of yourself, you will at some point require medical care, maybe surgery, maybe other stuff.

Regardless of convenience, understanding the quality of the medical facilities within driving distance — even extended driving distance — are critical to surviving.

Do the research. Find out what available medical facilities and associated doctors and surgeons and support services are reachable. If you have to drive a considerable distance to obtain the best services and people, do it. Survival trumps convenience.

Your life is on the line. I’ve been there, done that, and lived to tell the story. It is absolutely worth it. You are worth it.

WHAT KIND OF IDEA ARE YOU? – Marilyn Armstrong

From Salmon Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses”:

I don’t fit in a category. Not me, not my ideas. The concept of “compromise” as wrong bothers me. Not because I “go with the flow.” I have no idea what “the flow” is.

I’ve never been in touch with popular thought because I don’t care what’s popular — or unpopular — or even hated. What I believe is subject to lots of varying forces. What you might call compromise, I call being in touch. I have never thought that rigidity was a positive personality trait. The world is ever-changing and those who do not change do not survive.

The world and I have undergone dramatic changes. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Is not life all about learning? Learning means change. If not, what’s the point? If my ideas are fixed and cannot change, they will ultimately become ridiculous. Irrelevant. Stupid. And so will I.

What might make anyone think their idea is “The Idea?” Or that it will be adopted by the “world?” What historical thing, event, process, cultural trend, would make someone expect righteousness (as they perceive it) to prevail? Throughout human history, exactly the opposite has been the invariable human experience.

When reality bites, I don’t stand around waiting for it to eat me. I think. I test my ideas to see if have legs to stand on. If not, I try to figure out what can I do to make them sturdier.

Is that a compromise? I call it intelligence at work. I know people who can not change. Refuse to change. Are stuck in a fixed belief system. Maybe their system made sense and then again, quite possibly not. Ultimately, they become relics, laughable parodies of who they were. We find them pitiable, that they can’t let the light in. They’ve locked the doors and drawn the shades of their minds.

For most of my life, I believed everything could be fixed if we kept trying. Fifty years later, the world is not only not better. It is markedly worse. My generation has grown weary. Our children are afraid of drowning as the waters rise. Their children — our grandchildren — are even more cynical.

Rigidity is the problem. It cannot save us. Nor will it lower the heat of hatred and rage threatening to engulf us. Rigidity is marching us backward in lockstep to the deepest of waters.

VIBRANT COLORS — BIRD STYLE! – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:
Vibrant Colors

It was a brilliant day for the birds today. The most brilliantly colored of the birds is the cardinal, and for once, I got a lot of pictures of both male and female cardinals — and a few other birds 😀