urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The boiler repair guy came and went by about 10. [personal profile] vatine kindly stayed home to deal with him, and I managed to sleep through the whole thing. (Besides the social awkwardness thing, after getting one really skeezy-acting meter reader I'm still pretty sure didn't attack me because I was bigger than he was--and still kept sizing me up--I do not like to let strangers into the house while I'm home alone.)

You may have hard water when it takes two or three years for your boiler to get limed up to the point of cascading failure. Yep, we had to replace it not too long ago, and it's again to the point of "as much to fix it as replace it". (To the tune of about £2000, IIRC.) They didn't suggest any regular maintenance on the current one, but maybe some kind of preventative care will help the next one live longer. One drawback to the otherwise pretty cool and space-efficient combi boiler approach: it's complicated, with very little that is user serviceable. And you're not supposed to open them up and poke around without being Gas Safe certified. I was hoping there was some kind of minor flushing we could do or something to get some of the limescale out, but apparently not.

Ah well. It could be worse. It's June, the shower heats water (besides the dishwasher and washing machine), and we've got a space heater just in case.

And I'm reminded of this one: 50% of Americans Couldn’t Come Up with $2,000 in an Emergency (and I was surprised it wasn't more). Ghost poverty had me automatically half-panicking and hoping we'd be able to get heat and hot water back before winter, but, yeah, that's not a major problem now. As much as I still near-literally nickel-and-dime myself to death, even with me unable to work now, we're apparently in the top 20% of UK incomes.* (Which says a lot about inequality, actually.)

We're also on the second replacement washing machine in a few years. Even with regularly using sodium carbonate in the wash and running empty hot loads with lots of vinegar or citric acid, they've gotten crudded up with lime internally. But, you boil a pot of water and get lime scum on the top and a ring around the pot. I grew up on limestone karst, where there used to be a lot of mineral spring resorts, and never saw anything like the liquid chalk you get in London. I guess the softer stone makes a huge difference in ready solubility.

* This really struck me when we knew we needed at least an £800 boiler system flushing (no, insufficient after all!)--and Ingvar suggested going out and looking at Xooms. (ETA: And he's hardly prone to wild spending sprees. /ETA) I think my jaw was honestly hanging open for a minute there. I mean, I knew we weren't poor, but I'd been cutting back on food expenses and putting off buying things like a new pair of £50 walking sandals and a couple of shirts. Different assumptions and expectations based on experience, indeed. :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Via the [livejournal.com profile] petbulls LJ community:
Jean Donaldson Interview | ThePitBullHoax | YouTube -- [Jean Donaldson has been at the forefront of the science-based, non-force movement in dog training and behavior modification for over 35 years. As the director of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the SFSPCA, she has trained some of the best and brightest people in dog training and behavior. There is perhaps no one better in the world of pet dog training at determining how best to deal with dogs in all situations as Jean Donaldson.] (via truthaboutpits)

I am not up to making a transcript right now, unfortunately.

Hmm, could it be easier to scapegoat whole breeds of dogs than to look at social inequality? Odd suggestion.


Max is saddened by the prospect of being considered a Devil Dog. Even though, here in the UK, he has a specific exemption from the "[w]hether your dog is a banned type depends on what your dog actually looks like, rather than the breed or name by which it is called" legal (and perceptual) approach. ("Some kinds of American Bulldogs have been found to be Pit Bull types.")

Once we're in the US, things may be very different indeed, even though CA does not allow breed-specific bans.

OK, I mostly saw an opportunity to post that particularly vicious-looking photo. ;)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
An excellent post, via [personal profile] torachan: poor people aren’t supposed to want nice things:

Your goal, Poor Person, should you choose to accept it, is to forget about any presumption of haves and have-nots. Your job, Poor Person, is to get as far away from the have-nots as possible in thought and deed and investment. Otherwise, you will tip people off to the fact you are or have been poor. They are only supposed to suspect that you have been poor when you approach the dais to give a motivating speech, or when you are filling out an application to fund more education for yourself, or when you have fallen upon dire straits but grow accustomed to those circumstances with aplomb. Then, dear Poor Person, and then only may you say, “I did not always blithely accept the presence of Nice Things in my life; I lived a joyless existence under the poverty line.”

Yep. Exactly.

I am not currently poor, but am still halfway expecting the filthy Grocery Checkout Police looks, over items such as mushrooms out of the reduced-for-quick-sale section. We got extra nasty looks when I was growing up--yes, I got them too, as the well-fed spawn of a Nasty Poor Person--because my mom kept us well dressed, by sewing in all that working-poor spare time she had. *snort* # And there she was, buying "luxury" items such as deeply reduced good cuts of meat, mushrooms and other fresh fruits and veggies, and (the chutzpah!) ice cream--with food stamps. And she didn't have the decency to act ashamed, but glared right back and occasionally asked them if they'd got their eyes full.

And that's just the grocery store experience.

I've been realizing more and more lately how much I managed to internalize the "you're not even doing paid work, you shouldn't buy things like nice new clothes--much less things like PDAs which might actually make you more capable of doing stuff" crap. I have been meaning to write something about how this kind of thing--combined with the "you should work yourself into a frenzy just to prove you are not a Lazy Slacking Freeloading Ass"+ baggage--has been helping me keep myself living in cluttered chaos. But have been too busy trying to dig myself out of said depressing, overwhelming, disabling chaos!

Even things that I would consider totally reasonable accommodations for someone else are apparently frivolous and greedy in my own case--another intersection of poverty and disability. And another twisted perfectionism-type thing that does not apply to other people, but only to me, even though I consciously know that this kind of thinking is based on a lot of totally screwed-up assumptions and is poison. It is absolutely ridiculous, and these messages are everywhere. If you are less-than-virtuous enough to be poor and/or disabled, you should not be seen to enjoy your life. And it's only right that what other people consider basics are luxuries for you.

From one rather good comment:
I personally don’t care if my neighbors spend their (astonishingly low) welfare money on whatever they want, including drugs. For real. It’s their money. I’m not gonna tell a WalMart worker how they should spend money that comes from profiteering off the sweatshop labor of children in poor countries. I’m not going to tell scumbag lawyers who have fancy cars “legitimately” that they should stop ripping people off and drive a beater. It’s none of my business. It is my business to try to change the capitalist system that sets us all up to be in this relationship where one person “gains” by another’s “loss”, but I’m not going to take that out on individuals because it’s not fair. It’s especially not fair because (as usual) poor people get picked on first.


# A lot of it with remnants from the sewing factories where she did piecework for years, no less. (And not so much of it for herself. :/) Then there was the cognitive dissonance when some snotty people found out she was educated as a librarian, but working as a seamstress out of necessity. "But, but...you're not stupid!" *headdesk* Not to mention the "But, but...I had you pigeonholed as lazy hillbilly/Indian/what-have-you trash!" factor.

September 2011

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