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We had our first birth in the birth center last night. Success. And we get to bill for nitrous. That means the infernal machine needs to be used only nineteen more times to pay for itself. My daughter, on the other hand, called for attention every time I was about to fall asleep for the first two hours and then woke up from a screaming, bawling nightmare. My wife is asleep in the other room which prevents me from finishing the background pass on the not-very-good movie, unless I put on headphones, which I hate doing when I'm doing surround work.

Our burn rate is a few thousand dollars higher per month than we anticipated, due entirely to construction delays. This means it will be longer before the center is profitable. Nonetheless, confidence is high. My wife pointed out last night that it was effectively equivalent to me putting her through college all over again. This morning I'm mulling over the fact that aside from a brief, glorious nine months between relationships in 2002, and a semi-refreshing, maybe-we'll-make-it period of about a year before we had our daughter, I have given over the overwhelming majority of my earnings to the care of others for more than 20 years now.

I'm partly bitter about that and partly contemplative. A friend of mine was in Variety on Friday because he's got a show set up with Granada and Netflix. He, of course, came to LA about a year after I did. Then his wife (whose family is not just wealthy, they're royal) supported him while he did free work for two solid years, had two kids, went through treatment twice and lived i a $4k/mo apartment while we were grinding dried placentas to make ends meet. They don't tell you that: if you're trying to break in while earning a living, you're breaking in against dilettantes with zero cost-of-failure and infinite hang-time. Then Sunday I discovered that another below-the-line friend had died of a heart attack at 36.

It's all about anchoring, I guess. I've got a tree surgeon coming over to tell me what it's going to cost to make sure the three massive firs in the back don't fall on the house. I'm hoping I can afford it. At the same time I was talking to the neighbor Sunday; her roof is leaking because she got a deal from another neighbor's then-boyfriend but he's a junkie now so whatever warranty there was, yeah notsomuch anymore. Meanwhile they're building out, not up, because it's cheaper, because there's seven of them in there, six adults, and they've got one bathroom and fewer square feet than we do, and one of them is in a wheelchair. But she's on 100% disability, her daughter is on 100% disability, her son works two jobs, both of which are custodial, her one grandson got thrown out of his mom's house for fighting and her other grandson -

He was howling Sunday. Not sure why. It was dark, there was lots of shouting. We're debating calling CPS. He hangs out with me but he's rough. He's eight and enjoys the company of my 4-year-old daughter who is brighter than him by far. He's on the spectrum among other things and he breaks stuff. We let him play with our daughter out doors but he's not allowed in our house unless one of his family members are there. And we're crowded with three people and all our shit in this house but fuckin'A we can still park a car in the garage. They've got seven people in there and I don't even know who the seventh is.

They're building out. They're getting a loan. The contractor is a friend of a friend which worked out oh-so-well last time, right? There's seven of them, two fixed incomes and maybe three jobs between them, none of which make much money. I mean, they've got a blue tarp keeping the rain off half the house (not the roof leak; apparently that's just sort of happening without any remediation).

Anchoring. I don't have a blue tarp keeping the rain out of the family room, my toilet-to-person ratio is 1.5, and we have retirement savings as if we were 20 years older than we are now. And I'm not in Variety but I'm not in the ground, either. And as formidable as our burn rate is, we fuckin' made it this month.

This month, anyway.

by: kleinbl00

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Houseplants are important psychologically. They demand nothing from us other than water and light, yet they are a living thing whose existence depends on us. By requiring our care they allow us to shift our focus from ourselves to something else, but at a much lower concentration than pets or humans. They're useful for staving off depression. The hard part is when the depression wins.

Mine started about ten. I'd had a couple houseplants and an aquarium in my room in 5th grade; when we moved in sixth I took the opportunity to plan a large skylight (which I never got - my parents put them in two other rooms but) and hang up a couple 4' grow lamps. By the time I was sixteen I had maybe 25 pots of various foliage, two aquariums and a hand-me-down cage full of finches.

By the time I was seventeen my sister was stealing my shit to sell to her friends, my parents weren't interacting with me unless it was to give me shit, I was a full-blown exercise bulimic and I was trapped.

And I let it all die.

At one point I went away for four or five days and my parents broke into my room because they suspected there were things to be fed in there. They apologized when they realized everything was long since dead.

But they never wondered what the fuck happened, and they never did anything about it.

I like green, growing things. My own little Silent Running in the middle of the fucking New Mexico desert was my escape capsule. And the fact that I couldn't keep it alive still messes me up.

The fact that my parents never gave a fuck made me angry for a very, very long time.

kleinbl00  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What happened when Walmart left

I've noticed a peculiar thing happening to my psyche. Whenever I hear the words "intersectionality" "privilege" or "coal miner" I find myself losing all sympathy and empathy. My hackles are raised, my interest in debate plummets and I go full "plague on both your houses" mode.

I have a couple friends in West Virginia and I don't give a fuck about West Virginia. As a country, we were talking about doomed fucking coal jobs in the '80s. And when your two choices of employment are the Walmart and the prison, your local economy is end stage already.

And can we level for a minute? Those of us who grew up in the Mountain West were surrounded by ghost towns left skeletonized by an end of mining, agriculture, ranching, you fucking name it. Everybody moved the fuck on. And while I appreciate that the mortgage is an excellent instrument for trapping workers in place for better predation by corporations, fuckin' take the hit and leave.

I spent a lot of time driving through rural Arizona back in the late '90s. I spent a little time driving through rural Arizona in 2010. Know what I saw? New ghost towns. Places where it made sense to live when Clinton was president but totally didn't when Obama was. Empty houses, empty stores. Fuckin' sunrise, sunset. Know what we call the people who left squalor and risked everything to find new opportunity? YOUR ANCESTORS. Know what we call the people who stayed? We don't. They've been forgotten by time.

    Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.

I mean, eat a dick. I grew up an hour from a fucking Taco Bell. Walmart? The first Walmart I ever saw was a two and a half hour drive away and even at the tender age of 11 I could tell it was a blight upon the community.

    It was into this stunning setting that Walmart descended in 2005 on the site of an old Kmart, like the spacecraft of alien botanists that lands in the forest at the start of the movie ET. And there it sat: a massive gash of concrete encircled by nature’s abundance.

Talk about burying the lede. So a store with higher profit margins crashed, so Walmart came in with lower profit margins, until even they were just losing money. But somehow this is about Walmart leaving rather than fuckin' McDowell County returning to the primordial "largest mixed mesophyte forest in the world" as is good and just and righteous and proper. Know how many people live on South Georgia Island? Two. Know how many lived there when whale hunting was legal? Hundreds.

    Wanda Church has been unemployed since that day when she cried as Walmart’s doors were closed for the last time; the company offered her a night shift at the next store along, but she couldn’t stomach the hour’s drive either way and wasn’t prepared to leave her home.

That howling sound you hear is every urban commuter reading this article and screaming at the top of their lungs that their commute is over an hour and that's just the way it is princess.

    The company had worked with all the employees who had lost their jobs to find them suitable transfers or give them severance pay. “We look forward to continuing to serve our Kimball area customers when they visit our stores in Bluefield, Princeton and MacArthur,” she said, (without referencing the hour’s drive.)

There are THREE fucking Walmarts within an hour. Workers at any supermarket chain you care to mention are quite used to suddenly having a shift an hour away. This happens in major metropolises and yes, I can say with authority that Walmart does it, too.

This is literally liberal disaster porn talking about those poor fuckers in coal mining country who no longer have a Walmart across the street but can drive 40 minutes to get to one. They're fuckin' 40 minutes from the goddamn interstate; time was going to forget them sooner or later and sincerely - from those of us "scots irish" who grew up in the goddamn desert, welcome to thunderdome, bitch.

Articles like this? They make me want the opioid crisis to accelerate, Obamacare to crash and global warming to destroy the economy of appalachia even faster. If the only thing that kept you hanging on was the talons of Bentonville Fucking Arkansas, you were ready to shuffle off the coil a long fucking time ago.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin' and either way, know that I'm all the fuck out of sympathy.

    Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. “Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.”

    There was something else Phillips lost with Walmart’s departure. To illustrate the point, he reaches into his red pick-up truck and pulls out a loaded Para Ordnance Warthog .45 handgun and waves it at us, telling us not to freak as the safety is on.

    “Bought this in the Walmart parking lot,” he says. “Guy sees me reading a gun magazine and asks me was I carrying. He offered to sell me the Para warthog and I got it for $775.” Phillips took his new possession home and added to his collection of 140 firearms.

no words