Woulda, coulda, probably shoulda


I’d be really embarrassed if I were Kevin McCarthy, but I still have my soul and most of my dignity. Editorial cartoon by John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

At 11:30 Friday night, I finally was able to turn off my laptop and go to bed.

I could have gone to bed earlier, had the Republicans in the House been able to recognize that they needed at least three rather than two “present” votes to bring down the margin enough so that Kevin McCarthy could finally be voted in as the 55th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (but surely an inability to do math couldn’t cause any problems down the line, right?). But then we wouldn’t have been able to witness the near-coming-to-blows after the 14th vote failed and Mike Rogers of Alabama had to be physically restrained from going after Matt Gaetz of Florida. (Rogers has since apologized, and stepped down from the GOP Steering Committee that determines committee assignments for Republican House members.)

Is it any wonder there were bags and cans of popcorn on the floor (no alcohol, though, despite the accusation by Kat Cammack of Florida in her McCarthy nomination speech in the sixth round) toted by Democrats, plus a book with a not-appropriate-for-a-family-newspaper title being read by Katie Porter of California? (Have I mentioned lately how much I love Katie Porter’s shade-throwing and CEO-owning?)

Oh, Katie, I love you. Image found on Literary Hub.

While it was entertaining at times, and certainly historic, coming in as the fifth-longest vote—the last time a speaker vote took longer was 164 years ago (1859, at 44 ballots; the longest was 133 ballots in 1855)—there were things I could have done instead of watching those votes, which had gone on for days as McCarthy struggled to rustle up enough votes. While I worked during the week, I had The Washington Post live feed and The New York Times vote-tracker up so that I could keep track of what was going on, and votes to adjourn were harder to get after the first two days. Can’t say I blame those who didn’t want to adjourn; I wanted it over too.

Thanks, Kevin, for empowering the Q brigade even more than you already had. Editorial cartoon by Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The interminable performative displays from the holdouts were awful enough (what was with all the yelling during nomination speeches, not to mention the insane lies?), especially when appealing to moderates rather than a subset of far-right ideologues might have moved the process along without the empowerment of a raucous minority that threatens to keep governance at a standstill for the foreseeable future (and oh, joy, the rules package with all those concessions passed Monday).

This really is how it felt. But there wasn’t as much comedy, dang it. Editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel, Creators Syndicate.
Really, aren’t Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert the actual speaker now? Editorial cartoon by John Darkow, Columbia Missourian.
I’m not ashamed to say this one made me snort-laugh. Editorial cartoon by Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune.

Had I not been watching/listening to the proceedings last week, I could have:

🐱 Spent more time with fur-nephew Charlie. The boy was discombobulated, having been stuck with Aunt Brenda while his mom was in Florida, and then having Mom return midweek, so he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself. And then Aunt Brenda noticed a wound on his butt (I swear, I don’t intentionally look at cat butts) that meant he’d have to go to the vet to address it (and now he has a partially shaved butt and a staple). Poor little guy … but at least he’s feeling better now, and even more lovey. Plus he has two new chairs in the living room to lounge in, thanks to Aunt Kathy (with an assist from Aunt Brenda). That won’t make up for being banned from going outside for the time being, but it’s a start.

Charlie’s had a rough week, so I don’t blame him for resting.

🐿️ Watched the birds and squirrels in the backyard at Sarah’s. While Charlie’s mom was in Florida, I had to sweep up a bag of wildlife food that had been torn into (we suspect the chonky squirrel we named Kevin last spring is the perpetrator) and put it into a container not as easily breached. In the process, I put some of the food on the picnic table bought specifically for the squirrels, and the next day noticed squirrels chowing down. A day later, there was a kerfuffle when birds started going for the food on the table rather than their feeders, and Kevin was not happy, swiping at a few of them.

How dare those birds do to him what he had been doing to them?!?!?

Dang it, birds, them’s my nuts! Image by Mary McGowan from 2018 Comedy Wildlife Awards found on National Geographic.

🧩 Done more puzzles. I had brought over a jigsaw puzzle to work on while house/cat-sitting, but never managed to find time to do it. Puzzles were also brought back from Florida for me, and over the weekend I finally started one of them (started Saturday evening, finished Sunday morning). I had forgotten how relaxing jigsaw puzzles can be, especially for people like me who sometimes don’t handle deviation from schedules, etc., very well. Having just one way for things to fit together can be a comfort in a world where so little is simple.

🍿 Watched more movies. I finished up several series (like “His Dark Materials”) over the holidays while watching over Charlie, who had taken to nesting in a blanket on the living room couch while I worked. When I finished work, then and only then would I turn on the TV to wind down (Charlie likes to watch “Today,” but he was OK just chilling next to me). Several movies/TV shows have been added to my various queues, and I could have spent some of that time I was paying attention to the speaker vote paring them down. Sorry, “Black Adam” and other recent additions; I’ll get to you eventually.

Hopefully it will be before you disappear.

In the winter, you can often find me watching a movie with cocoa in hand, though not always in a living room with a big TV.

There are other things I could have done rather than pay attention to the speaker vote, like eat more chocolate or worry about my car situation (heard back from my insurer Tuesday afternoon, and it’s totaled; I can’t afford a car payment), etc., but that wouldn’t really be all that healthy physically or emotionally. I also could have walked more, but motivation was severely lacking.

Now that the vote is over, though, I’ll probably go back to not paying much attention to the House unless something happens to put it high on my radar again. I try to keep track of what’s going on, but not to the point of obsession. Considering the things that have happened in the last several years, though, perhaps I shouldn’t temper that obsession so much.

Then again, worrying about things I can’t affect isn’t a great idea. Chocolate, on the other hand …

Addendum: After feeling not-so-great since about Friday, I took at-home covid tests Monday and Tuesday, and a faint positive on the second one means I’m no longer a super-dodger, after nearly three years (it was fun while it lasted). My symptoms are mild (thank you, science and vaccines!), but annoying and tiring.

Get vaccinated, people, so you’ll be around to complain about getting sick!

Yes, please! Image found on Alleghany Trees.