Thursday, May 25, 2017

I has a sad.

So.  The new house has a few minor plumbing issues that I have no clue how to tackle, and Odysseus isn't comfortable messing with (a busted line to a fridge ice maker/water dispenser, a leaking bathroom drain, a slow leak under the house).  Yesterday, I called to get on his schedule. 

His daughter answered.  She told me he'd passed away the previous Thursday. 

I will admit it was hard not to just bust out bawling.

The plumber is one we'd worked with for the past ten years.  He was a great guy; once, when he was doing some little bits of work for us, he found a box turtle when he went to leave, and ran up and knocked on the door.  Because he wanted to show the kids the turtle. 

He went into raptures over a slightly novelty toilet seat we'd put on the hall bathroom toilet: it had a toddler's toilet seat worked into the lid, and he was having trouble getting his little grandson to use anything but a potty chair because the kid was afraid he'd fall in (when he was willing to go anywhere but in his diaper).  I told him where we found it, and mentioned that we'd shamelessly used bribery to get the imp potty trained, and would be doing the same for the pixie when it was her turn.  He put candy on the list he pulled out of his pocket, right next to the toilet seat.

We had him out to deal with a small frozen pipe issue in January or February.  He'd lost a lot of weight, and wasn't smiling like always. 

He'd lost his wife the winter before.  They'd been together for 38 years, and he was lost.  Missed her terribly. 

I honestly hadn't thought he'd last out the year, with the way he was pining, but that came quick. 

And I'm trying to gather the gumption to look for another plumber, with the full knowledge that the working relationship just won't be there, and likely won't be for a long time, if ever.  Not like that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Living with CFS

I get sick easier, now.  It's been that way since the early part of 2015.  If there's a virus that hits one of my family members, it'll hit me, too, and harder. 

Like now.  Odysseus thought he'd gotten a lung full of dust, and thought he was dealing with an allergy attack.  Yeah, no.  It was a virus.  Yes, I have it.  Yes, it hit me harder.  Yes, I'm still down with it. 

Even when I'm not sick, I constantly feel like I'm either coming down with something or getting over something: body aches, I have NO endurance (and attempts to build endurance backfire, and leave me actually sick), and I have to sleep more than most people do.  And that doesn't consider the brain fog that doesn't end, and only ebbs and surges. 

On good days, I can do a few things: sometimes, I can almost keep up with standard housework, like dishes, and some shopping.  I can't do heavier housework--I can't vacuum floors, can't do a lot of laundry beyond loading and running the washer.  Wet clothes are too heavy to mess with, for the most part.  Cleaning the kitty litter kinda depends on how many other things I've done.  

So, right now, I'm down with something that hit me in the lungs (again), and am trying to pack when I can, and move a few things when I can. 

I've been doing research into more than "What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?" or "What causes CFS?"  I've been looking into the mechanics of how it causes symptoms.  Turns out, there's little known, but there's a tentative theory out there (not many are studying this, but the ones that are have been able to replicate results) that the actual symptoms are caused by mild, moderate, or severe damage to the mitochondria--the power plants of the individual cells in the body--depending on the severity of the case of CFS.  There are some that are totally bedridden, some that are bedridden sometimes, and some that are bedridden only occasionally (after overdoing it). 

Honestly, there's not a whole lot I can do other than wait this out.  There's little to no research being done.  Often, doctors (and others) consider those of us with these weird, diffuse symptoms to be hypochondriacs.*  We're offered cognitive behavoral therapy, antidepressants, and told to exercise, increasing the amounts by a little every session. 

For those who are hypochondriacs, this works. 

For those of us who actually have something wrong, this is the opposite of helpful: energy levels are finite, and once they're gone, if you keep pushing, you wind up bedridden for a few days, even if you manage to avoid coming down with something nasty while your immune system is further compromised (this is personal experience speaking).  And antidepressants have side effects that exacerbate the symptoms, pushing recovery from "unlikely any time soon" to "impossible." 

There are a few things that I, and anyone else suffering from this, can do: we can ignore doctors' nutritional advice to avoid red meat and coffee,** and we can sit down when energy starts to flag.  We can take anti-inflammatories*** to deal with the chronic, systemic inflammation that accompanies CFS. 

And we can wait it out.  Your body rebuilds every cell in it, eventually (I think every seven years is what I remember reading).  Remember: This, too, shall pass. 


*I'd be happiest if I could go back to seeing my doctor no more than once a year.  

**Red meat contains more nutrients that your body needs to rebuild cells--and one in particular useful for rebuilding mitochondria--and black coffee offers extra energies that help the damaged mitochondria function better. Adding sugar makes it harder for your body to process the things it needs to take from the coffee.

***Some of us can.  Tirosint's drug info insert warned that it can interfere with the metabolism of the artificial thyroid hormone from T4 into T3. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

WTH, life?

So, we closed on our house a bit under a month ago.  Got the flooring finished last week (the vinyl laminate floor is gorgeous, and will last us for three or four decades, easy), and started moving more than the storage unit. 

Also, last week, we had some nasty, heavy storms.  And haven't spent much time in the house since Thursday, when my family came over to help me with a few things in the new kitchen (linoleum peel-n-stick tiles lining cabinet shelves). Partially because I wore myself out to the point my immune system went down hard.  I got some shopping done, but that was really about it.  Friday afternoon, I went to bed, and kinda stayed there, except for when a tornado warning was posted on the radio for the listening area, and I herded the kids and dog into the bathroom (not the cats--the dog was scared because of the thunder, and the storm was kicking up more to our east than in line to threaten us) until it passed.

Yesterday was pretty rainy.  We did a bit but not a lot on the move (and I was still down).  Odysseus took our imp to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  And took loads of kids' toys over to the new place. 

Today, I felt better, so we packed up our storage cubbies and took them over.  I also packed up sandwiches and chips for everybody, and took lunch over to eat around Odysseus's grandmother's dining room table (which my family helped me set up--a heavy, 4' x 6' dining table with drop leaves running long-ways).  Odysseus took the tea he'd made and killed it, then went to make another pitcher...

...and we abruptly lost water pressure. 

Flipped breakers to pump and to pressure tank. 

Waited.  Went and got some new light fixtures (one we replaced because neither of us cared for it; the other was a pendant light we replaced because Odysseus banged his head on it more than once getting stuff in the front door), and tried the water pressure again. 

Still nothing. 

Crap. 

We have left a message with a local well pump guy, but will also be calling at a civilized time tomorrow morning. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

FFOT: the week

Monday:

The USPS can fuck off with prejudice.  Seriously, if your posted hours state that you open at 8:30, then answer your goddamned phone at 8:40.  And if you don't, don't leave the fucking "we're closed" message on your machine.  And clear your fucking voicemail so I can leave a fucking message, you goddamned ass-weasels. 

To the "mother" driving at ten miles under the speed limit, texting with one hand and smoking with the other while your curly-headed toddler was flapping her arms above her car seat in the back...I hope you realize you're directly harming your baby girl and putting her in imminent danger through your own white-trash habits.  And by so doing, dooming the child to a life of poverty, sponging off the government, and being a generational problem and drain on my children's resources.  Fuck off and die alone in a fiery car crash before she's old enough to remember you, so that she has a chance at a productive, happy life.

Tuesday:

This sinus headache that snuck up on me while I was grading last chance essays can fuck right off.  Ouch.

Thursday:

I can fuck off for attempting to scale back on the amount of naproxin I take.   OUCH.  I really can't afford to feel like this right now.

This was my week.  How was yours?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pro tip:

When you're having work done (carpet laid, privacy fence built, etc.), make sure the workers have a supply of red Solo cups, and a gallon (or more, depending) of Gatorade. 

The work gets done quicker, and with more care and attention to detail, than it otherwise would. 

That has, at least, been my experience. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My department head is a racist.

He doesn't even realize it. 

Tuesday, my second plagiarism case came to talk to me.  They showed me that while yes, they did plagiarize, they didn't plagiarize the whole paper--just the abstract of the paper.  And they did their best to analyze the paper. 

They thought that the research project was choosing a research paper and analyzing it. 

No, I don't know how they reached that conclusion. 

But it got me thinking.  Wondering if the other one had done the same thing.  Sure enough, they had. 

So, I set about emailing both plagiarists to come talk to me so that we could work together: I'd explain the assignment again, and help both of them with the planning stages, then they could redraft the entire paper for a grade. 

Students satisfied. 

However.  Come to find out, both students had gone to my department head to complain. 

My department head emailed me and told me to find an unofficial solution to the issue.  Because my students are brown, Middle-Eastern, and can't possibly be held to the same standards as the white, American students. 

Okay.  Message received. 

Message.

Received. 

No more treating all students the same, and expecting the same levels of professionalism from all.  I'm supposed to expect less from non-native and minority students, set them up for future failure, and set them up so that others' expectations of affirmative action hires are perpetuated. 

Good to know.  Makes my job easier, knowing that no matter what, some students will be getting A's, so I might as well not bother grading their work. 

Academic integrity: just another victim to SJW bullying.

What the fuck is wrong with this country? 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dear plagiarist,

No.  No, I will not--cannot--reconsider. 

Considering that I explained many times, all semester, the difference between your work and someone else's, I do not believe that you didn't understand my policies on copying someone else's work and turning it in as your own. 

You fail the class. 

I understand that you feel you shouldn't fail the class.  I feel the same way. 

However.

You copied a medical journal article, and turned it in as your own.  That isn't accidental plagiarism that I can give you a zero on the paper for.  That is deliberate, that is against university policy, that is against departmental policy, and my hands are tied. 

You fail the class. 

There is nothing you can do about it.

There is nothing I can do about it, without getting fired.  I am not tenured faculty.  I am semester-by-semester, at-will, contract employed. 

No, excuses won't work.  No, plays for sympathy won't work.  No, sob stories won't work.  No, tears won't work.

I have an eight year old son, and a six year old daughter.  It doesn't work for them; it won't work for you. 

I cannot do anything other than follow university policy.  I am not tenured faculty.  I do not want to lose my job.

I will not hold this against you if you take my class next semester (but I will be a lot more wary of you doing it again, and check every one of your papers, line by line).  This semester will not affect your grade for the same class next semester.  The university doesn't expel white American students that do this until they show a pattern of behavior; they certainly won't expel you

No, I cannot give you a zero for the paper and a C for the course.  I cannot deviate from policy. 

I do not enjoy dealing with pleading students for fifteen minutes when there is literally nothing I can do, and no way for me to change things. 

You fail the class.  Be an adult.  Take it again next semester. 

Sincerely,

An adjunct.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

We has a new house.

And I has a tired.

We did the final walk-through yesterday, and then closed on the house.  Yes, that means we have the keys to a larger 3/2 house (one bathroom has only a shower; the other, only a tub) with 6 acres.  House faces north; neighbors on the east are good, redneck type neighbors.  Older folks.  Haven't met the other neighbors, yet.

After the closing, we got the electricity turned on.  Without power, there is no water since it's on a well.  I think the septic tank should be okay, since the house has only been vacant about a year. 

We have an appointment to meet some flooring contractors tomorrow afternoon at the new place, so that they can plot out carpeting and laminate flooring, and give us a figure on how much it's going to cost.  Because the current flooring has been there from at least '73, and maybe from '70. 

Yep, the carpets are older than I am by at least six years. 

I've also got a lot of calls to make--I can't clean the place because one of the things I'm allergic to is mold, and it's been shut up since the previous owner passed away (was an estate sale).  And the grounds have been untended for about that long, too, and we don't have the equipment to clean it up yet. 

And day before yesterday?  I picked up the last paper.  So sometime in all of this, I have to grade papers. 

I must be some kind of idiot to set a due date, then forget about it and set closing the day after the due date. 

That's going to be my life for the next week: grading and dealing with new homeowner headaches.

(Before you ask, Odysseus is busting his ass moving stuff already.  Things that get moved get stacked in the garage until the new flooring's down.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Supper.

4-5 medium potatoes, cut in chunks
1-2 bell peppers, cut in strips
1 kielbasa, cut in chunks
Shredded cheese (any kind, any amount)
seasoning to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450.  Layer potato chunks in bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish (or a half-size steamer pan from Sam's Club, like I did). 

2. Spread the bell pepper strips over the potatoes.  Season (I used Slap ya' Mama cajun seasoning), then spray with olive oil or cooking spray. 

3. Put the kielbasa on top of the veggies, and cover the dish with foil (or use the steamer pan lids from Sam's Club). 

4.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, then check potatoes.  If the potatoes are done, add cheese (I used Italian blend, about 1 c, and another 1/2 c chedder/colby jack) over the top, and put back for 3-5 minutes.

This was stupid-easy, and gut-bustingly good.  

No idea what to call it, besides tasty.

Not my monkeys

I've noticed two trends in parenting, recently--over-parenting, and under-involvement.  Both are fairly common around my area, and both cause major, lasting damage to the children involved. 

Over-parenting, also known as helicopter parenting, turns out whiny, self-centered, neurotic, helpless children that just don't grow up well.  They don't know how.  One example happened a couple of weeks ago: one of my students had a scheduled weekend home, and then wasn't able to go.  This was a major issue for that student, because that was how they did laundry.  They took it home, and had their mother do it.  Without that weekend, though, they were running out of wearable--not necessarily clean, but wearable--clothes, and didn't know how to do laundry.  At all.  To the point that they didn't even know how to measure the detergent for the load.  And they asked me how to do it.  They said that it seemed like I have my shit together, and I'm approachable, and I like to help my students learn how to do stuff. 

I told them to go get a box of detergent tabs from Walmart, read the tags in their clothes to make sure they didn't try to wash something that was dry clean or hand wash only, or dry something that was hang or lay flat to dry, then select cold water on the knob on the laundromat machines.  No, I didn't tell them to sort whites from coloreds, or warm from cold water wash items.  They had enough to worry about, and I may be their teacher, but I am not their parent. 

(I did want to slap the shit out of their parents, though.  My EIGHT year old is capable of running a washing machine.  And knows how.)

Under-involvement is also very common in this area.  If the kid's smart, they're capable of raising themselves.  If they're not, you've got a pack of ferals (and it's always a pack, because it's almost always a woman who sees having kids and pulling welfare as a career choice.  Want a raise?  Have another baby!  It's not like they have to do anything with it). 

There is a pack of ferals living next door.  The children are all around a room-temperature IQ, impulsive, emotionally explosive, and have no adult care.  No adult supervision.  Despite having non-working adults living in the house. 

I'm not talking the free-range kids movement, where kids are allowed to do things within the bounds of their abilities.  I'm talking about NO care.  NO supervision.  Neither parent is present, much less parenting (not helicoptering--parenting).  I'm talking making sure that young children and toddlers are not in danger of getting run over by a car, and making sure the ten year old doesn't have to repeatedly chase down and carry an eighteen month old toddler back to the house, nearly dropping the baby every couple of steps because a) they're not big enough to carry a fat toddler; and b) because said baby is kicking, screaming, biting, flailing, and generally trying to get away so that he can run back into the street.  I'm talking making sure the kids actually get fed meals, and have a bedtime.  And no, ten pm on a school night is not a good bed time for younger than about junior year in high school.

Assuming any of the ferals make it that far. 

This is how welfare becomes generational.

No, none of these children--adults who were never taught how to adult, nor yet the ferals next door--are actually my problem.  Not really.  They do cause problems, and they're going to be causing problems for my children as taxpaying adults, sometime in the not-as-distant future. 

No, I don't see the need to intervene.  I'm moving (hopefully) within the next two months.

What I want to know, at this point, is why people have children if they either refuse to take care of them at all, or refuse to teach them what they need to know to become adults in their own right?  Why do people have children when they have no intention of actually being a parent?  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Counting down.

I have this week and next week scheduled for my classes' last paper.  This week, we're going over APA citation format in class, and then having a research day on Thursday.  Next week, they're freewriting on Tuesday, and workshopping/peer editing on Thursday. 

The week after, we move from papers to blogging for two weeks (four posts, total), and then we're absolutely done with class; final exams are scheduled for the next Tuesday for both classes (5/9), and will be nothing but students emailing me missing work during the time set aside for the final exams.  I won't be on campus for that.  And by the end of the day, I can and will be turning in final grades.

I am tired.  I'm ready for summer break from trying to cram new writing skills and bring out the ones present in my students. 

Fall semester's going to be rough.  I'm going to have back to back 75 minute classes.  I'll be done with the teaching by 10:45, though, and should be able to set office hours to be done by 1:00...which will give me a little while to go run errands, or crash until it's time to pick up the kids. 

Today, I'm working on grading paper 4 and revisions of paper 3 that were turned in.  I just wish the course site would cooperate more, instead of taking more than a minute to load the paper to grade, be sluggish on scrolling down as I read the papers, and take another minute to record the grade, then yet another to maybe load the next paper, or maybe just put me back on the gradebook's main page...where I have to select the next paper myself, and wait for it to load.

Needless to say, that is NOT the way it's supposed to work. 

I'm still working my way through the ones turned in through the course site for my earlier class; the paper copies are still in my bag, awaiting attention...and I forgot my freakin' pencil.  And I'm not comfortable grading in pen, because I tend to get nasty tempered and snarky with students who repeat the same corrected mistake from one paper to the next to the next.  And many do, even if more learn.

I'm still playing with the fountain pens I got for my birthday, last month, and despite loving my Conklins, I absolutely adore the lime green TWSBI Eco I got.  I'm DEFINITELY spending more on one of their Diamond 580s for the next pen I get (and one of their special ink bottles that make filling the pen a much less messy proposition).  The Eco holds a TON of ink, writes smoothly, and is just an all-around excellent pen (even if, as a piston-filler, it would NOT be a good pen to fly with filled).  It also doesn't really like to be carried on its side, jostled around.  It burps into its cap.  Doesn't do that if you carry it upright, though. 

I do plan to get either one of their vac-fill pens (which also have a special, less-mess ink bottle), or another piston fill eventually.  However.  Before that, I DESPERATELY need a new coffee pot--my current one takes fifteen minutes to brew 12 cups, if it's been freshly cleaned.  Otherwise, it takes longer.  And a brown-out will cause it to lose the clock, so pre-setting it the night before doesn't really work well.  That's fine for over break and summer, because I'm not in a hurry for it, but I have to be AT WORK by a bit before 8:00, for my first class.  And that's a bitch.

I miss my Cuisinart Grind-n-brew.  Fast, power blinks didn't wipe its clock settings, and I could put beans in and not mess with a separate grinder.  That's on my list for fall. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Heading into the home stretch

I could quote Chaucer about April,* but March was pretty damn rainy, just as April has started out.

I am heading into the home stretch for class.  The fifth, and final paper, will be a sort of a final exam for my students: I'll teach them how to find sources, how to determine a credible source as opposed to one that isn't, and how to use parenthetical references in the text to cite said sources.  Other than that, they'll be on their own for writing this last paper.  Their paper is due the last Tuesday of April, and their first blog will be due the same night.  Thereafter, they're pretty much done with the majority of the semester's work-load.

And mine will just be starting.  I'll have paper 5 to grade, and blogs, and the house closing the last Wednesday of the month.  Then, we'll need to arrange to get a chain-link fence put in, and new flooring put down, repairs made, and all that sort of fun stuff, then moving.

Some time during that, the kids get out of school (mid May).  Which is good, because they're big enough to help a bit.

And I darn sure am not willing to pack their toys for them.

The timing, though, is going to be difficult: we are closing the week before classes are done for me, and since the new house is on a well, without power, there is no water for cleaning (and there will be cleaning, if only because there are a few places where well-sealed windows and no air circulation induced mold growth).  So utilities need to be turned on in our names.

Guess what?  The inspection company we hired to do the home inspection will do that for us. It's part of their services. 

I'm dreading the move, yes, but I'm excited about the new home: we're going to have another room, and will have six acres of play space for the kids.  A pond, with an area that will be suitable to learn to shoot in (with BB guns and air rifles only, since it is technically within city limits), a barn that they can play in once we get a chance to get a good look at the inside, and a storage building on the property bigger than the one we're renting at a storage facility.

Funny thing: we're going to have to move the chest freezer at the same time we move the cats.  Cricket literally CANNOT FIND the food dish unless it's on top of the freezer.  CAN NOT.  She's actually stepped in it when I set it on the floor, and never realized that the food was RIGHT THERE.  Because it wasn't on top of the freezer, it wasn't the food dish, and she was starving.  With Shadow, it's a power play (I won't eat until you put my food back.  Yes, I know it's there, but no.  It's wrong.), but Cricket is about as bright as the rooster from Moana

I love my cats. 

*First lines of The Canterbury Tales.  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Ugh.

Spring Break has been tense, this year.  Last Friday, we made an offer on the house we'd been considering.  Monday, that offer was accepted.  We've been scrambling to deal with the paperwork, since, and I've been fighting with a cold.  Today, we had the inspection scheduled,and had to go get the insurance done by the bank's request.

It's a nice place: around 400 square feet more than our current place, and a BIG yard.  But assuming the inspection goes well, we're going to have to replace all of the carpets, and put in a fence to protect the safety of the mouthy little Scotty bitch that hates big dogs from getting herself munched by the neighbor's big dog. 

And the inspection turned up a few thing that have to be dealt with.  Hopefully not too much--and hopefully it won't cost huge to fix. 

But yeah, busy, tense, and with me sick.  Fun times. 


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Busy month

Well. 

We all got sick a couple weeks ago--all except the imp, who seems to have completely dodged the upper respiratory yuck.  The pixie missed three days of school, because she was running a fever on the first two days.  Third day, she was fine, so she went back on that Friday.  And that Saturday, she popped a fever again.  This was the week of Odysseus's birthday, too.

We've finally scraped together a significant downpayment fund for a mortgage.  And that's going to be slightly complicated for us, since we have no debt, and haven't had any debt for the past six or seven years.  At all.  So we've been working on that, too.  And house hunting. 

Why the urgency?  Because the neighbors are horrid.  I don't mind the sweet little old lady between us and the corner, but the new ones that moved in to the other side last May?  We're going to have to put privacy film on the bedroom window so that prospective buyers don't see their nasty yard.  And hope that we can show while their kids are off at school, so that they don't hear the language the kids routinely scream out in the back yard...which is right next to the master bedroom window. 

There's three generations living in that house, and judging by the way the teenager acts (like a cat in heat) and dresses (like she's advertising a career choice), it's gonna be four within the next two or three years.  

Their front yard isn't good, but it isn't as bad, either. 

So, we're waiting to hear about the mortgage application, so that we can make an offer on a house barely outside of city limits (though the city has annexed the property across the road...and the one we want) with six acres, a septic system, and a well.   Enough space for the children to grow up without me losing my mind. 

And that...that's been the extra piled on top of the usual mess of grading, teaching, grading, and teaching. 

Oh, and editing a book for a friend I hold very dear, even if I've never met him face-to-face in my life.  I'm about ready to print it, copy edit by hand, and snail-mail the packet. Doing that much copy editing in Word is a serious pain. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oof.


Last semester was hard.  Really hard.  I was trying to figure out what was going on where my health was concerned, running on empty, and trying to do more than usual.  I didn't do a very good job with any of the three classes: I was stretched way too thin.  

This semester...wow.  I wasn't thinking it would be as difficult to deal with as it is.  I have Tuesday/Thursday classes only.  MWF classes are 50 minutes per class; TTh classes are 75 minutes.  I didn't think that the extra 25 minutes would be so much of a difference, but they are.  And even worse, the two hours between classes don't help a lot where regaining stamina are concerned.  Mostly because I'm supposed to wait an hour before taking anything after my Levothyroxine, and four before taking herbal supplements.  

That puts my adrenal support supplement at 10:00, at the earliest.  Because I take the thyroid med right after the alarm goes off at 6:00.  And the adrenal support supplement is to be taken with a meal (at 7:00, then at lunch), and I often don't get lunch on TTh.  So, the days when I need it most, I don't get it. 

Yes, I will likely ask for a similar schedule next semester.  Four days in a row not at work helps.  

No, I will not ask for three classes.  Not any time soon, and perhaps not ever again.  I have a reason beyond just being unable to keep up.  Despite making a bit over $2,000 more per semester, we took a tax hit of a bit more than double that. 

Y'see, that bumped us up a tax bracket.  And instead of most of the tuition for the kids' school being covered by the EITC (think: unintentional voucher), the tuition is going to come out of our savings for a house outside city limits.  

They tax cigarettes to try to change behavior, and get people to stop smoking.  By the same logic, an income tax...yeah, I'll leave you to think about that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A rant.

I had one of my students tell me one of the most horrifying things I've ever heard, today.  My student was talking about the full semester class that replaced the six week college orientation class I took: 1 credit hour replaced by 3 credit hours, with no useful information actually covered therein.  They told me that the instructor went on a rant that their entire generation was stupid and you can't fix stupid, so the instructor wouldn't even try. 

What the actual fuck? 

I have...issues with that. 

First of all, the stupid cunt nugget said that out loud, in the class, to the students that were their responsibility.  And it is patently obvious that said cunt nugget had forgotten that what you practice in front of a mirror is what comes out of your face in class, even when you're still talking to the reflection you saw during practice. 

Second, it's patently false.  Ignorance is not stupidity.  These kids may not have the same base knowledge we have, but they have something we didn't at their age: an encyclopedia/calculator in their pockets.  They've got different cultural expectations of education and knowledge than the cunt nugget's generation did.  They expect to be able to look up anything they need, and are in the process of learning to discern which sources are and are not credible for that purpose.

Third...you don't SAY that to students.  True or not, you just don't.  Why?

Students live up to--or down to--stated expectations.  If you tell them that they're stupid, they'll believe it, internalize it, and become it, especially if that's followed by the message that they're not worth the effort. 

Stupid cunt nugget needs to be fired.

From a fucking cannon. 

My week so far

Monday: Imp had a doctor's visit.  I drove on relatively higher traffic roads than I'm comfortable with, managed behavior, and then went to Sam's Club...only to find that the 'scrip had to be ordered in, and would be...spendy.  With no option of a generic. Took the kid to school, set up an appointment to talk to the principal.  Back to Sam's Club with a discount for said spendy 'scrip later (and Odysseus meeting us there), with both kids in tow.  Not fun. 

Tuesday: Teaching (thankfully, only supervising the first peer editing class).  Then back to Sam's Club, then picking up the kids and booting them out the door when I got them home, while I got most things in.  Then popped a fever with general body aches (no other symptoms whatsoever).  Went to bed very early.

Wednesday: got the kids to school.  Totally flaked on appointment, came home, sat down, dozed off.  Woke up, talked to mom, replaced kitty litter, unloaded the dryer, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, sat down ate lunch, and dozed off for a bit, talked to sister, dozed off again, and got kids.  Made chili.

Thursday: made it through morning routine with the kids, and they were fairly cooperative (for once).  Topic selection day in class, so it's a high-energy class period.  Seventy-five minutes of high energy.  Fifteen minutes of  housework flattens me.  I'm glad I've got two hours between classes, honestly.  I don't think I could have done back to back classes on this...here's hoping I don't wind up popping a fever and being useless again.  Probably not, since I wound up sleeping a lot over Tuesday night, and random catnaps all day Wednesday.  At least, I hope not.

I don't think I'll be doing much of anything tomorrow.  I don't think I'll be capable of it.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Musings

I wish my university would tell me whether someone has been dropped involuntarily for non-payment, or whether they have voluntarily dropped my class from terror/not wanting to work.  It would make filling out my roll book way easier if I didn't have to add names out of alphabetical order because of an accounting mistake.

Ever have a day where your child is standing there, eyes and mouth wide open, because they can't remember what to do next in their morning routine?  The morning routine that they've been following for two and a half years?  There are times I find it harder than normal not to swear at my children...

I know you're not supposed to change the dog food around, but what if your dog hates the food and won't eat?  Do you make them keep eating the food they hate, or do you switch around until you find something they like?

I didn't vote for Trump in either the primary or general election, last year, but if he keeps doing the same job he's been doing for the past six days since inauguration, I may well vote for his reelection.

Finally found some of my draft books, yesterday--the one with the random-ass short stories* I've been working on when I get stuck on something else, and the draft book for The Schrodinger Paradox. Since my classes are working on writing their papers, today, I will be working on getting stuff transcribed from the draft books, and more written. 

One has to wonder how Lzzy Hale of Halestorm can possibly channel rockers who are still alive like she does.  I mean, the dead ones make sense--how does she channel the souls and capabilities of those still living?

One also wonders about the soul-destroying apocalyptic break-up voiced by Starset's new album Vessels.  Is it metaphoric, or literal?  And did it happen between albums, or was it a formative event in the lead singer/songwriter's life?  Either way, it's a gorgeous, powerful album that you cannot judge without listening to the whole thing. 

I currently have five students doing their writing in the classroom, two drafting long-hand, and three on laptops.  All the rest took off to go find a computer elsewhere, or a comfy spot to write. 

Shadow the cat wound up getting her wish, a few nights ago.  We forgot to retrieve her from sleeping on her boy.  She had mild regrets in the morning--a full bladder and an empty belly will do that--but not enough that she hasn't tried to repeat her accomplishment.

A few weeks ago, I made a knitted wool-blend yarn headband for the pixie in Lion Brand's Wool-Ease (worsted weight) Rose Heather.  And my mother in law asked me "Where's mine?"  So, I made one for my mother in law.  Then my mother, sister, and all three aunts asked where theirs were...so my sweaters are going to wait while I make smaller projects. 

I have one sweater almost finished (Wool-Ease Avacado green), but messed up counting rows on the sleeves.  The left one is an inch too short, and the right one is an inch shorter than that.  Thankfully, it's a pretty simple thing to undo the cuffs, and add a bit.  I just need to finish the projects for family, first. 

I still need to remake a couple other sweaters I messed up on, too...

I got the pixie a plastic loom for Christmas (then had to get her a better one, since there was no way to keep the nylon loops from flying off of the one I gave her while she worked).  The imp was so intrigued by it that he went and spent his own money to get one of his own.  They're both doing excellent work on their various projects--and have finished about four or five apiece.  (Or rather, I've finished off the projects for them, since they lack the dexterity to bind their projects off.)

Last week, I tried easing back from taking an equivalent amount of Aleve tablets to equal prescription strength naproxen that I'd run out of.  My body says, "I'm sorry, I can't do that, Dave."  Come to find out, chronic, systemic inflammation is part and parcel of CFS/ME, and I wind up feeling like somebody hit me with a Mack truck.  So, it's back to the full dose.  I hate taking pills...

I need to stop procrastinating by writing the blog post, and start writing fiction. 





*Short stories are being gathered for another collection, tentatively titled Normalcy Bias.  So far, I've got about 25K words, plus a few more stories I need to transcribe (and one I need to finish). 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Analogies

I finally figured out how to explain chronic fatigue syndrome to some of my guy friends (no, the energy budget didn't work that well--only sort of). 

Car analogies.

CFS/ME is like having a short in the electrical system, misfiring spark plugs, and an alternator that doesn't work quite right. 

For the most part, the only "recharge" I get is from eating a bit (protein and dairy--fruits/veg, grains, and legumes don't help a lot) and from sleeping.  I don't recharge from sitting down and resting.  And I don't recharge fully.  Ever. 

However...

The AdrenaMaxx helped a bit.  I'd recharge a little when I'd sit down and rest.  It took an hour and a half to build back up what I spent in fifteen minutes of housework, but I'd build back up eventually. 

The new adrenal support suppliment--Flex Naturals Adrenal Support--also helps (and doesn't contain ingredients that interact with my other medications).  I got it in the mail after I got home from picking up the kids on Tuesday.  After I'd massively overdone it by going to Sam's Club after I'd finished teaching my second 75 minute class for the day.  By the time I got it, I was already feeling the physical effects of doing too much (you know how you overwork, and then all your muscle fibers keep twitching after you stop?  Yeah, I was at that point) and it was too late in the day to start taking it. 

I took a dose yesterday with breakfast (right around 7:00).  I was still paying for the day before with massive whole-body aches, increased exhaustion, and brain fog making the world seem dull and out of focus.  I took the kids to school, and then went home and collapsed in my recliner, picked up the laptop, and started in on surfing through blog sites, news sites, and Facebook.

Around 8:30, the world snapped back in focus.  The brain fog cleared a bit, then a bit more.  And I started recharging.  By 2:00, I was able to go get a few things exhaustion had made me forget the day before at Sam's Club.  And I was able to make breakfasts for the imp for the next two weeks (egg muffins), and pre-position things for making supper tonight. 

No, I'm not at 100%.  I'm not quite even up to 50%.  But that's better than where I was last week, and I'm recharging at rest instead of only eating and sleeping. 

And more than that, I have hope that eventually, I'll get back to normal with enough rest, support, nutrition, herbal supplementation, and time.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Adrena-Maxx supplements

After I got the CFS/ME diagnosis, I did a lot of in-depth research.  One of the things I found was that it often came with sub-clinical adrenal disorder, often referred to as adrenal fatigue.  Not to the level it needs treated with steroids--and in fact, treating with steroids can shut the adrenals down completely and permanently, at that point. 

Every site, including doctors' blogs, recommended supplementation that included increased B vitamins, and a few herbs.  Several of the non-affiliated MDs' sites recommended finding a specially formulated adrenal support blend. So I went looking.

Sweet baby Thor in a thunderstorm--there are a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I narrowed it down to those without adrenal tissue added.  Unless you're right at the spot where the docs would start treating you with small dosages of steroids, you don't want adrenal tissue in your supplement.  That can exacerbate the issue, or shut your adrenals down, depending on amount and potency. 

Even with that ingredient left out, there are still a LOT of adrenal support supplements out there.

I kept looking, and finally settled on AdrenaMaxx.  It's a chewable supplement that contains several things I already knew helped me (like a lot of different B vitamins, and a few amino acids that are contraindicated for those with bipolar disorder or borderline hyperthyroid--L. Tyrosine, specifically). 

I received the bottle, and found enough cotton wadding to make a few yards of yarn, did I spin.  The pills themselves were crumbly and easily broken, so that's probably why they were packed in so tightly. 

The recommended dosage is two tablets per day.  So I started taking them. 

They didn't do anything right away.  But by the second day, some of my symptoms had begun to alleviate themselves.  One of the most annoying but least serious symptoms completely resolved itself.  And then, my energy levels started replenishing faster when I sat down to rest.  And then, the weight started coming off.  Most of the symptoms that mimic the low thyroid symptoms started to ease.

Spectacular.  The supplement was working beautifully.

Then I started doing research into the actual ingredients, potential side effects, and potential interactions with other medications.  Amino acids were all fine, even the L. Tyrosine.*  Slippery elm, fine...licorice root.  Not fine. 

See, licorice root interferes with the absorption of medications metabolized by the liver.  Including hormonal birth control pills. 

Uh...yeah, I quit those suckers immediately.  I would rather be miserable and incapable than miserable, incapable, and pregnant. 

Bottom line: AdrenaMaxx works.  It works beautifully.  But. 

And that's a big BUT. 

You shouldn't take it if you're taking birth control.  It can cause it to fail.  

*L. Tyrosine is metabolized by the thyroid gland into thyroid hormone.  Since I no longer HAVE  a thyroid gland, it doesn't do a whole lot besides just help other systems function properly.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Energy budgets

Say your personal energy was a dollar amount, and every activity you do spends some of that.  Let's start with getting out of bed: you just spent $2.  Showering is $4, brushing your teeth is another $3.  Getting dressed is $3 if you're a guy, $4 if you're a gal (bras are awkward and take a lot of wiggling).  You've spent $10-$11 before you've even left your bedroom. 

If you've got kids, getting them up, dressed, and breakfast and lunch fixed is another $5 (when they're cooperative.  If they're not, you may spend up to $15 or $20 on this).  Getting your own breakfast is another $2 (but gives you back $1.50.  Eventually).  So, figure another $5.50 to $25 to that $10-11 you've already spent. 

Getting out the door with the kids is another $1 (if they're cooperative), and then your workday starts.  You'll spend something between $30-$40 at work (assuming you work full-time, and assuming lunch gives energy back--otherwise, you may spend up to $50).  Your running total of energy spent is around $45-$76 by the time you've left work, picked up the kids, and gotten home. 

Supper takes between $2 (takeout) and $10 (cooking for family without preplanning) to make (but again, gives back most of that).  Bedtime routines take $2, if the kids don't fight, and $10 if they do.  So, between $4-15, coming up to $49-$91 by the time you get the kids to bed.  And then, you either do housework, or your evening is yours. 

Typically, shopping takes $5-$15, depending on how much, how many people are around, and what time of day it is.  Fifteen minutes of housework takes $15-$30, depending on how heavy the work is. 

Even mental work takes up $5-$15.  If you're a full-time teacher, you're spending $50-$75, depending on the age of your classroom.  Part time, you're still spending $25 or a bit more on high energy days (like topic selection days in Freshman Composition classes). 

Most people don't think about their energy budget.  They start out with around $100 worth of energy when they wake up (or shortly thereafter). 

Before I had kids, I typically started with around $110.  Just after I had the imp, before I was diagnosed with the hypothyroid disorder I developed post-partum, I woke up with $85.  Now, with CFS/ME?  I wake up with around $40.

Energy gets budgeted very carefully.  Because if I overspend, I'm dealing with $20-$30 of overdraft fees before I even get out of bed.

It sucks, but that's life. 

I'm gonna finish my coffee.