Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I have been seething.

I have been seething since last November. 

As fast as our current POTUS is working to undo the last fuck-up's policies, there are a few he can't undo as easily. 

Eighty thousand Muslims settled in one place.  To the point where they elected two adders into the House of Representatives. 

Today, it kind of boiled over for me.  Because some people did something.

And the whore who said this now has citizenship.  So does the slut who wrapped herself in the Palestinian flag (whatever Palestine is supposed to be--it isn't, and never was, a country).  That can't easily be undone.

Honestly, at this point, I'm thankful--to the bottom of my soul--I'm no longer teaching.  I no longer have to pretend I'm not watching the middle easterners more carefully while giving them A's to get them the hell out of my classroom without wasting the effort to grade plagiarized papers.  It was really hard, especially at this point in every fall semester, to keep smiling and pretend that I'd forgotten.

I haven't.

 How can anybody forget?  How can any real American forget what that ideology did?  How can any real American forget that Tlaib's people (and likely she, herself) danced in the street in celebration of the towers going from whole and beautiful to burnt, blood-stained debris?  How can any American forget that most of the Muslim world joined her in celebrating the loss of lives from eight-some-odd countries on those four flights? 

Real Americans haven't forgotten. 

Traitors, on the other hand...

...we seem to have an overabundance of those in Washington, DC, in the State Department, and in university faculty and administrations. 

I won't forget.  I can't forget.  I have a grudge.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What a cock-up.

So.  The kids' school started a 3rd through 5th (or was it 6th?  I forget, now) soccer league.  I asked both kids if they were interested.

The boy, who went into 4th grade this year, was.  So, I signed him up and paid the fee. 

Got contacted by the 4th grade coach, got practice days/times set up, and wrote everything down.  I thought I could hand it off to Odysseus, let it be a father/son thing.  They kind of need one, and haven't really found one, yet.

And then.

Then.

I got another email. 

Since the imp had to redo kindergarten (he wasn't really ready, the first time, but made a spectacular attempt that had him go from a year or two's worth of development behind his classmates to almost ready for 1st grade), he was...booted up.  Not doing the program with his grade group, but with his age group.

On a different day and time.

Which we weren't ready for.  We hadn't gotten him his cleats or shin guards, because he'd been sick.

So, Odysseus took off a few minutes from work, ran to the local sporting goods store, and got the imp his cleats, and a pair of shin guards.  But.  Imp was still too sick (wheezy) for the first practice.  I let him make the decision.  He came home because he wasn't breathing well.  And we tried his equipment on.  The cleats fit, but the guards...really didn't. 

We've got a handle on it, now.  He went to his first practice last week.  They're supposed to be on Mondays and Wednesdays, from just after school to 4:30.  This week, since Monday was Labor Day, he's got practice tomorrow and Wednesday...first game Saturday. 

Yes, this coming Saturday.

No, I haven't heard what time. 

No, I don't know where they're playing. 

No, I don't yet know who they're playing. 

It's the school's first year doing soccer at these grade levels.  I'm cutting them a little slack. 

But damn.  For a first rate school, this is one hell of a cock-up. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sweet, sweet silence

The kids went back to school, this morning.  It's been quiet.  I've been able to get a few things done--I do have more to do, but not as big of a list as I'd had to start with. 

But it's quiet. 

There's no TV going, no fighting, no yelling as they play, no arguing over some minor point in whatever they're doing. 

So far, I've managed to get a load of dishes done (dishwasher AND the few hand-wash things), a load of my clean clothes sorted and put away, clean towels folded and put away, and a load of towels and bathrobes put in the washer.* 

I've also gotten some planning done--housework planning for the rest of the week and zone 5 (living room), and supper planning for the next seven days or so. 

Because I've had the energy.  I've not been breaking up fights, or trying to herd the children through their daily chores.**

Better yet, I've still got three hours and enough energy to actually do some writing.   And enough time and energy to finish the chores that still need done for the day, now, and after the kids get home from school on this first day back. 

*Yes, I've had to sit down for a half an hour between fifteen minutes or so spent on chores.  But I've still been able to get back up because the energy filled back up enough to do so.  

**Parenting is way harder work than housework, even harder and more draining than the heavy chores.  And herding the kids through learning how to do it is a lot harder and more draining than doing it myself, but doing it myself and letting them skate is doing them a massive disservice. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What a fun day...

If you're ever around Strafford, MO,* and you've got a little time you can spend, I strongly, strongly recommend their Wild Animal Safari.**

SO many animals:






















*Just a little bit east of Springfield, MO.  

**Definite misnomer.  Them critters ain't wild.  They're greedy, demanding, and some stand in the road until you throw treats...so buy treats in the gift shop before you set out. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Almost...there...

The kids are done with swim lessons for the year.  They had an end of season party they attended with Odysseus a week ago.  Since our last name's first initial falls before M, I was asked to send a sweet snack...so I made brownies.  According to Odysseus, the other kids (and a few parents) fell upon them like ravening wolves. 

So, Monday, I went to visit the vampires again.  The phlebotomist again tied the rubber band around my upper arm and poked at my elbow, shook her head, told me I had "some of the most stubborn veins I have ever seen!" and took the blood out of the back of my left hand with one quick stick that I barely felt.

I got the call from the endocrinologist on Tuesday--thyroid levels are normal and stable.  I get to stick with the same dose.  And I don't have to test again until just before my December appointment.  Seriously, this hasn't happened since I got my thyroid removed in '16.  They kept stepping me down until they got me to 75 mcg of synthroid...and that was TOO low.  But the next step up was too high. 

I may well have needed the T3 that's in the desiccated porcine thyroid gland that I've been taking for six months, now (last four have been the same dose). 

Even better, there's no difference I can tell between the name brand (Armour thyroid) and the generic (NP Thyroid)...except for $63. 

Next week is going to be hectic.  Tuesday, I've been asked (by the kids) to go back to Walmart because that's when Endgame comes out on DVD.  Tuesday night is back to school night, and Thursday, the little monsters darlings go back to school for the 2019-2020 school year.*

 Maybe I'll be able to find a little more energy if I'm not having to deal with the kids fighting or clinging (or both) to finish up the garage sorting and clean-out.   Maybe I'll be able to find enough more energy to get the house into passable shape if my energy isn't being sucked dry by sudden, random bouts of screaming (sometimes it's screaming giggles, but that split second trying to figure out if it's laughter or rage can sometimes eat up surprising amounts of oomph). 

They're sort of looking forward to going back to school--they miss their friends, but neither one is looking forward to the sheer amount of homework they're going to end up with.**

*I love them dearly, but I am incredibly tired of being stuck in the house with them while they're bored and bickering.  I'm...just tired of dealing with all the crap.    

**It wouldn't be nearly so much homwork if they'd just fucking do it when they're supposed to do it rather than farting around and not doing it, or if they'd knuckle down and do it instead of complaining about it.  I've seen the imp accomplish things in twenty minutes that other nights it takes him from the time he gets home to supper time, then from just after supper to bedtime to get done.  Because he's too busy playing with ANYTHING in front of him, or complaining, to actually do the damn work.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Spoke too soon...

Session 4 of swim lessons: the pixie blew off the instructor and just played in the water on Monday.  And got in trouble.  Tuesday and Wednesday, she paid attention, followed instruction, and Wednesday, the instructor and the boss talked to me about advancing her from basic lessons into advanced (they learn swimming strokes, etc).  From 35 minutes four days a week at 10:00 to 50 minutes, four days a week...at 8:30.  Because the later one was full. 

Oh--the imp had been, until Wednesday, having trouble floating.  And the boss took him after lessons, and tried a different position.  He's got NO body fat.  He is, according to the doc's office, 4'7" and 60.4 lbs.  Yeah...he could not float in the standard on your back floating position.  At all.  He'd relax, and sink like a little rock.  But this new position...he floats.  She says he'll be ready to move up, too, before too long.  I think, since he's now one of two kids in the group (he moved to the 8:30 group, too), he'll do better.

So, I've gone from being able to wake up at a fairly reasonable time to...having to get the kids ready and out of the house before 8:20 to make sure we make it on time before the instructors are ready to start to get settled, get sandals stripped, and get terrycloth bathrobes set down.

Ugh. 

I got another new pen.  Our anniversary (15th, if you're curious) was a couple weeks ago, and Odysseus had me order a pen I just discovered: the Moonman 600S.  It's a replica of the Parker Duofold, and is seriously pretty.  I got it in a sort of teal green, and will probably get another in blue at some point.  I really like this pen.  A lot.  Not only is it flippin' gorgeous, but it's incredibly comfortable to write with.  I spent most of the swimming lesson this morning writing with it.  And I can't write that long at a whack with ANYTHING.  Half that long is the best I can usually do--about 2 A5 notebook pages.  With frequent breaks.  No, with this pen, I did four pages and only broke when my son came for his robe, then went back to it. 

I think I have a new go-to pen.  If I can find the right ink.  The gorgeous Black Swan in English Roses seems a bit...dry...in it.  Damn it. 

And now...now I've got five and a half pages (of A5 paper) to transcribe and expand on from my draft book. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Been a busy week

Monday wasn't so bad--little bit of shopping early to get a few things that we didn't find at the specific Walmart we went to on Saturday.  Then swim lessons for the kids (they froze, getting out--it was about 71 degrees when we got there at 10:00, and 72 degrees when we were leaving, and cloudy).  Got home, got little bits of housework done, and it wasn't a strain. 

Tuesday...little different, there.  Tuesday was my oldest aunt's birthday.*  So, I did my housework all before we left for the kids' swim lessons at 9:45, and got the kids rousted through getting ready to swim.  And getting their clothes packed to take with us.  And packing stuff so my sister didn't have to plan and make supper like she was doing lunch.  And we left. 

Swim lessons went great.  And the kids were mostly happy on the way up to their granny's for my aunt's birthday lunch.**  But.  My aunts.  The two youngest decided it was time to remind me why I hate holidays and family get-togethers: they bickered and fought and competed for attention the entire fucking day.  And they did this on their older sister's birthday.  The one who's been helping them out and taking care of them.  And I couldn't just leave, because the other half was bringing up my old recumbent exercise bike for my mom who can't walk far anymore, but needs to move so she can keep being able to move. 

And the stress and the extra effort put in dropped me right into a fever- and pain-spiking, brain-fogged CFS attack.  Tuesday evening was bad, yesterday was worse, and today's still...not good.  Better than yesterday, but still not good.  Pain levels aren't as bad, but energy levels are still really low, and brain fog levels are high (even though not as bad as yesterday).   

Through that, though, I've still managed to not fall behind on the critical chores: dishes, cats' box, and bathrooms.  They're now autopilot habits. 

Next week will, I hope, be easier: I'll have the kids' swim lessons, but that's all I've got on the docket for right now. 


*My mother had an older brother (leukemia took him in...'88, I think), and three younger sisters--the one with the birthday yesterday is 7 years younger than mom.  The other two are 10 and 12 years younger. 

**My oldest aunt still lives in my grandma's house.  It's at the top of the driveway, and Mom's house is at the bottom of the driveway. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fucking duh.

One of my aunts is reasonably new to Facebook (she also has dementia, so I'm eagerly anticipating the day she forgets how to use it).  She shared a story.  That has me rolling my eyes so hard that they hurt. 

Because the concept is something that makes someone an adult: you don't have to react to things the way people want you to. 

When you do, you let other people control you with your emotions. 

And the author of the piece?  IS STILL SLOWLY LEARNING THIS. 

And then it struck me: this is what's wrong with most of the country.  I haven't seen anything but emotionally charged messes reported in the news; haven't heard anything other than emotionally charged arguments from politicians, scientists (and isn't there something wrong with that), or city civil servants.  In fact, I'm not sure I have ever heard a logic- or facts-based argument out of anyone except a few classical liberals and leave-me-the-hell-alone libertarians.

Most people haven't learned to not let others control them by their emotions.

I learned it in elementary school.  It made me, to be honest, damn-near bully-proof.  The only things they could do to get a reaction were physical, and they never got the reaction they wanted from that, either. 

I am TRYING to teach the concept to my kids, but I'm finding...it's difficult.  But then again, they're ten (the imp--he won't be 11 until October), and eight (the pixie--her birthday's in December).

Adults should learn this long before leaving high school.  And I haven't seen evidence of this happening.  I'm still not sure why.  So I don't have a solution. 

Who the hell knows.  Maybe we should be teaching people how to handle bullying, instead of coming down as hard on the bullies?  Maybe we should start shooting education specialists that keep insisting that self-esteem comes before acquiring skills (instead of because of it), leading to really shallow pools of will and strength?  Maybe we should just start shooting education specialists that suggest we should punish the kids that hit back when they're bullied.  I don't know.  I do not know. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Musings

I'm waiting on the mail to run.  I ordered a copy of Office '07 from Ebay.  Claims to be Office Pro, with licenses for five machines.  I'm hoping it's an accurate description.  If it is, and it works, I'm storing that sucker for the future. 

As I wait, I was thinking.  My other half and kids watched 1776 the evening of July 4, while waiting for the sun to set for fireworks.  I listened and paid attention, because it's honestly one of my favorite movies.  I love the dialogue and the music. 

As I did, I came to an utterly startling realization.  A couple of them, really. 

First: the only thing that's really changed about our government and how it works is the size of the chamber and the number of loudmouths in it.  They were horrible and nasty to each other: mud-slinging, insulting, and everything we deplore in our current politics. 

Well, one thing's definitely changed: they're nowhere near as witty as they used to be in their insults.  Then again, I'm pretty sure we don't have a Franklin in politics, now.  With the skeletons in his closet, there'd be no way for him to survive the sharks.

I am of the opinion that Ted Cruz is today's John Adams.*

There was wrangling, boredom, fretting at the lack of getting anything done, irritation at the weather,** and irritation at colleagues abstaining from most, if not all, votes (New York's rep--the state couldn't agree on instructions to send). 

You can see the exact same shenanigans watching C-Span. 

And second: the philosophies haven't changed, even if what the parties call themselves has.  Instead of Whigs and Tories, we have Republicans and Democrats...but the names don't necessarily line up with what the political philosophies boil down to.

Freedom vs. Statists.  Freedom vs. slavery, though not necessarily called that. 

It comes down to the difference between being a citizen and being a subject.

And those "cool, cool, considerate men," those in favor of slavery and in favor of staying under British control?  They are still around today.  They're the ones still in favor of a government controlling people's lives and livelihoods.  And they're in both parties.  In nominal and factual control of both. 

The only difference, anymore, is how fast they want to crush the rest of us under their well-shod heels.

I am a Whig, if I am anything.  I favor freedom.  For all.  And I favor allowing people to face the consequences--good and bad--of the choices that they make, rather than diminishing the good and cushioning the bad. 

I am a leave-me-the-hell-alone libertarian.  And I'm pretty sure Mr. Adams and Mr. Franklin would approve (even if I'd have to slap Mr. Franklin a few times). 

I am also all set up with Office, so I'm going to go get to work.  Cheers!


*"I am obnoxious and disliked, you know that, sir."  

**It was hot.  Sweltering.  Keeping windows closed made it worse.  And opening windows with no screens plus horse crap in the streets (and human crap in the outhouses) meant flies. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day






Damn it.

I found an old desktop that had Office '07 on it.  I got it set up on Wednesday, and started it up and used it to finish my draft of Gods and Monsters, including a new chapter.  Fifteen hundred words. 

You know, I'd forgotten how nice it was to work with a program you don't have to fight with to get it to format things the way you want it to.  One or two commands, and boom.  It's done for the whole document.  Instead of having to go and fix the same problem, over and over, everywhere you find it because the program won't let you select all and do it all at once.

In any case, I finished formatting G&M, got the copyright stuff, acknowledgements, Table of Contents (set up and formatted to what I wanted), the chapter written, and the author's note and the afterword all done.  

I saved the document to the hard drive. 

I did NOT save it to a jump drive, as I should have. 

That was stupid.  Because Odysseus shut the computer down to do something with it and now the damn thing won't start back up. 

I broke down and ordered Office '07 from EBay in the hopes that it will work.  Because LibreOffice isn't doing one of the things I need it to do.

You really do get what you pay for.  And free may be good enough for some things, but not for others. 

All I want is for the stupid tower to finish booting up one more time so I can grab that finished draft. 

I'm praying for it to fix its issues and boot up so I can grab that finished draft.

If it'll just do that, I won't ever bother it again. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gone to shit

So.  I last wrote last week.  I was working in the garage, and on the final edits to Gods and Monsters.  Up until recently, I had no real complaints with the LibreOffice Writer program.

Now, I do.

I cannot get it to update page numbers in the Table of Contents without fucking up the entire table of contents and throwing the page numbers out of whack again.

It just will not do what I want it to do.

Well, last week, I found what I think may be the last desktop I had Office and Word on.   Downloaded from a disk, not blodged on with a loan from the university.  I think.  I may be wrong.  If I am, I'm...I think I'm going to wind up having to either rent the damn program or risk buying it from Ebay with the risk that it doesn't come with a key that hasn't been used.  Which I hate.

In any case, I am still trying to fuck with LibreOffice Writer to get it to do what I want it to do, but I'm also getting increasingly frustrated with it.

Well, scratch that.  I was messing with it last week.

This week...we've had a serious blow.  My father-in-law, who I loved dearly, passed away in his sleep Saturday night or Sunday morning.  We got the call Sunday morning, and Odysseus spent Sunday and Monday helping his mom get stuff done.  And I...I've been randomly dripping tears, clogging up, and developing sinus headaches without any emotional relief since Sunday.  I haven't been able to focus on anything productive since then.  And I don't know when I'll be able to.

Hell, I can barely think or talk about it.  And again, I don't know when that will change.

God above, the next few months are going to be hard.  The rest of the week and the next couple are going to be damn near impossible.

So, seriously.  The past week has taken such a nosedive that it's not even something that I can articulate. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

'Bout time.

We moved into this home two years ago, on Memorial Day weekend.  I've spent two years trying to get a handle on the house.  It's not been helped by six months working while doing everything else (I worked fall semester 2017), and it took another six months to recover. 

And this while trying to figure out how to work within the constraints of an actual disability--not a handicap, a disability.* 

That has been helped, as much as it may be, by getting on the right thyroid medication (a much older one) and the right dosage.  Yes, I still wind up doing too much and having really, really bad days, but I'm also having good days.  And days where I can do a little more than I used to be able to. 

Like recently.  I started in on the garage.  I'm finally unpacking the last of our stuff from the old house.  I'm sorting stuff to be thrown away, given away, or put away.  More of the first two categories than the last, honestly. 

We've already done one trip to the recycling center with broken down boxes.  We've run four 13 gallon bags of give-away clothes to the DAV, and there's more.  More boxes (a pile knee-high of flattened ones, and a dozen more to be flattened), some electronics, and a busted cookstove for the recycling; more clothes (two more bags so far of give-away clothes, with more waiting to be put through the wash, and more to be found), an old but still functional TV, and a portable dishwasher to go to the DAV; and something like eight big black trash bags of broken, worn out, mouse-chewed, or otherwise trashed papers, wires, or things I honestly can't recognize. 

We really need to make a trip to the dump.

This has taken a week to do.  There's at least another week (maybe more) of work.   And then...then, we'll be completely unpacked.  All the boxes emptied and dealt with.  All of the paperwork found and dealt with.  All of the knick-knacks found (and a lot of them donated, because I've never been one for most pointless clutter), the books brought in and shelved (finally, even though a lot of the shelves are double stacked or more). 

And the garage...the garage will be mostly empty.  Unusable as a garage,** but empty.

And I have plans.  That garage will be half (or probably less, considering) workshop for Odysseus, half play/art room for the kids.  I've been promising this for the two years we've been here.  The imp wants to move his Hot Wheels tracks, launchers, and wooden blocks out there to build cities, because a carpeted bedroom isn't the best for the cars to keep going.  Both the imp and the pixie want to move all of their art stuff out there, and would like to be permitted to paint.  Which has also been promised. 

It's been more than two years since I first made that promise.  I'm finally keeping it.  I'm finally able to keep it.

Best part?  I can throw a lot of the worst of the mess in the house out into the garage, which will make it easier for me to keep the house presentable.


*A handicap means you have a harder time doing things, but that you can do the same things that others can.  A full on disability means that you're limited in what you're capable of.  Having a bum knee is a handicap, because I'm still functional, but slowed.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome removes function.  And lays you out with a fever and severe joint pain if you do one thing too much...even something as little as showering at the end of the day, some days.

**One of the overhead doors is altogether broken.  As in, we likely could get it up, but the brackets holding the rails are breaking and/or broken on one side, and the whole mess would probably come down on our heads.  The other problem is that the truck is too long to fit in the garage, and we likely couldn't open the doors if we put both the truck and the Subaru in the garage. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Wow...ow.

I've been trying to catch up this week.  And having a very difficult time, because I don't think I let myself fully recover from last week.  Thank goodness zone 4 only needs little bits.  I've got the decluttering done on my side of the master bedroom; and the other side only needs a little bit more done.  But I've now got extra room in my dresser drawers, and the top of my dresser holds only my (broken and in need of replacement) jewelry box. 

And it's been a very busy week all week.  

This week, the kids have been spending an hour and a half a day in a summer enrichment class held at their school (school calls it "camp," but camp should be more than an hour and a half a day for four days for one week, doncha think?).  Lego/technology/math enrichment.  They put together Lego sets that go with the Lego filmmaker program thing, and make short movies, with platforms for Apple, and for Android/Windows.  The imp is working with one platform, and the pixie with the other. 

Tuesday, I had an endocrinologist's appointment while they had camp.  And Odysseus took the day off because the endo appointments take forever.  I wasn't sure I'd be out in time to pick them up.  I was, but it very easily could have gone the other way. 

Funny thing: I'd seen the nurse practitioner in the endocrinologist's office for the past two visits (December and March).  I'd asked for a change to Armour thyroid (natural replacement--dessicated porcine thyroid gland), and the NP obliged, starting with a low dose twice a day (30 mg).  Then added a 15 mg dose in the morning six weeks later, then upped it by 15 mg in the evening in March.  When I went in at the end of April for the blood work, she said that my numbers looked better than my records had showed for years. 

Tuesday's appointment was with the actual doctor that I'd been seeing previously.  She'd figured out that one of the binders in the generic levothyroxine was making me react like it was wheat.  It was blocking the hormone from being useful to me.  She switched me over to Tirosint, which was much better.  But she kept having to tinker with the dose, hadn't gotten the dose right up to that point, and I still had a lot of hypothyroid symptoms, more and worse than my blood levels said I should have, even when the dose was "too high."  But on the natural thyroid replacement, I've felt better, and my blood levels seem to be just about right.  Which surprised the doc, because most people do NOT do that much better on the natural stuff--most people do equally well on the synthetic T4 supplement. 

I wonder, now, if I'd just needed the T3 supplemented all along. 

Wednesday, the kids had their well-child visit.  Today, I've taken them up to Mom's.  Because I needed a way to distract them from the end of their "camp."  And we hadn't seen my mom and sister for a couple of weeks.  I'm just having to be careful how I move because I torqued my back early this morning a couple hours before time to get up. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Updates

We've made some significant progress with the flea problem.  Very significant.  It started with the living room and master bedroom--they've been sprayed and vacuumed on alternating days.  Now, we can do the same with the kids' bedrooms, because I spent last week getting them cleared out.

It was really cute--I was working in FlyLady's zone 3 (main bathroom plus one room), and had finished up the laundry room early, since it wasn't too bad.  And then, the pixie comes fluttering up to me and says, "Mommy, can you help me FlyLady my room?" 

So I spent the rest of Wednesday and part of Thursday on her room, then the rest of Thursday and Friday on the imp's room.  I dropped the dishes, cleaning the cat litter box, and the daily laundry load until this morning.  And still wound up sick. 

I'm a lot better, today.  Not all the way, but still better.  And I've gotten caught back up on laundry, after Odysseus finished his, and on the cat box, and most of the way with dishes and putting things away that I brought in and dropped after getting groceries on Friday.   

I'm about done, but I'm definitely done for the day. 

Tomorrow, I'll finish.  I'll finish the dishes, and getting the floor(s) picked back up for vacuuming tomorrow night, and the kids have a school fun class summer camp for Monday through Thursday of next week. 

I think that, with a little bit more flea spraying and vacuuming on the carpets, we'll have that flea problem licked.  We've gone from white socks picking up a dozen or more fleas per foot to getting one or two fleas on both socks.  The dog's flea meds have her flea-free, and I think that, if we can get the house infestation licked, the cats' preventatives will actually work. 

Wish me luck with that...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cats...

I've had more cats than I can count in my life.  All through childhood, all pets were outdoor pets.  Every one of them, dogs, cats, goats...you name it, if we had it, it was an outdoor pet.

Except the parakeet I had when I was 8-10 years old.  He was an inside pet, and a real pet--he loved sitting on my finger, head, or shoulder and being lavished with affection.  My sister had a parakeet, too, but it was an evil little shit that liked to bite. 

Oh, Mom's cockatiels were indoor pets.  She had to sell one to raise money for a lawyer to regain custody when I was very young, and the other (given to her while I was in college) she had to give away because it turned out my younger sister was allergic to the feather dust. 

But until I hit high school, all dogs and cats were outdoor pets only.  And then, we got some indoor/outdoor dogs.  But never cats.

My first indoor cat was Binx.  We got her in 2003, right before I started in on my Master's degree classes.  She was an incredibly sweet and well-behaved gray tiger tabby.  Who'd been left at the humane society because her previous family thought she was pregnant. 

She wasn't.  We found out when we took her to get her fixed that she'd already been fixed.

She was about a year and a half or two years old when we got her.  She got sick and passed in 2012, after teaching my children to be incredibly calm and careful around kitties, and to be very, very gentle.  Since she tolerated them and didn't like them (she also didn't actively dislike them), they had to be superbly behaved around the cat to get a chance to touch the kitty at all. 

She was an excellent cat.  And I loved her very much, and still miss her.  She passed in May.  The imp, who was 3 1/2, barely remembers a really pretty tiger kitty that wouldn't let him pet her much; the pixie, who was 15 months, doesn't remember her at all. 

We adopted the two crazies we have now in July of that year. 

Right from the first, it became obvious that the two kittens (milk sisters--Shadow's mom gave birth in the humane society, then adopted Cricket's litter, which had been brought in after their mother was hit by a car) had an average two cat brains between them, but that the split wasn't even.  At all.  Shadow was much smarter than the average cat, while Cricket...well, to put it kindly, Cricket wasn't all there.  The two kittens would get to playing chase, and Shadow would jink left, and Cricket would miss where she went and spend half an hour looking for her. 

Cricket still isn't all there.  She misses about half her jumps, falls off of things, drools when she's happiest, loves sitting on laps, being petted and scritched, but hates being picked up or held close.   

She also has some really weird habits: she doesn't pee in the middle of the litter box.  She backs up to the wall and goes on the wall of the litterbox.  And sometimes, she backs up too far and pees over the edge of the box. 

Like this morning.  I went back to clean their box out, and found a puddle on the plastic bag I'd put on the floor under the litter box day before yesterday, when I cleaned up that part of the utility room. 

Shadow, on the other hand, is nearly the perfect cat's cat: she's very loving, adores the kids, snuggles, and goes with the imp to go sleep in his bed every night.  She loves playing mind games, usually with Cricket as her chosen victim, and loves exploring out in the garage. 

Yes, we also have a dog, and yes I do love her very much, but I greatly prefer the cats.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Musings on a theme

I've noted something.  As I get the library into better shape, it's become a bit of a haven for me.  It and the master bedroom.  I love both rooms.  The kitchen's a much nicer place to work, but the library is a wonderful place to work or relax. 

Something the kids have noticed. 

It's odd, really--the thing that's attracting them in here is the lack of clutter. 

Their rooms?  Cluttered beyond belief.  Toys everywhere, paper bits and pieces on the floor, clothes hanging out of drawers (or spread all over the floor, or fallen off of hangers to the floor in the closet...), you name it, it's a problem.  Oh, and despite having bookshelves, their books aren't shelved.  They, too, are all over.

The family room?  Covered with a layer of crayon pieces, colored pencils, paper, paper shreds, you name it.  The couch is crammed with trash, pencils, crayons and bits, bits of balloon...they can't ever find the remotes because they're never where they're supposed to be. 

I've got them working on thinning out their belongings in their rooms, at the moment.  I'm trying to reduce their belongings to the things they still actually play with.  I'm trying to get them to gather things that are in good shape for give away, and toss the broken things (but Mom, I love them!...right).  It's an uphill battle that I'm really not interested in fighting, honestly. 

But you know what?  It's something that's necessary.  They need to learn this now, so that it's a skill they have as adults.  It's part of taking care of themselves.  It's something that I have had to teach myself for reasons that weren't entirely Mom's fault.*  It's like cooking, like knowing how to do your own laundry: cleaning and clearing out things is a necessary adult skill for health, even if it's mental and emotional rather than physical. 

*Mom didn't get to make decisions about raising us.  She was an unpaid foster parent at best, and was told what she was and was not allowed to expect from us.  And the people in charge of the household told her to not teach us how to adult (i.e., clean up after ourselves) if we weren't interested in learning, and not teach us some things even if we were interested. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Oof. Fleas. I hate fleas.

We didn't used to have fleas.  Never did before we got the Scotty dog.  I am of the mind that, when she passes, I likely won't get another dog.  I love the dog, but I hate the fleas.

Last year was bad.  We started flea treating...but nothing was working.  We'd used Advantix 2 for dogs and Advantage 2 for cats.  It did nothing.*  We sprayed the carpet with Peremethin.  No joy.  Tried Hartz flea spray.  It had worked, and worked well, in the past, but...not this time.  Tried Adams flea spray.  All of the carpet sprays are supposed to be insect growth inhibitors.  None of it is inhibiting the flea eggs/larvae/nymphs from developing into the next stage.

Winter killed a lot of them off.  It helped.  And then...then, spring came back, with warmer temperatures...and all of the fleas.  We're trying different flea meds, but so far, the cats still have the issues (Feline Revolution 2).  The dog seems to be much better.  But not the poor cats.  They've got fewer fleas, but still have them.

I am about ready to call in an exterminator.  Especially since I've actually been able to get--and keep--most of the house clean.


*I can't say NOTHING, nothing.  It did keep the mosquitos off of the dog--and prevented worms and heartworms.  But it did nothing against the fleas. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Necessary Things

I'm trying--trying really hard--to keep the kids reading.  Part of this is getting them books that they've chosen.  One new book a month.  We'll also be trying to get to the used bookstore a few times.  They've gotten some real gems, there.

The pixie has discovered our set of Roald Dahl novels.  She has, so far, devoured one in its entirety in one day (it was a short one), giggling the whole time.  The imp, despite being two years older, doesn't read as well--I'm pretty sure that's his ADHD spiking the guns, though.  It's not that he doesn't have interest in reading, just that he can't sit still to read unless it's utterly absorbing. 

Oddly enough, he doesn't have the same problem with his Kindle games...I may end up confiscating his Kindle for a while.  Because of that, and because it does utterly terrible things to his attitude. 

His major interest, right now, is Pokemon.  I used to not care one way or the other about it, but after he discovered it, I've begun hating it.  Because he will. Not. SHUT UP. About it. 

But he reads the books about the characters.  And I have found that there are chapter novels for it.  I'll be buying these one by one for him.   

Pixie has gotten into the DogMan graphic novels.  I've been getting those at Walmart--they're a lot cheaper there than they are through Amazon.  She's got her eye on three that I saw there.  And she's got the other three that are out.  So those are getting snagged on Monday.  When I also snag some regular strength Tylenol for the kids. 

I've ordered a Pokemon book listing characters from Amazon for the imp--the pixie's book is going to have to wait a bit.  I do have something on the way for her, though: a pop-up document holder in purple.  She'd been using my blue one, but didn't think it was fair for her to keep it, since the imp didn't have one.  So.  He gets my blue one (for now), and she gets a new, purple one.  That isn't going to be used until next fall, when she's copying her spelling homework down. 

And, given Odysseus's job, he has ties coming out his ears.  His tie rack is loaded down to double what its capacity is supposed to be, he can't really see all the ties on it well, and it still doesn't hold all of his ties.  So, there's two more tie racks on the way so that he has an easier time choosing ties.  Because all of them will be hung up, where he can actually see them.  They'll hang on hooks on the wall, just behind the bedroom door.

Necessary things.  Things to keep the kids reading, keep the kids from fighting, and things to try to keep up with the house cleaning/decluttering/organization. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

It's working!

My house is, while not clean, clean, it's at least decluttered (mostly) and presentable.  And I'll be continuing working on that until I'm not spending all my time decluttering and can start cleaning. 

It's gonna be a while.  But I think I can do it. 

What makes it easier is that I think the stupid CFS is starting to ease up its stranglehold.  Some.  I can do a little bit more than I could when it was at its best last year.  I'm keeping up with being able to declutter, and I'm able to regain some of the lost/used energy when I sit down and rest. 

I haven't been able to do that reliably for four years.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is letting go, or if the Armor, in the correct dose (which they couldn't seem to get on the T4 alone) is just working that much better than the synthetic thyroid replacement hormone.  Either way, this is making me happier about my health than I've been in a while. 

Friday night, after the kids had finished their pizza and their movie, and were getting ready for bed, we got a phone call from one of our oldest friends.  I've been friends with this guy for 21 years, now, and Odysseus has been friends with him for a little bit longer.  He's currently selling tools out of a truck--has a route and steady customers and a franchise and everything.  He's staying with one of his other long-term friends while said friend is training and about to deploy with the Guard, and will stay with his wife and family while he's gone as a layer of protection. 

Our friend needed a place to leave his tools van over the weekend while he went to a hobby convention.  And that the guy he's staying with would be coming with him to take him back. 

And neither Odysseus nor I sprang into crisis-cleaning* mode.  We straightened a few things, moved a couple of books out of chairs in the library, but that was basically all. 

And we were relaxed enough to enjoy a short visit instead of wishing it hadn't happened in the first place.

And it's because of five, ten, or fifteen minutes at a time.  And improving energy levels where I can do one or two more sessions of five, ten, or fifteen minutes, and recover energy after I've sat down.  

*Crisis-cleaning: where you take giant arms-full of mess and cram it in closets, cabinets, bedrooms, or wherever you can hide it in the few minutes' warning you have.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wild night

Last night was deeply unpleasant in this area.  We had several tornadoes spawn southwest of us and pass through.  Lots of Joplin's bedroom communities got hit, and one stayed on the ground, traveling northeast for a good long while after it left city limits.  Several areas to our northeast got plastered, too.  Reports are still coming in.  It wasn't as bad as the tornado that hit Joplin exactly eight years earlier (the monster F5 tornado that left a swath of destruction a mile wide and six miles long hit on May 22, 2011), but it was still nasty, scary, and probably re-traumatized a whole lot of people. 

And that wasn't all of it.  We had several inches of rain dumped on us, too.  It overwhelmed the, admittedly minimal outside city limits, storm drainage around our house.  I woke up at six this morning to our entire front yard flooded up to the oaks about fifteen feet from the front of the house (our front yard is HUGE), and both sides of the driveway covered in a river of fast-running water.  Looked about three inches deep or so. 

It has since receded a good bit.  I mean, it's still flowing pretty quick, but the river itself is narrower, and a little shallower.  I wasn't sure we'd be able to get out for the kids' last day of school, but it looks like it's going to happen. 

I mean, I'm not getting out, but Odysseus is taking the kids in.  It should recede the rest of the way before their release time at 11:00 a.m.  It's close, even now.

I'm really hoping this is all for a while.  We've had over eight inches of rain in the past three days, and had tornadoes on Monday and then again last night.  I'm really, really tired of this shit.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Week in review

My aunt had her cancer surgery moved up a week.  Instead of having tests last Monday, they squeezed everything into the previous week, and removed what they found last Monday.  She's home, recovering as best she can before they start her on chemo. 

Tuesday, the kids had their field day.  I'd hoped to have a free day with my much beloved spouse, who'd taken the day off, but the imp woke up sick.  So, instead, we called the vet and made appointments.

We have two cats, and two cat carriers.  We got Cricket into the bigger one just fine.  But Shadow?  Nah.  That was hard.  It was like a cross between catching that bar of soap that's just squirted out of your wet hands, and trying to thread a cooked spaghetti noodle through a straw.  Yes, we tried wrapping her in a towel first.  No, it didn't work.  The vet said they're very healthy kitties, sold us Feline Revolution II for the fleas (last year's stuff just did not work), got Shadow high as a kite (catnip), and sent them home. 

The dog got her bath and we let her roll in towels for a while and self-dry.  Then, we sheared the Scotty (with the long guards), and got the bits the clippers didn't get with a pair of scissors.  We took about a pound of hair off the dog, and now, she looks like a proper Scottish Terrier (sorta) instead of a dirty little mop with legs.

She has her vet visit tomorrow.  No, she doesn't know this. 

Imp was better on Wednesday, but still home.  The school has a 24 hr after last emission/fever breaks rule for going back.  He was a huge help, though: we got the living room floor completely picked up for vacuuming.  

I wasn't good for a whole lot on Thursday, but I did manage to get the kids signed up for some summer activities: a technology/math/Lego (with Lego movie maker) fun camp at their school, and a couple weeks of swimming lessons (I'll sign them up for another session later).  I did get the desk and file cabinet top decluttered and arranged for work.  So there's that.  Wasn't good for much on Friday, either.  Yesterday, we visited family, and today...today, we got some shopping done, and I got some double sided tape.  My things I've set up on the desk?  Ain't going nowhere.  Not even when a kitty decides to play "fuck that thing...and that thing...and that thing in particular." 

Next: I want another African violet, with the special little self-watering pot.  Because I had one, and I loved it, and it froze to death when an ice storm killed the house's power for a couple days in '09.  I now have the perfect place for another.  Right there on my desk, between the laptop, and my lamp.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Learning curves...

Everybody has 'em. 

I've learned that if I don't multitask,* nothing will get done.  I've also learned that if I do multitask, I burn things that need constant tending...like quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches.  And then, I have an unhappy pixie.  Which is why she prefers Daddy (who doesn't multitask, and does hover over cooking food) to make her quesadillas and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I've learned that I am, by nature, a night owl.  And that I can't live according to my nature because a) both my kids are shiny, happy little morning people, and b) I can't nap after I've been up for a while, whether I have coffee or not.  I can only nap when I'm actually stay-in-bed sick.  Which takes a lot. 

I've also learned that not being allowed to be a night owl makes writing so much harder than it would otherwise be.  Writing is still possible, but I can get a lot more done after nightfall...if I haven't utterly exhausted myself trying during the day.

I've learned to better listen to my body.  If I pay attention, I can tell when I need to stop doing whatever I'm doing, and rest to avoid a CFS attack.  I have to do things this way, because I've also learned that trying to do something today that I was able to do yesterday doesn't always work.  I've also learned that CFS has wildly variable levels of disability that change from day to day. 

That, right there, has been the hardest, most painful learning curve I've faced in the last decade.  Including learning to be a parent.



*I get up to refill my sports bottle, and I unload a few dishes.  I warm up my lunch, and I unload a few more.  I have to head for the back of the house for a bathroom break, and I take clean laundry/stuff that's migrated to places it doesn't belong back with me.  Another bathroom break, and I sort clothes.  I start supper, I put things on the counters away and/or load dishwasher, and/or wash stuff I'm using to make supper as I finish using it...that type of multitasking. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Flapping

FlyLady emphasizes routines, habits.  Little bit at a time. 

I'm trying. 

I've made progress.  I've made a habit of getting dressed all the way down to shoes unless I'm sick and staying in bed.  I've been keeping my sink empty and clean.  I've been decluttering five minutes here, fifteen there, as I have energy. 

Hotspots are still a problem.  And I hate, hate, HATE cleaning toilets, so daily swish and swipe hasn't happened.  Neither has making the bed. 

But I'm making progress.  Without setting myself back with a chronic fatigue attack.*  Mostly. 

It is still very much a work in progress, and my house is a long way to go to "not cluttered and messy" much less "clean."  But it's better than it was, and I'm pleased with that much.


*Lots of people call those flares.  It feels less like a barely under control fire flaring out of control and more like a big, stinky, hairy monster sneaking up on me and stomping me into the floor. 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Random ramblings

The kids have a bit less than three full weeks of class days left of the school year.  They were scheduled, at first, to get out on the 21st; however, ice and snow forced a couple of make-up days, and now that date has been pushed to the 23rd.  They've got the elementary fun field day set for a week from Tuesday, and the pixie has a field trip to the park with her class a week after that.

I really need to sign them up for swim lessons.  And summer fun classes at their school.  I also need to sit down with a calendar before I do that to make sure I don't double-book them on times.

I also need to make sure they've got plenty of time to run around outside like crazy, be kids, and decompress without adult supervision and/or interference.

I'm honestly looking forward to not having to fight with them to get up.  Or fight to get them to do their homework.  Or listen to them whining about having to study spelling.  Or listen to them whining about doing badly on spelling tests (study, you little assholes!  Without whining about it!).

I need a break from the whining more than they need a break from school.

Shadow has been demanding to spend more time out in the garage, as the weather warms up.  There were a few times, this past winter, when she'd follow me out, when I'd go get something out of the freezer, then be waiting in the kitchen for me long before I could even get to the foot of the steps back into the house.  The cement floor was so cold it hurt her little toe-beans, and she got downright cranky about it.  She's much happier, now, and spends a few hours out there--exploring, napping in odd places, and hunting--every day.

While the weather's good, I don't mind.  When it heats up, I'm sure she'll be angry and unhappy again.  Not because she doesn't want to spend time out there, but because I won't let her stay out for long.  I don't want a heat-sick black kitty.

Cricket's been a lot calmer, since Shadow's been out hunting mousies instead of in hunting Cricket.  She's started settling on me, instead of stomping spastic circles.  She reaches up and puts her paws on my face and pats me.  I've figured out that she wants me to pet her face when she does that.

I've finally figured out Merry-dog's* favorite kind of toy: she likes stuffed toys.  They don't have to squeak--she doesn't care one way or the other about the squeakers--but her favorites don't have dangly, gangly limbs.  She likes toys she can shake the shit out of without hitting herself with anything, or snuggle in her bed with.  Walmart's got some really good ones.  I'd gotten her a mallard, and it tore after a couple weeks.  It's been relegated to nothing but snuggles by the dog so that she doesn't make it worse.  So I got her a pheasant made in the same way, last week.  She saw me through the French door with it, when I was cutting the tags and stuff off, and her ears went up and her tail started wagging slowly.  I opened the door, and the tail sped up.  I held the toy down for her, and she very carefully took it from my hand, took it on a lap around the yard (showing it around, I think, like a little girl with a new dolly does when she gets it home), then took it to where she'd been sleeping and snuggled down with it.  Cute as all hell.  She brought it in for snuggles in her kennel during that half-day-long series severe thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon, too.

Next weekend, I'm going to wash the dog, then we'll shear her like a sheep...or a boot camp Marine.

I've been playing with some of my ink samples, lately.  I have a lot of them, and I'd like to get them used up.  I've found myself going back to a few inks over and over, in a few colors, so I'm using up the others to get them out of the way.  I'm using Quink blue for the imp's spelling study in the TWSBI Eco I'm letting him use (non-staining, doesn't bleed through the paper, doesn't show through very much), and I use a lot of different shades of blue.  One of my favorites, now that I've figured out which pens it works best in, is a tamper-proof ink called Bad Belted Kingfisher--it's a dark navy with hints of green and turquoise.  It bonds with the paper, and doesn't come out with water, acetone, ammonia, vinegar, or UV.  I've got a similar red-black that looks like dried blood when it dries, that I'm using in writing the first draft of the second Liquid Diet Chronicals book.  Most of my inks are blues, blacks, burgundies, or greens.  I like turquoise, too, but not as much, and if the cats drool on most of my inks, the words wash away.

I guess, since I write most of my first drafts out by hand, that's why most of the inks I use are water-resistant, at least.  I have several gorgeous ones that aren't, and I just...don't use them.  Even though I'd love to.  Because Cricket drools, and Cricket knocks my sports bottles over.

That said, I am writing.  I'm still trying to get caught up on housework--December through the first half of April, I was nearly constantly sick with something or other.  The fourth in the Modern Gods series is half-edited (waiting on two beta readers to finish), and the second in the Liquid Diet Chronicles has a title (Having a Pint), and is 10K words into a planned 55-60K words.  And a lot of it is written in Noodler's Red-Black.  Meg seems to really like that one, and the words come easier when I'm using it.

This is the good in life.

My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, week before last.  She had three appointments in the city where I live last week.  She's got another one last week, and two a week from tomorrow, four hours apart.  Her appointments are with oncologists, surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, and several other specialists.  I don't know what stage she's at.  I'm not entirely sure she knows what stage of cancer she's at; the doctors are pushing fast for fast treatment.  I'm hoping.  Praying.  I'm praying they caught it early enough.  Because her husband's in is 80's, and is blind, diabetic, and crippled.  And I'm praying because, even as obnoxious and mean as she is, she's my aunt.  She's one of the four people that taught me to read.  She taught me to crochet.  She taught me to read animal body language.  I'm praying she comes through this okay.

And I'm not entirely sure she will.

This is the bad in life.

Life goes on.

*Merry-dog is a Scottish terrier.  Her full name is Merida, because what else do you name a Scottish princess?  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Trying again

I just got a new keyboard.  A USB connected, wireless ergonomic keyboard--this one, in particular.  I got it from Sam's Club ($12 cheaper than Amazon), because of one thing written on the box: whisper quiet. 

It's not.  I had tried one that was at Walmart, but they don't seem to carry it anymore.

It is, however, not significantly louder than my laptop keyboard.  And the volume is a lot more tolerable than the other ergonomic keyboard I was using.  I'm listening to music over the laptop's speakers and using the new keyboard at the moment.  And, unlike the other ergonomic keyboard I got, this one isn't drowning out my music.*

It's comfortable, too.  The keyboard isn't flat.  It isn't split, but it's curved comfortably.  The keyboard itself dips where your longer fingers rest on the home keys, and rises where your ring and pinky fingers rest, making most of the keys much less of a stretch for me to reach.**

It's got a music control panel on top, above the keyboard itself.  The delete key is as big as the backspace, is vertically oriented, and sits next to the enter key, between the main part of the keyboard and the number pad.  The home key is just above it, with the page up and page down keys sitting just to its left.  The scrolling arrows are right below it. It's incredibly handy.  I can see how this keyboard would work really well with a desktop, too. 

The best thing about it?  The keys don't stick, and it can keep up with my (slow) typing speed. 

So far, having used this keyboard for the past...two days?  Two and a half?  Anyway, so far, I'm really liking this keyboard. 



*I got to the point I couldn't stand to use the other ergonomic keyboard without using my headphones to drown it out.  

**I have really tiny hands for an adult.  My fingers are only about as long as my ten year old son's.  For those of my friends who shoot...a double-stack 9mm handgun is TOO BIG for my hands.  Even the compact ones. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Been a busy day

This morning actually started last night. 

In context: I wear glasses.  STRONG ones.  Things become blurry four to six inches from the end of my nose, nothing but blobs of color about three feet away, and indistinguishable a room away.  So, my glasses are a life-line--without them, I'd be damn near blind. 

I'm also a mom.  Which means that life is, often, a full-contact sport (tackle-hugs by a ten year old nearly the same height as you, anyone?).  Which means my glasses don't just see heavy use, but hard use.  I can't tell you how often one of my kids has accidentally knocked my glasses off my face, or off the table where I set them when I rub my eyes.  In the past year. 

I've had this particular pair of glasses for about three or four years, now.  I like these frames.  I like them enough I got a pair of prescription distance only sunglasses with the same frames. 

Last night, the right-hand nose piece started feeling like it was pinching my skin, or had something caught under it. 

Nope; it had broken in half, and I was feeling sharp edges.  The left hand nose piece was spiderweb cracked, and about ready to follow suit.  And the vision center had closed. 

So, my morning this morning started with dragging unwilling munchkins out of bed, fixing breakfasts, hot tea, and coffee, cleaning the cats' box, and otherwise chasing little humans through their morning chores list.  Then I dropped the kids at school, and went to Walmart. 

My glasses are repaired, and I confirmed with the technician that my instinct to wait six more weeks on my thyroid levels being stable at "normal" levels was the correct one.  I also took a quick glance at the frames. 

I didn't see any like the ones I'm using.  I'm...gonna have to think this out.  Because I like these frames.  But I'm pretty sure my thyroid levels are improving my vision a little, and that I will need a new prescription when I do go in. 

Went from Walmart to Sam's Club and got grocery shopping done.  They've changed a few things, and the cost of 90/10 ground beef has decreased a bit (which makes me all kinds of happy).  That took about an hour of walking around and consulting my list more than once. 

Everything's (mostly) been put away, at this point.  I've gotten dishes done, some cleaning done in FlyLady's zone 4 (not as much as needs to be done, but what I got done makes a visible difference), and all of my laundry washed and half of it in the dryer (along with things that are not mine, but were lost by those to whom those things belonged, so why not?).    I've been in constant, slow motion all day.  I got more done than I thought I would. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dammit, Missouri!

It is an utterly gorgeous day, in a way.  It's cool (mid 50s when I ran the kids into school, and isn't supposed to get much more than middling warm).  It's also drizzly, rainy, and foggy.  It smells absolutely wonderful. 

I'd seen weather like this, but not often in this corner of Missouri.  It actually took me a couple of hours to pinpoint why it felt/looked/smelled familiar. 

Back in, oh, 2006 or 2007, I went to a national convention for Sigma Tau Delta to present a paper.  The convention was in Portland, Oregon, that year. It was pretty fun: Odysseus and I turned it into a road trip.  I saw more of the country in that week or so we were gone than I'd seen in my entire life before that.  We drove not necessarily because it was cheaper than flying but because we wanted to not be tied to the town and convention center. 

I absolutely hated Portland.  But I loved much of the scenery in the state of Oregon.  And there were a few tiny towns on the beach (only one of them a tourist trap) that were spectacularly beautiful 

This morning's weather reminds me of the Pacific Northwest. 

We are in the Midwest.  The southwest corner of Missouri, in fact--about an hour north of Arkansas, and fifteen or twenty minutes from Kansas and Oklahoma. 

It is pretty, in a way.  It's also messing with my joints. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Just a bit miffed

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames, today.  From what I've read, they got a lot of irreplaceable things out, but...

They're not sure, yet, what started it.  I've heard everything from accident to malice.  Either way, I'm more than a little angry about it. 

Let's say it's an accident, that the renovations did something that sent the building up in flames.  I've heard that it was possible that they may have had something ignite from soldering the leaded roof.  If such is the case...I'm still bloody angry.  I can't call it negligence, but I can call it shoddy workmanship that should never have been permitted within a hundred feet of the front door of the eight hundred year old cathedral.  I really hope the contractors wind up bankrupt for this, if this is the case. 

If it was malice...well.

Charlemane...Charles Martel...Charles the Great...However you want to call one of the great heroes of Europe, he had offspring.  Descendants on both sides of the sheets.  One of the most famous was William the Bastard of Normandy.  JUST because he moved address from Normandy to Britain doesn't mean he was the only one.  I'd be willing to bet that any...individual...who decides to take credit for that will discover that, while the politicians are weevils and roaches and other slimy creatures lacking spines, the country as a whole is getting sick of their shit. 

And that's assuming that the French are satisfied with simply crushing the Saracens, instead of following in the footsteps (metaphorically) of that most infamous Prince of Wallachia. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

...and done.

I finished the edit for the kids' school librarian on Monday around lunch time.  I picked up the check on Tuesday, and was going to deposit it on my way home from Walmart (the pixie's teacher asked me to pick up a package of clothespins), and figured out I had no deposit slips with me.  So, I came home, and did the deposit yesterday morning.

It wasn't the first setback. 

I got it the last Thursday in March, spent Friday re-familiarizing myself with APA, and then got hit with a mild migraine on Sunday that lasted through Tuesday night.  I did get some work done on it on that Monday, but not a lot.  I managed to get halfway through it on Wednesday, despite picking up a cold (I think), and then...then Win10 decided it was time to update and restart.  And I hadn't saved my work.  And LibreOffice decided it didn't need to be recovered. 

I got back through what I'd gotten done, and really got slammed, health wise.  I did manage to finish.  But not in the time frame I'd tried to hold myself to.

You know, it's really difficult to tell whether you've got a cold plus a chronic fatigue flareup, or if you've got the flu.  I'm still not sure which it was.

Today, though, I'm finally feeling better.  Still not human.  But better.  The brain fog has (mostly) lifted, and the fever has broken.

I do not think I'm feeling up to my previous plans for today and tomorrow (cleaning and lunch out with my kids and mother-in-law).  But I may be up for Sunday's plans, if I take it easy and don't do anything to destroy any chances of recovery (like housework, damn it).

This is one of the biggest reasons why I don't make plans in advance. 

In any case, I'm going to be doing what I can do: writing.  


Sunday, April 7, 2019

What a beautiful day.

Today was one of Missouri's rare, perfect spring days.  And it's actually in the springtime.  The temperature, wind speed, and everything were just...wonderful. 

We opened the windows in the main living areas.

And the kids spent a lot of the day playing outside.  I spent half an hour on the patio with my Kindle and the dog, sitting in the sun, enjoying the (relative) quiet and the breeze.

The pixie is learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.  Her bike is hot pink and turquoise.  The imp's bike is faded neon green (he's been riding without training wheels for two years, now, but she just wasn't really interested until recently).  While she's learning, she'll be wearing a helmet.  Once she's got it, though, they ride on a long, u-shaped, gravel driveway and grass--no real need. 

Her bike was one her grandma (Odysseus's mom) found at an end-of-Christmas season sale for about what we'd be able to find a second-hand one for.  The only problem is that the back tire had a leak.  As in: aired up to totally flat in like, four or five hours.

So, today, in this utterly beautiful weather, we ran to Sam's Club for a couple things, then Walmart for a patch and a couple more things.

When we got home, I got beans started* and cleared my desk a bit more--enough to be able to use it.  Which meant disappointing the cats.  Actually, I'm pretty sure Shadow was really, really pissed off at me. 

A couple of weeks ago, I'd gotten the kids' study table in the library rearranged for both of them to use.**  I wanted my desk back.  Part of that was getting the bean-bag ottoman under my desk pulled out and getting all of the stuff the imp had knocked down behind the desk out from under and behind it.  Then, the ottoman got tossed on top of my desk, right in front of the picture window in the living room.  And the cats found it. 

I moved it today.  Back to where it goes, on the floor in the knee-hole.  And I used my desk a little while, working on editing the kids' librarian's dissertation (and yes, she really is piling it higher and deeper).  While the cats looked around wondering where their comfy thing in front of the window went.  And while Shadow glared at me over my laptop screen from where she sat between my laptop and the window...before she edged behind the curtain and sat pressed against the screen. 

 The kids are both mildly sunburned, but happy.  Despite getting called in to do homework before dinner time. 


*I love my instant pot.  I can take beans from dry to done in a little more than an hour in it.

**I still have more to do with the study table. There needs to be a tall divider (like, the width of a posterboard--which gives me an idea) between the two halves.   And the imp needs a ball to bounce his foot on instead of on the trestle leg, which vibrates the whole table.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Flippin' migraines...

They never hit at a convenient time. 

Thursday or Friday, I picked up an editing job.  It's APA style, so I spent Friday and Saturday re familiarizing myself with the stylistic requirements for source citation, tables, graphs, etc.  I planned to start work on it Monday, since we'd planned to visit my in-laws on Sunday.  

I noticed, night before last, right before bedtime, that I was seeing rainbows in my peripheral vision.  Woke up yesterday to burning pain as well as pressure pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and minor nausea. 

I still managed to get some editing done. 

If this follows my usual patterns, it should be at its worst about noon today, then start fading around supper to be totally gone before I wake up tomorrow. 

I hope.

Usual patterns for me don't include aura and halos and nausea. 

Change of subject--Odysseus is going to have a busier than usual start of the month, this month.  Usually, he's dealing with the end of the previous month's stuff, but the hospital ended its fiscal year at the end of March, so he's got that, too. 

I'd had dinners planned out for the whole week.  I'm going to need to adjust that, because he may or may not be late a few times this week.  So dinner plans are going to need to go from hot and ready a few minutes after he gets home, to flexible and easily warmed up. 

One of the joys of having a very well-stocked pantry is that I can adjust on the fly if necessary.  I have a fully-stocked canned food rotation system with veggies, and Spam; I have lots of dry pasta; I have some soups for ingredients, and some for just eating. 

I'd planned pasta bake for today, but that's getting pushed back to Thursday--the kids are having spaghetti for lunch today.  The chicken leg quarters I'd pulled out for Thursday haven't even really started thawing, yet, so I can just put them back in the freezer for next week, and pull out a pound of hamburger meat for the pasta bake.  We'll be having sandwiches and mac 'n' cheese for dinner one night this week.  Probably tonight, even.  

In the meantime, I've got editing to do, dishes to unload from the dishwasher and reload into the dishwasher, and my laundry to start (everyone else's is done, even if it hasn't been put away).   And it needs to be done whether I've got a headache or not, so it's damn well getting done.  While wearing sunglasses indoors with all the lights off that I can turn off. 

(See, I can do this, even with a migraine, because even my bad migraines aren't debilitating for me.  I don't know if that's because they're not that bad, or if it's because I'm so used to pain and discomfort that I'm a bit more tolerant of a different kind of pain than usual.  Either way.  I'm still moving and doing.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Still FLYing

...or at least, I'm tryin' to. 

A few years ago, I discovered (or was pointed toward--I can't remember which) the FlyLady

My house was CHAOS*--it's better, now, but still not great (some rooms are better than others).  I'm not dealing with layers of clutter and stuff on every flat surface, anymore, for the most part.  (The kids' rooms are two of the main exceptions, and are their responsibility, not mine.)  The "better" is due to things I picked up from her site.

So, anyway, I skimmed her website, then went back and read some things a little closer.  One thing stood out: her insistence that my house didn't get into the state it's in in a day, and it's okay to work on it a little bit at a time. 

That...that helped me a lot. 

I don't have ADHD to the extent my son does.  But I do have some things in common: disorganization is one of the worst, but I've also got a little bit of the same executive function disorder where cleaning's concerned. 

(That means I don't know where to start, how to continue, or even how to stick to one task until I've got it done, and I wind up making a bigger mess of things than I've managed to resolve.) 

The FlyLady splits the house out into five zones (front porch, entry, and dining room; kitchen; bathrooms and utility area plus one; master bedroom; living room/family room).  And insists on decluttering first, fifteen minutes at a time, in the zone matched up to the week of the month you're in.  Plus a 2 minute trash sort wherever you drop the stuff in your pockets, or set down mail, every day. 

The decluttering is a constant battle.  I've been following this for a few years, now, and I'm still at the decluttering stage.  I haven't gotten to the cleaning part, yet.  But things are getting better.  Marginally.  Bit by bit. 

It also helps to have a bigger house with better storage options (don't look in the garage).  But I am pitching stuff that is obsolete, partially broken, or paper that isn't needed anymore, and giving away a lot of other stuff (outgrown clothes, etc) that's still in good shape. 

Monday, I went through and cleared out sent-home kid worksheets.  In just my basket where I keep that type of stuff, and only one quarter's worth of work, I filled a 13 gallon trash bag.  From just around my chair.  In less than fifteen minutes. 

Yesterday's accomplishment will eventually result in being able to reclaim my desk.**

After that, I was (and am) rather done in. 

Another thing the FlyLady advocates is setting aside time to create a dinner menu, for at least a week, if not a month.  I think she and Dave Ramsey would get along well--she thinks (and I think she's right) that most people get home, can't think of anything to fix for supper, throw up their hands, and go waste money on fast food instead.  That, and the menu planning helps in grocery list planning, and she advocates that, too--along with not shopping hungry so that you follow your list, and don't waste money buying snacky-things you don't need, and probably shouldn't have, just because you were hungry. 

That has made so many things so much easier.  And the kids have started eating more of what I fix, and there are fewer nights where they're eating chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, hot pockets, or the like.

But.

I am still struggling.  Because the two days of decluttering and minor reorganization in the living room have laid me out pretty hard.

FLYing?  Yes.  At least, fluttering, flapping, sometimes falling, but always trying to stay afloat.  It's the best I can do with what I have.  

*CHAOS: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

**I'd had to separate the kids for homework time because the study table was badly organized: they were sorta next to each other, and within easy range for tormenting each other instead of getting work done.  I'd left the pixie at the table, and stuck the imp at my desk.  Where he's been doing his homework and study, leaving his stuff scattered everywhere on my desk, and sort of pushing me out of my own space.  I've rearranged the table to put them at opposite ends from each other, and will be coming up with some type of vertical visual divider to keep them from even making faces at each other.  And buying a basic, cheap rubber ball for him to play with with his feet so he's not kicking the trestle and jarring the study table.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Always try new things

Ever hear of "bullet journalling"?  Basically, it's a journal-based to-do list, that goes in order of priorities.  Really customizable.

I'd tried it before, and it didn't work for me.  As much because I don't have the same capability from one day to the next to complete tasks.  Hell, some days I can't do anything (including reading new things).  And I was lining it up day by day.  And some (okay, most) of the time, I didn't remember to check the stupid thing for my to-do list.

I've been trying it again.  Because I have this lovely dot grid journal* I found at Walmart last fall for under $7, and I don't like dot grid for simple writing.

Instead of daily to-dos, I've set it up for weekly.  Including menu planning, and a rough supplementary grocery list of things I need for the menu items I've planned.  And it's working.  I've been using it for about two weeks (this week will be week 3).


*Dot grid is just what it sounds like: instead of having lines, you've got a grid of dots on each page.  Not so great for simple writing, but awesome for keeping things lined up vertically as well as horizontally.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Resolutions and progress reports

I made a quiet resolution on New Year's Eve to do better in 2019.  To pace myself better, to build a routine that I could use to pace myself better, and to finish unfinished projects.

One of the things I've done is I've started by...cleaning the cats' box every morning, instead of doing it at night if I have the energy (typically, I didn't).  The cats, dog, kids, and spouse are much happier, and it doesn't take a whole lot of energy in the mornings.

That said, I do an internal check of energy levels and review what must be done every day when I wake up, and some days, I skip that morning step because there are other things that I have to do that will be needing the energy I used to clean that box.

Sometimes that box doesn't get cleaned for a couple days.

Sometimes the dishes get done, sometimes they don't.

But the kids are always clean and fed, and homework's always done.   Dinner's on the table (and usually on time), and there are snacks for the kids.  Even when I'm dealing with a major flareup of the stupid chronic fatigue syndrome (which sometimes just hits, even without me having danced too close to one of my known triggers, like last week).

And I've finished some projects. 

I finished a set of hand warmers I was working on for myself (think knitted, ribbed tube, with a hole for the thumb, that goes from a couple inches up my forearm to the first joint of my fingers), and repurposed a project I'd started for the imp into a set of similar at his request.  That's finished, too.  I've got a sweater on needles for me, and an afghan for the imp, and a silver-gray shawl from silky acrylic yarn the pixie has squealed and claimed for herself.  I've got other projects planned, but nothing actually on needles at the moment.  And I won't start them until I finish my unfinished projects.

Unlike my writing.  That comes as it comes.  Yes, I am working on finishing stuff, but...sometimes different things kinda...butt in line. 

First draft of Gods and Monsters is done, and I'm working on the revision.  I'll also be working on finishing another novel I've had in the works for a couple of years.  I'll be revising the first two parts, then finishing the third.  I'll probably publish it serially as Kindle editions, then have an omnibus edition in Kindle and dead tree. 

(Yes, I have started the next Liquid Diet Chronicles book.  And yes, I'll finish that one, first.  I think.)

And I never have clue one about what's going to come out when I sit down to write and DON'T have something I'm already working on open.  So, it could be related to an ongoing series, or it could be a ferret on a ceiling fan.  

But I am working on finishing projects sitting unfinished, at the moment.  Really.  I am