Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rough weekend

Saturday, we went early and picked up a U-Haul truck for the ramp.  Incidentally, we also rented a furniture dolly (we had one for appliances already).  We went straight to the old house and parked it there, while we did a couple of other things, then went back and started loading it.  With the help of my family.  Which shocked the snot out of me.

Saturday, we got the cook stove, dryer, couch, mattresses, and a few loads of sundries moved.  Sunday, we got the bed frames, washer, and chest freezer.  We returned the U-Haul on Monday, got the washer hooked up, and got the kitchen stove hooked up.

I still have dishes and stuff to remove from the old kitchen, and a bunch other small stuff left in the bedrooms that we just didn't have the boxes for.  I'm unpacking bit by bit, and emptying boxes to take over and re-fill.  It's just taking a while because I've got the kids underfoot and querulous because of a lack of a routine, and I'm lacking any energy to do much at a time.  No, I don't have the kitchen cabinets lined, yet.  Nor do I have everything that goes into the kitchen cabinets that ARE lined. 

I have seasonal clothes to switch out, too. 

I spent yesterday curled up, trying to get my breath back.  This morning was spent waiting on the cable guy to hook up our internet and phone service.

I am blogging from my new (if still bare) library.

It may be thin for a while, yet.  I've got a massive amount of moving yet to do.

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. 


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


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.


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


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. 



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. 


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. 


An adjunct.