Monday, December 31, 2018

Damn it.

I have been finding that I can get about two years' worth of use out of Acer laptops.

I've had this one for less than that.  I got it toward the end of July of 2017.  And it's already breaking in a way that I won't be able to keep using it for a whole lot longer.

The plastic back, side, and corner of the top of the laptop (around the corner of the monitor) are breaking.  There's a crack extending about four inches from the edge, about an inch up from the bottom, about even with the hinge on the back.  And the side and corner of the front around the hinge are giving way and breaking.

It's been a problem, a growing, worsening problem, for about two months, now.  I haven't been closing the laptop, merely sending it to sleep.  And even with careful handling, it's still slowly getting worse.

I will not get another Lenovo laptop.  When I get another computer in a month or so (when this one breaks past being usable), it will be another Acer Aspire.* 

They last better, and I won't have to adapt for a too-small shift key on the right hand side anymore.

Update: I decided to say to hell with it and ordered the laptop, since it was gonna happen anyway.   Ordered through Amazon.  NOT Office Depot (where I got this hot mess of a fragile and inconvenient machine).

*Yes, it must be a laptop.  Sometimes the brain's capable of working when the body needs to lay down.  No, I don't want a netbook. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Unexpected, but nice.

I got some really unexpected Christmas gifts this year. 

First, another appliance from Odysseus:* a small air fryer, one just big enough to figure out if I'll like a bigger one or not.  I have been wanting one for about a year and a half, but...just never got one.  Not really in the budget for a casual purchase. 

(Now, all I need is a good french fry cutter.  I really, really want to try making sweet potato fries.)

Second, I got stuff from my mom and sister.  I wasn't expecting anything at all from them.  Yes, I gave them a brief list, but also emphasized that I didn't want them to get me anything at all, since they paid the taxes on the place where they're living (21 acres, with two houses, a chicken house, and a large barn adds up) this year.  To pay my aunt back for her paying off my mom's pickup. 

And what I got from them was really, unexpectedly awesome. 

First: I love Parker Quink Blue-Black.  And I tried to order some (bottled) from Amazon a couple years ago.  I ordered the 57mL bottle, and got (from a seller in India) two 1oz bottles of "Quink Blue" that wasn't: instead of it being like my other bottle of Quink Blue, it was...viscous.  And smelled.  It smelled like paint and paint thinner.  And wasn't returnable. 

I rinsed the bottles out and kept them because they were adorable, but I dumped the "ink" out. 

My mom and sister got me a bottle of the Parker Quink Blue-Black.  It is one of my favorite, favorite blue inks.  And now, instead of being down to my last cartridge, I have a whole bottle. 

Now, that would have been awesome enough, but that wasn't all they got me.  They also got me a set of four Wing Sung 3008 pens

I've been curious about them for a while: they're inexpensive piston-fill pens that looked like they'd hold a goodly amount of ink.  Kinda similar to TWSBI piston pens, but with some distinct differences in the ones I was given.  They look a bit like the 580 that I already have, but have a clear plastic feed instead of a black one, have a piston knob that locks, and (unlike TWSBI full-size pens) can be posted. 

Downsides, as compared to the TWSBI 580: the grip section doesn't unscrew for filling the pen with a syringe, and there's no inner cap to seal to keep the nib and feed from drying out if they're not used at least a little every day (which even TWSBI's Eco has).  

Of course, I cleaned one (with tap water), and inked it up with the Quink.  It is an incredibly smooth writer.  Very smooth.  It's also lighter than the TWSBI 580, but heavier (by a little bit) than the Eco. 

I've seen these pens offered on Amazon, with Prime shipping, for under $4/pen (remember: set of four pens).  The TWSBI Eco costs about double what the set of Wing Sung pens costs, and the 580 almost double that (it is double if you get the version with the aluminum piston knob and grip).   They are a spectacular value.  Great pens. 

Currently, I have three of the four inked: one with the Quink, one with a shade of bright green (kinda on the yellow end of green, rather than the blue end), and one with purple. 

I do like these.  I like them a lot.  (So does Odysseus, who's used the one I had loaded with blue ink this week at work). 

No, I really wouldn't recommend them for someone who just wants to try fountain pens for the first time--mostly because you have to fill from a bottle.  You cannot use a cartridge.  And bottle filling is messy.  But for someone who's used fountain pens long enough to get frustrated with the color choice of easily found cartridges (blue or black?  Or blue-black?)?  You betcha.  These are great pens for anyone with even a little experience using fountain pens.

*Again, gents, do NOT buy your other half any kind of appliance for any holiday or birthday, unless you know for a fact she won't kill you in your sleep for doing so.  I am NOT your typical wife.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

damn it

I missed the window to avoid a chronic fatigue flare.  And the pixie has been running a fever* since Sunday. 

So much for a peaceful week. 

On the bright side, the heater works wonderfully well.  My house is warmer than it has been since last fall, just before we started having to use the heat pump.  We'll be getting a propane fill-up within the week, and the lady at the company said that we've got enough propane to run the heater until they get to us. 

It's really pretty, too. 

Eventually, we'll put a rug down, add a table between the chairs I've put there, and put a lamp or something there for reading. 

*She's running a virus-type fever, not a bacterial infection-type fever.  Which means she's been home since Saturday, and is going to be home tomorrow, too. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Week two down--now for some recovery time

Monday, the imp had a doctor's appointment.  His dose needed to be adjusted up a little bit; the new 'scrip was picked up on Tuesday afternoon when it was filled.  He started it on Wednesday.  If this dose increase doesn't do the trick, we're going to have to find a pediatrician, and get a stimulant-based ADHD med prescribed. 

However, at this point, it seems to be working.  I wasn't sure if it would, even as recently as yesterday.  Today is, however, a lot better.  His school uses ClassDojo to track behavior and facilitate communication between teachers and parents (and it's a God-send for me with having to stay on top of his grades and support his teacher).  Today's scores look like the world suddenly snapped into focus for him.  I'm just hoping it stays that way.

Tuesday, an installer brought out a little 375 gallon propane tank.  I say little--it's a lot smaller than the tanks I grew up around, but is bigger than the adorable little round ones you see here and there, where a family only runs a water heater on propane because the family heats with wood.  He got it all hooked up, but left us with only a few gallons of propane--enough for the installer for the heater to use to test it. 

Wednesday, I had to stop at the school for a few minutes--the kids had eaten up all their lunch account money, and I had to add more.  The lady in the business office I deal with keeps threatening to take a picture of me as an example of a financially responsible parent...because I keep track of their account and come in before they're overdrawn on it.  She says I should be used to set an example for the other parents. 

This bothers me, on a lot of levels.  Why is it uncommon to keep track of accounts and make payments where necessary?

After that, I paid the last water bill for the old house, and came home.  Managed to get a couple of housework chores done. 

Yesterday, I did the week's grocery shopping.  Usually, I do that on Friday, but I had other commitments for this week (like a heater getting put in). I also made chicken soup,* pasta,** and egg muffins. 

This morning, I got the kids dropped off, got the last of the stuff cleared out of what was formerly dead space between the dining and family room areas, and collapsed.  Then had to get up almost immediately because the installer had arrived. 

So, at this point, I have been running myself on empty for the past two days, and it's caught up to me.  But everything that I needed to get done is done, and I don't have anything to worry about next week, except for a tiny bit of shopping for Christmas (three relatives we haven't gotten everything for, just yet, with the fourth to be shopped for even later, because frozen custard needs to be gotten closer to Christmas).

Now, I just have to wait on the propane tank to get filled.

 *Earlier in the week, I seasoned chicken leg quarters with rosemary garlic seasoning blend from Sam's Club, and baked them.  Yesterday, I took a leftover thigh, and put it in a pot of chicken bone broth (with the broth from the baked chicken leg quarters) with onion, celery, and carrots, and cooked it until the veggies were done, and the meat had come all the way off the bone.  It was delicious, and would have been better if I'd found some wild rice at Walmart like I'd been looking for. 

**Regular spaghetti with meat sauce for the wheat-eaters in the house, brown rice linguini with more leftover chicken and mushrooms added to Alfredo sauce for me.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Week 1 of the two weeks of hell down...

I've been busy nearly every day this week.  I've been sick, too. 

I can, however, definitively state that the Armour seems to be working slightly better than the Tirosint, which was infinitely better than the levothyroxine.  I'm betting I should have been on a T3 supplement as well as the standard T4 all along.  And if the endocrinologist wants to take me back off it and put me back on the synthetic, I'm going to request the T3 supplementation.  Don't ask me why I seem to need it--I don't know.  Unless the CFS is messing with the way I metabolize the T4 into T3, I shouldn't.  Most don't need the extra, but I seem to. 

No, I don't have more physical energy or stamina.  I'm guessing that's going to not be an option for me for a long time, if it ever comes back.

I am, however, able to sleep better,* and I have significantly less brain fog than usual.

Funny thing is that I'd planned on postponing that visit.  Because it wasn't until this time last week that we'd even been able to get a plumber to respond and schedule us.  I wasn't sure when we'd be able to get one in to do the work we needed, so I was planning to postpone my Tuesday appointment until after we'd gotten everything else done.  But Odysseus finally got through, and got scheduled, and told me to not reschedule because the plumber would be out on Monday for the estimate, and Friday for the work.  

So, yeah--not postponing my doctor's visit that I'd nearly decided to do was well worth the extra exhaustion this week. 

Plumber's here again, today.  He's running a line for the propane to come in for the heater that's going in next week.  The propane company will be out to set the tank on Tuesday of next week, and the heater itself will be installed on Friday.

And this is after my imp's doctor's visit, which also can't be postponed.  And next week is going to be rough, between that and the other things lined up.  However, after next week, the big things should be done until Christmas. 

But I'm going to be utterly wiped out by the end of it.  I'm damn near there, already.

I'm just thankful that, currently, the forecast has the winter storm hitting to our south.  We shouldn't be getting much more than a dusting of snow if anything, rather than freezing rain, sleet, and snow. 

*Thyroid issues also cause sleep problems.  Y'know how it feels when you're too tired to sleep?  Yeah, that.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


I really hate bumping a fingertip into something and having a fingernail snap.  It's been nearly three years, and they still can't get the thyroid dose right.  Maybe going to the natural thyroid replacement may work for me.  I certainly hope it does.

What's with all the whinging soy-boys, whining/crooning songs on rock radio?  I mean, belt those fuckers out, children!  Take a lesson from one of the women of rock: Lzzy Hale of Halestorm, for instance.  Pretty sure she has more balls than a lot of those soyboys who think whining lyrics is going to get them tail.  Pretty sure she gets more groupies, too. 

As far as I can tell, the local public school district has done ONE THING to try to prevent another hit-and-run-by-a-semi accident on our busy road.  No, they've not changed how the bus stopping for pickup happens.  They put up signs.  Signs that should have been there all along, alerting traffic that buses stop along this road.  One going each way.  There's no speed enforcement (and some of these assholes tear through here heading toward seventy or more), the bus doesn't actually pull into the trailer park, and only pulls into the duplex/quadplex/apartment parking lots across the road to turn around.  The children aren't considered because it's not the ones that matter to the city council and/or school board living out here.

We have a winter storm watch for this weekend.  We're either getting freezing rain/sleet/snow mix, or just snow.  I'd rather have snow, if I must put up with any of it.*

The Christmas tree goes up tonight. 

Imp is still using my pen for spelling practice.  The pencil I got for him to use at school "doesn't work."  In other words, he doesn't know how to use it properly, and can't figure out what went wrong with it so he can fix it.  Granted, he is only ten, but I do remember being a bit more competent with mechanical pencils at that age.  I'll try sending pencil grips and see if that might help a bit. 

If the mail was running normally today, I'd have had two packages on my front porch, rather than just one.  Because both were turned over to the local USPS for delivery late yesterday, but only one delivered today (probably because of the contract they have with Amazon Prime).  When that second one arrives, I have...three?  Yes, three people left to get Christmas presents for that won't be getting something perishable. 

Not that I blame the shippers.  But I don't recall the USPS taking an unscheduled day off for Regan's funeral. 

No, I'm not in the best of moods today.  But some of these things have been building, and the rest...just...dropped.  All at once. 

*I'd rather not have to deal with winter precip yet at all.  But that's not something I have a choice about.

Monday, December 3, 2018


So, my imp has been having a hard time at school.  Impulse control is shot, and he's still having a hard time with writing (even though the spelling issue has been dealt with--two copies of his spelling list every day from Saturday through Thursday did the trick).  Until recently.  I found something that has helped, at least a little. 

Last week, he begged to use one of my pens he hadn't used before: my TWSBI Eco.  It's got one of the fattest grip sections of any of my writing utensils.  It's actually a little bit bigger than a Sharpie marker. 

And...his handwriting improved.  MARKEDLY improved. 

That pen has been living on my nightstand for more than a year.  Odysseus got it for me for my birthday two years ago (limited edition color of lime green, so it's hard to lose), and it's a comfy pen to write with.  However, since it's a piston fill pen (and a relatively inexpensive one), it does tend to spit up when dropped or jostled a lot.  So, since I love it, and won't retire it, it's been my journalling pen for a good long time.  I had it inked with Noodler's X-Feather, since my journal has pretty bad paper. 

I grabbed it last Tuesday to stick in my pen case, just in case the title company wanted black ink for the paperwork (they wanted blue).  It was still out when it was time for the imp to do his spelling copy.  And he asked to use it. 
It made a difference.  A big difference.  His handwriting is neater, more legible, and smaller than usual when using that pen. 

I considered that it might be just using a new pen, but no.  Repeated experimentation confirmed results. 

He said it was just easier to use the fatter pen, and he'd use the boring black ink if he had to, but he wanted to use that pen.  And could I get one for him, please?

It does cost more than I am willing to spend on him for a pen, at this point: a TWSBI Eco costs around $28-$30, depending on where you order from (and shipping costs may or may not figure into that, depending on where you order from).  I know there are knock-offs, but I'm not certain of the quality or size comparisons between those and my pen.  I am, however, willing to keep that one on my desk for him to use for his spelling copy, since he loves my fountain pens. 

As for pencils...those are still problematic, still a little skinny.  I went to Walmart this morning, and got a pack of grips, and a pack of mechanical pencils (that includes two Bic Velocity pencils--really fat ones).  We'll see if the fatter pencils or pencil grips help with his neatness and control.