rowyn: (Default)
 I played a lot of Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates this weekend, and didn't do a whole lot else. Y!PP released a new Steam-only ocean with some metagame changes, but it's mostly the same PP I knew and loved and may be hooked on again. I did cave and buy the DLC that keeps you from being nickle-and-dimed for various things. Although I may wind up nickle-and-dimed for Poker, but I dunno. Poker was a good way for me to make in-game currency many years ago, but (a) poker is boring and (b) they took away the high-stakes table and it's hard to make enough profit at the lower ones to justify the time and (c) you only really need in-game currency for the meta game and looks, neither of which I care about much. (To be honest, I care about dressing up my avatar more than I care about the metagame.)
 
Lut pointed out  that I was very successful In Y!PP at brutal PvP pillaging, but it was all at the poker table, not on the seas. This is ... very apt. It's not that I am particularly good at poker, it's more that most Y!PP players don't really understand how the odds work in Hold 'Em, and I have a high risk tolerance.
 
On Saturday, Lut and I went to Costco so we could try all the samples and because Lut hasn't gone to Costco in several years. (I got a Costco membership again because I have a car, but we cancelled the old one ages ago.) This was Lut's first shopping expedition in four months or so. He did pretty well! But I took him straight home after we left the store.
 
On Sunday, I spent some time on the phone, talking to my parents and to friends. John called, and it was good to hear from him again. I also wrote a thousand words of new material for book two of my duology, to expand one of the denouement scenes that I felt was kind of phoned-in. I got some more Puzzle Pirates in, too. Book Two is basically done at this point. Alinsa hasn't really started Book One layout, though, so there's no big rush to kick Book Two out the door. I will read my expanded scene one more time before I pronounce it done. Probably not gonna do anything else with it, though.
 
Feels weird to finish the second book so easily, when I struggled so long with editing the first. But the second book is a lot shorter, so there was (a) less to edit and (b) no pressure to find words to cut wherever I could.
 
Monday was All The Errands. I am officially a Reduced Hours employee at the bank, meaning I work 30-35 hours a week, instead of 36-40. My current schedule is Tue-Fri, 8 hours a day, with Mondays off because Lut has chemo then.
 
So my Monday was:
 
8:00: Call Disability folks, because they sent a letter asking us to and this is the only time Lut and I are both available at the hours specified. Leave message.
8:10: Call Disability again after realizing they stapled an unrelated person's notice to Lut's. Leave another message.  
9:30: leave house with Lut
9:40: stop at McDonald's for Lut's breakfast
10: Wait with Lut at cancer treatment center
10:15: Watch Lut get blood drawn
10:30: Go back with Lut to talk to nurse
11:00: Talk to oncologist with Lut. White blood cell count is high enough that he can get chemo, yay!
11:25: Leav Lut to get actual chemo. Go to DMV to get form for handicap placard for car.
11:50 Hang out at Panera with my Surface, and edit The Sun Etherium.
12:45: Go back to cancer center.
12:55: Drop off handicap placard form for doctor to sign. Wait for Lut to finish treatment.
1:15: Stop by Walmart to get frozen veggies for me and baby asprin for Lut, because his next-step chemo treatment has a side effect of blood clots, so they want him to take a blood thinner.  
1:30: Stop for frozen custard.
1:40: Look in vain for a place that will sell me a replacement recycling bin because the  one we currently have is disintegrating.
2:10: Get home, chat with Lut about various things, put away groceries.  
3:00 sit down at computer.
3:15: doctor's office calls that DMV form is ready.
3:20: Get DMV form, go back to DMV, get in wrong line, get in right line, get called up. "Er ... Sorry, we can't accept the form without the disabled person being present, unless you're their spouse. But! Here's a form he can sign and then we don't need him."  
4:15 Get home. Fill out form, have Lut sign, and put it in mail, since it doesn't need to be done in person at all.
4:30-10; strip bed, do five loads of laundry, make bed, put away clean clothes. Also make dinner in there somewhere.
 
Doing laundry didn't take all of those last five and a half hours, but it definitely took a chunk out of them.
 
Tuesday, I got home to find yet more paperwork, including a ginormous form that Lut and I already filled out a month ago. The other form was from a law firm for my insurer, who wanted to sue someone so my insurer could get out of paying Lut's hospital bills. I wrote "none" on it a lot. SORRY INSURANCE COMPANY BUT YOU CAN'T SUE CANCER. I also swore disproportionately, because I am just really tired of dealing with bureaucracy plus cancer. Guys, I got to the end of my rope six weeks ago and it's just flailing and cursing now.
 
I started to fill out the ginormous form again with Lut, and quit after thirty minutes because guh. I figured I could finish it Wednesday night. I also got a request for a big packet of stuff to send for a book thing next month and it's like a ten day deadline and ahhhhhhh.
 
Oh, and I checked Lut's voice mail and he had a message from his neurologist's office that he needed a follow-up. Which I'd been wondering about. 
 
Wednesday morning, I called Disability again, and this time they answered! And didn't even tell me "we need to talk to Lut not you"!
 
Me: Hi, you sent a letter that we needed to call?
Social Worker: Oh, yes, we haven't gotten any of the forms back from you yet.
Me: ... I sent in everything, what are you missing?
SW: *pause* Oh, so you did.
Me: ... so do you still need us to fill out this ginormous form you mailed two days after the other letter?
SW: No, we got that. We just need stuff from the cancer center and the rehab place. I'll call them. Thanks!
Me: ... you're welcome? 
 
So I am not super-reassured but I'll go with it, I guess?
 
So I can just worry about assembling stuff for the book thing, which is cool, I promise, and I will tell you all more about it when I know more myself.
 
I also called neurologist's office:
 
Them: "we can see him this afternoon!"
Me: "... can I have a little more notice than that?"
Them:"Howabout Friday afternoon?"
Me: "Okay."
 
So I got that approved by my boss and told Lut.
 
Things are happening and I am getting stuff done on many fronts, almost as if I were a real adult and not an obvious imposter.
 
I had, briefly, lost my "fake adult" feeling while commuting twice daily to the hospital, but apparently it grows back. My brain keeps reminding me of all the things I haven't gotten done yet and I want to tell it JUST LET ME HAVE THIS OKAY?
 
Okay.

LUT IS HOME

Sep. 7th, 2017 08:30 pm
rowyn: (Default)
We are both extremely happy. I was skipping around in the hallways at the nursing facility as I gathered his stuff to get it into the car.

We have a week's worth of his general medications, but only a couple of days of pain meds. I meant to call his new primary care physician about that but forgot. Dangit. Hopefully I can get it taken care of tomorrow.

I got him home a little after ten. His physical therapists had told me that he could in fact get in and out of our current bed, so I hadn't replaced the bed yet. He confirmed this by getting up and down a few times. Then we spent some time cuddling because it has been SO LONG since we got any proper cuddling. ♥

Afterwards, I left him to rest while I went to the nearest Microsoft Store, which is a half-hour away. The peripherals for the Surface 3 arrived on Tuesday. I am happy with the case and keyboard, but the stylus I got is terrible. I decided I wanted to test some in person, rather than ordering and returning one after another from Amazon. I couldn't find anywhere close that had floor models of styluses: hence, pilgrimage to MS Store. They only had one stylus, which was of course super-fancy and over three times the cost of the one I'd gotten from Amazon. On the other hand, I didn't actively hate the feel of it against the screen. Like the tactile sense of using plastic stylus on glass screen was extremely unpleasant. The MS pen has a softer nib and it feels much nicer. So I went ahead and bought it. At the store! Which I would have done even if it had been cheaper at Amazon, because I am not the sort of monster who will test things in a store so I can buy them only. But this was a weird case where it was cheaper in person. Amazon, for some reason, is charging $14 more for it than the retail price.

I still have to return the other stylus to Amazon, and a pair of loafers that I ordered that doesn't fit Lut.

*goes to Amazon and gets the electronic part of the return taken care of now*

I am spending so much more money at Amazon lately, but Amazon Prime is so nice. -_- On balance, Amazon Prime makes it actually easier to return items than things bought in person. I do have to print the label, which is annoying, but even with boxes that have to be dropped off and can't just be shoved in a mailbox, the dropoff locations for USPS and UPS are closer than most stores. And I don't have to wait at a customer service counter. OTOH, I am much more likely to buy the wrong thing online where I can't try it than I am in person, so there's that.

Anyway, since I was relatively close to the nice Indian place on the other side of town, I went there for lunch. Why is naan so good. I don't even know. It's a buffet, and I had skipped breakfast because I was figuring on going there today. I have now also skipped dinner because I am still so full. SO FULL. The buffet includes bottomless mango lassi and also bottomless chai because OF COURSE IT DOES.

I saw them packing a to-go order. I am getting food to-go next time because buffet is such a bad idea for me.

They sent me home with a cup of chai and the remaining naan.

After that, I stopped by a Chinese place to get to-go for Lut/ Lut got up to eat, then went back to bed. He is still spending most of his time asleep or resting, but when he's awake he is alert and lucid. So this is far from optimal but oh man, it has been SO MUCH worse. And it is just so nice to have him be home and me be home and we can be at home and comfortable together. We keep saying it to each other. "You're home!" "I'm home!" We are so happy, y'all.

I took a nap in the afternoon because SO FULL. Also, this is the first time since Lut went to the hospital on June 30 that I have been home in the afternoon to nap. Ahhh, home. z_z

Later, I put away Lut's stuff that we brought home from the nursing facility, because I am temporarily possessed by the Spirit of Adulthood and don't want to leave things sitting around in bags for months like I normally do. My house is presently kind of almost tidy? I mean not really but SORT OF? And I want to keep it that way.

And cuddled Lut some more.

Because Lut is home.

\o/
rowyn: (content)
Lut is coming home!

It doesn't feel real.

They told me on Tuesday that he should be discharged either today or tomorrow, which meant I had to cancel my plans to go to ProgPower. Which we'd always known I might have to cancel, but I still feel bad for not being able to go with Alinsa to it. Finding out the day before I was supposed to fly was annoying. But the tickets are on Southwest, so we canceled them and I get a credit I can use for another Southwest flight. So the money isn't wasted, at least. I could even use it for next year's ProgPower.

Lut was shocked when I told him the news last night. He was almost worried at first, but by today, he was excited and pleased. One of the staff even commented on it: "You must be happy about going home. I don't think I've ever seen you smile before." We had a good day today: after he did physical therapy and occupational therapy, we went out for lunch to 54th Street and Grill and ordered ridiculously too much food. I dropped off leftovers at the house and then took him back to the nursing facility, where they let us know he'd be discharged tomorrow. \o/

Lut rested for a few hours, and then around dinner time he talked about shaving his head when we got home. I suggested we go to Great Clips instead, since it'd be pretty cheap and much faster for a pro to do it. "Okay," he said. "Let's go now!"

It turned out there was a Great Clips less than a mile away, so we zwooped there, and Lut chatted with the hairdresser about his day and how he wanted his beard trimmed and suchlike, while I watched and played with my new Surface 3. Then we went to Backyard Burger (also close) for a snack. Because we were both still full from lunch but Lut wanted to get a cobbler anyway. I got a milkshake.

Then back to the facility so Lut could rest more. He still spent most of today resting or asleep, but he was more alert, talkative and playful when he was awake, much more like his normal self.

I've done some more cleaning since Sunday. The house isn't exactly clean, but I got most of the clutter that was on the floor packed away. The cat area and the kitchen have been mopped, and the kitchen is generally clean. The bathroom is mostly clean. And I vacuumed all the carpets. I still want to clean the bathroom floor and declutter the flat surfaces in the living room, but this is pretty good progress.

LawnWoman and Friends have done an amazing job on the yard. Like you can see the yard again. They ended up ripping out most of the vines and scrubby trees that grew along the fence line, and flattening all the weedy bushes that were choking the front walk, and in general it no longer looks like my yard is about to eat my house at any moment. Her crew has been working since Sunday, with the bulk of the work done on Monday and Tuesday. They have done an incredible amount of work, like way more than I ever do, but now the yard will be much easier to maintain. Anyway, definitely feel like I'm getting my money's worth. Also so glad that they are doing the outside so that I had time to do the inside. The house will not be in perfect shape when he gets home tomorrow, but it looks considerably better than when I took him to the hospital back in June.

\o/

And I still have 6 more days off before I go back to work! So I might manage the remaining decluttering. Or do something else constructive. It's been a good staycation so far.

And Lut is coming home!
rowyn: (Default)
Saturday Morning:

It's Saturday! No word from LawnWoman yet, which to be honest is the story of my life at this point. I am not worried about it. It will get done by someone else or I will do it myself at some point in the next 11 days.

But since I'm ostensibly not doing it now, I am using the time for something I can't hire someone else to do: decluttering and organizing my house. I also plan to clean, which I could hire someone else to do, but honestly the work I care about is decluttering and organizing and that's the hard part. Once I've done that, I might as well do the comparatively easy vacuuming and mopping and stuff. I started last night, by putting away some of the stuff that got moved when the ceiling collapsed last summer (yes, over a year ago) and never got put back. In the process, I found Lut's old phone. \o_ Lut hates his new phone, so I may see if I can get T-Mobile to give me an adapter for the new phone SIM card so I can fit it in his old phone.

Today, when Lut went back to bed after breakfast, I drove back home and started cleaning out his closet. The problem we have right now is that our stuff has overflowed all of our storage places for stuff, so I can't put away the stuff that's clogging up my rooms without first cleaning out drawers and suchlike. I also almost certainly need to replace my bed, as it's too tall for Lut to get into and out of comfortably. This sucks on multiple levels. First, my bed is a California king waterbed frame with a foam mattress stuffed into it. It's on a drawer pedestal and has a ginormous headboard for EVEN MOAR storage space. Getting a shorter bed means losing dozens of cubic feet of storage space. And, see aforementioned "I do not have enough storage space NOW." I need to get rid of stuff. Plus I need to figure out how to get rid of the bed, because just getting it disassembled and out the door is a two-man job, and it's not like trash collection is going to take it. Probably I should try freecycle or Craigslist or something. -_-

Anyway, Lut's closet held mostly electronics and empty boxes. Oh, he has clothes in there too, but it's a huge closet (like eight feet long and maybe three feet deep) and all of the clothes he actually wears are in a dresser.

The electronics were:
  • Keyboards
  • Mice and trackballs
  • Gaming controllers he hasn't used in years (some of which he never used much: he's gotten at least three different things that amount to "keyboard for one-handed use" and he's never used any of them for more than a few months.)
  • Approximately two hundred cables, mostly for purposes I can't identify. Some were old power cables
  • Surge protector strips
  • A battery backup
  • A CRT monitor
  • A defunct printer
  • Miscellaneous old computer parts: harddrives, fans, a motherboard, a CD ROM or DVD drive, not sure which
Most of the small stuff I packed back into two boxes and returned to the closet. It would make sense to throw it out, or at least to throw out 95% of it. Keeping spare network cables and power cords: fine. Keeping cords for peripherals we don't own and that don't fit to any computers we do: why. But I felt kind of bad about throwing away Lut's stuff and this doesn't take up a lot of space.

I did throw out all the empty boxes, though. Seriously, he just kept boxes for every electronics thing we ever got. There were three monitor boxes in his closet and a dozen or so for different internal computer parts.

The CRT monitor, though, I really did not want to keep. It is huge and it doesn't pack well: I can't put things on top of it and it's so heavy I don't want it on top of boxes. Moreover, it was one of THREE CRT monitors that we haven't used in 4+ years. Yes, I suspect it still works. I am also pretty sure we're never plugging it in again. Lut and I both have dual monitor set ups. We have a spare already on the desktop if anything happens to one of them.

Anyway, Lut has always been like "why shouldn't we keep the spare old monitors" and I've always been like "because they take up SO MUCH SPACE" and he's not here to argue with me so I decided to get rid of them.

Of course, you can't just put monitors on the curb for the garbage collectors to take. But I have a car now! I used Google to find an electronics center that was open and called them to verify that I could in fact show up and make my old electronics their problem now. They charged 35 cents a pound for TVs & monitors, and 20 cents a pound for scanners & printers. Everything else is free to drop off. (You can even take a tax deduction for other stuff, the place is a nonprofit).

So I loaded up my car with ALL THE WORTHLESS ELECTRONICS. My two scanners that I haven't had drivers for in 7 years (cry). The printer. The TV set that has been unused in the basement since we moved in 14 years ago. Two CRT monitors. One dead flat screen monitor. A broken lamp and two broken fans. An empty computer case. I almost took my two dead weed whackers, but I didn't want to spend the time to (a) dig them out of my garage, which is chock-full of a friend's stuff and (b) verify that I didn't confuse the dead weed whackers with the one that works.

I also tried to give them the pile of dead batteries from the basement, but alas, they don't take batteries.

Technically, this is not actually all of the junk electronics in my house. We still have three old desktop computers and one CRT monitor, for instance. We still have a TV set we haven't used since 2004 and a VCR we haven't used in even longer. Probably some other stuff, too. But it made a substantial dent in the pile.

My strangest find in the closet was Lut's duffel bag. It was almost empty, except for the following: one messenger bag, a paperback book, a cardigan, a box of tissues, and a mostly-empty box of tea bags, and a bunch of instant oatmeal packets. One of the packets had come open and spilled oatmeal all over the bag.

This utterly mystified me at first: why would anyone put a bunch of oatmeal packets in a duffel bag and then put the whole thing in an office closet?

But I figured it out! This must be the bag Lut packed when he left his last job. He would've kept the tea and oatmeal at his desk at work, for drinks and breakfast if he ran late. Then he never got around to unpacking it when he brought it home, and one of us got sick of it being in the way in the living room and stuffed it in the closet.

Saturday Night:

After getting rid of the electronics (141 pounds of stuff I was charged for, and probably another 60 of stuff that was free) I went back to see Lut for lunch, and hung out at the nursing facility until after supper. Lut mostly sleeps or rests in between meals; he has no energy. :| He was able to stay awake for an episode of Defenders, so that was nice. Apart from that, I got some proofreading in. After dinner, I went home. I didn't really want to clean any more, but I decided to take care of the little remaining clutter on the floor of the front hall, which consisted of a desktop bookcase and its contents. It all needed to be dusted, but I got it cleaned up and stowed back on top of the table we use as a computer desk.


Oh, and I did four loads of laundry: one of my clothes and Lut's, and three for bedding. And also the duffel bag I found in Lut's closet, to get rid of the oatmeal dust I couldn't pour out. My bed is clean! \o/ 

While I was cleaning, I got a text from LawnWoman that she wasn't going to be able to make it today but she would be out tomorrow THIS TIME FOR SURE. XD

I am honestly much less pissy about LawnWoman because even though the other services also promised things they didn't deliver AT LEAST SHE TALKS TO ME. I will give so much slack to people who communicate with me via text or email, y'all. SO MUCH.

There will come a point where I will have to tell her I can't keep waiting, obv., but I can probably let that slide until I finish housecleaning. -_-

On Wednesday night, I'd ordered a Surface 3, for a few reasons:
  • I like having a laptop of my own, but I'd also like Lut to have a laptop, especially if I go to ProgPower. He's rarely alert and competent enough to use one, but he'd probably be able to at some point if I'm away for four straight days.
  • I'd like to have a drawing tablet
  • The Surface will be compatible with the art software I already own
  • Micah used a Surface 3 for a year or so and said it worked pretty well as a drawing device
  • Since the Surface 3 is a couple of years old now, it's pretty cheap.

I have Amazon Prime, but I paid for shipping because Amazon Prime would get it to me on 9/5 and $14 would get it to me on 9/1. I figured this way I'd have time to see how adequate it was as a laptop replacement. Bear in mind that my present laptop is also two or three years old, so I don't think I need the latest and greatest. My main concern is that I didn't like the Surface keyboard the one time I used one, several years ago. But that was years ago.

Along with the Surface 3, I ordered a case, a keyboard, and a stylus. On Thursday, Amazon told me that the case, keyboard, and stylus had shipped and would arrive on Friday.

...

Yeah, those are not gonna be a whole lot of use without the tablet.

Friday morning, Amazon told me they'd shipped the Surface 3 and it would arrive on 9/2. Okay, that's a little disappointing but not terrible.

Friday night, the peripherals still hadn't arrived. Well, I didn't need them before the tablet got here anyway.

When I got home Saturday night, I had a box from Amazon!

Just one box. It was a big box?

It had Surface 3! And also the shoes I'd ordered for Lut, which weren't supposed to get here until Tuesday. Well. Okay?

So I plugged in the Surface 3, which I am pleased to see uses a mini-USB cable just like my phone. I spent an hour or so getting it set up and updated and loading ArtRage and Clip Studio on it. Neither ArtRage nor Clip Studio works without a stylus. ArtRage almost works? I can kind of fingerpaint, but it treats "picking up finger and putting it back down elsewhere" as "you want to draw a straight line between those two points right?" Not so much. Clip Studio doesn't even try: it treats finger movements as "you want to drag the position of the canvas around" regardless of what tool I have selected.

So the only thing I've done with it so far is use it for reading in bed, instead of reading with my phone. It works pretty well as a proofreading device. I wouldn't want to type on its virtual keyboard, but I can peck out corrections as necessary, and unlike with my phone, it doesn't have any trouble with Google Docs.

My messenger bag has a little padded pocket which, it turns out, is a tablet pocket. The Surface fits it exactly. I am pretty sure once I get the case & keyboard, it won't fit. But if I keep the Surface to use as a laptop, I'll use a smaller bag and stop carrying the laptop in its messenger bag. Conveniently, I came across not one but THREE small messenger bags in Lut's closet. I suspect one of them will work very nicely for the Surface.

I still haven't addressed my "I need a new phone" issue. I am leaning more towards getting an older phone now, though. A refurb Galaxy S7 is less than half what a Galaxy S8 costs, for example, and it's still going to be a hundred times more powerful than my Galaxy S-We-Didn't-Need-Numbers-Yet.

Sunday Morning:

This morning I really didn't feel like cleaning any more, so I decided to go to Panera, where mostly I'm just writing about what I did yesterday. I'm also In a bit, I will head off to the nursing facility to see Lut. I want to give my Surface some more time to charge; I thought I had it charging while I typed this but whoops. It'd come unplugged from the wall.

Also, maybe I can get enough words written to finish one of the boss mobs I need in 4thewords.

Anyway, this is my vacation so far. I have played some Tricky Towers in the evening for fun. Tricky Towers has a pretty small playerbase so its matchmaking only works in the evening, which has the side benefit of meaning I can't fritter away my mornings on it.

But yeah, it's mostly decluttering, cleaning, visiting Lut, and proofreading. Yes, this is my idea of a vacation, and yes, I am very glad to be doing it instead of going to work. Also: yes, I am an adult.

There was a time when I questioned whether or not I really was grown-up, but nope. I am. I am doing all the adulting. SO MUCH ADULTING. Weeks and weeks of adulting. I used to think that I would be really bad at caretaking, if I ever had to take care of my parents when they got older. It's kind of nice to know that I am okay at it instead. Not perfect. But okay.
rowyn: (Default)
Thursday: Number of people who are supposed to come look at my yard and give me a quote: 2.
Number of people who actually come: 0.
Number of contacts I get: also 0.

I'm not even mad any more. Whatever. I will start on my own yard tomorrow night and do a few hours a day until it's done. I'm on vacation next week anyway, and even if I go to ProgPower that's only Wed-Sun that I'll be gone, at most.

Friday morning: one of the people who was supposed to come Thursday contacts me and says she had a friend pass away Thursday, but she'll come this afternoon. Well, that's a pretty good excuse. Okay.
Friday 1PM: Another text: "almost done with this property, will head towards yours soon.
Friday 6:15PM: I haven't heard from her since 1PM. I text to ask if she's been by, then drive home. Don't hear from her on the drive home. Welp. I feed the cat, and go out to do yardwork. I move out some of the giant fallen branches off the lawn, then figure I should see if the lawn tractor will start. It starts! I still am not sure how to make it mow, but hey, maybe this will work. I get the loppers and go out to clear the front porch of overgrowth so I can see if UPS delivered anything to my front porch.
While I am there, at about 7PM, LawnWoman appears! She made it! She is apologetic about the many delays. I show her around my massively overgrown lawn. She takes pictures. She gives me a quote. It is a lot, but it is still less than it would've cost to have a lawn service for the last three months, so eh, okay. I hire her.

She is supposed to come tomorrow with a crew. She may finish tomorrow, or might finish Sunday, depending how things go. Given how things have gone so far, I am not super convinced I will get a trimmed and mowed yard by Monday, but we'll see! Maybe.
rowyn: (Default)
So the lawn service I called on Friday night, Lawn Love Lawn Care, showed up on Monday night. The guy called me at 4:50 to tell me he'd be at the property in 10 minutes. I called him back at 5:30 (I do not get home until 7ish, generally) to ask what the cost would be. He couldn't give me a quote, he said. He talked to the office and they would call me later with a quote.

At 6:30, the office left an automated voicemail (the phone did not ring) saying that they'd emailed me a quote. They had not emailed me a quote. At 7PM, I called the office to ask what was going on. "Uh, we can't give you a quote yet, we have to transfer you to another service with different equipment, we'll get back to you ... later."

"Later when?"

"Well, you're scheduled for Wednesday?"

"..."

It's now Wednesday night and guess who has never gotten back to me. I don't know why "no" is so hard for businesses and "string you along until you are pissed off and furious and determined to badmouth them publicly" is so easy, but that's where we are. Lawn Love Lawn Care: NOT RECOMMENDED. Like, seriously, if you're not gonna do it just freaking SAY NO. Don't tell me you sent me a quote when you didn't. Don't tell me you'll get back to me when you won't. SAY NO. It's not THAT HARD.

Anyway, I give up. I will figure out how the riding lawn mower works and spend however long it takes getting the yard under control again and just see hardly anything of Lut and generally kill myself, because it's easier than wasting an unknown number of weeks looking for the mythical person who is willing to take my money and do it. Because hey, it's Wednesday, and even if I call someone tonight the earliest I will get a "we've looked at your property and will maybe contact you someday, who knows, about how much we would charge to do it on some other day but definitely not any time soon" is next Monday.

x_x

UPDATE:

In a triumph of hope over experience, I decided to call one more service, mostly because I am too upset to relax and I know I'm not going to have time to dent the horror that is my yard until the weekend anyway. Third service says they will come tomorrow and give me a quote.

And Lawn Love just texted me that they were "running late and would be there in the morning" which ... makes no sense? They still haven't told me what they'll charge, why do they need to send someone out AGAIN without giving me a quote? o_O

UPDATE 2:
So now Lawn Love is like "I'm a different person and I need to see it myself to give me a quote" so I guess they're a kind of crappy collective that doesn't trust each other enough to share pricing? Supposedly this one will actually give me a quote. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
rowyn: (sledgehammer)
So on Monday, I texted the lawn guy my coworkers hired, and he said he'd mow my lawn on Tuesday.

Tuesday, he texted after I got home (at 7PMish): "Too wet to mow today, I'll come tomorrow." Which was fair: my grass is like two feet tall and it had been raining, and mowing tall wet grass is pretty awful.

Wednesday: I got home at 7PM again, and the lawn wasn't mowed. Huh.

Thursday morning: T asked if Lawn Guy had texted me. "He texted me and said he couldn't get through the gate. And also that it looked like it hadn't been mowed in a year. I told him he should text you," she said.

"It's been two months, and yes two months of grass is horribly overgrown. You can get in through a gap on the south side of the lot." I told her. "I don't think he's going to do it."

"He'd better do it! We already paid him!"

"... Maybe you'd better get your money back," I said. But I texted Lawn Guy to explain about the entrance.

Lawn Guy: "All right, I'll mow it tomorrow."

Me: Okay then.

Friday, I get home at 6:30PM. My lawn is still untouched. Jerkface Lawn Guy still hasn't said boo to me. I am really angry about this. Like, okay, I get that you somehow run a mowing business without knowing how much work is involved with two months of neglected lawn and you didn't charge them enough, and you're not happy. But if that is the problem, WHY DID YOU TELL ME AFTER YOU SAW THE PROPERTY THAT YOU WOULD DO IT? Why didn't you just say "it's too much, I can't do it"? I went online and hired the first service I found that was still answering the phone at 7PM. They had the decency to tell me that they couldn't give me a final figure until they saw the property (after I explained it was overgrown: they gave me a quote based on the Google Maps size of the lot.) They're not going to come until Monday, so I still have a weekend of wondering if their operation will also prove to be "jerk around potential customers for X days until they give up on you". x_x

Paying people to do things for you is hard. I guess I could devote the entire weekend to dealing with my own lawn. Maybe if the new guys also turn out to be jerks, I will call in sick on Tuesday and do nothing but yard work. The problem is that not only does the lawn need to be mowed, but the only working lawn mower I have is the riding one and I am super-nervous about trying to use it. It's weird and finicky and sometimes gets stuck in pot holes in my lawn. Also, there are bushes and stuff that need to be hacked back before they eat my house, and also that prevent mowing because they partially cover the lawn (not enough to stop the plants from growing, just enough to keep a human from getting to them). My yard is just really terrible. I regret everything.

It's Saturday morning now and I was kind of thinking of waiting to see if Jerkface Lawn Guy would ever contact me, but he hasn't. So I texted him to tell him to give my friends their money back. Anyone wanna bet that after the new service deals with it, Jerkface tries to claim that he mowed and won't give a refund?
rowyn: (content)
People at work have said this a bunch of times, and of course I can't usually think of anything people can help with. But on Monday, one of my co-workers said it and I remembered a problem I meant to ask at work about. "Do you know any lawn services? I need to hire someone to take care of my yard."

"I don't, but T might? I know we have some customers who run services. I'll ask T."

T: "I use a service! I went to high school with him, he mows lawns for everyone I know. I texted him, here's his number. You can just text to ask him if he's free."

So I texted him, and he texted back an hour later with "sure, I'll mow it tomorrow, what's the address?" Okay, this is a little weird that he didn't say the price, but maybe he figures he'll quote one when he sees the property. I texted him my address.

A little later, F says "Hi, did you get any good pictures of the eclipse?"

"No, bbut I got some bad ones. Did you want to see?" I looked up to see my cubicle surrounded by beaming, conspiring co-workers. "Hi?"

"Hiiiiiii," they chorused back.

T: "So we all chipped in and we're gonna pay for the lawn service this time. It'll be a bit more than usual because it's been a while but don't worry, we're gonna cover it."

Awwww. ♥ All I really wanted was to be able to pay someone so I didn't have to worry about my yard any more, but that was extra sweet.

On a related note, I have a different "I just need someone else to research this because I am too brain-fried to do it" problem.

As I've noted before, I use a Samsung Galaxy S, a seven-year old model, because it has a horizontal physical keyboard and new phones do not. My Samsung's backspace key is dying, and I am facing the fact that getting another copy of seven-year-old phone is not a great plan. The software I've been using all along keeps upgrading itself and no longer runs well on my antique phone.

I can't get a new model of a phone with a horizontal physical keyboard built-in. But several people pointed out last time I mentioned this that you can get bluetooth thumbboards, some of which are set up so they'll clip to the phone or have a place for the phone to stand or something.

So: if anyone wishes to research this for me, I want to buy:

* A recent model of Android phone (released in the last six months or so, preferably)
* a horizontal thumbboard (ie, a physical keyboard of approximately the same size as the phone, operated by thumb) that will attach to said phone, so that I can use the thumbboard and see the screen easily while standing/walking/waiting in line/etc. So either phone or thumbboard needs to have a way to attach to the other so that I can hold and see both comfortably while using the thumbboard. I've tried vertical thumbboards and they are too narrow for me; I need one at least 4" wide.
* Preferably a five-row thumboard (ie, numbers on their own row)
* I am not fussy about phone size. Good battery life is a plus, but I am resigned to carrying a spare USB battery so not a big deal.
* Lots of memory also a plus. I would love a phone that could edit large Google Docs files, though I do not know if such a thing exists.

I do not need to be gifted this, I just don't have the brainpower to research which of these products work well together. o_o;;;

Thank you!

*

In other news, Lut has been noticeably more like himself on three of my last four visits. I hate to get my hopes up, and he is still nothing like baseline. But it's a positive direction and man I am a lot more kindly disposed to the skilled nursing facility. Whether they have any part in it or not. Please keep praying.

Unrelated, I decided to give myself a tiny daily writing quota just so I could feel good about beating it. So I set it at 200 words, which isn't enough to finish a book in a year, even. But it's tiny enough that I can do it in ten minutes instead of checking Twitter. I hit it today. And I do feel good about myself. Woo, stupidly small number of words! \o/

Editing proceeds apace. I am about 5/6ths through the penultimate pass. The last quarter of the book is my favorite part, so probably will finish this pass this month. The last pass is just "look for editing artifacts" so hopefully won't take as long. We'll see.
rowyn: (Default)
I've been a car owner for 15 days now. My car's name is Ardent Purr the Adoracar, because decision is for other areas of my life. As of the 14 day mark, I'd driven her about 500 miles. This seems like a ridiculously high number. I checked and it's below average for an American driver. Americans are crazy about driving.

Lut was supposed to be moved to a rehab facility today, but I just called the hospital and he hasn't been moved yet. Given that it's 4:30 now, I don't think it's happening now. Assuming it happens eventually, my miles-per-day will go down, because the new facility is a little closer. It's about the same time to get to, though, because it's all street driving instead of a highway option. If he does well in rehab and can come home, my average driving will go down a lot more. Please pray for us, things are not looking great. v_v

I am tired all the time now, even when I get a full eight hours of sleep. People keep saying "don't forget to take care of yourself" and I wish I could. I'm eating as much and as well as I did before Lut went to the hospital. The main thing I gave up was exercise. I do not have time to commute 90 minutes a day and work full time and see Lut for a few hours each day and still exercise.

I am still editing. I've hacked about 12,000 words out of the manuscript now. I am startled by how much of that is just "saying the same basic thing more concisely". I still need to add a few things, but I'm just changing stuff as I get to it at this point.

I've written a little fiction, but only a little. I miss the #PollRPG -- I was thinking about it when I did the first title poll this week -- but I am not sure what to do with that. Writing a story where people shape the results as I go means I can't build a buffer or plan out the story that much, and "write when I feel like it" doesn't work that well if I want an audience to follow it at the same pace. Editing and writing at my own pace works okay with the cancer lifestyle. Not so much on a schedule. :| Maybe I will do a poll about it at some point.
rowyn: (smile)
I have acquired New Car. Many thanks to everyone who offered car-buying advice!

It is a 2017 Toyota Corolla LE, chosen for its combination of safety features, size (Lut does not fit well in a subcompact, which is what I'd've bought otherwise), reliability, and price. Telnar offered to walk me through the process of car research via Consumer Reports. I made sad pitiful noises at him, and asked if I could just turn the puzzle upside down and see what the answer was instead. So he did the research and gave me a few options and the reasoning behind them.

After settling on a car, I did go through Consumer Reports myself. Dealing with dealerships online was surprisingly painless. There are three Toyota dealerships in my area.

Dealership # 1: "We have two Toyota Corollas in stock. Call us to find out about pricing."
Dealership #2: "We have three Toyota Corollas in stock. We want over $1,000 more for them than Consumer Reports, which we know you were just looking at, thinks they're worth."
Adams Toyota: "We are researching what we have on the lot and will get back to you shortly!"

Based on this, Telnar formulated a sophisticated gameplan for pitting dealerships against each other to get the best price, which included "broaden your scope to other near-ish cities as necessary." While we were trying to get a price out of dealership #1, Adams Toyota emailed me:

"We'll sell you a Toyota Corolla LE for $500 less than what Consumer Reports says is fair, and slightly less than the average price for your area."

At that point, I just said, "That sounds good and they didn't make me dicker for it. Sold."

I called my local friend Corwyn and asked if he would come substitute for Lut in a test drive of the car: that is, sit in the passenger seat and make sure he fits. Corwyn is taller than Lut and of a similar build, although obviously Lut, with two compression fractures in his spine, has more flexibility issues. Still, he could give me an idea.

The Corolla is snug for Corwyn, but he does fit. I told Charly, the salesman, that I would take it. I picked out a black one, because they had several colors and if you could get black why wouldn't you get black?* I could've saved seventy-five dollars or so by getting a white one that came with cheaper floor mats**, but I decided I was willing to pay a slight premium for black, after all.

It's possible that if I'd been more dithery, or if I'd waited a month or two until they were more desperate to make room for 2018s (they had a lot of 2017 Toyota Corolla LEs in stock), I could've gotten a better price, but I am content.

I made the decision to purchase on July 27, and requested a 401(k) "loan" the same day. Name notwithstanding, this is not an actual loan. There is no approval or qualification process: I ask for it, I get it. In effect, it is me taking the money out of my 401(k) and formally promising to pay myself back (at 3% interest). It's not like a margin loan, where I'd pay interest to a third party while my money remained invested. I'm paying myself. If I failed to pay myself back, then I'd have to pay the government the early withdrawal penalty and taxes for the money I took out of the 401(k), but there's no collections process involved. It's all my own money.

The next day, the 401(k) people told me it would take 3-5 business days to fund it. I emailed this to Charly: "So I should be back between 8/1 and 8/4, depending on whether or not yesterday counts as the 1st business day."

At 9:30am on 8/2, Charly emailed me for a status update. I hadn't heard that the loan had been funded yet, but I work at my bank so I checked my account.

The funds had arrived 30 minutes prior. I went to the teller line to get a cashier's check (they would've taken a personal check, but I don't know where my checkbook is -- who writes check? -- and I work at a bank so cashier's checks are easy and free) and emailed Corwyn to get a ride. By 10:30, we were on our way to the dealership. Having made the decision, I was really impatient to finish the whole process.

Which still took like two hours, even though I was paying in cash. Buying a car is complicated.

I returned the rental that evening, with oddly mixed feelings. Yes, it is cool to finally have my own car, but I've been renting from the same office at Enterprise for eight years or so. They all know me. And up until now, when I need a car every day, it was a very cost-effective way of handling my transportation needs. I am kind of sad not to be doing it any more. Even now, I wonder if I should've gone with a short-term car lease, or some kind of arrangement where I'd have a car for several months, until Lut is stable and at home, and then go back to renting a car as needed.

But owning a car does save time, vs going to the rental place and picking one up, and returning it afterwards.

And the Corolla is beautiful and I love her. As soon as I purchased her, I stopped being practical about her and became immediately sentimental. I may end up as one of those people who washes their car every month. I'm sorry.

She is a much fancier car than I would have acquired, left to my own devices. She doesn't have any extras (beyond the pricer floor mats), but lots of things come standard on a Toyota Corolla LE. The standard things that made me pick this model of car are safety features, like pre-collision detection and automatic braking.

Some things that I thought were just safety features turn out to be nice features for general driving. For instance, its cruise control is coupled with a radar system that detects when a car is in front of you and slows down accordingly. This makes cruise control so much more useful. Even when the road is crowded, I can leave cruise control on and the car will automatically adjust the speed whenever someone pulls in front of me or I catch up to someone moving slower. I use cruise control for the nine-mile highway drive from my home to the hospital, which I've never bothered doing on any other model of car. It's nice.

It also has a USB port, so I can plug in my iPod for music without needing any intervening doodads, which is convenient. And I can charge devices off of it with just a USB cable.

Those are the main extra things that I routinely use. It has a bunch of other doodads, like it syncs with my phone to take phone calls. I am honestly not sure this is a great feature, since even hands-free phone calls are a distraction when driving. But Charly set it up so it's there for when the hospital calls while I'm driving. Until the bluetooth thing randomly fails, which is my usual experience with bluetooth.

Of course, I took pictures of her:

Shiny New Car

With lens flaaaare

I want to get decorative magnetic decals for her, but it may be too much effort to find/make the kind of thing I want. I'd like a trim design similar to City of Heroes' "tribal" pattern, to curve along fenders and the bottoms of the doors. I haven't seen anything like what I want. A bunch of die-cut flowers, though. Maybe I will bling her out with those.

I haven't settled on her name yet (of course she is going to have a name). I am debating between Purr (after one of my black dragons in Flight Rising) and Ardent (after The Moon Etherium protagonist.) So I'll put in a poll for her name!

Poll #18661 Name that Car!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13


What should I call her?

View Answers

Purr
7 (58.3%)

Ardent
5 (41.7%)

Write-in options:



* I may have been ruined for other car colors at a young age by K.I.T.T.
** I don't know why car floor mats are expensive, but they are.
rowyn: (worried)
Lut is still at the hospital. He's in a regular room now, and he's off the IV and the monitoring equipment, which is nice (no more wires to worry about every time he moves). He's been eating on his own. He gets up a couple of times a day, with assistance, and sits in the hospital room recliner or stands by the window for a little bit.  Other than that, he mostly sleeps or tries to sleep. His back hasn't been hurting as much and he hasn't been needing a lot of pain meds, which is good.

His mood is good under the circumstances. He knows where he is and he's polite, patient, and appreciative. Conversations with him don't work very well. I can't tell if he's having delusions or just trying to tell me about a dream or a game he used to play or something. Physically, he's better than when I took him to the ER 3 weeks ago, but I don't think the hospital is really helping his mental state. And he's not reading or playing with a computer or any of his normal activities, because he's too tired even for things he can do while lying in bad. At most, he'll watch a show, and he doesn't have attention for even that most days.

Case management at the hospital is trying to place him at a skilled nursing facility. He is to get rehab there and then he'll be able to come home when he's better able to take care of himself. Placement at a skilled nursing facility is hard, because of some combination of insurance, Lut's particular needs, available space at facilities, and probably some other things I'm not thinking of.

I have some lists of good car models for my needs and the probable prices for them. I have not gone shopping for one yet. I should probably do that this week. I kind of have the feeling I will go with the first dealership that has a reasonable car on the lot and doesn't seem like total scum. I do not have high expectations.
rowyn: (worried)
Lut's siblings came in last weekend, all four of them. I suspect I appreciated this more than Lut did. Bone marrow cancer causes a lot of fatigue: it's not just "he's in pain so he doesn't sleep well so he's always tired", as I thought before I brought him to the hospital. He just doesn't have a lot of energy. Maybe five or six spoons total for the day. Interacting with someone for a few minutes takes a spoon. It's hard.

On Saturday, I asked them to look at skilled nursing facilities for me. They ran all over the city, looking at the ones on the printout the hospital had provided. They were kind of horrified by most of them. They got to the last one on the list too late for a tour, and they told me I should look at it because it looked nice based on its website.

I went to that one and it looked good in person too: clean, well-lit, cheerful, good facilities. I went to the one his siblings liked the best of the ones they saw, and thought it was pretty good too. It was a hard choice for me, because the facility the siblings hadn't toured was a newer, nicer building with better grounds, but the rooms were smaller and most of them were "semi-private": they'd share a bathroom and a little foyer-hall with an adjacent room, and only a curtain separated them from the little foyer. It wasn't as a bad a shared room: there was a real wall between the two rooms. But a curtain is not nearly as good as a door when it comes to blocking sound. The more run-down facility had larger rooms and they were all private.

I tried to consult Lut on it on Monday, but he was too exhausted to give an opinion and the hospital wanted one in the next few hours. So I picked the nicer facility. I can hope he'll luck into a private room? I don't know how this will work with insurance. They are crazy expensive without.

At the hospital, they moved him from the ICU back to the regular ward last night. He doesn't seem to me like he's ready to be discharged to anywhere, but he's off the IV and they've detached all of the other wires they've had him hooked up to. They didn't even have him on a heart monitor when I saw him this morning. The case manager in the ICU thought he might be discharged this week. I don't know how long he'll be at the skilled nursing facility, except that it is short-term care, not long-term. The idea is that he gets rehab there, and then he can come home.

He doesn't seem to be in as much pain now, but he is exhausted every time I see him. Even when we get him sitting upright in a chair, he dozes off in a matter of minutes. If the chemotherapy works, he'll regain some energy, but I don't think rehab on its own is going to get him any more spoons.

I don't know what to say. People keep asking me how he's doing and it is exhausting to try to answer. Badly, but stable? He's better than last week but not better than when I took him to the ER. The oncologist is optimistic about the chemotherapy. He gets his second treatment today.

Prayers and well-wishes still appreciated. Thank you all for the car advice, too. *hugs*
rowyn: (worried)
I went through Lut's email and found some email addresses from 2009 for family members. I tried emailing, and reached one of his brothers and one of his sisters. They contacted the rest of his family for me, so his family knows now. Three of his siblings are going to come on Friday to see him.

He's looking better this morning. Still delusional, but he's calm, articulate, and willing to accept assistance. He's breathing better and when he dozes off it looks more like actual sleep. I don't know if this will be a sustained upwards trend, but I'm hopeful.

He started chemotherapy on Tuesday. He gets one treatment per week for two weeks, then one week off, then repeat. In 6-9 weeks we'll know if it's working. The chemotherapy includes a steroid, and he's on an antiviral because the chemotherapy weakens his immune system. He's also getting Halidol for his neurological issues. And an antibiotic because he was running a fever for a little while.

For my hospital-related transportation problem: I am thinking about buying a new car, rather than a used one. I can afford it: I only live like a poor person, I am not actually poor. I don't have enough ready cash to buy one, annoyingly. I may look into getting a loan against my 401(k), to avoid paying third-party interest or early withdrawal penalties. I don't know if this will qualify or not.

Recommendations on cars are welcome. Pretty much all I want is a good cost-per-mile figure and cheap to insure. I do not need or want any fancy extras, or a sporty car or an SUV or anything. I am perfectly happy with small, reliable and efficient. -_-
rowyn: (worried)
Thank you, everyone, for your well-wishes. ♥

Lut's biopsy results came back yesterday and confirmed multiple myeloma. His oncologist started him on an antiviral yesterday, and today he stars chemotherapy and a steroid. The oncologist thinks that this has a good chance (70%+) of improving his situation, including his mental state.

His mental state has crumbled almost completely. He still knows who he is, and who I am, and that's about it. He's paranoid and delusional, and generally angry at everyone around him for holding him captive while we try to get him healthy enough to return to reality. x_x

The oncologist said it would be 6-9 weeks before we know if the chemotherapy is working. His nurse yesterday thought the steroids might have a beneficial effect on his mental state in the short term, like the next few days.

I hope so, because he's only gotten worse so far.

I looked through his gmail and found email addresses for three of his siblings, from 2009. I tried emailing them this morning to let them know. One of the addresses bounced. I don't know if the others are still active or not.

I have a rental car for a month. I think I should probably buy a car. I am not ready to face doing that yet, and I kind of need to.

In theory, he qualifies for Medicaid and disability, especially since we're not married. Since we're not married, I can't sign documents for him. He is neither lucid enough nor tractable enough to sign documents himself. I haven't figured out how I am supposed to get around this yet. I will talk to the hospital staff today and see if they know. The application form wants a bunch of medical specifics that I don't have anyway.
rowyn: (worried)
Last Friday, I took Lut, my partner for the last 20 years, to the emergency room due to severe back pain and some other worrisome issues: he'd started bruising very easily, and he'd had a few odd cognitive problems. The night before, he'd referred to windows as a "vents" repeatedly, insisting for several minutes that "vent" was the right word even after I pointed it out. I thought the cognitive impairment was from lack of sleep: he'd been hurting a lot and unable to sleep properly due to the pain.

I had expected the ER trip to result in "we don't know what's wrong with him, here's a referral to a specialist and a physical therapist."

Instead, they discovered a whole host of things-wrong-with-him, all of which pointed to multiple myeloma: bone marrow cancer. The specific thing that's causing the back pain is two fractured/compressed vertebrae. The PA in the ER admitted him to the hospital. He has been there since. They had him in the oncology ward until Thursday, when they did a biopsy under a sedative because he'd been unable to lie on his side for the time needed to do it under a local anesthetic. His heart stopped under the anesthetic, and they revived him but moved him to the PCU. Then they moved him to the ICU because the biospy site kept bleeding.

The biopsy site has since stopped bleeding and they said they'd move him back to the PCU yesterday, but he's still in ICU now because there isn't a room in the PCU for him.

This has been the worst week of my life to date. A little voice in my head keeps adding "and there are going to be worse ones than this yet to come." This is the downside of getting older.

Lut's overall condition has generally deteriorated since he was admitted. For the first few days, he'd have occasional confusion: he didn't know where he was or what was going on or why. He had hallucinations and delusions as well, explanations his brain made up for things it could no longer understand rationally. For a while, he'd snap out of the confusion after a few minutes (or sometimes half a day) and be back to himself, although he still had trouble with some normal mental activities.

By Wednesday night, the confusion and hallucinations were persistent rather than occasional. He hasn't understood where he is and what's happening for the last four days.

I don't know what's going on with his head at all. They did a scan on it a week ago Saturday because of the occasional confusion, but it didn't show anything. It could be several things: lower oxygen in his blood, higher ammonia, pain medication, I forget what else. But they've addressed those things and it doesn't seem to get better.

I really want him back to rational again. He's aware that he's not rational and it scares him. I know, from prior conversations with him, that he never wanted to be alive with severe cognitive impairment.

When we checked him in to the hospital, they asked about a DNR and he looked at me. I said, "Resuscitate him." He was in bad shape but he was still himself.

I keep wondering if I made the right call.

And it's too late now to ask him.

The biopsy results will not be back until Monday or Tuesday, and the oncologist can't make a formal diagnosis and start treatment until then.

I spent 24 hours at work last week, and I've come home to sleep and feed the cat every day except Thursday night, when I slept in the ICU. My waking hours have pretty much been at the hospital since Lut was admitted. I had a rental car for several days last week, and I'm going to rent one for a month starting Monday because it seems pretty clear that I'll need one. Biking to the hospital isn't a problem -- it's a 15 mile round trip and I routinely ride 10 miles after work anyway. But it takes too long, and I'd rather spend that time with Lut.

If I don't actually need a car for the entire month because Lut suddenly gets much better and comes home and only needs rare follow-up trips, I am totally taking it as a win. Please, Universe, feel free to make me waste money in this fashion. Thank you.

Renting a car for a month at a time is not a great long-term solution. I should probably buy one. But buying a car is a complicated expensive decision and renting a car is easy so I'm just doing that for now. Hopefully in 30 days I can figure out what our needs are and find a better fix.

I'm probably not going to be responding to comments. This is a pretty hard topic to write about, which is part of why it's taken so long to post something. Well wishes and prayers are appreciated, however.

Also, you don't have to say anything. I never know what to say in situations like this either. It's all right. Sometimes there aren't words.

Flattened

Jun. 28th, 2017 08:36 pm
rowyn: (tired)
Some time-consuming family health issues have left me flattened lately. And I don't want to talk about it, but I did want to say that this is why I haven't been posting Poll RPGs for the last few weeks. I've been doing some editing, but I don't seem to have much brain for writing new stories now. x_x

But all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.

So posts will continue to be sporadic and at random and probably lengthy intervals. Y'all take care of yourselves. *hugs*
rowyn: (Me 2012)
Some time shortly after I moved to Kansas City -- so almost 20 years ago, I'd guess -- I visited my friends and relatives on the east coast. One of the things I wanted while I was out there was cheese blintzes. These are a kind of crepe wrapped about a filling of sweetened farmer's cheese. I love them and you can get good ones in restaurants on the east coast, and mediocre frozen ones in groceries, and you can't find them at all in the midwest. (Or they are horrible imitation cheese blintzes full of sorrow and despair, like the dreadful cottage-cheese-stuffed-pancakes that IHOP used to sell).

We went to one restaurant for breakfast that had a huge buffet, and my sister, Margaret, told me that they usually had blintzes out. But we went through the buffet and there weren't any.

So when the waiter came over to ask how we were doing, I asked if they had any blintzes. He told me he'd see what he could do. Several minutes later, he returned with a plate of them, to my delight and surprise.

My sister*, Margaret, commented afterwards, "That just made me realize that, if you want something, sometimes it helps if, in some fashion, you actually tell somebody that you do."

For whatever reason, this moment has stuck with me since then. I was thinking about it on Tuesday, because my department was buying pizza for all the associates on Wednesday, and the coordinator emailed me to ask what I wanted. Pizza is not my favorite food, although there are a few kinds that I like and one that is even sold by a pizza-delivery place. But my absolute favorite thing from a pizza-delivery place is Domino's "pasta in a bread bowl", which is, by the way, amazing. It's like pasta inside a deep-dish pan pizza. I get it with alfredo sauce and spinach and pineapple.

I am the only member of my department at my location, so I decided, what the heck, I will ask for the kind of thing I actually really like, even if it is complicated and not actually pizza. And I gave my pizza preference too, just in case.

The coordinator emailed me back: "I think we can get you your very favorite thing :)".

So that was my lunch Wednesday, and my lunch again Thursday because the thing is large and chock-full of about a billion calories (I think they baste the bread bowl with garlic butter or something. It is so delicious).

Anyway, it made me silly-happy to get the thing I wanted instead of a thing that would be merely okay. Sometimes it is high-maintenance to ask for what you want, but sometimes it works out just fine. ♥

* Technically, Margaret was my sister-in-law at the time. She and my brother have since gotten divorced, which happens and my brother has a new wife and I love her too. But I am keeping Margaret so she's still my sister.
rowyn: (worried)
I went to Starbucks on Sunday. The weather was iffy for bike riding: small chance of showers before 2PM, than larger chance of rain/thunderstorm after 2PM. So I left the house a little before 11AM and planned to get home by 2PM.

The three-mile ride to Starbucks is a lot longer when it's cold and damp and I haven't regularly biked outside in several weeks. An eight-mile ride to Panera (sixteen both ways) was out of the question, given the probability of rain and the narrow window in which I was likely to avoid the worst of it.

At Starbucks, I ordered chai with no water, on the advice of a Twitter friend. It was very crowded at Starbucks, so I took the only empty table, a small high one in a corner, with a man at the adjacent table also using a laptop. We exchanged a few amiable remarks about the crowd and then devoted ourselves to our respective electronic devices. After five or ten minutes, the man left, and I had the corner to myself for a few minutes, until a different man approached. He said, "Good morning," in a friendly way, and offered his hand.

"Hi there!" I replied, cheerfully, because I am not adverse to a few minutes of random chitchat with strangers at a coffee shop. I shook his hand.

"What I am about to say will change your life!" he told me. He sat down, shifted to close and leaned back to look at my laptop screen.

My categorization instantly went from "friendly stranger" to "scammer." I am not one of those people who has been so conditioned to be polite that they will be nice to anyone, no matter the circumstances. I am fine with being rude. "Excuse me," I told him. "I am very busy." I changed the angle of my body and my laptop so that I could use it without him seeing my screen, and then I steadfastly ignored him. Or more accurately, did not visibly react to anything else he did.

He muttered something like, "Fine, I'm never gonna tell you", to which I thought great, please shut up and leave me alone. He continued to mutter at me for a few minutes, sitting sideways in his seat so that he could face me. Then he shifted to face forward, and started loudly telling a group of three women three tables away that someone had taught Jessica to be racist. I don't know who Jessica is or what she did that was racist. I am pretty sure that the three women he was ranting at did not know either.

At this point, one of the Starbucks baristas caught my eye with a look of 'do you need help?' and I tried to signal 'HEAVENS PLEASE YES' without actually saying anything or acknowledging Creepy Guy's existence. I was fussing with my bag to get out my headphones and iPod in an effort to get a bonus to my Ignore Harassment roll.

The barista leaned against Creepy Guy's table and told him, firmly, that he was being too loud, and he wasn't even a customer, and he needed to stop annoying the patrons.

Creepy Guy shut up for about five minutes. I had my headphones on by this point. I'd been trying to get some writing done but was making very little progress because DRAMA. After five minutes of peace, Creepy Guy decided he needed to talk at me again and started talking loudly and waving his hand in front of my laptop screen. I turned the volume up on my iPod. He touched my arm. I told him not to touch me again. He subsided for a bit.

Then he started fussing with the chair opposite his table. He positioned it so that it filled the space between his table and mine, and then put his legs on it, which had the effect of boxing me in between my table and his legs. I gave up on waiting for him to GO AWAY and left by shoving my table out from the wall so I could sidle past it. I sat down at a different table, because some spot of pride in me felt that, well, I'm not bothering anyone and I shouldn't have to be the one to leave. Also, it was sprinkling outside and I was hoping for a break in the weather before I left.

Creepy Guy remained a few minutes at the same table. Brave Barista approached him again, presumably to say "QUIT IT." Creepy Guy followed me to new table, tried to talk to me, touched my arm again, which got me to say "Don't touch me" again without me ever taking my earbuds out or hearing anything being said. Brave Barista had More Words for him, then went back to work.

A minute or two after that, Creepy Guy finally left.

After Creepy Guy left, Brave Barista came back to my table. "I want to apologize for that man -- "

"Oh bless you for finally driving him off," I told him.

"Yes, well, I'm afraid he's been around a lot lately and bothering the customers. We'd called the cops, and I was actually trying to stall him until they arrived so that he could be banned." Brave Barista gave me a little Starbucks gift card and apologized again.

I did a little writing. Maybe twenty minutes later, Creepy Guy returned to the Starbucks, but he didn't approach me. He talked to some other patrons and bought a sandwich. Brave Barista, whose name proved to be Dan, kept an eye on him.

I'd been tweeting about this whole episode as it unfolded, and I started to tweet "Why can't I meet weird strangers who are funny at the coffee shop, like Ursula Vernon does, instead of weird Creepy Ranting Guy?"

And then I stopped, and thought about some of Ursula Vernon's tales of interacting with strangers. Some of them are genuinely merely bizarre, and some are just funny. (There is really no way to relate the star-crossed love of a rooster and a turkey without it being funny.) But most of them are funny as much because of the way she tells it as because of what happened, and some of them are pretty awful once you take them out of the context of "Ursula Vernon boggling humorously at how is this actually happening to/around her." If I'd listened to what Creepy Guy had said, and if I'd had her gift for humor, I might have been able to showcase his rantings as "weird and funny" too, instead of "ZOMG WHEN WILL THE COPS FINALLY GET HERE".

So I commented on that fact instead. Ursula replied with, "Yes, but that's my coping mechanism for creepy things, so it's okay! We all have different coping mechanisms!"

Creepy Guy did come back to sit next to my table again. I don't know what he said, because I turned up the music as soon as he returned. He reeked of alcohol now.

Not long after, two cops actually showed up and bracketed Creepy Guy while he was sitting two feet away from me. I paused my music to listen as they took his name -- somewhat dubious on whether or not he was telling the truth about his name -- and told him he was banned from the Starbucks, and he'd better not already be banned from the plaza because if he was they were going to take him in. They escorted him out of the shop.

I would call this a victory for my "Ignore Them Until They Go Away" method, except that I had to leave myself ten minutes later, to dodge the anticipated storm.

But the thing that stuck with me from the whole incident was that realization about how the line between "funny" and "distressing" is in significant part based on your attitude and the way you tell the story. It also made me realize that I cope with awkward/uncomfortable/creepy by trying to ignore it and carry on with the thing I wanted to do. It's the same coping mechanism I developed in grade school to deal with bullies. In fact, Creepy Guy had NOTHING on the kids who harassed me in junior high. He wouldn't even be in the running. By childhood standards, this barely even qualified as an attempt at harassment. Twelve year-old me would be so jealous that this is the most obnoxious stranger I've dealt with this decade. SO JEALOUS.

I don't know how to tell this story so that it's funny, but I am thinking about that now. I don't think I have the right temperament to treat this kind of awkward/unpleasant situation with a sense of humor (never mind having the comedic gift to make it actually funny). Still, it's an interesting thought.
rowyn: (huggy)
I'm headed off to Seattle today! I'll be in the area from today through Tuesday morning. If you're in the region and would like to get together, send me a note! I'm going to be seeing [livejournal.com profile] terrycloth and [livejournal.com profile] alinsa. We'll be going to a Devin Townsend Project concert on Friday night, but other than that, the schedule is fairly flexible.
rowyn: (Me 2012)
Health/Fitness
My weight had crept up to 180 lbs, and I finally decided that I should Do Something About This.

My new plan is simply "eat slightly less". I started on September 20 by tracking food & exercise, and have been averaging a net negative of 250 calories. That works out to around half a pound a week. My ideal weight is probably somewhere in the 110-135* range, so it's gonna be a few years before I get back there. That's fine. I'm not trying to get in shape for the beach season or something; I'm trying to return to a healthier weight that will not cause me the long-term joint problems that run in my family.

This plan includes "eat when I'm hungry", which both means "do not eat to alleviate boredom and stress" and also "do not suffer in order to lose weight". I had a snack last night that put me over my calorie count for the day, for the first time since I started tracking, because I didn't want to go to bed hungry. Good call, me. So far, I do not feel like I am suffering on this plan, and that makes me a lot more likely to stick with it.

My scale now says I'm 177 pounds. My spreadsheet (I'm tracking on a spreadsheet because it's actually easier than using an app, sadly) says I should be not quite up to losing my first pound. I am curious to see how my projected vs actual weight loss goes. The first few pounds always seem to be the easiest.

* My lowest weight as an adult is something like 117 lbs. At that time, I thought "I look fine and it wouldn't hurt to lose a few more pounds". Honestly, I don't feel particularly fat even now. My desire to lose weight is mostly "I have a lot of pretty clothes I would like to fit in again" coupled with "and also gaining 5-10 pounds a year is not a healthy trend". One of my friends told me a few years ago "You are SMOKIN' HOT" and this is the self-image that has stuck with me. ♥

Writing
21,800 on The Sun Etherium for September. That was pretty much all my writing this month. I feel simultaneously as if this is Not Enough and also that I am being ridiculous and that's fine.

My 2016 YTD word counts by novel:

Birthright: 78,000
The Moon Etherium: 124.000
The Sun Etherium: 23,800

That's over 225,000 words and there's still three months left in the year. Brain, please chill out.

The Business of Writing
I published The Moon Etherium! *kermitflail* *collapse*

Art/Other
I did four different cover variants for The Moon Etherium, and a handful of sketches.

Socializing
I went to ProgPower with [livejournal.com profile] alinsa! Wow, it seems so long ago I almost forgot that was in September.

Goals for coming month
[livejournal.com profile] alinsa and I plan to serialize The Moon Etherium, which means Alinsa has to worry about getting Wordpress set up again (I hope it's easier this time) and I have to figure out illustrations. There will be eighty installments of the serial. I am not drawing eighty pictures for it. But I do like having images to go with the posts. So I will go through the eighty parts and see if I can figure out some broad shared categories and come up with abstract illustrations along the lines of each category. Goal is 8-10 different illos. I will figure out what each will be before I do any of 'em. We'll see how that goes.

So I'm not really sure what my goal is for October. Probably one or more of the following:

  • Write more of The Sun Etherium

  • Illustrations for The Moon Etherium/begin serial

  • Edit The Warlock, the Hare and the Dragon


I don't particularly plan to finish any of those in October, and I may not start all of them. I'll find out in November what I did!

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