mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
It's a statutory holiday here today, so that means I get to wear jeans to work! I have come to deeply loathe and resent having to wear "business casual" office clothing, so God help me if I ever end up having to work in a regular office setting again. Right now I only have to wear the hated clothes about five days a month, often less, when I'm working day shifts during the week, and the rest of the time I can wear comfy jeans, which is my favourite thing to do.

Not much has happened since I last posted. I have been procrastinating like crazy on unpacking the house and doing anything remotely productive when it comes to keeping my life together.

Instead I've been playing Stardew Valley, which is entirely the fault of [livejournal.com profile] fearsclave , who, as usual, is a terrible influence. It's a horribly addictive little farming sim game, which is normally not at all my bag, but on top of the farming there is a significant emphasis on social relationships and community building in the game: the goal is not just to become good at farming, but to integrate a small community and become a respected member of society. The village, called Pelican Town, is also disturbingly realistic in some ways when it comes to depicting small town life, and the otherwise cute and lighthearted game has gotten dark on me a few times. There are characters with depression, suffering from isolation and alcoholism, people on the fringes of "civilised" society. Anyway, it's been weirdly compelling, and it has occupied a lot of my free time in the past three weeks. I finally reached some of the artificial goals the game sets this past weekend, so hopefully my fervor for it will die down a little now, and let me be productive in other ways.

I took Sergent to the vet last week for his shots, and also for our third ride on the "Does the Dog Have Cushing's Disease?" merry go round. I was worried because he's been having accidents in the house ever since I moved. I had attributed it to stress at first, but since it had continued for a month after (though with diminishing frequency), and he's been presenting with other symptoms (panting, less energy, whatnot), a lot of the signs pointed to something else going on. $1,000 later, and the good news is that he still doesn't have Cushings. The bad news is that I'm almost out of savings now. *sigh* I have a new vet, one who is much closer to home, which is much better news for both the pets, who hate being in the car for extended periods, and for my sanity, because my previous vet was an hour away by car, which meant that a vet visit before this meant basically writing off the entire day. It will be nice to be able to do other things on Vet Days now.

In more uplifting news, my new friends L. and J. managed to sell their house, and as of last week no longer live right next to the people who harassed them and made their existence a living misery for two years! I'm so excited and happy for them. They're still looking for a permanent place to live (they both suffer from severe mould allergies. which means they have to be very careful about finding a new home), but at least they now don't have to orchestrate their lives around making sure a vehicle is always parked around their home and that they're not alone for extended periods of time. They no longer have to wear their hoods up to keep their faces covered, or be afraid to leave their house during the day (they did most of their moving in the dead of night), or have their neighbours rev their truck engines at them half the night or point floodlights at their house at all hours, or leave threatening notes on their car windshield. In short, this is fantastic news for them. They sold their house to a heterosexual white couple who already have ties in the neighbourhood, so they're confident the new people won't also be the target of harassment, so it's good all around.

This past weekend ended up busier than any other time since I moved. I ran D&D on Saturday for the first time in over two months, and it went pretty well. I planned a non-combat session for my players: a solstice festival which would allow them to roleplay and just have some fun without worrying about getting killed or having larger moral decisions to make. It was a good way to get back into the swing of things, and give me a bit of breathing space to try to plan out the next arc of their story. In a way, Levels 1-5 were there to help them figure out who their characters are, but now I want to try to start pulling things together and introducing them to the larger world I've been creating. It would likely help me if I worked out more of the details of my world, I guess. :P I don't know if they'll make it all the way to Level 20, but I have plans for them if they do, that's for sure. I just have to figure out what I want to see happen in the interim, and how to make it as much fun for them as possible, too. I have a lot of their backstories to play with as well, which ought to be fun.

Sunday I went to Meeting, after missing two weeks due to work. Now that I'm a Member I'm finding it more difficult to arrange my life with so few free weekends. I'm the clerk of First Day School, which means I feel obligated to lead FDS at least once a month, which means I have only one Sunday a month to attend Meeting, and therefore that's usually the Sunday I will sacrifice if I have to make other plans (like go on a trip, or what have you), but it means I sometimes won't attend Meeting for several months, and I feel really bad about that. I have no good solution to this, unfortunately, short of finding a job that doesn't require me to work weekends, or winning the lottery so I don't have to work at all anymore. :P

Meeting was more stressful than usual, too, because we had an elderly Member become unresponsive during worship. I feel especially bad, because I noticed early on that he appeared to have fallen asleep during worship, and was drooling a little at the time, and I debated with myself if I should go check and see if he was okay and decided against it. This happened to him last year (the only two times I've ever seen him attend Meeting, for that matter), and I wondered if it might not be happening again, but I worried about overstepping my bounds, as I don't know him at all. If I end up in a similar situation again, I'm damned well not going to worry about being told to mind my own business, so long as it means I'm not possibly sacrificing someone's health and safety in the name of social delicacy. It was a poor decision on my part not to interrupt Meeting to check on him, and I regret it.

When worship was over, it became obvious that something was wrong, and people were oddly reluctant to call for medical help for the man. A few of his friends said they would just take him home, and so I stepped in then and put my foot down. He was slumped over in his chair and completely unresponsive, his skin was clammy, and his breathing was extremely rapid and shallow. "I'm calling an ambulance," I told them, and then got them to move chairs aside so the paramedics would have room to work, and employed my best crowd management techniques to get well-meaning but unhelpful people and the looky-loos out of the way. An ambulance arrived within about three minutes, which was great, along with a policeman, who was helpful in getting people to move back and also to have someone to act as a point of contact with the gentleman's family, whom we were having trouble contacting during the emergency.

The funny thing is, because I was the one who essentially took charge of the emergency, everyone at Meeting decided I must know everything there was to know about the gentleman who'd collapsed. People kept asking me what his medical conditions were, if I'd contacted his children, all sorts of things, when the truth is that I didn't even know the guy's name. I'd never met him properly: I just knew from last summer, when he'd also collapsed at Meeting, that there was a history of this happening. Anyway, in light of this latest event, I approached the Meeting clerk and told her we should suggest that everyone volunteer to give us emergency contact information, for cases such as these. We got lucky that a few of the Members in attendance that day not only knew the man, but had phone numbers for his children in their cell phone contacts, but those Members could just as easily not have been there that day, and then the children would not have found out for hours or perhaps even days that their father was in the hospital.

Everything turned out okay, as far as I know: the gentleman was already awake and more responsive by the time the ambulance took him to the hospital, so I'm sure he will be fine. Still, it could have gone much better, and I have learned quite a few lessons from what I did wrong yesterday.

Back to better news: I'm slated to go to a fandom convention next week, which I'm really looking forward to. It has changed names, from Wincon to Confabulation, but it's basically still the same con. I'm looking forward to seeing all the friends I made there last time once more, just to hang out and geek out about fannish stuff. It's a convention run by fans, for fans, with no celebrity guests, which keeps the prices mercifully low, and lets us have panels and round tables to discuss all of our beloved things in depth, which is one of my favourite things to do! So I'm pretty psyched about it, even though it's coming at a time when I no longer have the kind of money I thought I'd have before going, due to unexpectedly having to move and two very hefty vet bills in a three-month period. Still, I can swing it, only because I'd been carefully putting money aside for this convention since last year. I just wish this year had been less expensive.


And that's it! Things are starting to happen in my life again, so with any luck I will be around more and posting.

New Leaf

May. 1st, 2017 08:48 am
mousme: The face of a green woman forest deity against a black background (Green Woman)
 I am not going to even try to catch up on the last few months. Well, I might, but it will likely end up in bullet point form. ;) I'm going to try to get back into my good habits of posting every day, or most days of the week, at least. There may be some hiccups on days when I'm extra busy, but I was doing pretty well up until two months ago.

I finished the Move That Would Not End yesterday, after weeks of moving small things and running into minor problem after minor problem. I am swimming in an ocean of unpacked boxes, but my parents came to visit this weekend and helped me unpack about 75% of the kitchen, which is fantastic. So I can now at least make myself a cup of tea in the morning, and I can see my whole kitchen! I have stuff all over the counters which needs to be sorted out, because my new kitchen is WAY smaller than my old one, but at least I've got the basics down.

Yesterday the old house got professionally cleaned, and I took video of the house before I left, and photos of one room because I ran out of space on my phone for video. Bah. This morning I was extra vindicated because I found some old photos of the dog I took when I first moved in in 2014, and those photos show the stain on the floor my landlady claims I made. So now I have *proof* that the "damage" wasn't done by me. I mean, I knew that it wasn't me, but the gaslighting was starting to take a toll after all that time. Anyway, I dropped the keys in the mailbox, and Cruella de Froot Loops, as [personal profile] blackmare  has dubbed her, should forever be out of the picture. Hurray!

I quite like my new house, overall. The one disappointment is that my sofa bed didn't fit in the stairs, and thus can't go in the house. I have decided to donate it to a refugee organization. Hopefully they will be able to make good use of it. I am pretty disappointed, because it was a good sofa, and now I have nowhere for my guests to sleep if I invite them over. I haemorrhaged money these past few months due to the move (moving by yourself is an expensive proposition folks: take it from me, don't be single and mostly by yourself in a strange city), so I can't afford to buy a new bed just yet. My parents have made noises about giving me the two single beds they have in storage, but that would mean moving them from Montreal, and I'm not sure it's worth the cost, honestly. We'll see.

I don't know if I mentioned it, but the adoption-from-foster-care plan is in the toilet, mostly due to my landlady. The CAS wants a stable environment, and apparently moving house makes me unstable. Also, my case worker, after being AWOL for nine months and never answering my emails or phone messages, took exception to the fact that it took me several days to answer one email and decided that I wasn't fast enough for her liking, so they've closed my file. It's not permanently closed, as she told me to reapply in a few years, but I think maybe it's a sign it wasn't meant to be. I've had a bad feeling from her from the start, and I strongly suspect she was just looking for a reason not to accept me as a candidate and just couldn't find a good enough one until now.

I'm going to give myself some time to recover from the financial shock of moving (it was a doozy this year, for several reasons), and then look into other avenues. I think I can still make a great parent, regardless of what CAS thinks. Private adoption is an option, but a very expensive one for a person on a single income. Or there's always artificial insemination, which is also expensive but far less so. The thing with that is by the time I'll be ready to start, I'll be 39, and that's kind of old for a safe pregnancy. It worries me quite a bit.

Since that Big Life Plan™ is on hold for now, I'm looking at smaller plans for the upcoming summer. The move meant I didn't get to start any seedlings, so I'll be buying my plants again this year. I don't know anyone local who has spare seedlings. Hell, I barely know anyone local. I can count the people I know on my fingers and have some left over, and 90% of those are married couples. I should probably feel bad that I have so few friends, but if I had more friends I'd just feel bad that I can't see them most of the time due to work. So that's some consolation. ;)

Anyway, I still have my plot at Vanier Community Garden, and I'm going to hang onto it for as long as I can. I can still get there easily from work, so I can pop by when I'm working, and it's a 20 minute drive otherwise, which is totally doable. I need to be more vigilant about going every day this year, because last year all my edible produce got stolen, and the rest died, which was very sad. Of course, this year I'm not suffering from massive burnout, so I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be better about things.

I'm also going to try to start writing again. This is probably a terrible idea, but there you go. I haven't written much in well over three years, and what little I do write is basically garbage, but I have this fleeting hope that maybe someday I won't write garbage anymore. I'm going to start out small, maybe 100 words or 10-15 minutes a day. I have some ideas for original fiction, since I haven't yet found a fandom that's making me want to write the way my old fandoms did. I miss having a fandom to be super excited about, frankly, and I hope I can find a new one soonish.

Last but not least (for now, anyway), my trip to Paris has served to remind me how much I love travelling. So I have decided to start putting money aside each year for a trip somewhere. I adored by weekend foray into Scotland, so the plan next year is to go back there and do some more thorough exploring. Two days wasn't nearly enough, if you ask me.

Okay, I think that's it for today. Catch you all later!
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
 I'm still here. Sorry for the radio silence. I had an AMAZING trip, and while I was there I was mostly too busy running around Paris and Edinburgh to actually write about what I was doing, and then I got back and was immediately super depressed about not being in Europe anymore and thus didn't update either.

I promise to try to do better in the future. I go back to work tomorrow, and my levels of "I don't wanna!" have reached the stratosphere by now. I'm also in the throes of trying to find a moving company and packing before the end of the month, and things are a tad stressful right now. I'm hoping to get everything pulled together with

Please let me know if I missed anything super crucial in your lives, LJ!

Oh, also, I am not leaving LJ, but in case it implodes after this latest bit of shady business, you can find me on Dreamwidth under the same name.

Also, for people who are on Twitter, you can find me there as @ratherastory. I tweet quite a lot, and it tends to be in the form of yelling about social justice issues, fandom stuff, and sometimes live tweeting shows or movies. Follow me at your peril! ;)

:::ETA::: Okay, cross-posting from DW appears to have weirdly hard-coded a different font into my post, and I can't fix it. Sorry!


mousme: A picture of Darth Vader, captioned My Fandom Destroys Planets. (My Fandom Destroys Planets)
My landlady has, entirely coincidentally, I'm sure, decided to do some renovations in the unused portion of the house. The portion of the house that's directly under my bedroom. They started today at 08:30, right after my first night shift was over. I've had two and a half hours of sleep, and I am ready to commit murder.

The repairmen are alternating between hammering with extreme vigour and enthusiasm on what sounds like the wall adjoining my section of the house, and hanging out directly beneath my bedroom window and chatting/swearing at top volume. I don't know why they feel compelled to yell everything to each other when they're taking their breaks (they speak at normal volume otherwise), but here we are.

I was about to despair this morning (when I was still trying in vain to sleep through the racket), because the idea of multiple weeks of no sleep during my night shifts is akin to torture. I debated whether I should look into booking a cheap hotel room (which I can ill afford right now) during my night shifts, but of course that leaves the pets unattended, which is not ideal. I'd be paying for maybe five or six hours of sleep if I also wanted to feed the pets and walk the dog and keep most of my clothes at home.

Then I remembered that the timing on this might not be all bad. Tonight is my last night shift for the week, so it means this week there wouldn't be much sleep, but next week my night shifts start on Friday. If I get very lucky, they won't work on weekends, so it means that I'll get to sleep the whole of next weekend. If they end up working on the Monday, then I'll just miss a few hours of sleep during the day, which is not nearly as bad as missing three days' worth of sleep.

After that block of shifts is over, I'm actually on vacation! I will be away in another country for a good part of that time, too, so that means the landlady asshattery should be kept to a minimum! I'm very excited.

Travel will, of course, bring its own set of (very minor) problems. Mostly I'm anxious about bringing my electronics with me on the plane, in a way I've never worried before. I'm less worried about being permanently detained (my white middle-class privilege will likely protect me from the worst indignities), but now that border services are demanding passwords to all social media, I'm kind of worried that I'll either be turned back at the border (unlikely), or that they'll confiscate my phone and/or laptop. I usually travel with both, because I enjoy having the flexibility of having my favourite communications devices with me. Also, I'm always super paranoid that someone is going to break into my house and steal my computer when I'm gone. It might not make sense, but it feels safer to have my computer where I can see it. The thing is, I can't afford to replace either my phone or my laptop if they get confiscated at the border.

So, do I leave my stuff back home and not be able to communicate at all? Or do I take it with me and run the risk? If I do take my phone and laptop with me, the plan is to log out of/erase most of my social media apps, and just keep my visible activity to a minimum. I already have a Facebook account that I've made as boring and generic as possible, and I think I can get away with telling a border guard that it's the only social media site I use. After all, everyone is on Facebook, and it's not a stretch that a woman in her late thirties/early forties wouldn't have another social media account. I don't have many friends on my decoy FB, because all of my actual, true friends are generally not fans of Trump and are very vocal about it on FB as well as everywhere else, but if a border guard just happens to scroll through, it should pass muster. I hope.

Everything else I have on the computer shouldn't be an issue, I don't think. A completely "clean" computer would be suspicious, but one that paints me as a dabbler who mostly uses it for Facebook and Skype should get me through. Don't get me wrong, I am incensed at the violation of privacy, but I'm trying to choose the lesser of two evils for now. I'm going to support legislative change to roll back the interference in citizens' privacy, especially in the grey area of border crossings, but for now I'm stuck with the system we have, and I have to navigate it as best I can without losing too much in the process. 

Possibly I am overthinking this, but that's always been one of my flaws. :)
mousme: An RCMP officer in ceremonial uniform swinging around a horizontal bar. (Maintain the Right)
I'm back to work tonight, after two days of gastro. I started feeling myself again yesterday afternoon, which was a relief, and today I'm pretty much back to normal. So that means heading back to work for my last two night shifts. I am not really looking forward to it, but I suspect that's the perma-anxiety that set in on Monday (after I spoke with my landlady) talking, and not much else. Maybe. I mean, if I won the lottery and never had to go back to work, that'd make me pretty happy too, but still, the malaise is not actually work-related.

I saw the mortgage broker today, and while the news wasn't bad per se, it also wasn't quite what I had hoped for. Basically, no matter which way I slice it, I am not quite ready to buy a house. The broker estimates I could probably swing it in six months, which is encouraging news, but given that most landlords want to sign a 12-month lease, it means I won't be in a position to buy until next summer. So it's back to renting for now, and socking money away until I'm in a position to move permanently into a house of my own.

I finally found a cleaning service (to honour the verbal agreement I have with my landlady), and the girl who came today is excellent, which is a relief. The service that my landlady hired charged almost twice as much as she does and didn't even bother vacuuming under the furniture. So, anyway, it will be nice to have some help around the house. I have mentioned that I am an indifferent housekeeper, so this ought to keep some of the pet hair under control, at the very least. The house is super clean, although I'd been keeping it quite clean myself (albeit not this clean). If I move close enough, I'm hoping I can take her with me. I'll figure out the budget part somehow. Back in Montreal when I was paying half of what I do now in rent (so before I got my own house), I had a cleaning service as well, and I'd forgotten how much easier it makes things overall.

My next steps over the following weeks will be to hopefully get into the shed, now that there's less snow, pull out my boxes, and start packing. I also need to sort out my "office" and the very large bedroom closet that's sort of become a catch-all for stuff. If people are going to be coming by to look at the place, then the hidden spots need to be just as tidy as the not-hidden spots. I know that when I look at places I poke into all the cupboards and closets, so I can expect other people to do that too.

I'm waiting to hear back from my paralegal. She's been in touch with my landlady's lawyer, who appears to be entirely out of the loop concerning her intentions. So once she hears back from the lawyer, she will get in touch with me and update me on things. I'm trying to hope for the best, but given how passive-aggressive and bitchy she was with me on Monday, I am bracing for the worst.
mousme: A turquoise twenty-sided die that has landed on "1." The caption reads: "Shit." (Natural One)
 I've spent the last two days running in circles. I worked two night shifts, and I had agreed to spend some time with L. and J. on both days. Apart from my own crazy with my landlady, I found myself sucked into the nightmare crazy that L. and J. are experiencing too. Because they have to work everything around their harassing neighbours, even the simplest things end up being super complicated.

Monday was a bit of a clusterfuck. Originally I was supposed to go from about nine to noon, but they called and asked me if I could come later in the afternoon. Since I had a house viewing scheduled for 16:00 and then work at 17:30, I told them it wasn't really possible, but that I could stop by anytime up to 15:30. So they initially cancelled my whole visit, only to call back at noon to ask me to come by anyway. Monday was Family Day, which is a statutory holiday in Ontario, and so their neighbours were home and causing trouble.

I went over right away, and there ensued a logistical nightmare. Uh, I think I need to provide some context before this will make sense. The neighbours, among other things, harass them by parking their very large trucks in front of their house and sometimes in their actual driveway. Mostly they park in front of the house, and then they all hang out around their truck or stand right up on L. and J.'s property (the police won't lay charges because you can be up to 15 feet away from the public street on someone's property, make rude gestures, and even take pictures legally, apparently. I'm not well-enough versed in the law to know for sure myself, but the Ottawa Police made it clear to L. and J. that they weren't going to intervene in this kind of situation). So in order to discourage the harassers, L. and J. try to have cars parked in their driveway and directly in front of their house at all times.

Okay, explanation done. L. and J. don't own a car, but they've been renting vehicles. They also had a friend lend them a car over the weekend while she went on a ski trip, and that's where I came in. They wanted me to stay while J. drove the borrowed car back to its owner, and then got dropped back at home. I told them that was fine, as long as I could leave by 16:00 (my house viewing got cancelled, luckily), and also drove L. to Loblaws to do some grocery shopping, as they'd both been sick all weekend. While we were out at Loblaw's, J. called L. and revealed that she'd accidentally broken her glasses. So when we got back at 15:45 J. couldn't leave until L. had helped her Scotch tape her glasses together, and I ended up going with her because she can't see at all without her glasses, and they were worried the glasses might break again while she was driving. We left at 16:00, and when we got to our destination, the friend we were going to see wasn't there yet. So we waited some more, and ended up returning to L. and J.'s house at a quarter to five.

I ran home as fast as I could, tried to get ready for work, take care of the pets, and have dinner, and only succeeded at two out of the three. Oh, and the dog was sick while I was gone, so I had to clean that up too before work. It was, as I said, a total clusterfuck, and I ended up being late for work as a result.

Yesterday wasn't quite as bad in terms of logistics, but I ended up spending most of my day with them, from 09:30 to past 14:00, which means that I only got about four hours of sleep all day, total. I wasn't late for work, at least, but I was exhausted by the end of it all.

And today the landlady saga continues. The coop called me and said they left her messages which she hasn't returned yet, and when I spoke to them I hadn't heard from her directly in about three weeks (not since February 1st). I checked my cell phone when I hung up with the coop, and to my surprise found a text message from her, demanding to know if I'd be home tomorrow so a floor company could come in. I responded with my availability, and she hasn't gotten back to me. 

I'm a little concerned, because I spoke to my paralegal today, and she said she hasn't sent the letter yet that we agreed upon, and that means my landlady doesn't yet know that I've engaged legal representation. I don't know what that means for how tomorrow's as-yet hypothetical visit (with the floor company) will mean, and now I'm super stressed about it all again. I honestly thought that the letter would have been sent out either late last week or early this week. Two weeks seems like a really long time to send out what is essentially a one-page letter. I don't know, maybe legal stuff really does take that long, but this is sort of a time-sensitive issue. :(

Ugh. Anyway. Speaking of anxiety, it's time to go to therapy. I haven't been in over a month, due to scheduling and life issues. I had to cancel my last appointment due to my landlady being crazy, and then my therapist got sick, so it's been a while. I'm thinking of stopping, anyway. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere or developing any true insights into my psyche that I didn't know before, and that means I'm wasting her time, and wasting my time and money.
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
The trouble with having a memory that doesn't work well is that after two days I don't remember anything I did at all. :P

 The U.S. continues to travel down the path of political madness. Now Trump has invented a terror attack in Sweden, which made the entire world scratch its head and go "Buh?" There was also yet another rumour of riots in Paris spreading all throughout France (not perpetrated by the President, at least) which as far as I can tell were fabricated by a single website for reasons which escape me. Surely there are enough terrible things happening in the world without inventing more? Of course, the invented ones were all fabricated in order to spread more islamophobia, so I guess that answers my question.

On the house front, I've finally started getting some answers to my queries. Padmapper queries don't get many responses, unfortunately, but I've looked on other sites, and they are quicker to get back to me. I had an appointment to see a house yesterday morning, so with the kind permission of my coworkers I skipped an hour of work (basically I took my lunch super early in the morning) and went to see it. It was in way better shape than the house I saw on Thursday, I will give it that, but the layout was... kind of weird. For one, it had a bathroom practically in the kitchen: a toilet, sink, and shower stall. Now, I've seen powder rooms off of kitchens before, but the weird part is that the master bedroom was on the other side of that wall, with NO door leading to the bathroom. Like, why not have it as an ensuite instead of forcing whoever is in the master bedroom to parade through the living room and then the kitchen in order to go pee or shower? It was just so odd. The basement was unfinished but had lots of room and a decent washer and dryer, and the previous tenants had left behind a ton of stuff: a large black leather sofa, a complete dining room set (one of those tall round tables and four high chairs), a full drum kit in the basement (!!!) and various pots and pans and other stuff. The guy showing me the house was almost as useless as the previous guy from Thursday (what is it with these guys?), but he told me they'd left for a job in a different country. The sticking points for me were: 1) that the staircase to the second floor was incredibly narrow, and I couldn't for the life of me work out how you were meant to get any furniture up there, 2) the house was very cold and I could feel cold air seeping through the walls in the basement, which meant that heating the place would be an expensive nightmare, and 3) the house was also for sale. If the owner managed to sell the house, the new owners could easily tell me to vacate because they wanted to move in, and then I'd have to go through the hassle of finding a new house and paying for another move all over again. No, thank you. There was another family who came to look at the house while I was there, and they noted out a lot faster than I did, so I think my decision not to pursue it was the right one. It was interesting to see what was on the market, but it wasn't for me.

As I was leaving this property, I got a call from a private landlord about another house. I got a weird vibe off her almost right away, because she emailed, texted AND called, all within the space of about an hour. Which, um, is a bit intense. I picked up the call while I was in a Tim Horton's getting coffee for me and my coworkers, and she immediately asked me to tell her about myself. Slightly nonplussed, I replied that I was single, worked rotating shifts, and liked long walks on the beach, which luckily made her laugh. I really need to curb my tendency toward sarcasm, but it's tough to teach an old dog new tricks, I guess. Anyway, I got lucky that she didn't decide I was too much of a smartass, and we made an appointment for 7:30 yesterday evening.

It turned out that that house was WAY nicer than I was expecting. It's huge, though, which might prove to be a bit too much house for me by myself. If I ever end up having kids that will be a different story, of course. Still, for now, it's a lot of house. The layout was more conventional, although the kitchen was kind of close to the front entrance for my liking. That's a detail, though, and not a deal breaker. Each part of the house was in different conditions: some rooms had been recently renovated, some less recently, and a few of the bedrooms were in a state that suggested no one had done anything to them since the house was built. They were all in good condition, however, so it was just a question of how new the floors were and what colour paint was on the walls. There was some very gnarly wallpaper in the master bedroom, which, if I moved in, I'd want to have removed. Again, details. There was a finished basement, and a good-sized washer and dryer, not to mention an actual sink for laundry, which I've never had and have always wanted. That's a big plus. The yard was quite large, but it was covered in snow, and by then it was mostly too dark to see anyway, but the landlady told me that it was all paving stones underneath (that's both a plus and a negative, since it means I wouldn't have to mow the lawn, but it would also mean no grass for the dog at all).

In short, I'm not wild about the place, but it will make for a good backup plan. I have another showing tonight, which I don't think will amount to anything. I replied to an ad showing the picture of a house, but when the management company emailed me the guy said it was the top floor of a triplex. I'm honestly more curious than anything. How is this ordinary looking house actually a triplex? How does it work? So what I want to do is go see for myself, and if the building is a different one from the one pictured, I'll know that this property management company engages in false advertising, and I'll avoid them in the future.

Work has been quiet overall, so there's not much to report there. On our down time my coworker and I have been watching The Walking Dead, which has been growing ever more horrifying. We just started Season 7 yesterday (so no spoilers, those of you who are all caught up!), and it's been both fun and awful to see the arrival of Spoilers for The Walking Dead ) 
On my own time, I kind of got bored with The Clone Wars (sorry), and tried Z Nation (moar zombies!) for the second time. The first time I watched the pilot I noped out because there was a terrible, but terrible CGI zombie baby. Anyway, I decided to give it another chance, and I have been enormously entertained now that I've stuck it out. It's a zombie show  that takes itself seriously, but not too seriously, which makes it a lot of fun. Watching it in parallel with TWD has been pretty wild. TWD is all dark and gritty and holy shit grim, while Z Nation has its dark and sad moments but has fully embraced being an utterly, utterly ridiculous show. It's got genetically modified zombies, plant zombies, a guy who can mind-control zombies, a half-zombie talking head, and a whole Mexican biker gang whose entire aesthetic is based in a cringeworthy way off of the Day of the Dead. Anyway, the show has committed wholeheartedly to being totally over-the-top, and while that makes it kind of schlocky, it also makes for some pretty high-value entertainment. I'm just starting the last season that aired now, and I'm interested to see what new ridiculousness they're going to come up with. :)

Next up on my to-watch list is Elementary, which I haven't watched since last season. I actually don't remember a lot of what happened, so I may have to find the older episodes and refresh my memory. I remember the conspiracy with Sherlock's father, but I don't remember the end result. Stupid faulty memory.

Okay. Time to get on with my day. Talk to you later, LJ!
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
I went to see the first (and only) place that sent me a response, and it was... not exactly ideal. For one, the placement wasn't great: it was a row townhouse with what seemed like fairly thin walls, so to live there you'd have to pray for considerate neighbours. More ominously, there was a HUGE apartment complex right on the other side of the back yard. The kind of apartment complex that screams "constant visits by the police at 3am for noise complaints and domestic disputes." So I knew pretty much going in that I probably wasn't going to take it. The access to the place was rather restricted: very narrow walkway lined with a couple of trees, which was an additional mark against it. I am not a huge fan of getting a place that's hard to move into.

The house itself was in need of a lot of repair: all the floors were damaged to varying degrees (with parts of it pried up and missing in almost every room, not to mention serious wear and tear otherwise), all the stair railings were coming out of their moorings, all the light switches were broken, and the bottom of the stove was missing. Oh, and the living room ceiling fixture was dangling near the floor by its wiring (it was super ugly, too). On top of that the front walk (and tiny driveway) hadn't been cleared of snow, so I had to wade through up to my knees when the guy finally came to open the door. He spent about half the time apologizing for the state of the place (the garage was filled with junk), and the other half reassuring me that the rent was "negotiable."

In general, he was absolutely useless.

"I don't know what repairs they're going to do, I just show the place," he told me, which did nothing to reassure me. I mean, why show a place if you can't answer even the most basic questions about it? He had no information: no idea how much heat/hydro cost, nothing.

Once the visit was over, the property manager (not the guy showing the place) spammed me with text messages for half the afternoon trying to get me to agree to rent the place until I finally shut him down. I guess they're really desperate to get the place rented out: I've never been pursued so aggressively by any landlord in my life, or by any landlord, for that matter.

I spent the morning in a meeting at work, and the rest of the afternoon after the house visit making various calls, none of which panned out. I'm trying to get hold of the cleaning service my paralegal recommended, but the number she gave me was the lady's residence. I spoke to a guy there who was either being very passive-aggressive with me, or else was maybe on the spectrum and took me a little too literally.

Guy: "Hello?"
Me: "Hello, may I speak with Linda?"
Guy: "She's at work."
Me: *realising I have her residential number instead of her work number* "I see. Is there a better number at which I can reach her?"
Guy: "Yeah."
Me: ...
Guy: ...
Me: ...
Guy: ...
Me: "Can you provide me with the number, please?"
Guy: "Yeah, it's [number]."
Me: *jots down number* "Thank you."

So, yeah, I'm not sure what that was about, but at least I got the other number, and ended up having to leave a message.

I then cast about a little blindly trying to find someone who can come in and do an independent evaluation of the condition of the house. I tried the Landlord Tenant Board on the off-chance they'd be able to give me a starting point. I spoke to a very nice lady named Daphne, and we bonded over having the same name, which was fun. Unfortunately she wasn't able to help me (it's not really within their purview). My paralegal said she'd be able to get me the name of a flooring company, at least, but in an email today she told me she couldn't find the information and would have to get back to me about it.

I also sent in an application to the housing co-op that I mentioned yesterday. I had to fill in ten pages' worth of information, and since I was using my dinky little home scanner it took forever to do, but at least I got it sent. I rather hope it works out, that they accept my application *and* that I like the place. I'd really like for that to happen. Fingers crossed, I guess!

Critical Role is tonight, but I will have to watch it tomorrow or maybe even Saturday, since it's a work night and I need to go to bed early.
mousme: A text icon in black text on yellow that reads The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote (Avalanche)
 That's no mean feat. Mostly I feel like today was a lot of running around. I saw the paralegal this morning, and she is of the (professional) opinion that my landlady has no leg to stand on when it comes to this so-called eviction. I brought pictures of my floors, and she agrees that they're fine and in no way damaged by pets.

She'll be sending an official letter to my landlady and the lawyers detailing how we'd like things to go from here on out:
  • I agree to move out by the end of three months
  • Both my landlady and I sign a mutual release form (she doesn't seek to claim "damages" from me, I don't sue her for harassment and/or preventing my "reasonable enjoyment" of my place of residence)
  • My landlady returns all my post-dated cheques to me, from the month of April onward, so that I don't have to pay a cancellation fee
If my landlady is reasonable, she will accept, and that will be the end of it. Of course, the minute we sign the release, she's allowed to show people my place from 08:00 to 20:00 every single day of the week without giving me any notice at all, so I anticipate many weeks of being awoken during night shifts, or having other activities interrupted. At least it'll make her look bad toward prospective tenants if she does that.

That, of course, is the best-case scenario, supposing she's reasonable. Given that she doesn't seem prone to making sane choices, I am half-expecting her to try to escalate this, at which point we will kick her ass in court in front of the Landlord and Tenant Board. My paralegal is going to recommend a flooring company to me to come in and do an evaluation of the floors, and we're going to see about getting in a different cleaning service (to honour my verbal agreement with my landlady that I'd have them in every two weeks). There will be extensive documentation, and it will all be a pain in my ass to deal with in terms of time, money, and emotional energy. I can't wait.

Anyway, the meeting went well, and I even remembered to pick up milk and tea on the way home, so I'm counting it as a win.

I ended up having to go back out in the late afternoon to meet with a coworker concerning a committee at work I'm supposed to start running. Nothing like having meetings two days in a row, both on my day off, let me tell you. Still, we met at a coffee shop and she brought her adorable dog for me to cuddle, so it wasn't all bad. I just would have preferred to stay cosily at home.

I tried stopping by U-Haul after that to pick up some of their smaller boxes so I could start packing my books (I used medium-sized boxes the last time, and concluded that the weight was not worth the saved space, unfortunately). I ended up not staying, because we've had another substantial snowfall (the second in three days), and the parking lot was packed with trucks, mountains of snow, and a snow removal truck, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out where I should park. I'll try again tomorrow when the weather has improved and daylight is on my side.

I did manage to swing by Canadian Tire, which wasn't on my list of things to do today, but occurred to me to do while I was out. I'm looking for air vent filters so that my landlady can't complain about dog fur in the vents, but I didn't find any that were large enough for my wall vents, which is a bummer. I ended up buying a pack of smaller ones anyway, and I'll try to make them fit, maybe by cutting some of them and playing filter Tetris. We'll see how well I can MacGyver them, I guess.

And last but not least, I ended up back at the office anyway, in order to misappropriate some office supplies by printing an application for a place I'd like to stay in. My friend L. suggested I look into co-op housing, and I found what looks like a promising little community about twenty minutes away from here. It's far enough that I probably won't be able to go home for lunch anymore, but I'd be saving nearly $700 a month in rent and there's a big focus on community, which sounds right up my alley. I really enjoy having cordial relations with my neighbours, if not more, so this would be perfect.

The problem, of course, is that all prospective landlords want to talk to your current landlord for application purposes, and nothing turns them off faster than hearing you're having trouble with your landlord. They immediately (and understandably) assume that you are the problem, because of course there's no such thing as a dishonest or troublesome landlord. So I'm trying to get my ducks in a row in order to assuage any fears that they might have. Thank you, landlady, for ruining yet another part of my life (at least temporarily).

In other, completely unrelated news, my poor mother nearly got scammed today (again). She got an email supposedly from the Canada Revenue Agency saying she hadn't paid her 2015 taxes, and would she please and thank you click on this handy link in order to "confirm" her personal information? Luckily she contacted her accountant first and was waiting for him to call back when we spoke, so I was able to tell her it was a scam and not to click on anything. Her accountant called back while we were on the phone and confirmed what I'd told her, so we dodged that particular bullet. But seriously, fuck scammers in particular.

In short, a lot happened today, and yet I somehow still feel unproductive. I guess I'll call it an early-ish night, since I have a meeting in the morning at work, too. In the afternoon I'll be visiting my first potential rental (though not the one in the co-op). We shall see.
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
It feels like things are super busy lately, but they haven't been, at least not when viewed from the outside. I did some housekeeping yesterday and early this morning, so the house is looking more decent than it usually does. I thought I'd start packing up my "office," but my attempts to get to the shed in the back yard met with failure. I may go to U-Haul and buy some of the small boxes specifically designed for books and start with that instead.

My new friend L. came over to help me shovel this morning, too, which was nice. Well, due to her horrible neighbours it was a whole production, of course. I first drove there, took their parking spot on the street, and then J. drove the two of us back to my house. Still, it was nice to have some help with the shovelling, although I appear to have pulled a muscle in my hip in the process, because I'm old and didn't warm up before doing strenuous lifting. Owie.

I spent the rest of the morning at L.'s place (we walked back after we were done shovelling), and in the afternoon I zipped out to Cantley to pick up some dishes! In a moment of extreme klutzdom I broke another of mug from my favourite dinnerware set, which was a major bummer, as the set has long since been discontinued. Undeterred, I took to the internet to see if I could find it second-hand, and lo! On kijiji was a woman with a dinner set for TWELVE people for sale! So I went and got myself all the dishes, and she had an extra mug, to boot, so now I feel like my life is complete again (I exaggerate only slightly). It's very nice. :)

I stopped for groceries on the way home and managed to completely forget to buy milk, which is just typical. I have enough to last me until tomorrow, though, so it's not the end of the world. I will pick some up upon returning from the paralegal's office.

Okay. Time to go find some heat to put on this pulled muscle. Maybe a hot bath.

mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
 My landlady is trying to evict me, claiming the aforementioned fictitious damage to the house. I am at my wits' end with this woman, and so I'm going to go, but I'll be damned if she gets to then sue me for nonexistent damage, which she has also said she's going to do, in writing. She has summoned her lawyers, so the plan is to go find myself a legal representative this week (yay) to make sure that my rights are represented. She can't just make things up and expect me to lie down and pay her to go away.

I can't tell you how much fun this is!

I wish I knew why she was doing this. I can't think of a good reason. I'm quiet, I pay my rent on the first of every month on the dot, I am respectful of my neighbours. She herself told me not three weeks ago that I was her best tenant ever. I can only assume that there must be some sort of personal dislike involved.

Anyway, she's given me three months to move out, and I am inclined to accept. Mainly what's stressing me out is that I'll be in Europe for two weeks at the end of March, which is going to make packing and moving extra stressful. I'll be gone from the 18th to the 30th inclusively, which means I'd be back literally two days before an April 1st move-in date. I *think* I can get everything packed before I move, but it would be pretty hellish to come back jet-lagged and then coordinate a move. I was really looking forward to this trip, too, and now it feels like just an additional source of stress. Honestly, fuck her for partially ruining what was supposed to be the best part of my year. I will still love my trip, but I'll probably spend good chunks of it worrying about my move instead of enjoying myself.

On top of that, it's actually pretty difficult to find accommodations at this time of year. I've sent out a half-dozen queries, and with any luck I'll hear back soon, but the pickings in my price range seem rather slim.

I promise I'll be back with a more cheerful post, maybe about Clone Wars of the Walking Dead or something. Right now I'm kind of stressed about this whole situation.
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
I awoke with a hell of a headache, so I reluctantly decided not to go to Meeting. Normally I'd have been working today and wouldn't have been able to go anyway, so I guess it's not *that* big of a deal. Still, I wish I'd felt well enough to go. I could have at least picked up my tupperware from the Meeting house. I hope no one gets rid of it between now and next week, because those are the only large boxes I own, and they'd be expensive to replace.

The meeting with the psycho landlady went as well as it could have gone, at least. She did make a passing comment about my needing to vacuum more, because the air vent filters have dog fur in them, but she didn't threaten to evict me over it, at least. We signed a new lease, and I'm now paying $23 a month more. *sigh* I pushed for her to move to email transfers instead of cheques for the money, but apparently her accountant prefers to work with cheques, at least for now. I think I may have opened up a chink in her armour on that front, at least.

Otherwise, after I took some meds and the headache faded, I spent today tidying the kitchen, playing a game for a while, and continuing my re-watch of DS9. I'm impressed with the political writing of this show, I must say, although the heterocentric narrative doesn't fly nearly as well twenty-five years later. Watching Star Trek is kind of like slipping back into a pair of comfortable slippers: the metaphors are often heavy-handed, but the characters are easy to get attached to. I'd forgotten that each series has its very own Other™ Character, the one who poses Important Questions About What It Means To Be Human: in the case of DS9, they do a nicely subtle job with Odo, the shapeshifter who knows nothing about his origins and tries to model not only his behaviour, but his physical appearance, after the humanoids around him. He serves the same purpose as Spock, Data, and the holographic Doctor, namely to hold a mirror up to humanity and show us both the good and the bad within us.

I will confess to being a little depressed that, twenty-five years after this series first aired, a lot of the stuff that's being metaphorically addressed in the show is ongoing today, with very little change. There was an episode about teaching creationism in schools, among others, as well as any number of episodes about sexism and racism, and it feels like we're chasing our tails, especially in light of the election of Trump as president. It just feels like we've made no progress at all (which, granted, is not true, but it feels like it).

That's enough for today, I think. I need to call it an early night so that I'll be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for my week of training for work. I'm being sent off-site for it, and I will confess that while I want the knowledge, I'm not particularly looking forward to spending four days shut up in a small room learning about communications security. Quite frankly, it sounds horrifically dull. I hope to be proven wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.

mousme: A picture of Wol from Winnie the Pooh, holding a note that reads "Gon Out. Backson. Bizy. Backson." (Back Soon)
 Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, I got super busy with various commitments and didn't have the time to sit at the computer and compose an entry to talk about all of it. It's been a busy week, and it doesn't look like it's about to get any less busy any time soon.

I visited with L. and J. (well, only L., but I met J. later), the lesbian couple being harassed by their neighbours. They are just the most adorable people, and what they are going through is horrific. It's been taking place for years now, and it's not an exaggeration to say it has ruined their lives. Not permanently, but right now they can't even have a semblance of normalcy. It's not just verbal harassment, either. They've been assaulted on a couple of occasions, and it sounds like the police have been treating this as a neighbour dispute rather than a clear case of harassment/hate crimes. I am livid on their behalf, because it sounds like the entire case has been badly mishandled from the start. Unfortunately, the situation is beyond salvaging now, not without their putting in time and money and energy that they simply don't have, and I don't blame them for not wanting to put up with it any longer. 

We're setting up a tentative schedule for me to go hang out at their house once a week starting in early February (my schedule isn't free until then, unfortunately), and with any luck they'll be able to sell their house soon and move to a place where they can start fresh.

The rest of the week was taken up with cleaning the house, hosting a potluck for the young Quakers, and work. Oh, and making sandwiches for a Quaker wedding today (which I was unable to attend, due to work, alas). It feels like I haven't had a moment to myself all week, which isn't true, since I actually got to stay home most of Wednesday and just chill. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had I not had at least one day to myself to do not much.

Tomorrow was supposed to be my one day off before I start a week of training, but of course my landlady has decided to make my life hard again. She's insisting on twelve post-dated cheques (and wanted them two weeks before the first of the month, no less!), so I pushed back a little, and so now we're signing a new twelve-month lease. I refuse to give post-dated cheques for a month-to-month lease, and at least this way I'm slightly more protected than before, although it means a commensurate increase in my rent, which is going to hurt. *sigh* I can't win with her, and it means I have to put up with her in my home for an extended amount of time tomorrow, instead while we sign a new lease. Bleh. Still, it could be worse, and I hope it won't take too long.

I'm going to call it an early night tonight. I've poked at my Romanian lessons a bit, and now that I know how to say "cow" I feel like my life is just that bit more complete. ;) Tomorrow I'll go to Meeting, then come back to deal with the landlady, and maybe after that I'll have a bit of peace and quiet before work starts up again on Monday.

I will say that the highlight of today has been watching the Women's Marches taking place all over the world. It gives me hope, even as fascism soars to new heights to the south of us.
mousme: An RCMP officer in ceremonial uniform swinging around a horizontal bar. (Maintain the Right)
 ... and thank goodness for that.

I have averaged about three hours of sleep per calendar day since Tuesday, and I am displeased. Yesterday it was my own choice, though, so I can't complain too much about that.

I dropped the ball about sending out the First Day School schedule on time, and therefore had to pinch-hit in the morning. Luckily, I had an old lesson "plan" from several months ago that I hadn't used because there were no kids on the day I was scheduled. I'd planned to read them the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den, which is what we did, followed by a short discussion about bravery and metaphors (maybe the lions weren't lions, but were symbolic of living through hard times and retaining faith/hope), which I think mostly went over the kids' heads. Luckily I'd also printed out a bunch of colouring sheets from the internet of the story, so we were able to occupy the rest of the time with colouring and more idle conversation.

Speaking of Meeting, last week I submitted a request for a Clearness Committee in order to become a fully fledged Member of Ottawa Monthly Meeting, and it was discussed today during Meeting for Worship for Business by the Members, who were all very enthused at the idea, it seems. I got assigned a Clearness Committee, and I'm going to be meeting with them after they've had an initial meeting without me. I'm not sure what to expect after this, but I suppose it will all become clear (see what I did there?).

I may be making new friends, or at least acquaintances, this week. There's a lesbian couple in my neighbourhood who've been facing extreme harassment by their neighbours, and someone at Meeting asked me if I'd like to be part of their support circle. The couple are planning to sell their house and move away due to the harassment, but in the meantime it helps for them to have people come over to the house and simply hang out for a while. It hasn't caused the harassers to stop, but it does apparently make them keep their distance a little more. Since I've been looking for other members of the queer community in Ottawa, this will serve as a "two birds, one stone" sort of thing. I mean, I wish we'd met under different circumstances, but I'm hoping we can become friends over time. I spoke with one of the women at length today over the phone, and she told me all of the circumstances, and frankly I can't blame them for wanting to move away: it sounds pretty damned terrifying.

I'm going to go on Thursday morning to spend a few hours with them, and then I've invited them over to my house to take part in the potluck dinner I'm hosting for some of the younger members of Ottawa Monthly Meeting. We're all trying to get to know each other better, and so every month there's a potluck at someone's house/apartment. This month I volunteered, since they have a distressing habit of scheduling the potlucks on nights when I'm working.

It's going to be a busy week: I have errands or appointments or commitments pretty much every single day starting tomorrow and not letting up until I go back to work on Friday morning. My one prayer is that the insomnia goes away so I can get some much-needed sleep. Otherwise, it's going to be an excruciatingly long ten days.

Ack.

Jan. 15th, 2017 05:04 pm
mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
Today ended up being super busy, and I got very little sleep. I am now in serious danger of being late for work, so I must leave this entry here for now. I will come back with a more detailed update later, maybe tomorrow.
mousme: A text icon in pale blue that reads Winter is Coming (Winter is Coming)
The insomnia appears to have resolved. I think. I went to bed late because I ended up watching Critical Role, but I slept soundly for seven hours, and then had a two-hour nap before work without any issues (other than I got really cold, for some reason). So, yay for that! Insomnia sucks.

Today was kind of a not-much-happened day. I got my hair cut (no pictures, sorry) and am quite pleased with the result. I sort of knew my hair had soft curls, but the kind of minimal styling I've always done to it usually let to it hanging straight. No longer! So now my hair curls, which feels super weird. I got used to thinking of myself as someone with straight hair. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't have the kind of curly hair that people with actual curls complain about, with frizzing and hairbrush issues. Still, it's definitely not straight. Which, I suppose, is fitting, since I'm not straight either. ;)

That aside, I went home and played a video game that I am basically terrible at, called 7 Days to Die.
In which Phnee goes on at length about gaming and zombies )

After the video game came a nap, and then work, which has been very work-like the whole evening and into the night. It finally started winding down about an hour and a half ago, when I was able to head out to grab something to eat (the nap resulted in a poorly-planned meal, alas, but I think I needed the sleep more). 

So there you have my wild adventures of the day.
mousme: A text icon, dark green text on pale green, that reads There is no normal life. There's just life. (No Normal Life)
 ... and yet, it hasn't been that long. Insomnia posts will do that to you. ;)

I survived going to work on one hour of sleep by breaking every rule I know is good for me and buying an energy drink (I KNOW), but so far it doesn't appear to have killed me, regardless of the caffeine content or any of the other content. Everything in moderation, energy drinks once a year, etc.

Last night I increased the amount of sleep I got by 400%! It was very exciting, I must say. On a more serious note, the lack of sleep can stop ANY TIME. It's been a good thirteen years or so since I last had chronic insomnia, and with the passage of time I forgot just how much it sucked. I mean, I remembered it, but in that intellectual way that probably makes women forget about the pain of childbirth, too. :P Tonight I plan on sleeping even if it kills me.

*record scratch* Wait. 

Okay, so I'm clearly a little loopy, but I'm in a remarkably good mood in spite of it all. I got a little frustrated with people at work, but not my coworkers, just the faceless people on the other side of Computerland™ who don't understand how to do their job properly so that I, in turn, can do my job. Overall, the past two days at work have been okay, although parts of them dragged considerably due to my being super tired.

I started trying my hand at learning Romanian on Duolingo, and while the new course is still in beta and not always super clear or helpful, I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far. My lack of brainpower is hindering me considerably, however. I have to revise the same basic things over and over and over in order to be able to assimilate them even a little bit. I finally finished Basics 1 (after revising it five times), and am feeling confident enough to move onto Basics 2. I got myself a notebook, and am trying to help myself by taking my own notes instead of relying entirely on the website. My main frustration is that so far there has been very little explanation about when or how to use pronouns, and when and how declensions come into play. So when an exercise asks you to write a sentence and the program hasn't actually taught you the dative form yet, you get it wrong automatically. They also have a distressing tendency to add new words randomly in exercises that were not part of the lesson. Still, it's in beta, so I'm willing to give them some leeway, here.

Apart from that, there's not much to report. I worked, I played some D&D (a mini-campaign being run by an Internet friend), I slept poorly, I worked again. Somewhere in there I bought pet-friendly de-icer and put it all over my steps and driveway, because Canada is drunk and doesn't know what weather to have, and thus turned my steps into a death trap. Is my life exciting, or what?

Tonight is Critical Role night! I'm excited, but also conflicted, because it starts very late and ends even later, and I should go to bed early. I may compromise and try to nap first, we shall see. I don't want to truly mess up my sleep cycle, but I'm starting a night shift tomorrow anyway, so I don't know how much of a difference it would make. Decisions, decisions!

That's it! Stay tuned for more thrilling adventures in the life of Phnee.
mousme: A text icon in black text on yellow that reads The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote (Avalanche)
I have insomnia tonight, for whatever reason. It's not anxiety, I just can't seem to sleep. I managed to sleep lightly from about 22:10 to 23:10, but then was awoken by a Dog Emergency™, and then couldn't get back to sleep to save my life. So I guess tomorrow will be managed on an hour of broken sleep. Super.

I don't have much to report, on the personal front. I got my errands done, except for one, which I totally forgot about and which I will try to get to after work tomorrow, since it's right next door. I even got *shudder* new clothes. I hate clothes shopping, which is probably not news to any of you. I also came in way under budget due to a surprise sale and my own birthday discount, so yay for that!

Therapy was interesting. We broached the subject of my former relationship, and the fallout from that. I'm still kind of bitter about how it all went down, but the feelings have faded over time. It'll be informative to explore that, I guess, and see if some of my current behaviours stem from what I "learned" from that experience.

In other news, the US has gone more insane than usual. My Twitter timeline has been alternating between President Obama's farewell speech, discussions of outright treason by the President-elect, and urination jokes. It's surreal.

In which I discuss Trump, so you can skip it if you're sick of hearing about him )

By contrast, the current President's final address was a fine example of statesmanship. I am a fan of Obama, it's true, though his policies lean too much to the right for me to be comfortable with them. Sure, he's to the left of Republicans, but there is no left-wing in America, as far as I can tell, apart from a minority who don't ever seem to be able to contend with the two big parties anyway. There's the extreme right and the moderate right, and the moderate right seems to have a better grasp of human rights than their opponents. I digress.

The speech moved a lot of people to tears. It was eloquent and promised hope, while underlining all the progress that was made over the past eight years. All my reservations aside, Obama did a lot to turn the US around after the disastrous eight years of the Bush administration. He delivered a touching tribute to his wife, and generally was a class act. It was a pleasure to watch.

It's now 02:00, and I have to be "up" in about two hours. I still don't think sleep is going to happen, but I might attempt a power nap or something. You never know.
mousme: Two open books, one lying on top of the other at an angle (Books)
I had all sorts of good intentions about errands yesterday, and then my entire body said "Hey, you know all that running around and socializing and wrangling kids and generally doing a lot of stuff that you did last week? I'M DONE."

I finished my post yesterday, and after 45 minutes of telling myself I would get up "any second now" and staring blankly into space instead, I gave it up as a bad job. I still have the luxury of doing that on my days off, so I'm taking advantage of it. I stayed home, read two books, played a video game, and even took a bubble bath. It was the most clichéd self-care day ever. I don't usually do self-care that way. Self-care to me usually involves cleaning the house I've been neglecting, paying that one bill I've ignored, making sure I cook nutritious food for myself, etc. It doesn't usually involve bubble baths. :P

Anyway, I finished Junior Nzita's book, and, uh, it was bad. I am not sorry to have read it, as the contents are important, but dear Lord was it badly written, and poorly edited, to boot. Rife with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, to the point that it actually made the book difficult to read. I think I said yesterday that the one mercy is that the writing was so bad that it actually shielded me from the worst of the horrors recounted in the book, because they were never described, only talked about in passing every time (including a story about how one of his army mates was split in half by automatic gunfire). *checks entry* Actually, I apparently didn't say that. I must be conflating it with my Goodreads review.

I will confess, I was pretty torn about the book in general. It's this man's story, and he is entitled to tell it any way he wants. That being said, the tone of the book was a mixture of childish and preachy, and I was dismayed to discover that Junior has the same tendency to self-aggrandize and paint himself as a kind of godly saint as he did when I spoke to him yesterday. He may have been a child soldier, he says, but every second page in the book there is a reminder of how much he prayed, how much God saved him, and how he never, EVER, had a moment of doubt, or succumbed to the vices of the flesh (alcohol, drugs, or women), and despised the other soldiers for not having faith or escaping from their terrible reality any way they could find. I just... I find it hard to believe that he never had a single moment of doubt. It also troubles me how he never once mentions in the book any feelings of regret or sorrow at killing other people (except in the dedication, in which he asks for the forgiveness of those he wronged). In person, he kept insisting on telling me how many important people he'd met, and how vital he was to the cause he was championing, and how he was personally responsible for saving the lives of thousands of children, etc., etc.

Now, some of this is likely cultural. I grew up in a family and a culture where it's just not done to "brag" about your accomplishments in that way. This is probably not the case in his culture (I hope!). Nonetheless, I found it extremely off-putting, both in person and in the book itself.

I also had a moment of personal revulsion at what is probably a throwaway sentence to him, discussing the horrors that were visited upon the children when they were first kidnapped and forced to become soldiers. Trigger warning: rape )
Okay, enough about that. I think I've covered all the basics, and it was important for me to read the book, even if I didn't find it enjoyable per se. This sort of book is not meant to be entertainment (although it helps when they are well-written!).

Today is a Do All The Things™ day. I want to get some new pants, because I am tired of having ones that are at least two sizes too big for me. That's the problem with taking up exercise and losing weight: you need a wardrobe overhaul. I mean, some people would love to have my problems, but it's still an expensive proposition, as I'm still considered "plus-sized," and thus have to pay a fat tax on all my clothing.

I also broke one of my favourite Christmas plates yesterday, and I really want to try to fix it, so I'm going to look for some epoxy and give it my best shot. No idea if it will work, but unless I do it myself, I don't know of a place where I could get it done. So it's either try my hand at home repair or say goodbye to the plate, which I'm not willing to do yet.

After that, I have therapy at 5:30. I'm not sure I want to continue, as I don't feel I'm making much progress. I know that I get as much out of therapy as I put in, but self-awareness has never been my problem. What I need is the opposite, in a way. A method of letting go of my tendency to over-analyze everything I do and say, as well as everything other people do and say when they're interacting with me.

I had other stuff I wanted to do today, but I forgot to write them down, so I guess they're not getting done until I remember what they were. Memories issues are GREAT, y'all. So much fun. I will make an effort to remember before the day is out, but sometimes trying to remember things doesn't actually result in the memories coming back.

:::ETA::: Ooh! I just remembered one: pet store. Excellent. I can do that one first, since it's the closest.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Bad for Zathras)
Little did I know yesterday that my kind of crazy day would continue. I was planning to spend the day cleaning, but as we all know, man plans and the universe laughs.

So around 10:30 I started feeling a familiar, strange pressure in my chest. I experienced the same thing about two weeks ago at work. It lasted for four hours, and I felt like I couldn't quite take a deep breath the entire time. It was super uncomfortable. Still, it passed, and I didn't think about it after that, until yesterday. Yesterday it was the same feeling, only accompanied by a sharp, but not particularly terrible, pain. Annoyed by the inconvenience, I googled to see if this might be a medication side effect. Sure enough, Abilify can cause chest pain, and a host of heart problems, too.

I figured that I would call the Ontario health line and ask if it was okay for me to stop that medication until I see my doctor in two weeks. Turns out, if you call and say the words "chest pain," they transfer you automatically to 911. *sigh* The only way I could convince them not to call me an ambulance was to promise to go to the hospital and get myself checked out. So three hours of my life later, the doctor agreed with my original assessment and told me to stop the medication until I saw my GP.

I know the statistics, I know women tend to underreport or otherwise downplay symptoms of a heart attack, but it would have been really nice to have people not invalidate what I was saying at every turn, until I got to the doctor. I knew it was nothing, but I suppose the HealthLine was covering their asses and thus wasted half my day on nothing.

I decided that the day wouldn't be a complete waste, so I went grocery shopping, and returned to find that one of the cats had peed on the dog bed. The house reeked. So I stripped the bed and put the batting in the wash, to be followed by the cover. No dice. The stacked washer/dryer died mid-cycle, leaving the batting to soak in soapy water, and me to contact my psycho landlady. She said she'd be by today, but there's been no sign of her, and I'm scheduled to go to work in an hour and a half or so. We'll see. I don't know what she thinks she can do, anyway. She's a hairdresser, not a repairperson nor a plumber.

Of course, all of this meant that I never got to have a nap before work, so I was awake for 22 hours, and THEN I had to stay late at work to write a report no one had told me I needed to write, which sucked. By the time I came home and went to bed, I'd been up for over 24 hours. I ended up waking up every two hours today, too, expecting my landlady, who never turned up. So I got about six hours of broken sleep, which makes me not all that functional.

Surprisingly, I spent most of that time in a good mood, except for a few brief minutes this morning when one of my coworkers tried to rush me into doing something while I was still working on my report. I may or may not have made a murder face at them. :P

Today I ended up doing less cleaning and more breaking of the ice outside, so that my mother won't slip and fall and kill herself when she comes to visit on Thursday with my father. I did get the litter boxes, though, so that's something.

So that was the past 36 hours. May the following go a little more smoothly.

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