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.
mousme: A text icon, white text on green, that reads Zathras trained in crisis management (Crisis Management)
Most of what's going on is not super interesting to the outside viewer, alas. I applied for the rental house I wanted on Friday, and I'm supposed to hear back by close of business today. It turns out that my medium credit rating is a cause for concern to prospective landlords. I mean, it's an okay rating, but due to a fuck-up over four years ago there's a thing on it that's keeping it "artificially" low (another three years to go before that black mark disappears, alas), so the manager I spoke to said he had some reservations. I tap-danced my way out of it, and the fact that I've been employed by the government for over nine years helped a lot. All that's left is for them to call my references, which, of course, includes my current landlady. YAY. I hope she doesn't fuck things up for me. Close of business (or COB, which always, always makes me snigger) is in six hours or so, maybe seven, depending on when their day ends, so everyone keep your fingers crossed.

More landlady shenanigans ensued while I was chasing all over town trying to get my application approved. I got a text message from her while I was out, saying that the reno guys were going to remove the wall between the downstairs storage space and my part of the house, and was I home so they could show me? Needless to say, my blood pressure rose about a million points, because there's nothing I'd like more than to have an entire wall missing in my house. It would mean that anyone with a key to the side door of the house would have unlimited access to my living space. Reassuring, right?

I took a detour out of my day to come home, and spoke with the reno guy. It turns out he had told my landlady that he didn't want to take out the wall and leave my living space wide open without alerting me first, as a common courtesy. If it hadn't been for him having a conscience, I wouldn't have known until I came home one day to find my wall missing. He also proposed installing a lock on a door at the bottom of my stairs (the storage space is about two feet beyond the door, behind the wall in question), so that I'd have at least something of an illusion of control. I mean, the door is made of glass, so it wouldn't afford me true privacy or safety, but anyone in that space would have to at least expend effort to get into my house. So yay for reno guys with scruples! If all goes according to plan, the lock will go on today, and the wall will come down sometime this week (although I don't know exactly when, maybe Wednesday). So at least that's resolved, for now. I even got my landlady to agree, via text message, to return my post-dated cheques to me, so that's a small victory too.

I played 7 Days to Die with my friend V. on Friday evening, and went to bed WAY too late. I knew I had to get up early the next morning for a 06:00 Skype date with my parents, after which I was meant to drive to Montreal for [livejournal.com profile] le_maistre_e 's birthday Dim Sum party. Still, because V.'s computer has been on the fritz for nearly a month, I rationalized to myself that I'd go to bed early Saturday night and make up for it then. Remember this bit, because it will come back later.

Saturday was my mother's birthday, and the Skype call was fun, if maybe a bit shorter than usual. They were expecting my aunt to come to lunch, so I actually got to see her briefly before we hung up, which was nice. She had cancer last year, and had to undergo chemo for a while. She was looking quite good, as it turns out (my mother was convinced that she'd have lost all her hair and look like a skeleton, in spite of evidence to the contrary), if a little fragile. As far as I know she's in remission now, which is good news all around.

I hopped in the car and drove to Montreal, which as usual went well until I got into the city proper, at which point the construction nightmare resumed, and I found myself threading my way through detour after detour until I got to Chinatown. The restaurant itself was on a one-way street that, unbeknownst to me, had been blocked at the end. Why unbeknownst to me? Because there was no sign saying it had been blocked off! So I had to do a U-turn and go back the wrong way up a one-lane one-way street until I managed to find an alleyway I could use to get out of there. Good times. I do not miss Montreal and its shitty traffic and its shitty street signs, let me tell you. I miss my friends and family, but I've become spoiled in Ottawa, where getting around with your car is not a logistical nightmare on the best of days.

The birthday Dim Sum was a lot of fun, as was the outing afterward for bubble tea and cheese cake. I geeked out with friends, caught up with people I hadn't seen in weeks and months, and it was all over far too soon. I did leave on time, though, and managed to get back to Ottawa without mishap. Since it was still relatively early (18:00 or so), I took a couple of hours to run some errands. I was out of milk, and I needed to pull together supplies for First Day School on Sunday (I was meant to lead again, and the first Sunday of the month is always potluck, as I think I've mentioned before).

That's when things went south. I was a little surprised when I got home that Sergent didn't immediately get up to greet me, but when I looked over he was lying quietly on his bed, so I assumed he was just continuing his nap. That was quickly put to the lie less than an hour later when I heard the unmistakable sound of nails scrabbling against the floor. When I went over to check what was happening, I found him unable to get up under his own power. Even with me helping him, he couldn't stand for long, poor puppy. I ran for my coat and boots, and then spent nearly 20 minutes maneuvering the poor dog to the car. He weighs 90 pounds these days (he always gains a bit of weight in the winter), and that's about 10 pounds more than I can deadlift, unfortunately. I just can't pick him up and carry him (I'll have to start going to the gym again or something). Luckily with some coaxing and support from me, he was able to limp to the car. I could see then that it was his front left leg that was giving him trouble, and not just weakness in his hindquarters. I was able to lift him into the backseat, and drove him to the nearest emergency vet (which, luckily, is about five minutes from my house), where the vet tech and the assistant got a stretcher for him and carried him inside.

Once there he was sort of able to stand for a little bit, long enough for them to weigh him (which is why I know exactly how much he weighs right now) and for him to then poop all over their floor (oops). An examination revealed him to have a fever on top of the mystery leg injury. So $900 later we had bloodworm and an x-ray done, all of which led the vet to the inevitable conclusion of "We're not really sure." Nice to know that Sergent's streak of mystery ailments continues unbroken. :P They pumped him full of hydropmorphone in order to perform the x-rays, and he spent the rest of the night stoned out of his gourd. It was actually pretty funny, amidst the rest of the shit show that was that whole night. We spent nearly an hour in a nice quiet room with a leather sofa while he recovered a bit (he lay on the sofa, lucky dog, but also had diarrhea all over it, which was maybe less ideal), and after two and a half hours total spent at the vet's they loaded him back into the car, and I drove him home.

The story doesn't end there, alas. I couldn't get him out of the car at all once we were home. He refused to stand up under his own power, and I couldn't get the proper leverage to lift him out on my own. I wasn't sure if this was the result of the hydromorphone (he was still pretty loopy) or a combination of that and his leg injury. Either way, I could not get him to budge. So, I decided to wait and see if, when the narcotics wore off, he'd be more willing to come with me. Long story short, we slept in the car. Let me tell you, sleeping in your car is overrated. For one, Sergent picked the coldest day of the week to need to spend the night in the car, so I had to run the engine quite a bit to keep us (mostly me, probably) both warm, and I was really worried that someone would come across the still-running car and report me (for what, I don't know, but I was overtired). 

Anyway, morning broke, and Sergent still wouldn't get up, so back we went to the emergency vet. I wrote an email to the First Day School volunteers, and thank goodness they agreed to pinch hit for me, because I was a bit of a wreck by then. The same assistant and a new tech carried Sergent back inside, and we got seen by the day vet. It took all three of them to get him up and moving, but by then he managed to start walking around mostly on his own. I took him out a few feet away for a pee, and the vet gave him some makeshift physiotherapy, after which we went home again. It took me another ten minutes to get him inside, but after I lifted him out of the car he was able to mostly manage the stairs on his own, which I took as an encouraging sign. I gave him his pain meds (Tramadol), and he actually asked to go back outside on his own (poor puppy still had the runs) and managed it on his own reasonably well. Then we both got a much-needed nap.

He's doing okay today. He's obviously not 100%, but he's putting a lot more weight on his leg than before, and I was able to get him to eat a little bit, at least. I think the Tramadol makes him feel nauseated, so his appetite has obviously been affected.

Once my nap was over I ended up spending the rest of the evening bookending my weekend with 7 Days to Die with V. and later my friend M., before passing out in bed at a more reasonable hour than on Friday. So, yes, the moral of that story is: don't go to bed late thinking you'll be able to make up for it the next night, because that guarantees you'll have to spend the night in the car with your sick dog. ;)

I'm scheduled for a Skype call with my parents at noon today. My father sent me a slightly panicky email about my living situation, which tells me he's even more stressed about it than I am. He said he would help me out, but I'm disappointed that the content of his message implied that all of this was actually my fault, that if only I kept the house cleaner or whatever, that I wouldn't be having trouble with my landlady. Why didn't I accept her offer? he wanted to know. Why didn't I get a house cleaner before? Why not agree to pay more money so I could stay on here? His offer to support me boiled down to "I will help you fix your fuck-up," which is not exactly the ringing endorsement I would have liked. It's disheartening to feel that, after all this time, my parents still default to the notion that if something bad has happened, it must be because I made a mess of things, and not because the other party is at fault. I constantly hear about parents these days who refused to believe that their precious darlings could ever do anything wrong, and I confess I'd like it if my parents took that stance more often. :P

In conclusion, I had an interesting weekend. Lots of ups and downs, so it's difficult to say whether it was "bad" or "good." I guess it just was.

What a week

Mar. 5th, 2017 10:28 pm
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've been remiss the past couple of days. There was a lot of running around, birthdays, and an emergency trip to the vet with the dog. I am heading to bed to collapse, and I will update in detail tomorrow. Sergent is sick and in pain, but he's doing better than yesterday, so no need for anyone to worry too much just now.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Shit)
:::Apologies if this posts twice. LJ is being a dick about crossposting from DW, so I am copy/pasting my original entry:::

I ran eight hours of D&D today, taking a break from landlady craziness and real world responsibilities. My players finally made it out of the cave system they were exploring and went back home, fighting a banshee and a bunch of tree blights on the way. Apart from that one fairly intense combat, it was a role-play-heavy session, which was a nice change of pace. They got to meet some new NPCs, have some downtime, and several of them are coming out of their shells as role-players, which is ncie to see. I need to work on not having my NPC accents waver all over the place.

Next session should be more role-play stuff more than combat, so I'll have to do some more plot and NPC prep for that, which I haven't done in a while. I have to start pulling the mythology of my home-brew world into a semblance of order so that I can start weaving in the overarching plot to their everyday encounters. It will be more work, but I think if I can pull it off it will be super rewarding for all of us.

There's not much else to report on today. I slept super badly because we had several thunderstorms last night, so my sleep was bookended by the dog freaking the hell out next to my bed. He wanted to come up and get comfort cuddles, and the first time he climbed up behind me and lay down exactly in the spot I usuall sleep and refused to budge. I had to physically lift all 85 pounds of him out of the way so I could lie down, but he did get comfort cuddles the way he wanted. Tis morning it was the same thing, except he couldn't get up onto te bed, soI had to get up and lift him up with me. Anyway, it was not super restful. Poor puppy, he really does hate thunderstorms. :(

The goal is to get better sleep tonight, and tomorrow is the first time in months I'll be able to go to Meeting without being responsible for the kids as well. It'll be nice to actually sit in Meeting and be part of the group worship for once.
mousme: A turquoise twenty-sided die that has landed on "1." The caption reads: "Shit." (Natural One)
 I ran eight hours of D&D today, taking a break from landlady craziness and real world responsibilities. My players finally made it out of the cave system they were exploring and went back home, fighting a banshee and a bunch of tree blights on the way. Apart from that one fairly intense combat, it was a role-play-heavy session, which was a nice change of pace. They got to meet some new NPCs, have some downtime, and several of them are coming out of their shells as role-players, which is nice to see. I need to work on not having my NPC accents waver all over the place. XD

Next session should be more role-play stuff more than combat, so I'll have to do some more plot and NPC prep for that, which I haven't done in a while. I have to start pulling the mythology of my home-brew world into a semblance of order so that I can start weaving in the overarching plot to their everyday encounters. It will be more work, but I think if I can pull it off it will be super rewarding for all of us.

There's not much else to report on today. I slept super badly because we had several thunderstorms last night, so my sleep was bookended by the dog freaking the hell out next to my bed. He wanted to come up and get comfort cuddles, and the first time he climbed up behind me and lay down exactly in the spot I usually sleep and refused to budge. I had to physically lift all 85 pounds of him out of the way so I could lie down, but he did get comfort cuddles the way he wanted. This morning it was the same thing, except he couldn't get up onto the bed, so I had to get up and lift him up with me. Anyway, it was not super restful. Poor puppy, he really does hate thunderstorms. :(

The goal is to get better sleep tonight, and tomorrow is the first time in months I'll be able to go to Meeting without being responsible for the kids as well. It'll be nice to actually sit in Meeting and be part of the group worship for once.
mousme: A picture of the muppet Forgetful Jones from Sesame Street (Forgetful Jones)
 My father left for a working trip to Hanoi last Sunday, and I've been calling my mother every day since then to check on her. This is the first time that I've been actively worried about my mother when my father's been away that I can recall. The main reason I'm worried is that my mother took a header into a store window a few weeks ago. I was looking through my entries to see if I mentioned it when it happened, but I apparently didn't, so I'll give a bit of background first.

For those of you who are new (or newish) to this LJ (hi, people from the friending meme!), my parents officially qualify as Elderly™ even if they don't act it. My mother is going to be eighty (!!!) in March, and has stage 2 emphysema, glaucoma (on top of not seeing well to begin with), and osteoporosis. She also has a bad hip, and refuses to take her walking stick with her when she goes out, because she's stubborn. We got lucky this time with the grocery store incident. My godmother (who is considerably younger than my mother and has a driver's license) happened to be there entirely coincidentally, and so she was able to step in ahead of all the useless do-gooders and make sure my mother was taken care of. My mother hit her head hard enough to split open her forehead, and she rocked two black eyes and a serious goose egg for weeks. The goose egg is still there, in fact, though everything else has healed up nicely.

Because she is my mother, she refused to go to the hospital to be checked for a concussion, and I didn't find out about it until nearly two days later, whereupon I read both her and my father the riot act. He sheepishly took her for x-rays the next morning, and all appears to be well. Like I said, we got lucky. It could have been *so* much worse. She could have fractured her skull, or broken any number of bones, thank you osteoporosis.

So I'm worried because now she's by herself, without my physically healthy father there to keep an eye on her. I am a minimum of two hours away in good weather, which means that I can't get there quickly in an emergency. Anyway, in an attempt to assuage my worry (and the attendant guilt), I've asked my godmother to please check in on her while my father's gone for the next three weeks or so. My godmother is leaving town on the 17th, but it's still better than nothing, I guess. I may call my other godmother and ask her to check in as well, just in case.

In the meantime, my mother has been slightly less stubborn these last few days, and has agreed to at least update her emergency contact information and have it clearly visible on her person at all times. We've also got a plan in place for when she leaves on March 1st to join my father in Paris, since she'll be traveling alone. She's agreed to request assistance at the airport in order to get shuttled around by their services, which is reassuring. I don't like the idea of her tottering around while people who are in a hurry rush around her, increasing her risk of getting knocked over. Last time I traveled with her I often had to physically interpose myself between other people and her because they simply weren't looking where they were going.


In more local news, the dog is having yet another bout of gastrointestinal distress. He's still in fine spirits, eating and drinking fine, so I'm not overly worried about him. The inconvenient part is that he asks to go out every 1-2 hours while I'm trying to sleep, and it is exhausting. I've had about four hours of broken sleep today as a result (I got home late from work because I was discussing union stuff with a coworker—more on that later), and am not looking forward to another twelve-hour night shift after that.

I was going to go into detail on another subject, but I just saw that it was ten to five, which means I have to get my act in gear for work. I have no idea where the time went today, but I have twenty minutes or so before I have to leave. I will come back to discuss Star Wars: The Clone Wars (I have begun watching on the recommendation of friends, and so far have mixed feelings), as well as the Hugely Complicated Issue Of Becoming Unionized At Work And Attendant Other Things™.

See you on the flip side, LJ!
mousme: An RCMP officer in ceremonial uniform swinging around a horizontal bar. (Maintain the Right)
The training is, as I feared, rather boring, and filled with acronyms. Like, 43 pages' worth of acronyms, and that's not an exaggeration, it's the real number. Luckily I don't have to learn them all by heart. The instructor is very experienced in his field, but he doesn't exactly have a flair for pedagogy. He spent the day reading PowerPoint slides to us, of which we already had paper copies. I practically faceplanted on my desk out of boredom. I'm not the most engaging speaker ever, but I flatter myself that on the whole, I can do better than that.

It didn't help that the poor dog kept me up half the night with digestive distress. Again. He's very sweet about it: he just comes and stands politely by my bed until I wake up, but the fact remains that I was up every hour and a half and was therefore very tired today. Combine that with hours of very boring class and a darkened room to allow for the PowerPoint presentation, and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. I hope the instructor didn't notice. That would be super embarrassing for the both of us.

The plan today is to go to bed early, in the hopes that I will be better rested tomorrow. It's been a refreshing change to be able to get home before dark, in any event. Eight hour days practically feel like a vacation these days. Almost.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Always Summer)
Warning: contains harm to an animal done by another animal )

In other news, everyone is dying this year. Brian Bedford, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Mohamed Ali, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Anton Yelchin, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and now George Michael. I'm sure I've forgotten a bunch. Not to mention Carrie Fisher's massive heart attack, from which no one is sure she'll recover. Though if anyone can give 2016 the finger, it's our General.

Someone on Twitter summed up this year nicely:
Uncheerful thoughts about 2017 )On the plus side, so far Christmas has been kind to me. I've put up a tree, which the cats, weirdly, are ignoring entirely. Clearly, Christmas ornaments just aren't as interesting as live mice. It was a bit of an adventure, as first of all the place I went to no longer had any small trees, so I am now boasting an eight-foot tree, which I had to cut down a bit because my ceilings are not high enough to accommodate eight feet of tree plus a stand. I have a special stand that I bought years ago at Canadian Tire, which balances your tree by itself so that perpetually single people like me can put up a tree on their own. It still works well after all these years, and after being left outside for two years in the rain and the snow (because I'm a careless person, sometimes).

Second, I had trouble with the tree lights. I bought a second strand (because eight foot tree), and wound it first around the tree. I was talking to my mother on the phone, and accidentally unplugged the power supply while I was trying to light the strand. Oops. Then when I got her back on the line I dropped the phone again, so we decided to call it there rather than invite further problems.

That's when I discovered that my first strand had a neutral prong that was bigger than the hot prong (which is how most are made these days), while the new strand had equal sized prongs, which made them incompatible. No worries, I thought, I would simply switch them around and plus the new strand into the old strand instead of vice versa. No dice. The old strand only had half the lights working. Since these are LED strands, I don't think it's a question of one light being burnt out (the way they used to: I have memories of exasperatedly switching out one bulb after the other to determine which was the defective one, and sometimes it was two bulbs and then you were screwed), so I had to go out and get more strands. I got two to be on the safe side, so now I have a very lit tree. No complaints, tbh. I didn't even have to use the extension cord I got.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (White People)
So, yeah, I really should found that company called "Good Intentions Asphalt and Cement."

I keep telling myself I should update more, and then more life stuff happens, and then I get overwhelmed with how much I'd have to write to get everyone up to speed, and so I just... don't post. Not my most shining moments, let me tell you.

Cut because of triggers for mental illness and weight/body image issues )

Did I tell you my plans of taking dog training courses and eventually opening up my own business? I think I did. Anyway, the first semester is over, and the theory is going really well. The practice? Not so much. We're observing one of the puppy classes (which is going fine), and then doing basic obedience with our own dogs, following the new curriculum. The problem is that poor Sergent's anxiety levels go through the roof when he's in that class. First he has to sit or lie quietly for an hour during the puppy class behind a board so the puppies can't see him, and that stresses him out (because he can hear the high-energy puppies and can't see them and isn't free to move around). By the time obedience class comes around he's a nervous wreck. On several occasions he nearly pulled my shoulder out of its socket trying to get to the exit, poor thing. Of course, when he's that stressed he can't learn, and having him learn is a big part of how I'm being evaluated. So I have no idea if I'm going to pass this class or not. I also need to take Sergent to the vet, because I think the anxiety is making him chew his paws and his side, but I want to make sure it's just that and not a sign of something worse.

If I do pass, I've decided to skip the spring semester and do the fall semester instead. I've found it extremely punishing on my body and my schedule to do these classes, and I could use the break until September. Not to mention the finances. These classes are extremely expensive. In the meantime, I'm going to educate myself on how to start up my own business, and see if it's something I can realistically do.

Anyway, I have to jet to work. See you on the flip side!
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Happiness)
Off work for a bit longer )
What have I been doing in the interim? Well, for a week or so I stayed in, napped a lot, and did a lot of gaming. I've slowly been crawling out of my shell to venture outdoors again, and visiting the vegetable garden a bit more, and mostly trying to reset my brain back to normal parameters.

The veggie garden is doing beautifully.Veggie garden update, picture-heavy )

The rest of my time has been spent playing computer games.
Gaming stuff behind the cut )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Always Summer)
Sorry about the feelings-vomit in the previous post. I will try to be more upbeat about things, as much as I can.

I was out and about a bit today, for the first time during my vacation (other than the jaunt to Montreal to see Captain America). I got up at a relatively decent hour, but then kind of procrastinated during the morning on getting anything done. Still, I saw that my basil plants were threatening to bolt again, so this time I went at them viciously with a pair of scissors. I'm hoping I was fast enough, but a few of the stems have turned woody, which tells me I may not get more leaves from them. I took some cuttings the other day in order to try to propagate the basil, but they are looking pretty wilted, so I'm not optimistic. I seem to have the darnedest time getting basil to keep growing. I don't suppose any of my gardening people have tips or tricks for me?
More gardening stuff )

Books, and a review of Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Random Sentences)
Hello, and welcome to the new people from the friending meme! I am trying to be better about posting. We shall see how long my good intentions last! This is a really nice road I'm paving, I wonder where it leads? ;)

I had a bit of a day today. In the grand scheme of things it wasn't anything terrible, but it felt unnecessarily stressful. My current landlady and I have a bit of a fraught relationship. She's a hot-tempered Italian lady who runs a hair salon. She favours long fake nails, platinum blonde hair, skin-tight white jeans, and an enormous white SUV. Now, I'm not usually one to make a big deal over cultural differences (I will totally cop to being a snob, but I'm a self-aware snob, at least), but I think it illustrates where we have trouble communicating. She tends to perceive a problem and immediately fly off the handle and threatens to evict me (always over voicemail), and then once we've actually spoken in person she calms right down again, because it's never as dire as she assumed it was. This has happened three times now, and each time, once I've seen her face to face, she climbs down off the ledge she's on and apologizes for pitching a fit. It's exhausting.

Anyway, today wasn't a threaten-to-evict-me day, at least. Instead, she called at 16:00 to tell me that she'd hired people to come clean out the air vents, and they were coming at 17:00. Yeah. That's right. One hour later. Actually, she first said they'd be there between 17:00 and 21:00. We had the following exchange:

Landlady: "They're going to be there between 5pm and 9pm."

Me: "I'm working tomorrow, [Landlady]. On work nights I'm usually in bed by 8pm, because I have to get up early."

Landlady: "Oh, GOOD, you'll be home, then!"

Me: "..."

Me: "No, [Landlady], what I meant was, I'm home at that time, but I'm usually asleep."

Landlady: *breezily* "Oh, well, they'll probably be there at 5 anyway."


As it turned out, they arrived at 16:40. Now, new people to this LJ will not be aware that I am, to put it mildly, a terrible housekeeper. Combine that with working long shifts, as well as four cats and a dog, and you may not be surprised to learn that my house is, on a regular basis, a disaster area. Today was not an exception to that, and so I did a bit of a mad scramble to get things moderately presentable so that the workmen could come in and access all the air vents and registers.

The noise terrified all the pets, to the point I had to bring the dog outside so he'd stop freaking out. Two of the cats hid under the shelves in the pantry, one hid on top of a bookcase, and another under my bed. Poor kitties. Then my landlady informed me that ANOTHER crew was coming for furnace maintenance, "between 6pm and 10pm." I showed great restraint and didn't lunge at her throat. Feel free to drop off cookies in this handy container here. *puts box out*

Anyway, the furnace guy actually arrived at 19:30, and was gone an hour later, so it wasn't too terrible. It's now way past my bedtime, but I'm all cranked up from running around after workmen, so I'm trying to wind down by writing an LJ entry. Could be worse.

I got more work done on the garden today, in more exciting news. I obtained some cucumber seedlings and took them, the dog, and some gardening supplies to the community garden. I had spotted a (rather expensive) planter at Costco yesterday, and decided to acquire it today, but it was sold out when I got there, much to my disappointment. At least it saved me some money. So now, unless I decide to squeeze in some herbs, my community plot is completely planted. Time to sit back, water and weed occasionally, then reap the rewards! The tomato seedlings seem to have borne up well overnight, too, which is a good sign. Here's hoping the cucumber holds up as well!

IMG_7226.jpgIMG_7225.jpg

(As someone else said, my potted husky is flowering beautifully!)

I repotted all the mint into a planter on my patio, but ran out of energy before I could get to the basil, thyme, rosemary, and remaining tomatoes. Even if I'd had the energy, it was soon after that my landlady called and set the furnace adventures into motion. I was going to try to get the rest done tomorrow after work, but I just got reminded that I volunteered to help clear out the garden at the Quaker meetinghouse tomorrow evening already. Whoops! Guess it may have to wait an extra day. I'll water the seedlings well and hope they can tough out another day or so.

Someone remind me that, in the next few days, I should talk about D&D! I started watching an online stream/show on Twitch called "Critical Role," which is literally a livestream of a D&D campaign. You know how, very often, watching other people roleplay if you're not in the game is super boring? This show is the exception to that rule! It helps that it's run and played by professional voice actors. I love the show so much that it actually inspired me to get back into D&D and roleplaying, and then somehow some of my Twitter friends ganged up on me and now I'm actually running a game for them. We've had two sessions so far, and I'm pleased to report that, fourteen years after I ran my last game, I no longer suck as a DM. I'm still learning the ropes, but I've figured out a bit of the mental flexibility required to juggle plot lines and the like.

In short, remind me to go into detail about this later on! I mean, most of you may find it boring, but I know for a fact that a few of you are gamers, and therefore I need yell at you about how awesome Critical Role is. ;)

On that note, I should head to bed. Sleep is a precious commodity around these parts.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Virtual Timbits!)
It's my birthday!

Capricornucopia isn't until the end of the month, due to scheduling conflicts. I feel oddly un-birthdayish this year, in the same way I felt un-Christmasish as well. I think it was mainly the fact that there was no snow going into the holidays. I usually ride the holiday high right into my birthday, and that didn't happen this year.

On the plus side, I'm 37 years old today! It feels a little weird. Somehow, I never really pictured myself past the age of 35, so I'm now in that grey-foggy area of my life that I never thought about, and I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm currently torn between two courses of action, so that's not helping. I think once I've made a decision about it all, things will settle down. Overall, I'm really enjoying this period of my life, so no complaints.

I know I said something about resolutions in a previous post, and I may try to post those later today, if there's time. I have to take Sergent and Octavia to the vet (her for shots, him for bloodwork and such), and I'd like to take myself to see Star Wars afterward, if I can, as a birthday present to myself. We shall see. I haven't seen a movie in the theatres since I went to see Avengers back in... July? I think? Maybe it was August, I can't remember.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (A Little Worship)

Clearly, it's not working for me. I used to post to LJ a million times a day, but that was before Twitter gave me an outlet for all those random thoughts that pop into my head that I feel compelled to share with the world. ;)

So nowadays I wait until I feel I have something of substance to say in order to post here, but let's face it, I rarely have anything of substance to say these days. It's all fleeting thoughts and superficial impressions, all the time!

Volunteering and Google Alert Weirdness! )

Rambling about routines and health and sleep and stuff )

I think later this week I'll make a more upbeat post with all the new projects I want to do in my copious amounts of spare time. Those are a lot more fun than all this whining about being tired and out of shape and not having enough time or energy to do things. So, an upbeat post to look forward to!

This has been a rambly, long-winded post. Thank you for bearing with me as I basically process everything in my head out loud. ;)

mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Gone Out)
Moving house is eating my brain and taking up all my CPU. With any luck I will be back and posting properly after I've moved. The date is set for November 4th. Yay! Also, ACK!

Quick update on the State of the Phnee:

  1. I am trying to pack like the wind, and mostly packing like molasses uphill in January. Still, things progress.

  2. Sergent finally got his ultrasound done (God, that shit is expensive!), and the good news is that he doesn't have cancer or Cushing's. The bad news is that the vet couldn't tell what the hell is going wrong with his liver, so we've got him on some expensive medication for a month to see if that helps his liver a little bit.

  3. Octavia (my new kitten) got spayed the day before yesterday and is doing fine, except for how much she hates the Cone of Shame. It bends her whiskers out of shape and so messes with her balance and makes her walk funny. Poor kitty. I'm hoping to take the cone off in a couple of days, as soon as her surgical incision has healed a bit more.

  4. I was planning to maybe throw a small going-away party, but I realise now that I can't pull it off in the time I have, given all the work I still have to do. Sorry, everyone. Either you'll have to come to my housewarming in Ottawa, or else we can have a get-together the next time I'm in Montreal. Deal?

  5. Packing. ALL THE PACKING.

  6. Moving is hard. And stressful. And expensive. Boy howdy, is it expensive.

  7. Also, because I am a masochist, I've decided to do NaNoWriMo this year.

mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Cats See Futures)
It's quiet at work, and I have officially reached the so-tired-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself level of tired. I haven't been able to properly focus on anything for... I've lost track of how long. It's unfortunate, but what can you do?

My calendar has filled up dramatically in a matter of days. Starting tomorrow practically every minute of every day this week is booked for stuff. Tomorrow I drive back to Montreal and have to stop at Reno in order to get refunded for The Fence That Never Was, and then I have to call the vet to book an ultrasound appointment for Sergent. The vet has changed her mind about deciding that he doesn't have Cushing's, but we can't rule anything out either. So this week I have to monitor his water intake down to practically the last molecule, then he's getting an ultrasound, and then I get to consult with a specialist in internal veterinary medicine to see what, exactly, has gone wrong with my dog's liver. Cushings? Liver failure? Something in between? Who knows? I'll find out within a few weeks, I guess. Tuesday I'm seeing [livejournal.com profile] toughlovemuse in the early afternoon, then heading into Montreal for errands, and having dinner with my parents. Wednesday I have more errands to run during the morning, am catching up lickety-split with a not-on-LJ friend on Wednesday afternoon, and then I'm meant to spend the late afternoon/evening with [livejournal.com profile] luvenditti. That leaves me with Thursday morning to maybe do some laundry and a few chores before I head back to Ottawa in the afternoon.

I'm looking forward to the day when the house will be sold and I'll be settled in whatever new place I've found, so that I won't have this ridiculous commute that basically robs me of two days a week. It will be nice to be able to sleep slightly more regular hours, since sleep tends to be the first thing that gets sacrificed on my commute day back from Ottawa. However, since that day has not yet come, I will simply have to make the current situation work for a little while longer.

In the meantime, I've been trying to make lists of everything I need to get done, and then I usually give up in despair when those lists end up not only longer than my arm, but longer than I can keep track of.
Part of me wants to just try to take this one day at a time, but I can't actually do that. The nature of my job, my schedule, and the way my life is going these days requires a lot of fairly meticulous planning, along with a fuckton of flexibility because things are changing at the drop of a hat. In short: ack.

Life can start getting less stressful any day now, thanks.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Clever Canadians)
Well, I didn't miss it so much as I slept through it. Night shifts will do that to you.

Happy belated Canada Day, everyone! *cough*

I have at once very little and too much to talk about these days, so much so that every time I open up a new LJ post my mind kind of goes blank. Part of me feels guilty about making a personal post when I still haven't finished my June posts, and another part of me just doesn't even know where to begin with a personal post anyway.

*throws up hands*

Neurotic? Me? Never. :P

Tonight is my last night shift for the week. I'm heading home directly after this because the fence guys are coming at 7:00, and I am quite sure that unless someone is there to guide them with a firm hand, they will find more reasons to freak out and not build a fence for me. It's been three weeks now since the last time they were supposed to build the fence, and I'll be damned if I let this get put off a single day more.

On Thursday I have a guy coming in to install the new floor in the basement, which means that tomorrow (technically today, I guess) I'll be spending the day moving all the stuff out of the basement so he can work. Well, all the stuff that can be moved, I suppose. I can't move any of the appliances (too heavy), and there's the giant wall unit that will have to be taken apart before it can be moved. Also the turtle tank, though we can at least empty that and move the turtle as needed. There is so much stuff in the basement right now that it feels a little overwhelming, but I figure once I get started it won't be as bad as I imagine. I've always had the tendency to blow things out of proportion in my mind, after all.

I'm not sure how long the floor will take to install, but I'm assuming it'll be a 2-3 day job, given that there will be furniture to move around. That means that he will hopefully be done by Saturday, or Sunday at the latest, which means that the house can then go up for sale ASAP. If he's done on Saturday then I can get stuff settled back in the basement on Sunday. On Thursday and Friday, while the work is going on in the basement I'm going to do a big push to pack non-essentials and start the process of "staging" the house, to make it look as appealing as possible to potential buyers. That means de-cluttering the bedroom in particular, packing some of the books and organising the rest, and clearing up space on shelves and counters and such. Hopefully the buyers will be able to see past the piles of boxes and throw all their money at me. ;)

If the house doesn't provoke much interest right away, I will discuss painting with my real estate agent. I already need to paint at least one wall in the basement, and will probably need to fix/paint the back wall that Smudge damaged all those years ago when he used to use the wall as a ladder to climb up into the basement ceiling to hide. There are pretty deep scratch marks in the wall that I have no idea how to fix, but I assume putty and paint will be involved.

Long before the emergency in Moncton, I committed to three days of overtime next week. Just the thought of it kind of makes me want to weep from exhaustion, but the extra money will come in useful, I suppose. I just don't know when I'm going to get anything done. Even if/when the house will be empty eventually, I kind of have to be there in order to get work done. I can't paint the walls remotely, no matter how hard I try. ;) At this point, getting the house painted by someone else is pretty much out of the question, as I have officially run out of money for renovations/prettying the place up. If I can find inexpensive white paint I can do it myself, since I can't imagine it would cost that much to buy enough paint for the walls, but I can't afford to pay someone else to do it. *sigh* Why is everything expensive?

This weekend the dog goes back to the vet, speaking of expensive things. The good news is, he doesn't have Cushings. The bad news is that he has Something Unspecified going on with his liver, which means blood tests AND taking him to the very expensive clinic in Lachine for an ultrasound. This will let the vet determine (we hope!) if his high levels of ALP are due to a tumour or to something else or who the fuck knows. He'll also be getting the stitches out of his eyelid on Saturday, which will be good news for all concerned. Here's hoping that that's the last we will ever hear about this eye surgery, because there's been quite enough veterinary trauma to last me a lifetime this year.

I'm not entirely sure how Sunday is going to shape up. I think I'm going to have to plan to leave later than I normally would, since I'm going to be gone for a week instead of the normal four days. So I have to pack as much stuff into the four days I'll be home as I humanly can, to make sure that I don't fall too far behind schedule. Then I'll be home the following Sunday evening, all of Monday, and then run back to work on the Tuesday for another five day stretch. Good times. Basically, July can be summed up as renos-work-work-renos-packing-work-work-work-try to sell the house-work-work-packing-work. Or something like that. Possibly not exactly in that order, and maybe with more work thrown in there for good measure.

So that's the summary of the last few days for me. Nothing at all, except for worrying about work, the house, and the dog, not necessarily in that order either.
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (Sergent)
I remembered that I wrote a post about pets the other day, so I'm not sure how much more there is to actually say on the topic of the pets I've always wanted to have.

I'm still a little too raw over losing George and Pan-Pan (who's now been missing 22 days, not that I'm counting) to post any picspam of or stories about the cats.

I'm hoping [livejournal.com profile] elanya won't mind too much if I take a raincheck on a really long post about the pets. Instead, have some adorable pictures of the dog! I don't know if I should even try formatting these.Sergent behind the cut! )
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (All Cylons)
This is going to be brief, but I figured I was about due for something that wasn't a response to a prompt.

After Wednesday's really fucking traumatic events, life kept going, as life tends to do. I spent most of Thursday trying very hard not to cry at the drop of a hat, and I succeeded about half of the time. Mostly every time I'm not actively busy doing or thinking about something else, I keep replaying the ten minutes of George's death in my mind, in very graphic technicolor.

Around mid-morning I let the dog out into the yard, and when he came back his face was covered in blood. It turned out not to be serious, but I could really use a day without pet-related trauma now. He has a growth over his eye that irritates it quite a bit, and he tends to worry at it with his paw, so yesterday he managed to scratch his eyelid badly enough to bleed all over his face. Off we went to the vet, who checked him out, made sure his eye wasn't damaged, and then sent him home with a new anti-inflammatory/antibiotic ointment and a Cone of Shame™.

The dog is not happy with the Cone of Shame. It's pretty funny from my standpoint though. Whenever we go for a walk he insist on trying to sniff every hydro post we go by, and whacks the cone against each and every one, without fail. Even if the posts were fifteen feet apart, by the time we got to the next one he'd optimistically try to sniff it, and bonk the cone against it again. I was in stitches by the time our walk was over.

I also got a cute new haircut today! I was well overdue for a haircut, and my uncle's 70th birthday party is on Sunday, so I did something nice for myself and went into town to see my hairdresser. I will post a picture tomorrow, maybe, if time permits, because for now I have none uploaded and it's getting late. Still, I quite like the new look, even though some of my hair is now short enough that I can't tuck it behind my ears and it's getting in my eyes and rather annoying. Il taut souffrir pour être belle, I guess.

I've made up posters and flyers for Pan-Pan, in the hopes that he might have followed some neighbour home, friendly soul that he is. For all I know he's eating tuna in someone's kitchen and happy as a clam. This is what I'm hoping, though I'm not really holding my breath. I've already put up some posters, made a Facebook and Tumblr post (if you're following me in either of those places, a signal boost would be most appreciated!), and tomorrow I'll be hitting the road with my flyers to stick in people's mail boxes.

Okay. I have a busy weekend ahead of me, so more news as things develop. Good night, LJ.

I'm back!

May. 2nd, 2014 09:05 am
mousme: A view of a woman's legs from behind, wearing knee-high rainbow socks. The rest of the picture is black and white. (White People)
The laptop charger arrived, so I am all set. When finances loosen up a little I am going to get myself another one, so I can keep one in Montreal and one in Ottawa. I think it was at least partly the fact that I had to wrap the cord over and over and over that led to the plastic/rubber casing wearing out and then fraying to the point of snapping. If I make the cords travel less, I'm sure they'll survive longer. Plus it'll save space when I pack.

The week in review. )

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