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 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.