Acedia Domesticus

We must believe
The hours of this situation
Present education
In cultivating celebration
Through graceful service
Of fortunate appetite
And felicitous occasion

-5.25.2018, the latest #spampoetry

It’s almost the middle of the year, and we’re coming up on six years in Northern Virginia, which is now tied with California for the longest @bhoneydew and I have ever lived anywhere together. It has been the longest we’ve ever been at the same address:  we moved twice when we were in California, three times if you count the month we spent in San Diego before we moved north.

Does this house finally seem like home?  No.  Most days, it feels like we haven’t finished unpacking. Even though we got rid of moving boxes right away (having the basement flooded by Sandy did help with that), we still have pictures and artwork stashed in a closet wrapped in the same bubble wrap I taped around it when we left New Jersey.  Yes, that was two moves ago.  Yes, the stuff hasn’t left that closet since we rescued it from flood waters then returned it right back to the basement after it was torn up, dried, scrubbed, repaired and I spent three months yelling at our escrow company so they would just give us the freaking money our insurance company had already said we could have to pay our contractors.

The argument has been that we’ll put the stuff on the walls when the painting’s done. Is the painting done?  No.  Some of it is done, though, and has been for a while, but eh, busy, no time to fool with it, there’s work and school and stuff and even scrubbing toilets is more entertaining than going through the trouble of moving everything and doing the rest of the painting ourselves and being vaguely unhappy with the results and then having a real estate agent’s eventually telling us we do have to get it all redone by professionals because we aren’t experts at it not even close … or even giving up and hiring professionals because that means we’ll still have to move everything and have to live around having people in our house doing the stuff and it might take months, just look at the patio that was supposed to take three weeks and took a year and we still need to get the last sign offs on it!

Et cetera.

But, I did get the tile floor fixed in the Monster’s bathroom.  That took two days, or six years, depending on how you look at it.1 I got the roof dealt with immediately after the late winter storms took shingles off it.  That took a day. This year, I found someone to mow the yard right away, instead of waiting until the local wildlife showed up on the front porch and suggested we seek help, or at least try to get named a nature preserve.2  I also picked up a new couch and chair for the living room, instead of just circling around “I don’t want to do that, because it’ll get damaged in the next move:  let’s just keep the beat up stuff we already have”. That took a week, and I felt really good about myself afterwards.

Not as good as I felt after wrapping up my spring semester of classes, sure, but pretty good, yep!

So I guess there’s hope, if you can call it that.

Or we’ll just convince ourselves that this house really is cursed and move even though we don’t have a sane reason to do so, and we genuinely do have too much going on right now to want to invite that flavor of chaos back into our lives.


1This house was a new construction spec, which the builder decided to interpret as “hey, you bought it after it was built, so we’re going to ignore your punch list, and forget all about doing those three and six month inspections we promised, and decide that you waived your right to a year one inspection because you brought in outside contractors to tear out your basement finishing and do mold remediation after it flooded even though we didn’t intend to offer you or any other resident of this subdivision help in dealing with that.”
2Am I even trying to do any gardening this year?  The sack of bulbs that have been parked by the door for a month suggest I’m still thinking about it, but we’ll see.

Reading the Signs

You are not right.
Let’s discuss.

-latest #spamconcern

The anonymous bot script is correct: I am not right. My left ear has been ringing since the beginning of the school year. It’s not always at the same volume or frequency: at its best, it feels like I’m wearing half of a headset that’s tuned to a white noise station, and at its worst, it’s waves of cicada-song, which would be soothing if it didn’t sound like someone had digitized the sample badly.

I did a hearing test last week. The results pointed to nerve damage (everything’s structurally sound, and my right ear’s in great shape), and I’ve been set up with a MRI for the coming week to see if we can determine where the damage is located within the ear and get a better idea of what can be done about this, if anything.

Yes, I am spinning some, but just some. There’s too much else to do to get wound up over something I can’t do anything about (at least not yet).

The writing accountability experiment is in full swing. The workout accountability experiment continues. The first class of the winter session has started. And there’s work, which generally does let me sleep more these days.  Generally.

 

Belated Challenge, Accepted in Passing

Week of 11/5 in Sagittarius: The poem that is written about the sun is waiting for you, but you have to write it.

Astro Poets (@poetastrologers), 11:41 pm, November 5th.

Write it? Ah, no. However, I was able to scrape one together out of spam.

much elegance neglected
decay winding a peculiar
ballooned heart
convinced it was mistaken
breathing on all these dirty windows
fogging them blind gold

-11.6.2017, posted today, because I’m trying to psych myself up for tackling my statistics homework by taking care of random things that I didn’t get to during the week1, and I found this sitting in my drafts folder along with another draft post that I just decided to delete.


1The past few weeks have seen me unable to get to my homework until the weekend, chiefly because my body likes human normal amounts of sleep, and my brain’s beginning to (reluctantly) concede that (maybe) it’s not an idiot.

=NVL(Number,24)

Started new
My novel number
It is error
– The latest #spampoetry

Toward the end of July, I had a work week with three 24 hour days in it.  It’s not like I’m not predisposed to insomnia anyway and haven’t worked those kind of hours before1,2, but this time was different, because I’d promised I wouldn’t do that anymore, and it took me to the end of that third day to realize that I hadn’t even felt a pang of self-preservation. Nope. None. There was work to do that needed to be done, and I was there to do it, and…

It was ridiculous. I wasn’t saving lives or putting out fires or keeping the streets safe or trying to make the world a better place through sweat, patience or holding the line against the darkness. At best, I was helping get people into jobs, or keep the ones they had.

At worst?  Well. For a while, my work hours had been compressing my life to the edges of the day:  I was staying up late to get homework done, or getting up very early to handle household chores and basic self-care3.  It was manageable. For a while.  Then my work started eating those hours, too, and the hours I’d ordinarily spend sleeping.

Which was insane, but I didn’t really notice it until @bhoneydew drew my attention to it. I went huh, he’s right, and around then was when I promised I wouldn’t work any 24 hour days unless it was necessary.

Like I said earlier, I wasn’t doing anything strictly necessary.

So, I gave my two weeks’ notice. I did consider negotiating an hours cap for my role, but the nature of the business made that impractical: sales and business development waits for no one, even sanity.

I quit. I’m back in school. I have an unexpected opportunity to get some hands-on experience with big data, which is something I honestly enjoy working with — in a purposeful manner, not just because I stumbled into it years ago.

I do stay up late sometimes, but it’s no later than 2:00 am, and it’s because I’m working on homework or something like this blog post. I sleep well when I go, and I remember my dreams when I wake up. Food tastes like food again.

I think this will work. We’ll see, won’t we? Who knows, I might even finish that sweater this year.


1I was on call during a lot of days while I worked the graveyard shift for Altavista during 99-2000, and overall so sleep-deprived that when I got the phone call inviting me to come interview for Lucent, it took me three days to realize that I hadn’t talked to someone from Genentech. I’ve been told my in-person interview at Lucent (this at three in the afternoon after I’d worked double shifts for a week straight while also planning a wedding) was hilarious: I was clearly asleep, but able to answer every question I was asked. I don’t remember more than pieces of that day:  the dull grey carpet, the rectangle of sunlight on the conference room table and the white and green hedges out in front of the building that smelled like Ivory soap and gardenia.

2Other than a brief glorious period of three long naps a day, the Monster barely slept until he was seven.  Ergo, I barely slept until he was seven.

3Ironically, I took better care of myself when I was traveling. Being forced to be out of the house meant I showered every day, instead of just the days when I was able to make it to the gym. I tried very hard not to give up on that, even during periods when scheduling became a nightmare. I don’t eat when I’m stressed. Going to the gym forced me to eat even when everything tasted like sawdust.

Summer Armadillos

An ouroboros is cathexic by nature.
By nature, an ouroboros is cathexic.
Cathexic by nature is an ouroboros.
An ouroboros is cathexic by nature…
Repeat until there are no more margaritas.
Margaritas are finite, but delicious.

(8.25.2017)

I’ll explain later. At least most of it. It’s all good, even the stuff I can’t talk about.

Ninety Percent Thresholds

I still haven’t finished the sweater. To be honest, I haven’t worked on it at all. I was going to during the last two episodes of The Expanse, but I was so fried when I watched them that I didn’t need anything to do with my hands. American Gods debuted recently, so maybe I’ll get the sweater done when I get around to watching the episodes.

If that doesn’t work out, there’s always hope that it’ll happen during Suits or Killjoys — assuming I manage to watch the new seasons when they come on. To be honest, it’s rare that I watch more than one season of a series, and not unusual that I stop watching one right before it gets to a season ending cliffhanger. Pretty sure that would have happened with Season One of House of Cards if @bhoneydew and I hadn’t just binged it one weekend while we were sick.

I haven’t seen any episodes after that, even though I enjoyed House of Cards very much. I just can’t get myself in the right frame of mind to invest the time.

I’m still not sure what’s happening with my Goodreads reading challenge. Despite everything that’s going on1, I’m still way ahead of the curve. If I succeed in my devious Mother’s Day plan to read all day (after I finish my homework) and not look at anything work-related, I may even finish it!

1I’ve been working 50-hourish weeks for the past three weeks, while juggling my night class, Momming and this weird new peace with eating right and working out. Sadly, the good sleep habit I’ve been trying to cultivate did go right out the window — notice when I’m working on this? — but I’ve been cranky about that instead of just resigned2 so there’s hope for me yet.

2I haven’t been working on any creative projects. Seriously, the time I’d ordinarily put to that, I’ve been trying to put toward household foo. It’s not that I’m avoiding creative projects, it’s just that the household foo needs to be dealt with. It’ll get better. Eventually.

My Year of Bread and Air (and Stuck)

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

-Albert Einstein (likely misattributed).

I baked a lot of bread this year.  One or two loaves a week (three loaves a week on a few occasions), even the week of Mom’s funeral and the subsequent weeks of family-related and work travel.

I have been on planes this year more than I have any other year of my life — but there has still been bread in the house, each homemade loaf a little (and occasionally quite a bit1) different, even those weeks I’ve had all the ingredients I needed on hand and the last thing I wanted to do was experiment.

The bread did run out during a couple of those business trips, which inspired @bhoneydew to capture all the scrawled-on-butter-stained-printout hacks I’d made to the basic recipe I started with and bake a couple of loaves himself. Both of them came out differently than any of mine, and different from each other, even though he followed the same steps each time.

And … this is the paragraph where I was stuck for two weeks (I started writing this blog post on my birthday). It was a unique sort of stuck for me: until December 19th, it was a stare-at-a-page-and-no-words-come-out stuck as opposed to a write-ten-paragraphs-think-they’re-messed-up-and-delete-them-all-before-anyone-else-sees-them stuck. Though since this isn’t the first time this has happened this past year, I guess I should stop calling it ‘unique’. I should just call it ‘2016’s stuck’, and hope the year doesn’t forget it in the house when it heads out the door in a couple of weeks, especially if the door smacks it on the butt so hard that it falls down the front steps, because that should so happen.

My chirpy ambitiousness about being able to do NaNoWriMo and a massive work project and finish a networking class all in the same November timeframe? Yeah, that was me trying to flip off 2016 before it’d turned its back. I should know better, I really should, but I did get the two most important things on that list done, so there’s that. The bread still happened.


1The first time I used the “Proof/Warm” setting on our oven to proof a loaf, I didn’t notice that the temperature read “Hot” instead of “Brd”. This killed most of the yeast and made for a very dense brick o’ bread.