Blurring Toward Clarity

Resemble cheerful
Respect expression
Compliment temper
Neglect sentiment
Distrust praise

– today’s #spamadvice

I was supposed to have my cataract lasered out last week, which went remarkably well (considering I dread any procedure that involves my eyes) right up to the point where the laser broke down during my surgery prep.

Supposedly that had never happened before.

Everyone was amazed that I took the breakdown in stride and seemed gosh, cheerful, about having to reschedule.  I should clarify that by ‘everyone,’ I mean my ophthalmologist and the folks at the surgical center, not @bhoneydew.  He’s had a front-row seat for decades to how I break things just by being around them, especially when I’m a shade anxious.  It could be fair to say that I’m relieved once they do break because the next steps suddenly become obvious.

It could be fair to say that, but I’m not.

The rescheduled operation went well, minus a minor glitch during the imaging process (which did point out that my eyeball wasn’t numb enough, so we were able to correct that before the surgery). I’m recovering both faster than I probably should and slower than I definitely want, which is to say, yes, I suck at resting, but at least I’m acknowledging that I need to be nice to myself.

 

 

 

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.

One Answer for The Quiet

My brother-in-law passed away on Easter Sunday.  In his case, it’s more appropriate to acknowledge that he died on April 1st; when @bhoneydew and I heard the news, we first thought it was a bad joke.

In truth, we’re not sure it wasn’t.

He was 33. He’d moved out of our basement (where he’d been living off and on for the past three years as he bounced between jobs) three weeks prior. He had been at a new job, one that he liked very much, for only a week. He got up to go into his parents’ kitchen, collapsed, and could not get up.  He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

The family has more questions than will probably ever be answered, but that is expected, even if this wasn’t.

Preoccupation and Progress

Having all of the alternatives
And a sense of joyful preoccupation,
This coming year will be
A mischief-maker of strategies
To salvage you to improved discern.

-12.29.2017, #SpamFortuneCookie, which doesn’t sound good, and probably isn’t.

Happy Almost New Year. I settled on FocusWriter. It only took me a week of evaluating the pros and cons. This is progress.

Continue reading

One Hundred Percent Standard Deviations

Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the challenges.

-the latest #SpamCompliment. It was attached to my Days All Strange and Vague post, which made me laugh harder than I probably should have.

I still haven’t finished the sweater. Or started watching American Gods.

I’m still doing 50 hour weeks, and the week before school let out for the summer, I had a surprise week-long business trip to Texas. Surprise! But that trip worked out for the best in some ways I can even talk about. I found a pair of cowboy boots that fit me1, a pair of sturdier dress shoes3, and I got to see Wonder Woman in 3D IMAX glory without having to wait for it to go digital. It was a lot better than I expected it would be. There were consequences. A fair number of characters had an approximation of agency. And thank whomever, things still blew up. I was mostly worried that all the explosions would be in the trailer, and the rest of it would involve a lot of standing around and sighing about man’s inhumanity to man while looking wistfully into the distance.4

I finished my Goodreads challenge six months early, thanks to a book I had to read for work.5 I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

I’m also behind in one of my classes, somewhat ironically, since it’s because of ten pagesish of writing, while I’ve produced a few hundred or so for work since my last post. However, I finished another class last week, so I — in theory — should be able to catch up.  In theory.  The Summer Camp Shenanigans start next week, so I will be spending a lot of time in the car, and becoming very good friends with the laptop I’m still not 100% sold on, despite having had it for a year.


1Which were legitimately necessary, since all I’d packed were sandals for the plane ride, dress shoes for work, and workout shoes for ridiculous ambition2, none of which would have fared well during my unexpected opportunity to go out on location to visit one of our video shoots.

2Which wasn’t so ridiculous: I kept myself on Eastern Time for the trip, and by doing so, had enough time to get in a couple of morning workouts. Workouts now make me feel better.  That is so deeply wrong in a way I can’t … yeah.

3Texas is definitely hard on shoes. On day two, I cracked something inside my right dress shoe that made the whole thing shimmy when I walked like it was going to break in half. Fortunately, I found a Dillard’s. I hate shoe shopping (that I have wide feet doesn’t help), but I can always find something in a Dillard’s shoe department. Always. Fortunately for me, Dillard’s isn’t convenient to where I live now.

4Sadly, there wasn’t enough Etta Candy. I felt like most of her arc was chopped in order to save time. I’d love to see one of her descendants turn up in a fixer role for Diana in the modern era movies. Oh, maybe Leslie Jones playing a disgruntled US Air Force Intelligence officer turned hacker/security specialist?

5The survey claimed my Strength Themes are 1) Restorative, 2) Strategic, 3) Learner, 4) Achiever, and 5) Individualization.   The MBTI also keeps claiming I’m INTP.  I haven’t yet found an assessment that’s come back with “She’s odd, but mostly harmless.”

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.

Eighty Percent Chance of Getting Stuff Done

Today at work, I followed up with someone I exchanged email with on Friday, and suddenly they no longer exist. As of the end of March.

I’m about 80% sure I didn’t make this person up, so it was surprising.

-Me, @shainorton, five days ago.

I’ve been busy.  This quite possibly surprises you not at all.

I haven’t yet finished the sweater.  I did finish:

    • another book (The Book of Etta, Meg Elison’s sequel to The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, making two more books that I have read recently that are actually recent, who hoo!).
    • multiple homework assignments and a midterm.
    • my gigantic pile of transcripts evaluated for another academic program, which, assuming I can fit everything into the schedule, I should finish in a year and change.
    • a large work project (in very little time), and multiple smaller work projects (in less time)
    • a work transition, but I’m more than eighty percent certain that work has not yet finished its side of the transition.1
    • transferring my cell phone to another phone and another carrier, like I’ve been putting off for over half a year now.
    • a blog post.  This one. In twenty-five minutes, as planned.  YAY!

1This doesn’t bother me; I’ve yet to have a job or even a gig where things didn’t change. There have even been a couple of occasions where they changed on my very first day. I started an engineering internship once, and got swapped into a human resources administrator role before I could put my lunch into the break room fridge. My first analyst job for a government contractor saw me pivoted into corporate business development on Day One — I never set foot on the site of the client I was initially hired for during my entire time with that company.2,3

2I’ve been told there’s a disconnect between reading my resume and talking to me. Can’t count for you how many times people have told me “You’re not what I expected.” I’m never sure how to take that. Are they smiling because they’re delighted or because they’re worried that if they upset me I’m going to manifest some hidden superpowers that involve, oh, wide area disintegration?

3“Why didn’t you say no, Shai? Don’t you care about what you do for a living?” Frankly, no, as long as the money’s good, the scenery changes, and they let me use explosive — er, no, I mean to say if my paychecks clear, I get to solve problems, and it doesn’t require me to make someone else coffee. See, I have a problem making coffee before I’ve had coffee. Sometimes, it’s not even coffee, more hot water tinted brown from whatever residue was left in the coffee maker after I cleaned out the old grounds and failed to replace them with fresh. Or it’s water on top of a thick layer of sludge because I scooped the grounds into the coffee pot instead of the machine. Don’t get me started on what can happen when I have to use a Keurig in the morning…