little_tristan: (Bloom County cutter john)
The boys are back at work. I love that the bosses "allow" them to do their own work there on their own time because they know they'll reap all the benefits. The only way the orders get filled is with out machines but the royalty is such a small fraction of a penny that even Russ can't quite figure out what we're actually getting. It comes down to something like a dollar an hour at top speed. At that rate, it'll take about ten years just to break even on the machine.


In better news, I may have a new home for Mom's power chair. Heather called this morning to ask if I still had it. Her mom's fiance at the time of her death is dying slowly of liver failure and needs a little help getting around. He's been a family friend forever and he and Heather are still close.

It's been hard to give the chair away because I let the batteries go flat for so long that they won't take a charge. Batteries are expensive. I didn't want to buy new ones and then send it to Goodwill or something, and no one else will take it since I can't prove it works. The batteries I get are $300 each, and of course they need two. But I get the really good ones that last a long time. I put a lot of miles on my chairs and our insurance only buys them once a year, no matter what kind you get.

But there's usually a fairly cheap option that gets cheaper still when you pay cash. Maybe $50 or $75 each. It depends on the make and model of the chair. I'm going to call the shop I like best and find out how to get them. It'll be nice to get the chair out of the library (it's in the Fiction Closet--YA to the left, horror to the right, literature straight ahead) and back into useful service. I wish the next owner was a little bigger, though. It seems like a waste giving a 600 pound weight limit to a 200 pound guy. But I understand he has a puppy now. Puppy will probably enjoy rides on the extra-wide seat.

And a grandkid is all lined up to take puppy home when Uncle D passes so no worries there. (He's not really an uncle, but Heather's always called him that. If he'd married her mom, I'd have called him cousin.)

I'm bidding on a piece of Billy Martin's--Poppy Z. Brite as was--jewelry on eBay. It's not only beautiful, I really want to own something that was owned and worn by the person who wrote the Liquor series. It breaks my heart, as a person and a writer, to see him selling his little treasures to make rent when his books are so great. And there are so many of them! How can someone so huge and famous and wonderful be forced to suffer this much? Does good writing really pay this badly?

I'm really torn between wanting to get it at a good price and not wanting to disappoint him or rip him off. Maybe I'll be outbid by someone rich. Then I'd be sad, but I'd be happy for Billy.

That's hard to write. I want him to still be named Poppy. But it's not up to me.
little_tristan: (Default)
Mark got sick. He does that when he gets stressed and stops eating. He stayed in bed yesterday while Russell went to work and attended the new insurance meeting. Short version: we're getting fucked.

Long version: they're switching to Kaiser next month. There are no doctors in our county that accept the regular Kaiser plan, which costs about what we're paying now. We'd have to drive an hour to Salem or Tualatin to see a doctor. Or go to an ER. An ambulance trip to a participating hospital would not be covered due to the ridiculous distance and would cost a fortune. We made that trip once last year, to take Willow to an emergency vet in Tualatin on a weekend. It was a nightmare just with a sleeping puppy. With a sick person--I can't even imagine.

Not to mention that I refuse to switch doctors because, you know, I'm all fucked up and I have a great guy here who can handle it. Who has been handling it for about 15 years now, thank you very much. I've never even been to a different practice. Like, literally since birth. My mom's doctor was there. He delivered me and turned me over to the pediatrician I saw for the next 18 years, who then handed me over to the guy before this guy. The triage nurse used to be the pediatrician's nurse. She always squeezes me in somehow.

Of course changing wouldn't matter much because I can't take a bus to those other cities and Mark couldn't drive me over after work. No one stays open that late. Just getting a med check would mean taking a whole day off. And if Mark or Russell were sick it would mean both of them stayed home. Either can drive the ten minutes to our doctor if they have to. (Even that time Russ had the inner ear thing. He drove staring straight ahead and I checked traffic at intersections and lane changes. Teamwork, y'all. It's the heart of Gilead.) If one is really ill and it's an hour/hour and a half, the other would have to drive.

There is another option, and it's the amazingly sucky one we have to go with. Pay twice as much in premiums. Well, twice as much for Mark and me. Seven and a half times more for Russell--from $20 a month to $152. Just to go to a doctor in our own town instead of an hour away. He said he'd take the cheap plan and just not go to the doctor anymore, but he can't do that. He hardly ever gets sick, but when he does he always ends up in the hospital. (When Russ does something, he does it BIG.)

Of course the bosses know all this, but since we're the only ones outside the service area, they don't care. It saves them money, and so what if my boys are the ones making most of it for them? They've acted like whipped dogs long enough, I'm sure the bosses assume they'll put up with anything. I almost said pay cuts would be next, but guess what? That's EXACTLY what this is. Another $500 less in their checks every month.

I canceled Tammy yesterday so the dogs wouldn't bother Mark. It was nice and quiet for reading, at least. I've suddenly lost the urge to write. That happens when I need a word-infusion. But it's dusty. Maybe I should get used to it. We probably can't afford her anymore.

At least Mark is better today. He feels so guilty when he sleeps that he doesn't do it enough. Also, the atmospheric pressure was weird. It's eased up on our heads some now. Russ is at work again. They're both going tomorrow. Mark's catching up on laundry and making a crock pot of beans for the week. Soon it will be shower time. It feels like Sunday. Tomorrow will be extremely confusing. I won't know what day it is forever.
little_tristan: (Default)
The boys got home early. The machine works so they're happy. Mark has to write some more software to make it do a few more cool things, but that's okay. He'll complain about the hours, but he loves writing software--which he taught himself to do--and applying it to his own robot. Also he can do it at home.

I thought of a scene for my new novel today but I'm being slow about writing it because I don't know what the next scene will be. Or the ending. The character who sort of resembles Sister's MiL and that other terrible woman who's a lot like her is being difficult. Partly because I'm so angry at the MiL that it's hard to write the character without her being a total caricature, and partly because the only way people like that can take over a situation and implode it is if you let them.

If I can't imagine something, I can't write it. And I literally can't imagine letting that happen. I also can't imagine being one of those people myself. So it fails from both sides.

I've spent years observing both those women, one as an adversary and one as a friend-turned-adversary, and I still can't figure it out. In my stories people tend to get along. That's what I understand. That's what makes sense. If they hate each other, they shouldn't live together.

I know, arch-nemesis, but it's different. He's just old and selfish and stupid. He doesn't have a medical history that reads like the DSM-IV.

She might disappear in the second draft. It might turn out that the story needs someone not so hopelessly evil.

I've cheered myself up with a Ding Dong. Now there's one left and I'm saving it for a day when absolutely nothing else will do. There will easily be at least one of those before I hit the expiration date on the box.

This is the stamp I pre-ordered for next year.

I enjoy the added poignancy of it being a Forever stamp.

little_tristan: (Catloaf Catbread)
It was an act of pure desperation, signing up for the Publisher's Clearing House grand prize. It looked like a really easy way to get a million dollars. But now there's all this email. Every day. Piles of it.

But they did give me a great deal of Discover magazine.

Yesterday was remarkably fun. Russell was too tired and cranky for me to make him go to Sister's, and Mark was in an unusually good mood, so he went instead. The evil MiL was on the living room computer, wearing headphones, the whole time and completely ignored us. Sister's husband made dinner, which was as late as I predicted, but Mark had Big Bang Theory to watch on tv.

Sister even logged off to talk to me and we didn't even run out of things to say. After we left, I realized that it's been so long since I've seen her, she thinks we still have Steve. She warned me not to watch a movie called The Future (SPOILER/WARNING: it's narrated by a dead cat), and I told her not to watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. It was funny for the first twenty or thirty minutes, but the end had me crying for another hour. We ended up crying over it all, while finishing each other's sentences even though neither of us have seen both movies.

Probably we were both really crying because it was Thanksgiving and Mom wasn't there, but fortunately no one brought it up. It was much better that way than last year.

Then we talked about Jonathan Coulton songs. Unfortunately, she'd already found Space Doggity on YouTube. A 1000% NOT [personal profile] oddmonster safe song. But it turns out Creepy Doll is one of her favorites, too.<3

We also made all the plans for Christmas so this last minute thing won't happen again. It always happens. We were surprised to find that it could maybe be prevented by 10 minutes of planning. Weird.

I didn't get a lot of writing done. The morning was weirdly sad and chaotic, and in the evening I was way too tired. Possibly the first time I've ever been too tired to finish a sex scene. But it's better for waiting.

Now I'm watching Defending Your Life. If this was the reality of the universe, I think I could live with it. This lifetime has been pretty well dominated by fear, though. In the next one, I'll try to discover the movie earlier. I'd like to review my failings honestly and stop being a little brain.
little_tristan: (Riptide Murray Too Early)
Everything falls apart when I go to the bathroom in the morning. Today when I came back, not only had Willow chewed up the trash, my master monitor had died. I was going to steal the arch-nemesis' monitor long enough to switch control over to the slave, but luck smiled on me. When I unhooked the master, control switched over automatically to the slave. I didn't know that would happen.

The slave monitor sucks a little bit, but it's better than being offline. Or trying to explain to the a-n why I need his monitor, but only for a minute.

Sister and I have been trying to figure out how to get together tomorrow, with her confined to her house and my boys working. She said she'd been told they weren't having dinner because they can't afford the food. Her husband's out of work again and his mother's being a non-contributing leech for the fifth straight year. (At least my soul sucking dickhead nemesis in-law pays rent.)

We don't have time to cook the meal, but I said we could bring pizza and hang out. That's the point of Thanksgiving, right? Hanging out with your family and being thankful for what you have, even if it's Figaro's instead of Butterball? She was good with that. MiL the Hutt was not.

Ensuing conversations in Yahoo chat have escalated the crazy. Now that we're coming over for an hour in the late afternoon, MiL has to climb up on the cross and produce a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. This is not a generous act on her part. This is her slaving over a hot stove all day for people she hates so she'll have something to punish my sister with until Christmas. Which is a whole other, but cruelly similar, drama.

The timing will fail, of course, because that's what she does. Always. We'll get there at five, after Russell's worked eight hours, spent an hour getting home, and driven another hour to Sister's, and the food won't be ready. She'll say it'll be another hour or two, and we'll end up leaving before dinner so Russ can get home and go to bed because he has to work on Friday, too. Hopefully McDonald's will be open.

But whether we get to eat at all is irrelevant compared to what she'll do to Sister if we leave before dinner, since she went to all that trouble for us in the first place. I wish I'd never brought it up at all, but Sister gets so unhappy when we miss holidays. There's just no way to save her.

Everyone blames the boys for working but that can't be helped either. They have to finish welding parts for the machine or the orders won't go out and the deal will fail, just like it did before. And our shop lease expressly forbids welding so it can't be done here. The machine has to be on the production line in two weeks and it's not going to be good for much without all these fiddly bits welded together in straight lines. Who knew the electronic designing and software writing were going to be the easy parts? Okay, that's not true. There were no easy parts.

I wish we could stay home and not bother the MiL from hell at all, but I haven't seen my sister since July. I don't want to wait another month.

At least my dentist appointment got canceled so I don't have to go outside. Their portable front door ramps got stolen. I actually have to find a new dentist now. One with a building I can get into. I love these people. They have an all female staff and the receptionist always remembers me. Now I get to go to whatever schmuck happens to not have stairs.

Everyone downtown has stairs. Even the physical therapists and chiropractors. All the good buildings are Historic and immune from current ADA standards. Historically, cripples stayed home. Some traditions just never die.

Oh good. The sky has gone completely black. I need a better look at that.
little_tristan: (Bloom County cutter john)
After all the excitement Saturday and sleeping on Sunday, it's a regular Monday again. I'm recovering by telling myself that it won't be thirteen years until my next concert. We really have to get out more often. It's been two or three years since we've even been to a play. There was the airshow this summer. That was nice because Mark went. I hope we do something together again some day. He's more fun than he thinks.

This is me putting off starting writing for the day. I should do it before Heather gets here, but I still like it better in the afternoon. Except I'll probably be too tired after chasing kids all day. There's no school so she's bringing CL, who still kind of hates me. Really, she hates Ranger. But it's too cold for Ray to be outside now, it aggravates her arthritis and then she can't get on the sofa, so she stays in and Willow goes out. They fight if they're both inside with company to get jealous and weird over.

But CL, who is nine and somehow knows absolutely nothing about behaving in other people's homes, bitches at me the whole time about how she can't stand being around Ranger and why can't I put her out so she can play with Willow. She won't play with Willow, but she pretends she would.

I hate government holidays. Veterans Day is important, but it was yesterday. Doesn't it somehow cheapen the whole thing to stretch it out so government employees get a three day weekend? Sort of exploiting the memory, isn't it? I really feel that way. It's not just because I was expecting a Netflix today.

Okay, no more screwing around. Must start actual work now or it's going to be a mess.
little_tristan: (Hamster Spaghetti)
Heather was out yesterday with pretty flowers from her grandma's garden to take out to my parents. We also took some water and washed off their stone so I could take a picture, which is slated for the giant picspam to be. We also found a family plot that Cousin Oly told us about, for Grandma's parents and their other kids. It's about 50 feet from the plot I've been visiting all my life, yet I never knew it was there.

On the way out we stopped at the Fort Hill restaurant, about half a mile from where I used to live. The other businesses that used to be there are gone--the gas station, convenience store, video store--but the restaurant lives on. And the burgers are still un-fucking-believable. We forgot to get pie, though. That sucked. But we made up for it with a stop at Dairy Queen on the way back.

Somewhere during this journey, Heather told me about a conversation she'd recently had with her dad. Remember him? The guy from the county fair who alternated between hitting on me and bossing us around like he was an actual father or something? Well, I made a mistake that day. I mentioned some work that still needs doing around here and how Heather was going to get a crew together next month to do it. We plan to make it as fun as possible, pizza, beer, a little cash, for work that isn't too hard in good weather. He said he wanted to join in, and at first that seemed like a good idea. More hands and all. Then I saw how completely useless he was in even the least demanding situations and Heather promised not to tell him when the barn raising actually happens.

Apparently he didn't forget, though. He called her on Monday and said he'd love to come stay with me for a while and take care of all that stuff. Because I need another lazy alcoholic, this one with a fun dominance disorder, living in my house. I was horrified, but she'd already totally stepped in front of that bullet for me by telling him the yard work/fence building was really just a charity thing and no one was getting paid. He immediately remembered other important plans, maybe getting a job or actually breaking up with his psycho girlfriend, and backed out.

Life lessons are cool. If it hadn't been for Steve, I might've fallen for that.
little_tristan: (Bloom County Dandelion Break)
Before we left the cemetery Saturday, after supervising the entire process so I'd know for sure that it was really and truly done, I asked Uncle Harold if I was finished now. He gave me a half-smile and a little nod and said, "With this set of responsibilities". Because Harold never placates and he never ever lies.

Now the a-n, for whom I can never muster the level of sympathy I have for, well, everyone else, needs much the same thing. He's been waiting years to die of a slowly expanding aortal aneurysm and now his doctor thinks it's very close. Being a doctor, he's presenting options and encouraging the old man, so far as I know, to do something about it. The options, other than death, are simple: a major open surgery (which his father had and died of complications from), or a new procedure that inserts a stent (fuck you, Semagic, that is so a word) through the groin and strengthens the aortal walls. He's leaning toward the easy one.

The problem is he's been saying the same things all year now, that he doesn't want to live through the winter or die in a hospital. So I laid it out for him Saturday evening, when he sensed the moment was right and asked immediately after I got home, that having the procedure will necessarily lead to one of those things. Either there will be complications and he'll die in the hospital in Portland, or it'll go well and then it's hello eight months of cold rain and sporadic snow. I'm pretty sure I've said this before but he forgets things. This time he seemed to pay attention.

Now he wants to know what it'll be like when the aneurysm ruptures. He thinks I can Google how much it hurts and how long it takes to die. Give me credit; I tried. Then I called his doctor. The a-n being deaf and the doctor being African, they don't communicate very well. (It's not racism. Deafness and foreign accents just don't go well together.) Hopefully he'll call back and tell me what the old man wants to know so I can explain it until I cry in frustration.

I'm glad he held out until I finished.
little_tristan: (Bleeding Hearts)
The burial is over and it went as well as it could have. We were late but the guy who digs the holes, I don't know what he's called, was waiting for us. Aunt Mary came along, which I hadn't expected, but it was good. She kind of relieved some of the intensity of the thing. Harold was patient with me and let me hold the box for an hour or so while we talked about where he and Mom grew up and whether she'd like the location. I know she wanted to be there, she had her name put on the headstone fifteen years ago, but I want her to like it for its own sake, not just because it's where Dad is. If that makes sense.

Being me, I insisted on witnessing the actual burial rather than letting the guy fill in the grave after we left. It just felt right to be there for the whole thing. I never left her alone, you see. I brought her home from the mortuary as soon as possible and refused to send her ahead to the cemetery to be buried at their convenience, although that would have saved us several hundred dollars. I'm just glad I could afford to have my way. Not that Harold wouldn't have contributed, but it's not his responsibility. He buried his parents already.

There was less crying than I'd expected, although it started earlier. That was odd. We stayed until I was ready to go, and then we found a Chinese restaurant and ate until we were actually in pain. It was a long day but a good one. I kept my promises and after a year and a half it's finally over. That seems like a long time, but it was really exactly right.
little_tristan: (Drunk Octopus)
Okay, it was brutally unfair to make you all wait a day and a half, but Heather was over with the baby and he totally brought to life the terrible twos concept. It was the worst behaved I've ever seen him, just running and screaming and pushing every limit until it collapsed in despair and died of its own weight. The only nap he took was when she finally had to strap him into his stroller in the living room and let him cry himself out while we smoked on the porch and congratulated each other for getting out of there without actually hurting him. Because sometimes you just have to walk away.

But that's not what y'all were waiting for, is it? No, you want to hear about what happened when Steve came over last night. Well, the short answer is, nothing. He was a little late, of course, but not terribly, and knocked at the front door like a proper guest. Russ stood in the middle of the room, while I stayed in the corner at my tv watching station, and Mark let him in. He was exactly the same as always with them, and they were the same as always with him. It was all "Hey, how you doing? What's going on?" standard guy stuff. Steve never actually looked at me, or even at my end of the room, nor did he speak to me.

He made a bunch of trips upstairs and hauled his stuff out the side door while the gf and her kids waited in the car. Even with car top carrier I bought him for his vacation, he didn't get a whole lot in. Then he came back, said goodbye to the boys and told them he'd be back with his brother and his brother's truck to get the rest when he could. Again, he didn't look at or speak to me while they exchanged "Good to see yous" and "Take it easys". Then he went out to the car, got the gf and kids, and spent the rest of the evening with the drunken losers across the street. I know this because her car was still in front of our house when we went to bed at eight.

Apparently he did generously decided to split the plants with Russ, because Russ was always his favorite. He's the one Steve went whining to when I fired him, like Russ hadn't been telling me to for months. And how much do I wish I'd told Steve that when I had the chance? I had at least two months to tell him I was the only friend he had here, and the only reason he still had a job.

But whatever. He went away content that they're on his side and he'd still be happily leaching off us and constantly whining at me about my unreasonable demands if only I wasn't such a mean controlling bitch. And yes, I'm still pissed about that. But when I mentioned it this morning, that my feelings are still a bit hurt that he screwed us all over and, you know, treated me like a disposable cash card and I'm the only one who has a problem with it, Russ said that was true. I am the only one with a problem and it's time to shut up about it. So I will. After mentioning one last time that while the three people I trust most in the world are technically on my side, they're going to continue to let him think they're on his and it's just a matter of bitches be crazy, what're you gonna do? Also, I hope his basement hole floods this winter. And then grows mold. That is all.

That said, I'll leave you with this happy thought. During Cory's relatively obedient half hour when we walked up to the Dollar Tree, I rather impulsively bought a half-size purple tote bag that's going to be my new purse for a while. And this morning I paid off our credit card debt, after finally getting through to Mark that we were paying over three grand a year in interest, and that the amount of money he's seeing in the final column of the software isn't what we have, it's what we would have after the debt was subtracted. Now the numbers are still the same, we just won't have to keep handing over half his monthly pay to keep the credit jackals at bay. I've explained it three times a week for the last month, it just took this long for him to stop interrupting with yes, yes, I understand and actually LISTEN. God love him, he just doesn't have the storage capacity to truly process everything I say. Much like the large number of people who probably stopped reading a paragraph ago. ;) To those who got this far, God loves you, too, and so do I.

little_tristan: (Otters Significant Otters)
This still isn't the enormous picspam I've been promising, which gets bigger every day. It's just what I did to get pix you haven't seen yet. Heather's kept her promise to be over twice a week, except yesterday when I went to work with the boys and she picked me up there to go to another county fair! A much bigger and more involved one than we have here, but equally hot and with fewer horses. Apparently horses are such a big deal there that they have a county horse fair as a separate event. If it hasn't happened yet, I'm going to ask if we can go.

The temp's been in the high 90s and low 100s for a week. This is bad for everyone but me, as I'm mostly inside with the a/c on. The fairs and air show are exceptions that have led to a really nice tan. With just a little more work I should have enough color to last the winter. Not that I'm out to impress anyone, I just feel more alive in the cold and dark when I don't look like snow.

Heather's grandma, her dad's mom, is living at the fair in a tent in Pioneer Village, which is also incredibly cool. She's an herbalist and candle maker, as well as a Native American drummer, in real life, too. I like her a lot better than I do Heather's dad, the useless piece of trash who cheated on her mom (my first cousin) for their entire marriage, while she worked two jobs to support the family and he mostly took her money to buy drugs. She died not long after they were divorced, and he's since ruined the lives of at least three other women (one of whom died during their relationship--he won't tell us why). Now he's living with his mom and still being frighteningly useless. Like, to the extent that Heather had to take her two year old into the ladies at Safeway and try to keep him in the stall while transferring me because her dad refused to watch said child. That would have meant standing by the open door of the van where the baby was strapped into his car seat, instead of sitting in the shade twenty feet away and smoking. She doesn't allow smoking within 5 feet of the baby, so to grandpa the choice was clear.

Also, he kept following me around, bragging about how much he knew about flowers and herbs, and showing me how his cigarette rolling technology is so much superior to mine. (Dude, it's not that important!) After a while I realized I was being hit on by a fifty year old thirteen year old. Who used to be married to my cousin. And is the father of the cousin I think of as a sister. Can I get an EW? Thank you.

Fortunately, once we were at the fair we were able to ditch him by asking him to push the stroller or carry the diaper bag. I did my usual fair eating and shopping: a corndog, two pairs of stripped knee socks (black/mauve and black/grey, for the days when Hello Kitty isn't appropriate), some polished stones that I want to make into necklaces, and a turquoise bracelet to match the necklace that you've seen and the earrings that you haven't. Yet.

And there was a butterfly tent! With free admission! I've never done an up close and personal with a kaleidoscope of butterflies before so that was a real experience. I had to go alone, though, because Heather can't handle bugs on her. Normally I can't either, but I make an exception for flutterbys. We also saw a hop of rabbits apparently living wild in someone's yard. And I looked up the words for these groups so I could use them here. Butterflies are also called a rabble but I don't like that word as much.

At quitting time, Heather returned me to Mark for the trip home and went back to the fair. It was hard for her because going to the fair was something she always did with her mom. Which is a problem I've always had too, needing to go with either my mom or sister. But when Heather and I are together, it's still family but it's different enough to distract us from the people who are missing. Also, when she's stuck with her dad and sister, she's the only grownup. I need care like a baby with a motorized stroller but I'm still an additional responsible adult. Seriously, when she went to get some stuff from the van and I wanted to go along to have a smoke, she asked me to stay and watch her dad and sister watch the baby, who was strapped into his stroller. Because she needed one person with him that she could trust. That's actually the level of useless I'm talking about here.

The worst part of the day was when we were loading me up to go meet the boys and I scratched the shit out of someone's car with the poorly designed headrest adjuster on my chair. I've torn up windowsills, scarred the front door, and seriously injured half the members of the household, but this was bad. The car apparently belongs to someone else living in the Pioneer Village so they probably don't even know yet. Of course I left a note, but I still feel so bad, especially after what happened to Heather's van outside our house last week. I can't stop worrying that the note will blow away or something and they won't find it. Not that the two things are related, it's just a weird coincidence.

The best part of that is that we were alone so we didn't have to deal with her dad's take on the situation. In spite of the complete role reversal that's taken place, he kept spontaneously turning parental and trying to give orders. That's right, the same guy who said yes twice when his daughter asked if he had the fair tickets (he got free ones from his mom), and then announced when we were halfway there (we had to pick him up, forty-five minutes out of town) that he didn't have them, was trying to be in charge. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know that his youngest child is about an eyelash away from becoming the Barber family matriarch (attrition's hit us hard the last ten years), and he wouldn't respect her if he did. But the fact that she doesn't care about having his respect just makes me love her more.

Anyway, everyone was hot and tired and hungry, especially the boys--who didn't even get to play with butterflies while being hot and tired, so we stopped at Burgerville for awesome milkshakes. I wasn't going to actually eat high calorie, high fat, fried food after the corndog, but they accidentally gave us two orders of fries. Russ needs them even less than I do so I did the right thing and jumped on that yummy, salty, reasonably portioned grenade. And I'd do it again, damn it. That's how much I love my family.

Now I'm helping Mark out by watching Breaking Bad all day on Netflix. He's on his third time through S1-4 and desperate for me to catch up so we can watch all the S5 eps stacking up on the DVR. Of course I'd do anything for my otter half, but it really is a good show. Probably the best way to fill time between Criminal Minds DVDs.

In other news, Sister finally got a wheelchair van so if she survives this sudden staph infection, she'll be going out more. And my uncle is coming a week from tomorrow to help me bury Mom. Sister probably won't go to that even if she is better, but Heather asked if she could. I'm still awaiting Harold's approval. He could really go either way.
little_tristan: (Otters Significant Otters)
Heather and I have been doing so much lately, I'm not sure I can remember it all. She was great about being over here as much as possible, even on Monday and Tuesday when it was unexpected. CL had some whining issues, but we kept them out in the front yard with the sidewalk chalk and bubbles as much as we could. It sucked being sick, but I did get to nap a couple times.

Mark and I are working out a check-in system so I'll be marginally safer at home alone. I set a reminder on my phone to tell me to text him every hour (unpaid advertisement: the Alarmed app for iPhone is a freaking steal at .99). If I don't text by ten after, he calls me. If I don't answer, he lets it ring through to voicemail three times and then either comes home or sends Heather, whichever works best for them. We've been doing it all week as a trial run and it's working out pretty well. Heather wants them to take me to work once a twice a week, too, so she can pick me up and take me to her house, or shopping (there's a second hand clothes store that sells everything by the pound; I really want to check that out), or over to her friend's where they make jewelry.

We went to the county fair on Wednesday and I got to make earrings with Maggie, whom I met at Turkey Rama. She sells a lot of silver and turquoise and I was looking for earrings to match Mark's necklace. I found some that were the right shade of green, but they had red accents And cost $56. She said she'd bring green beads to the fair and make simple earrings for a lower price ($16). But when I found her, she wanted to show me how to make them myself so I got a quick lesson. And a huge discount (paid $5), since she was having so much fun. I actually made one of them myself and even Mark was impressed by the quality and color of the stones. She also whipped up a pair of pearl ones to match a bracelet I was wearing and gave them to me for free. She's kind of a recruiter, I guess, and wants me to start making my own. I think it sounds like a big investment and a lot of work, but I'll try it out with Heather's friends, at least. It would be kind of neat to make exactly what I want. Assuming I can figure out what that is.:)

We also did the regular fair stuff: ate corndogs and elephant ears, petted all the horses in the stables, watched the English style riders warm up in the outdoor ring before their show (one boy of about 11 or 12 was riding the most beautiful mule I've ever seen and doing a fine job of it), and let the kids go on a couple rides. Cousin Iola (Heather's aunt) came along, and our friend Caitlin, who also makes jewelry, so chasing the kids wasn't as bad as it could have been.

I didn't especially like leaving Steve at the house alone after he was fired, but he spent most of the day out walking around. When we left the fair, Heather took me to the doctor and everyone else went to the park. Dr. B was open to the idea of increasing my Depakote so I'm taking it 3 times a day instead of 2. He also thinks my sinus thing is allergies rather than a virus or bacteria, although there does seem to be some bacterial action going on. It's getting better, though, so we decided against antibiotics for now. Instead he prescribed a nasal allergy mist that I'm really excited about.

Today is kind of a low-key, work around the house day. The boys are doing their inventing thing while I rest and watch Criminal Minds DVDs. Tomorrow we're going to the big airshow in Hillsboro to see some WWII fighters and the USAF Thunderbirds. It'll be our first actual complete day off as a family in years. Unfortunately it's also supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far with a high of 101, but if it sucks we can always leave. And maybe get a milkshake from the Burgerville across from the airport.

It's nice having our house back.
little_tristan: (Kitten Perpetual Pre-Pounce)
It's that thing I said we were going to Friday night. And we did, but it's supposed to close by 10, so when we got there at 9:30 there wasn't much to do. Except run out of gas getting into the parking garage, which we totally did. Just about 40 feet shy of the parking space, too. Luckily this isn't the first time we've run into a soluble problem of this kind. Russ let me out, stowed the lift, put it in neutral, and we pushed it into the spot. A young man who was parked nearby got there in time to help the last few feet, but we pretty well had it on our own. I learned to push Econolines with wheelchairs years ago and it's come in handy a few times.

Before you all ask why we're this bleeding thick about it, I need to mention that we've never owned an Econoline with a working gas gauge. They must self-destruct after 15 years or something.

Anyway. About the turkeys. McMinnville, strangely enough, used to be one of the major producers of commercial turkeys in the US. When I was a kid all of the surrounding fields were turkey farms. The smell was tremendous, but it fed the economy. And every year the city celebrated with a sacrifice to the great god of gobblers in the form of a party called Turkey Rama. There were games and rides and merchants, not unlike the county fair. But since it was ours, not the county's, it took place downtown right on 3rd Street. I never got to go as a kid, we saved our money for the State Fair, and it's changed a lot over the years. The turkeys went away and all the farms are big box stores now. A few years ago some of the snobbier merchants petitioned to move the whole thing to the edge of town because it messed up their business for two or three days during tourist season. Of course the Turkeyfest brings thousands of people to town, but whatever.

One year they changed the name to the Downtown Festival, and when that offended too many people they tried to have both: the Downtown Festival for the snotty antique mall woman with the wine pallet educated by nine credit hours at the community college (fun game: try to keep count of how many times she says "I have an educated pallet" in any given five minute span), and Turkey Rama for us old fashioned types who actually give a shit about our history and not just selling it. Needless to say, the turkeys won and the Rama continued.

This year was dominated by a classic car show. Hundreds of deeply amazing cars reverse slant-parked down both sides of the street, from last year's Viper to 1938's Studebaker. So much shiny paint and sparkly chrome, we hardly knew where to look. Naturally I had to read all the signs on the windscreens (look! words!) to see the year and owner, but it was really scary getting that close to them. I never thought I'd have to develop a level of Wheelchair Caution above Liquor Store, but Car Show is probably higher. In the liquor store you can just say sorry and hand over a credit card. The people who owned those cars didn't look easy to buy off. (How much buffing does it take to get out a scratch? Let's use your face and find out!) Still, totally worth the risk.

Then we wandered around to the side streets where there were, surprise!, vendors! For reasons not completely clear to me, Russ insisted that I buy a switch knife of dubious legality and I've been having fun with that. It's a stiletto so the blade pops out the end instead of unfolding. I like that better because it's easier to use left handed. He kept saying it was for research, something to help me write criminals (not unlike the bayonet on my desk that crept into a fic a few years ago), but I don't completely buy it. I think he thinks I might actually have to cut someone. That's interesting.

After the weapons booth, he got bored and went to find hotdogs while I checked out all the jewelry sellers. One woman was selling gorgeous pieces made of all colors and shapes of pearls. I had no idea that pearl culturing had moved into that kind of manipulation but it makes perfect sense. If an oyster will make a round pearl out of a round irritant, why not give it a flat irritant? Or a long thin one? It was extremely cool. I bought a pair of earrings with little purple pearls hanging from silver chains. Apparently I got a good deal because someone had accidentally moved some things around and it was hanging next to the wrong price. I felt a little bad, I couldn't have afforded the right price, but she didn't show the slightest hesitation in selling them to me anyway. That was nice.

I ended up with a beaded bracelet watch and some Avon for Heather, and then went to find Russell. He was hanging out around the food street where there were benches and I took advantage of my once or twice yearly opportunity to have an elephant ear. Then it was off to see my sister!

Friday was her birthday but I had appointments. We picked up Chinese on the way into town and hung out with her for a while. I'd sent her an Amazon gift certificate on Friday so she'd have a present, but I also brought her treasures from recent adventures to Portland and the coast. And a canceled check that I found in Mom's files, given to Sister for her birthday in 2000. I think they make nice memorial pieces. It might be weird, but they're in her handwriting, with her signature, and she always noted the occasion on the memo line. Heather carries the one she got as a wedding gift (2003) in her wallet. I think it made her a little sad, though. It's hard to tell which feeling is going to dominate going in.

Anyway there was cake, and her young Maine Coon, Smokey, chased a spider across the kitchen floor and ate it. Later I offered her some icing from my cake, but I think she liked the spider better.
little_tristan: (Hamster Spaghetti)
Mostly an excuse to break out my new userpic. But I did say I would say something about the book club meeting last weekend. I still don't quite know what to say, except that it was weird. Like, hamster at a horse show weird. The women were lovely but intimidating. We met at Judy's house out in the country, but not like the country where I grew up, with farms and grain fields. This was Tasteful Country, with winding paved driveways, fishponds and fountains in the front yard, casual weekend outfits that cost more than everything I own (combined), and extremely polite horses looking picturesque along the roads. When we weren't talking about my book, they were talking about the various countries they'd visited so far this year and the places they'll be going before they return to teaching and antique store managing and whatever else tasteful, educated people do. It was hardcore.

These people read my book. They talked about it among themselves. Then they served deli food from an adorable cafe in town while I talked about it. Not being educated, I've never had to present a paper or defend a thesis, but I did get to analyze the exterior symbols of my heart and soul with people who had opinions about it. I sort of wish I'd become an engineer or a physicist. You know, something easy.

Hopefully one day I'll have recovered enough to remember what was actually said. Or maybe it's better if I don't.

The rest of the week was up and down. The weather's been great so I've gone out as much as possible. Steve's been a good sport about it and I've been letting him get away as much as possible. Thursday the boys hired him away to work on their machine and Friday he left early in the morning to go camping. The boys have been home since Wednesday so they can get lots of work done. I haven't really seen them much, but Mark let me pick the colors for his touch screen controller last night. It's terribly difficult programming and I'm very proud of him.

This coming week Steve's supposed to be finishing up at the shop. I'm supposed to go with him where I can be properly supervised, but I feel bad about it. It'd be a good chance for him to not be near me, but I think he's scared of Mark or something. It drives me crazy when people don't talk. All I can do is guess and I never guess positively.

Friday morning I got a call from the bank letting me know that they'd been alerted, either by a merchant or law enforcement (she didn't know or wouldn't say which) that my debit card number had been compromised. I assume an ATM camera caught Steve using it and reading the PIN off his hand or something but without more information I couldn't risk it. So they're sending me a new card and I just won't have one until it gets here. Whine. Except I still have Russell's from the grocery store.

The wheelchair repairman came over and explained why I have to use a crap-ass controller forever, but maybe not with an external view screen. Those are for people who can't move or raise their heads to look at the box and the salesman was just being a dick when he made me take it. And why not? He was a dick about everything else. I'm using my old chair now and it's kind of nice. Like a proper exoskeleton should be.

Last night I decided to look for my step-grandma whom I haven't seen or heard from in about ten years. She moved to CA to be near her kids and grandkids, and probably great great grandkids by now. I found her, but it turns out she died nine months ago. That was kind of a bummer. I mean, she was only technically my grandma from 1980 to 1994 (my dad stopped counting when his dad died in '87; I give her until she remarried and moved away), but still.

I don't know if I'm getting depressed again or if it's just PMS. Either way, there's a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer that should help.
little_tristan: (Kitten Oxygen)
It's not exactly like the sun coming out. It's more like looking at the clock and realizing that it will come up in a few hours.

I'm still sad. But it's not anyone's fault. It's just me. The dreams are getting weird. That's when I know for sure something is wrong. I asked Steve when it started. When I started to go crazy this time. He refused to answer on the grounds that it could be used against him later, but the rest of the family agrees it was about three weeks ago. I didn't tell them right away about the fake memories. Even when I know I've lost touch with reality, it's scary to admit. Bad for my credibility. But there are too many memories in my head that logic tells me didn't happen.

It's good to still have logic.

Steve's going with me to the doctor as soon as I can get an appointment. He doesn't want too much responsibility for keeping me together, but he's promised to help me sort out what's real and what isn't until we get this thing under control. It's good to be able to trust the family. They won't mess with my mind when it's hanging by a thread.

Yesterday Heather and I emptied Mom's storage unit. It was too expensive and too far away to keep dealing with. We were going to put most of it in another unit here in town, but it got late and started raining so we left it in the van. Except for the cheap cat litter that Mom used when the roads were bad. Steve helped me put that into effect in my new front porch ashtray project. And we found a really old plastic milk crate that Heather washed off and helped me fill with all the new books I bought this summer. We got Willow a new dog crate at a yard sale last week. It's as tall as my desk, so I'm stacking milk crates on top to make more bookshelves. More dusting for Steve.

This morning the boys took the van load of stuff over to our rented shop and stacked it in a corner there under a tarp. That's better than renting another unit. We have a one year lease so it's safe through next March. It's also three blocks away and I have a key. That makes me feel better.

We found the quilts that Dad's mother gave my parents as a wedding present. Grandma made quilts for everyone, the way Mom's mother crocheted afghans. I think I got the last quilt ever given a grandchild, because she died when I was not quite 3. Heather got the pieces for hers and finished it herself a few years ago. Mom thought the quilts were gone, probably stolen when her last unit was broken into. There was a lot of stuff from Dad's store that I expected to find and didn't. I guess that actually was stolen. It's weird getting to the end of the stuff and knowing there should be more. I wish I could ask her about it. And more than that, that I could tell her we still have the quilts.
little_tristan: (Cream of Darkness)
The weather's been semi-agreeable. Monday and Tuesday were just bearable, but rainy. I've been sad, and even though I know why, I'm still being a bitch and taking it out on Steve, who's just trying to live his life. Well, not taking it out on him exactly. I'm not mad at him, just suspecting him of plotting. Which he doesn't do. I can't really see him ever being legitimately accused of plotting evil against anyone. But I've been sad and he's had to bear the brunt of it, being the one who's here and all. Yesterday he made me cry and things are awkward, but it was by saying something kind so I can't explain it without revealing the inner darkness of my cobwebby brain.

But. I went to the pool Tuesday and it was good. Better than last time. Probably just needed a little time off. I was walking and standing and keeping my heels down and everything. Still, good thing there was ice cream in the house when I got home.

I just found this on my desktop. I think I started it Thursday. Wednesday was hot and also free bus day, so Steve and I went to the doctor's office so I could have blood drawn. I was hopeful going in, but when the puncture wouldn't stop bleeding that kind of told me what the result will be. Also, the bruise is huge. I enjoyed having the chance to go anywhere, but Steve is understandably bored. Yesterday we went to the post office to mail books. I don't know how he can stand it.

Cousin Heather is coming over today to play with me. I want to empty Mom's storage unit in Dallas, but Steve wants to leave as early as possible so I don't know if we can do that. Everyone leaves as early as possible. They show up as late as possible and then watch the clock, waiting for it to be time to go. I can't seem to stop crying about that this week. And me crying makes Steve squirm and watch the clock.

Note: This is in no way a complaint about Steve, who is great. It's just my feelings about always having to choose between staying home and being left out, or insisting on going somewhere and being a huge burden that ruins everyone else's fun.

So I'm at a bit of an impasse, which is a tidy little way of saying I'm in hell.

But other than that, everything's okay. I got rejected for a clinical drug trial for depression. It's probably for the best, all things considered, but I am interested in therapies that haven't been tried by other human beings. I'll probably keep looking into it, to see if I qualify for another one later. In the meantime, I'm cheering myself up with inexpensive blown glass jewelry from eBay. And Criminal Minds. Reid brings da happy, and it's something Steve and I can do together.
little_tristan: (Default)
Steve came home in mid-afternoon. We had dinner and got the kids out of the way so the three of us could talk to him. Seems like there was some miscommunication going on, what with him not actually understanding my fragility or the proper way to lift me. Mark and I showed him and he said he thought he could do it.

But he also has to think about it some, which we encouraged. If he can give up his weekends in town, or actually force his gf to get him back on time. We're willing to compromise and have her out here some weekends so he's at home and ready to work on Monday morning. But he might decide that it's not worth it, giving up chunks of his life to sit around here looking after me. And if he does decide that, it's fine. It's a huge job and it's definitely not for everyone. (In fact, every person I've ever met who was in nursing school, when asked if they would consider home health care, responded with the same horrified NO! You get attached, they die, you move on and get attached again and then the new one dies. It's a bitch.)

So I imagine he'll spend at least a week considering things, and doing the job to the best of his ability, and then we'll see where we are. The important thing is that no one's angry, and if it ends now, it will be honestly with no bitterness on either side. Unless I fuck it up again. Tonight I let Mark do most of the talking. That seemed to work pretty well.
little_tristan: (Daffodils)
The big anniversary wasn't as horrible as it could have been. Not by a long shot. There was an added blow at lunch time when the world's greatest Chinese restaurant, which is right up the street, was found to have gone out of business. But I recovered and we ordered barbecue chicken pizza.
Click for new friends and closure )
little_tristan: (Christina's World)
The good news is I sold some books! I gave a box to Cousin Heather to take to a craft/rummage type sale she's doing this weekend where people rent a table and sell whatever they want. But before she could get there, a friend of hers who'd read The Bedlam Boys asked if she could get him more so his book club could read it. He bought the whole box and I had to send another with the boys so she'd have some for the sale. (Their work is close to her house, so she can sneak over there and take things from their truck during the day.:) I doubt she'll sell any more, but it's still pretty cool. And if it's not raining, they want me to come speak at the club meeting. Only in good weather, though, as I won't be able to get into the house. Of course I've no idea what speakers do at these things, so I'd love advice from anyone who has experience. Or just good ideas.

I also think I've finally lost some weight, as today I was able to cross my legs for the first time in about 4 years. That was exciting.:)
Cut for depressing shit that no one wants to read )

Oh, and the boys put up a higher door between the kitchen and dining room so Willow can't even see over it, let alone jump it. The a-n still teases her over the door until she leaps for him, but she can't get to him so he can't complain. And the latch is way easier for me to work.
little_tristan: (Kitten Glowing Kitten is Glowing)
It got off to a sleepy start when Mark dressed me and put me to bed at a quarter to four this morning. But when I woke up at nine-thirty, Steve was up and watching tv so he dragged me out and I tried again. It was unusually not-sucky for a February day--just a little wind and drizzle, highs in the mid-50s--and I really wanted to go outside. Somehow smoking on the porch isn't cutting it, outdoor-wise. So when Steve said he wanted to go up the street for a haircut, I went along.

We had lunch first, and sure enough there was an actual barbershop down the block. I'd never been in one before and it really was like on tv. Lot of chairs for waiting, three for cutting, and two barbers each working on a customer while one of them, a large older man, told what must have been a very long story. He was on it when we got there, talked the whole time we were waiting, while the other guy paid and left, and while Steve's hair was cut, finally wrapping up and leaving a couple of minutes before we did. There was no cash register and they swept up the hair when the chairs were empty, rather than between each customer.

I read Peyton Place on my iPhone and didn't say a word.

It was raining a little but the wind wasn't bad and we had hats, so we went on up to Fourth where the smoke shop is supposed to be. The windows were papered over and a sign said it was closed until inspection. While we pondered that, the owner came out and told us about the fire last month and how they're still rebuilding, so we'll try that again in a month or so.

Walking down Third, we checked out the pizza theater, bought some lemongrass candles (I've been out for so long!), and ascertained that the indoor plant shop really is gone for good. It's a guitar store now. But there's always the internet. Then it was seven blocks back home and more tv until the boys wandered in. And out. And finally in again.

A short family meeting convened to decide if we should lease a shop building three blocks away for Mark to work in, and we approved it with three in favor and Steve abstaining. That's going to be a real break, getting all the equipment and tools out of our house so we have some room to live and dust books again. Ultimately we'd like to construct a pre-fab shop in our backyard and turn the patio shop back into a patio, with a couple of concrete sidewalks to help me get around in the winter. But they have a lot of work to do in the next couple months and raising a barn first seems like a hasty decision.

Anyway, it was just a really good time, being outside wandering around. And Steve is just as scary a companion as Ranger, it turns out, because we got zero crap even in the candle store. And no one stopped me to ask if they could pet him.


little_tristan: (Default)

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