little_tristan: (Gilead Gunslingers)
For some reason Mark woke me up at three this morning. He gets up early, I get up early? That was not in the vows.

Ebay has been kind enough to throw me a couple more pairs of jeans that Mark can wear. Man thing: I didn't know he needed pants because there are at least 5 pairs lying around the bedroom. Draped over the heater we don't use, sticking out from under the bed, just kind of everywhere. I don't dress him or do the laundry, so how was I supposed to know he only considers two of them wearable?

Other man thing: Russ has been letting me buy him socks that are too small for, I don't know, ten years. Why would he not tell me he needs bigger socks? Are big feet an embarrassment for big men? Is he a girl? Commune Purchasing Officer is a hard job enough without all this disinformation re: socks.

Heather is learning the second hardest way why people don't let toddlers play with their Kindle Fires. I gave her an Otterbox to save her the hardest lesson, but the little boogersnot--the same kid who tells his mother in complete sentences that he has to poop and then hides in a closet to do it in his pants because he wants privacy--has figured out that hitting certain buttons makes the games better. By buying upgrades. Which are then charged to me.

Am I the only one who thinks Amazon should require a password when buying apps and upgrades within apps? iTunes does, and it's not nearly as good as Amazon in most other ways. I wouldn't mind if Heather was buying them. She has good sense. Her son, otoh, thinks nothing of billing me $7 so he can have a wider variety of Angry Birds.

Maybe there's a way to turn off One-Click on certain devices. That can be my project for the day.
little_tristan: (Bunny)
All the library books are read and ready to be returned. I worked out a recycling system for Murphy's little tin cans, and found a great deal on his food on Amazon. They not only have the good stuff available by the case, it's Subscribe & Save eligible. And the cases are variety packs, so I can have two sent every month and get six or seven flavors.

Murphy's definitely better in some ways. He loses his balance more than ever, but the problem isn't new. He was less than a year old when the guy we were living with sprayed him with a toxic chemical and Murphy licked a lot before I could wash it off. I don't know if it's a neurological problem or an inner ear one, but ever since then he falls over when he shakes his head. Now he falls over when he tries to groom, too. The other night he wanted to sleep on my ribs and went rolling off down my back four times before he got settled securely. I love his determination.

The good thing is that he's put on a little more weight. And the skin breakdown on his rear legs, the part kitties sit on, has reversed. The little sores are all healed over and starting to grow new fur. Even his coat, which has always been amazingly glossy, is suddenly more so.

On the subject of pretty coats, Ranger's having a good winter, too. Her prior recurring problems haven't come back, so we know the meds are working. Other winters she's been having treatment instead of preventative care, which made her fur turn dusty grey and fall out. Constantly. In ridiculous amounts. This year she's as pretty as a puppy.

Willow's being extra pretty too. I wish the light had been better in that pic the other day. It didn't really do her justice. I've been spending more time on her coat, raking the fine hair behind her ears and on the backs of her legs so it flows properly. She likes to play in water and mud. We have a lot of that in the yard right now and much of it comes inside on her legs. I don't know why it's on her head.

I woke up at one this morning needing to fix my blankets. Mark is a terrible blanket thief. But I couldn't budge them because there was a cat in between us, weighing them down. I couldn't even get my hand under the cat to reach Mark. Murphy's gained weight, but he's not that heavy. He is, however, the only cat that sleeps at the head of the bed. There are rules. I got my hand out from under the blankets to feel the cat and discovered it was Big Orange Roy. (12 years old and still 13 pounds of lean muscle and attitude.) He was so happy to be petted he stood up and started licking my hand so I got the blankets. Then he curled up on my pillow and went back to sleep.

Mark says Roy can never have Murphy's place. He'll never be Head Cat of Gilead, even if that means the post stands empty after Murphy moves on. I agree that Roy and Kenny aren't Head Cat material. But I hope he lets one of them sleep on my pillow anyway. Roy's been sleeping between our feet for a decade now. He deserves some face time. If he promises not to lick our faces while we sleep*.

I finished online Christmas shopping yesterday, and the cards I ordered arrived. They're so very cute. If you've never gotten a card from me and want one, PM with your address and I'll be happy to add you to the list. If you've gotten one before, you're already on it.:) (Except maybe [personal profile] amine_eyes, because you keep moving!)

Heather's coming over soon so I need to get writing or I won't accomplish anything today. Except for all the stuff I was doing earlier, but that hardly counts.

*He'll totally lick our faces while we sleep.
little_tristan: (Books)
I forgot to turn my phone ringer back on after the concert Saturday. Goes to show how long it's been that I actually thought a ringing phone would be a distraction or something. Gunfire could easily have gone unnoticed by anyone more than four seats away.

So I didn't know Heather was calling all morning to tell me her son and the girl she babysits are both sick so she couldn't come over. I very much appreciate this. Being sick is the worst. If she doesn't get it, too, she'll be over Friday.

The dogs don't know it, but they'd be happy. Willow gets to stay inside and Ranger doesn't have to be on alert for the baby (who's almost THREE) trying to get off the couch. She knows he belongs there and is incredibly vigilant in her self-assigned duty.

Now I get to write all day. I'm very excited. Not only have I figured out what the ending is supposed to be, I think I'm onto a plausible way of getting there.

Plausible is one of my favorite words. It lets me write the most unlikely things without having to say it's a different universe than ours. A grand capacity to love and sacrifice should be probable. But I'll settle for plausible.

I also get to read. My Currently Reading stack is back to five. Or six. This morning I got back into Commandant of Auschwitz. I'm at the part where Hoess he explains how he wanted to run a clean, efficient camp full of healthy, well-fed prisoners who would be grateful and want to work hard in return.

It didn't work out for him (poor Hoess) because he was given incompetent and malicious underlings who refused to unlearn the cruelties they brought from other camp postings. And the young ones were no better, because they preferred to learn from the cruelest of the "old hands". So everyone ignored the poor misunderstood commandant, who was doing his best to accommodate his prisoners but simply couldn't be everywhere at once. The man literally begs for our sympathy, if not outright pity, for how hard he worked and how unappreciated he was.

I guess when you know you're going to get hung, there's no reason not to say whatever you want. It's a shame, though, that no one seems to have written a point by point historical breakdown of the claims he makes. One prisoner's brother did. A long footnote comments on all the inaccuracies written by Hoess about his "friendship" with the prisoner, who survived the camps and also read the book. They weren't friends.

It's going to be very hard to finish. But I still want to know.

Before bed I'll switch to Doug Adams.
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: (Books Not Blogs)
But first, today: Blasted Heath is giving away a Kindle book TODAY ONLY that sounds like a lot of fun. If you have Kindle capabilities, or are interested in downloading the desktop reader, grab your free copy of Fireproof.

Now yesterday:

Apparently I was so busy, I forgot to play FarmVille. This is a good thing. My crops withered in the fields like Biblical justice, but my hoard of foals is fine. Animals that are cute and don't die are awesome.

Heather brought her son and the babysitting (babysat?) girl over yesterday. It was a little rough. I adore them both, but the girl is a bit scared of me. She's five. She's terribly like I was at five, which means scared of almost everyone, yet really, really needing to talk to them. I think she's afraid I'll yell at her, because I yell at the boy so much. But he's horrible and his mom can't do all the yelling. It's exhausting. He needs people working in shifts to get it all done in a day. Otherwise his parents would have to yell at him while he sleeps just to stay caught up.

The girl is smart and imaginative and able to obey as well as carry on conversations so I never want to yell at her. Except when the boy is climbing on something and there's about to be a smash of broken glass and I nearly run her down getting to him because she decides she needs to get there first and help yell. I'm afraid I hurt her feelings then, but it's better than breaking her leg. They never understand that it can really happen until it does.

But Heather did round up all the returnable cans that we've been saving in random bags (and strewn across the floor) and carry them away. She has a recycling center near her where they give out barcoded bags. When you return them, they count up the cans and bottles and add it to your account. We give her ours to buy gas to keep visiting. Luckily we drink a lot of rubbish with deposits.

More this week, since there's suddenly no water from the fridge. The tap water here is unpleasant so I rely on the Whirlpool and its inline filter. But the waterline from the basement ruptured somehow (Mark says it looks like it was deliberate, which is deeply strange) and now there is no water. The arch-nemesis, who is weird about ice, can't cope with this either. Only he fails to cope by trying to get ice two or three times a day and making us explain each time that it's just not going to happen. (For fuck's sake, just drink the whiskey neat, old man!, is how these talks usually end.)

I stopped drinking water, which also isn't smart, but is less annoying for other people. Heather brought me a couple of bottles yesterday. It's very good, but I'm trying to make it last. Maybe the boys will get me more today. I need to send someone to the library. There's probably a store with water between here and there. I miss going to the library. But it got to freezing last night and not much higher since. The light outside is yellow, like there's going to be thunder.

I hope there's going to be thunder.

Murphy Sloane is slowing down at last. He sways so continuously, and falls down often enough, that I've taken to calling him Wobbles. It's a fun word. I asked Mark if he thought it was insulting to a cat of Mr. Sloane's age and position to be addressed as "Wobbles", and he said no. In fact, he thinks it's cute and that it should be the name of our next kitten. They are adorably wobbly.

I predict that theoretical kitten to be at least five years out, though. Plenty of time to come up with a name for the litter-mate we'll also need.
little_tristan: (Gilead Gunslingers)
I almost put an exclamation point in there, but it felt too excited for my level of sleepiness. Which is ridiculously high.

Nothing that happened yesterday was what I expected. Heather spent most of the day--when she wasn't washing dishes and herding kids--trying to get her friends on the phone. No one had school (thanks to No Child Left Behind, most of our schools have no budget and five day weekends aren't as uncommon as they oughta be), yet no one showed up. At least three other mothers were supposed to bring their kids and none of them even answered the phone. I guess that's why I was invited--so someone else would be there no matter what. It's an important role we fill for each other.

Because it was so relatively mellow, just Heather's two kids and the girl she babysits, I spent pretty much the whole day sitting at the end of the bar in her kitchen, feet up on a stool and reading. Finished The Dark Tower, with just a few tears, and made good headway in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Having seen the movie so many times, it's awesome to rediscover all the little bits of genius that got lost in translation. Also, Mark has just got to read it!

I also didn't get to go to Burgerville, which is traditional for visits to Heather's because there's on right down the street. The boys had to buy a cubic fuckload of KFC for a potluck they were forced to do at work, and so weren't hungry. But they had half a bucket of chicken left over, including my very favorite piece. And a bag of assorted candy. So it was a pretty good road meal, considering there were no napkins.

And then there were trick or treaters! That never happens! Mostly because I turn off all the lights and pretend to be in bed by five. But this time, due to circumstances quite likely beyond your capacity for boredom, there was a lllotttt of candy in the house, and I forgot to turn off the living room lights. An intrepid band of Mexican fairy princesses and pirates braved the darkened porch and scored so big they told approximately everyone on the street. Leaving me no choice but to turn on the porch light and pick my favorite candies out of the bowl before it was too late.

Ranger also performed outside expectations by barking the minimum amount required to communicate that a) she's a dog; and b) she can see them, while staying well behind me and not once rushing the door. Even when I accidentally gave her a perfect opportunity to take out three princesses and a cuddly bunny. Possibly it was the costumes that held her back, but I like to think she understood it was a one time deal and we were all just going to play along.

Or maybe it was because I'd been gone all day and she was afraid to piss me off. I think she worries about things like that. But I'm home today, warm and safe, with a windstorm outside, books to read and a story to write. Maybe. I'm not quite sure what happens next.

Since writing that last line, I learned about MiniNaNo, so I'll try to get out a few words after all, just to see if I really can write every day. Odds are on no, but we'll find out.:)
little_tristan: (Otters Significant Otters)
Watching Riding in Cars With Boys, I realized that I don't recognize James Woods from the other five times I've seen the movie. No, I recognize him from Family Guy. Weird that his forehead really is that big. I thought the animators were exaggerating.

Today I have a ton of bookkeeping and desk tidying to do so I can be gone tomorrow, yet I'm doing nothing. Aside from the aforementioned watching of movies. And piecing my poor book together during this, its fifth or sixth draft. Last time I cut out huge chunks of it and started knitting it together from the beginning. Then I got depressed and Steve left and I couldn't stand the actual fact that I'm writing a version of my own death, so I quit.

Two days ago I finished going back over the possibly-finished-for-good-this-time parts, fixing Stiv's attitude, as well as the occasional run-on sentence, and then hit the cliff where I stopped last time. So now I'm building a bridge from where it ended to where it needs to pick up again, and that's the hardest type of writing I've found so far. What gets from this idea in my head to the next is one thing, but what words take us from this sentence here to that one over there, days and adventures and heartbreaks later, is a massive pain in the ass. And head. And wrist.

But it's going okay.

Tomorrow I'm going to work with the boys in the morning so Heather can pick me up for her Halloween party. Not the good one where everyone gets drunk and the music's really loud. This is the even louder one where her friends bring their kids and they carve pumpkins and shit. I've no idea what I'll be doing there--hurting myself with a carving knife, probably--but she really wants me to go. Since I never get invited to parties, I figure why not. It's nice to be really wanted.

And hopefully I'm past the really awful tearjerking part of The Dark Tower, so if I have to go off by myself and read for a while (like I always do when surrounded by small children), I maybe won't cry like I did yesterday.

Does anything else think it's weird that always is a word, but alway isn't? Also, why do we say found instead of finded, but not mound instead of minded? I keep saying mound anyway. I like how it sounds and it's one of those words that, in spite of having a bunch of meanings, I never get to use. Correctly, anyway.

I always go off on words after seeing Rosie Perez. Whom I actually love and enjoying listening to, but still... And now it's time for Criminal Minds! Hope all my East Coast friends are alive and well and dry in front of the tv, too. Hold your significant otters close when you go to sleep tonight. We're keeping fingers crossed for you.<3
little_tristan: (Gilead Gunslingers)
That's a good thing, though. Finances are caught up, bills are paid, and all my big projects are either finished or not urgent at the moment. It's nice to have a day that doesn't feel like an overwhelming burden crouching on my chest. I try to enjoy them. One never knows when the burden-creature will return.

Heather didn't get to take the old man shopping after all. He's decided he doesn't need more clothes, because the person with the money gets to change the deal any time he wants. That totally flies in the face of Tiny Communism, but he never pretended to be one of us anyway. It's extremely weird sharing a house with someone who is both totally controlling and not actually part of the group. Maybe other people learn that earlier, like in college. That's what it's for, right?

Anyway, she brought her vacuum and went over the living room floor for me. Also cleaned a couple of heating ducts. That'll help the dust even more. I hope I never stop appreciating the absence of dust.

I finished watching House this morning. It's amazing how funny it is, no matter what kind of tragedy is happening. Watching House take care of Wilson during the chemo really makes me hope I have a friend like that when my time comes. Mark is great, but I already know he won't be able to see the humor in the situation. Maybe that's why I keep getting stuck with the dying. I know what you're thinking, but I swear I'm funny in person.

So now it's late afternoon (for us--early afternoon for people who stay up past seven) and I'm listening to proper writing music to see if it shakes anything loose. Maybe Stiv can be the funny guy in this human trainwreck of a story. He still kind of needs a personality to fill the body that fills a purpose. I don't want to get hit with another Human-Cypher flag on the play like happened with Nate and Morgan in The Bedlam Boys.

Stiv's personality has always been a problem, actually. This is another book I started in high school and he was problematic even then. When I first got to know Steve, the banished thief of Gilead, I thought Stiv could be something like him, a helpful man of all work. And the longer I lived with Steve, the more Stiv started to resemble him. It was okay at first, but as I got to know Steve better I realized my mistake. He simply couldn't live in that house, in that situation, and be any kind of an asset. It would be even worse than living here. And the clearer that became, the bigger asshole Stiv became, until there simply wasn't a place for him in the story anymore. He just wasn't the man he needs to be to pull it off. So the story died, and that is, in a nutshell, what happened to my highly anticipated summer publication date.

It is, btw, purely a coincidence that Steve became the model for a guy named Stiv. His name is Stewart, but I got tired of it a few years ago and nicknamed him Stiv. I knew then that it was more properly a nickname for Steve, but I figure people can call themselves whatever they want, right? If I can call myself Tristan, who am I to argue if Stewart wants a new name? I'm not sure yet who he'll be, but he won't be the thief of Gilead.

Maybe I can borrow some Russell. He'll never read the book so he won't care. And he is funny.
little_tristan: (Bunny)
But it's not even dawn so here's yesterday's news.

Ranger made a full recovery and spent the day reasserting her dominance over Willow. Surprising how quickly a dog Will's age can forget a year and a half of fuzzy-butt-whippings and start thinking she's in charge after just one day. But that misapprehension has been corrected and all is well.

Tammy came over and dusted, which is probably boring to read about but never fails to thrill me. Everything is so clean, and she's so much fun to have around. Really breaks up the boredom of a Tuesday.

I've been playing around with The Dancer this week, too. With Steve out of the way (he was a bad influence on one of the characters) and no deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, I might get it fixed up this winter. Or not. Depends on if it keeps being fun.

The nemesis avoided me all day, which was really nice. I kept the heat turned up unbearably high to reduce the chance of yelling, and apparently made some points. He wandered in last night while Mark and I were kicking back with a little Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the first hour, at least--we'll have to finish it tonight) and offered to raise the rent. That's pretty standard. If shouting doesn't work, throw money at it. Well, if it makes him feel better, who are we to say no?

Today Heather's coming over. Hopefully with canning jars, or I'll have to send her to Goodwill to look for some. She also volunteered to take the old man shopping for proper clothes if he wants to go. He probably will. Hanging out with Heather is that much fun. I'm bummed that I'll miss out on her company, but having the house to myself is nice, too. There was a new Criminal Minds DVD in the mail yesterday, and I still have a disc and a half of the final season of House. Heather doesn't let me watch that stuff with the kids in the house.

Also big plans to finish reading The Dark Tower so I can start The Hitchhiker's Guide series. I haven't read them since I got them for Kindle and short books will help my numbers. (Next on deck: Anne of Green Gables series.) I think I need to read another 40 books before the end of the year to meet my goal. This has not been a good year for me and reading. Next year I'll raise my goal again and try harder. Maybe more Kindle Singles would help. They sure did last year.
little_tristan: (Kitten Halloween)
Heather and the kids got here early. The kids were a huge pain, as usual. How do two year olds even survive? I'm frankly amazed there are so many people on the planet if we all had to go through that phase. Which, as I'm given to understand, we did. Just amazing.

But. Tammy was over to dust and I couldn't be happier! Having tackled the really tough areas on her previous visits, she went over those rooms again and then finished the living room. It's sincerely cleaner than it's ever been. I don't even know for sure how she does it, just that it's not coming back nearly as fast, either. More amazement.

If the events of the day don't seem like enough to fill the time, the rest of it was spent just kind of looking around at how sparkly it all was. I get lost in sparkle.

Heather has a friend who's moving so she unpacked all the stuff that's been delivered since last Wednesday and took the boxes. That was handy. There have been virtually no men in my house the last couple weeks, in spite of the fact that they comprise 75% of the population. That's not amazing, just weird. But now all the stuff is put away and the room is clean! At least to my standards!

The wheelchair guy came in the afternoon to put the new tilt actuator in my broken chair. Which is nice and all. It still worked, but Willow had done so much damage to the wiring that the whole thing was pretty iffy. (Note: When Border Collie puppies appear to be sleeping innocently under your feet, check every ten seconds.) They're still not making any progress on the motor situation--you know, the whole reason I called this circus in--but I think I've finally gotten the truth as to why.

Yer gonna love this. The insurance company is too cheap to take a flier on me actually knowing what's wrong and signing off on the repairs. They want it computer analyzed with the little Quickie programmer that will chat with the chair and give a code for the problem. Otherwise I could just be one of those wacky cripples who demands new motors every time theirs gets, I don't know, dusty or something. Literally, I don't what the thinking is here. Can't even make something up. It's like trying to be funny in a foreign language.

The upshot is that this repair company I'm dealing with sees so few Quickie power chairs that they don't technically own a computer programmer, per se. Were there a way to research these shops, I could have found out months ago that their market consists of Quickie manual chairs and Invacare Prontos*. But I still find it odd that I've spoken to them many times, they've been to the house three times, and this is the first I'm hearing that they aren't actually equipped to diagnose or repair the problem. I mean, even if it got through reception, wouldn't someone in the shop look at the form and mention that they don't do that?

Oh, wait. That must be why I also just heard something about no one having written anything down about... Shit.

So I'll probably be calling the inherent liars that I got the chair from and brace myself for the flood of half-truths and broken promises to follow.

Moving on. It's cold and rainy in Oregon now so I've broken out the fuzzy sweaters and heavy skirts. It's nice, except for the whole arch-nemesis in threadbare shirt and flip flops shouting at me to turn up the heat. It's ninety degrees in his part of the house and he's not happy unless mine is, too. So he's perfectly comfortable for the collective thirty minutes
a day he spends walking through.

I sort of hate my fuzzy sweaters by noon. But they're so soft and pretty! I'm determined not to spend this winter like I did last, wearing the same clothes five days in a row, regardless of dog prints and food stains. It was ugly and sad and did not make me happy. Not like my grey skirt with black roses does. Except I just got it this summer and it's already too big. But that's a good thing, too. Heather has a friend who can alter the stuff I still want to wear next year.

This morning got off to a rocky start when I pulled a Kleenex out of the box, wiped my nose, and then saw the dime sized black and grey bug of horror clinging to it. Creepiness-wise, that's right up there with the time I washed my face with a washcloth that was discovered to have an earwig in it. This house is full of surprises.

I won't spoil the one about the spiders. You have to see that for yourself.;)

*If you or someone you love has an Invacare Pronto and wonders why it seems so damn cheap and crappy, it's because it is. $4000 at Anybody can have one. Insurance approves them when they don't think you need a power chair but they want to get you off their backs. Respect for you? They haz none.
little_tristan: (Catloaf mini)
First, thanks muchly to [ profile] amine_eyes. [ profile] birdgirl_1107, [ profile] oasis3017. and [ profile] barancoire for all the hugs and good wishes. I didn't have time to respond before we left, but it was strengthening. *HUGS ALL*

Anyway, it went pretty smoothly. Except for the foolishment of Oregon's biggest, most important hospital not having anything resembling handicapped van parking. All the parking is underground now with a 6 foot 10 inch clearance, and apparently we have the last van in the state (and Southern WA.) with a 7 foot 8 inch raised roof. They put us in an ambulance bay at first, and then sent us to a garage with "oversized" parking right by the door. It wasn't so bad getting in, but leaving took two guys stopping traffic so Heather could back up and turn around in the single lane before going out the entrance. And I had to load outside because they packed other oversized vehicles in beside us.

And all that is just me avoiding thinking about the hospital itself and how much I hated going back for the first time since my dad died there fifteen years ago. And the brutal unfairness of my beloved Daddy dying at the age of 54, while the arch-nemesis, who is 86 and beloved of none, learned that he isn't nearly as sick as he for some reason told us he was. That whole ticking time bomb, dead before winter thing was bullshit. Seriously. I genuinely believe his doctor gave him the referral to get rid of him and his obsessive questions that can't be answered by anyone who isn't technically Jesus. The OHSU crew told us that not only is the aneurysm not on the verge of rupture, it's not even serious enough to require surgery. Maybe next year. Or the year after. I suspect he orchestrated all this for the attention, and I'm still going back and forth between being pissed off and painfully sad about that.

So, yeah, we wasted a whole day on pretty much nothing. Heather swore she enjoyed it, though. Just for getting away from her kids for a whole day (and her daughter had a school event last night that she was using me to get out of:), and going to Burgerville, if nothing else. And, of course, we found a convenient parking lot where the a-n wanted to get out and smoke in the sun, leaving us the back of the van for getting ridiculously high before continuing on home. Nothing goes with a Burgerville milkshake quite like a big bowl of peace.

The van met my performance expectations, although it definitely drags a little going up the giant hill. But being an after-market conversion, it's overweight and badly balanced, so that's also well within my expectations. It just doesn't like hills. But the old man couldn't praise Heather's driving enough. She was definitely the right choice for the trip. He really enjoyed being treated like a five year old, having her fasten his seatbelt, roll his window up and down (it's powered, but it doesn't work right so there's a trick), help him get his jacket off, ask four times what he wanted to eat, and on and on and on. Honestly, Russell would have knocked him unconscious and hogtied him in the back after the first half and hour but she just kept giggling and flirting and carrying on. What a trooper. She's really cute, and he thinks that's all girls are really made for, so it was a perfect fit.

We got home late and Heather swept the floor and hung out with Russ for a while, to make sure she'd be really late for the school thing, and I spent the rest of the evening trying to decide between waking up and going to bed early. One wouldn't think that riding in a car would be that tiring, but unsecured wheelchairs are sort of like those mechanical pony rides outside the grocery store. They don't want to throw you, but you have to work a little to stay upright. Wears me right out.

However. Thanks to the incompetence of someone at work, much higher than my boys although I don't know who, maybe a supplier even, they didn't have to go in today. The materials they need won't be in 'til tomorrow so there's nothing to do. Although the materials have to be assembled into product and shipped out tomorrow, too, so they may work late. That could suck, but I'm not one to borrow suck so I'm hoping for the best. Point is, I got to sleep in this morning and get up just in time for Criminal Minds. That's how I like to start the day.
little_tristan: (Bloom County cutter john)
Otherwise known as driving to Portland with the arch-nemesis. Interestingly, this will only be the fourth time I've ever been in a vehicle with him. The other trips were no more than 10 minutes each way and that was A LOT. This one will be closer to 4 hours. Hopefully he won't notice if we get extremely high before and during.

Actual conversation that took place between Mark and I on the phone a few minutes ago:

Mark: Just be careful, and--I don't know. Watch the van* and--be careful.

Me: Pet, don't forget. I have an iPhone, credit cards, and Heather. There's no problem we're going to have in the Portland Metro area that I can't solve with those three things.

Mark: Oh, right. Okay, have fun!

Well, I won't be having any fun, but I appreciate the trust. I'm still going to make a couple maps, though. Google Maps on the phone are awesome when we're suddenly lost, but printouts are bigger and more efficient. We're also going to try to get the a-n to buy us lunch.:)

*I think the van is fine but Russell insists it's going to drop dead at any moment. Mark never drives it and is easily swayed.
little_tristan: (Breaking Bad Walt & Jesse)
I'm not sure where I am right now. I finished the book club book on time, which was good. We haven't had the discussion yet, but I was ready and that's what counts in my head. And yesterday I finished Wizard and Glass, so I'm down to only four books on the Currently Reading list. At least three of which will get finished for sure sometime this year.

Heather was supposed to come over yesterday but she got a last minute invitation to see Alanis Morissette at the Crystal Ballroom Sunday night and was too tired to do anything Monday. But she was able to tell me about it in great detail, so it was like being there. Only without the hassle of actually seeing Alanis from fifty feet away and, you know, hearing the music. Because the only thing better than missing out on something awesome and fun is listening to someone talk about it nonstop for an hour. *sigh*

But it did give me a chance to catch up on all the paperwork the boys dumped on me over the weekend. They give me two kinds of work when they're around. One has to be dealt with immediately, usually with one of them standing over me impatiently or calling for updates every two minutes. The other is a cumulative thing that I can't handle until they stop producing it. Otherwise it would be like cleaning up feathers during a pillow fight. Better to wait until the pillows are all empty before starting to sweep. Or, in this case, sorting, entering into the software, and throwing half in the trash and filing the other half. So I did that and paid the bills that were stacking up. I can't do that sort of thing when Heather's here, since the kids never stop running and screaming and grabbing things and it takes both of us to watch them.

Tammy's coming to dust today and I'm putting her on the big desk so I won't be working much. I'm very excited about having it clean for maybe the first time since it's been here. And tomorrow Heather's coming without kids to take the old man and me to the hospital for his consultation with a vascular surgeon. Which he's now trying to blame on me, of course. He sat on the referral for two months and then asked me to make this appointment three weeks ago. Now he says he never wanted to do it and almost for sure won't have the procedure, but "you kids were so insistent". Um? What? I guess if saying "No one's going to ask why aren't you dead yet if you decide to prolong your life" is being insistent, then maybe. But no.

My favorite part is how he says he never asked for this consultation and I set it all up on my own. I reminded him that he gave me the information, otherwise how else would I have the phone number, but he just shook his head and wandered off. The boys say he always does this so no matter how it turns out it will be someone else's fault. Of course. Whether he dies in agony or spends another cold and boring Oregon winter in our library, it'll be on me because I insisted on whatever he ends up doing.

Maybe I'm good at this life and death shit, but I sure am bloody fucking tired of it.

Hopefully the sun will show up this afternoon so I can go downtown. I just found a stack of last year's Scientific American that Homeless Steve might enjoy, he likes reading physics, and they have a book for me at the library. Because I need to start another one.

But not right now. Right now it's time for my uncontrollably twitching thumb and I to go watch Criminal Minds* and wait for Tammy.

Is it sad that I dressed up for this?

*I wrote a CM fic a while ago and finally got it to a satisfactory point. I think. If you want to read something totally different from anything I've ever done in any fandom, it would be Everything to Everyone.
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: (Default)
Heather and I were planning to do rubber stamp projects today but she was still too sick to leave her house. Not sure why. It started out like allergies, but progressed to excessive vomiting so she's avoiding me until it clears up completely. Normally I hate to be avoided but I make an exception for sick people.

Still, since Mark spent ten minutes in the attic finding my art boxes, I went ahead and started on my own. Which is probably for the best, because embossing stamped images and then coloring them in is oddly intense for me. One bump of the table and the whole thing is ruined. Anyway, the project went well. I got one of those travel mugs at the Dollar Tree with the paper insert so you can decorate it yourself. The one I made today has this one, this one, and this one. Margaret Sherry was always my favorite designer and it's been sad not getting to use my stamps these last 8 or 10 years. I plan to make three or four more inserts using all my favorite cats, dragonflies, butterflies, ladybugs, and whatever else turns out to be in the giant box o' stamps. As long as it takes me to color them, even with my sharp new pencils, it'll take a week or more to finish. Yay for stuff to look forward to!

The rest of the day was spent gathering things to put in Mom's box before she's buried tomorrow. Kind of last minute, but I wasn't inspired until this morning. Soon I'll be dusting her off and placing them inside. Right now I'm still kind of working up to it. The hard part isn't opening the box, it's closing it again and putting it down. Every time I do, it seems impossible to let go of her again. Thank dog Steve's gone and I'm in a low stress phase of the cycle. The promise of seeing Uncle Harold is keeping my spirits up, too. No matter what's going on, he's always great company. It'll even be warm enough on the coast to wear the pretty black and white dress that Mom would have approved of.

I just hope that if we stop to eat somewhere, I won't end up sobbing on the concrete outside the restaurant like when we buried Dad. The seatbelt ought to help.
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: (Kitten Glowing Kitten is Glowing)
Looking at my last update, I notice that things didn't go exactly as planned. It was chilly Tuesday so I paid the shop rent and blew off going to Lowe's. I did that Wednesday instead. It was a good trip out on the bus and a sucky one back, as the driver did a touch and go rolling stop and didn't pick me up. I was all pissed and walked home, with a stop at Harvest Fresh (which we call the hippy grocery store) where they actually have a build your own salad bar, to go, priced by the pound. I bought about 12 oz of my favorite veggies and took it home to eat.

Sadly, I also lost my sunglasses either in the store or on the street right outside it. For those who haven't met me yet, I can't actually see outside without some kind of shades. We're not sure exactly what the deal is, probably an MD related muscle weakness, but since sunglasses make it manageable, I don't worry about it. It was a hard walk home, though.

The good news is that Mark put the new lockset in the side door that night. He also installed the heavy-duty hasp inside the basement door and put my favorite big lock on it. And, just for my peace of mind, a smaller, lighter hasp on the kitchen side of the upstairs basement door. I close it and hang the open lock on it when we go to bed, just because I feel better. It's really there in case I actually hear someone in the basement, so I can lock them in and have a few minutes to get out of the house. Or if Steve actually comes back for his stuff, I'll lock it while he's in the house, if for no other reason than to openly display my distrust. I actually want him to come back and see that all the doors are locked against him now. That's how hurt I am. (We're also using a hasp to secure the back-shop door from the inside, but I fasten it with a carabiner. We don't have a key to the lock that's lying around out there and the a-n might decide to use it.)

But enough of that. Heather came over yesterday and we went out on foot to do a bunch of errands. The first being a stop at Ross for new sunglasses. I wore a visor and only looked at the ground two feet ahead, but it was still grueling. Still, I can only buy them at Ross. I don't think it's snobbery, I've owned dozens of pairs of shades of every type and price range, and the mid-level designer ones are just the best. I can always find a style that suits my face and the lenses are top quality. The dollar store ones Heather likes just reduce everything to shadow, and the blue-blockers reflect too much. But Ross always has something that looks good and lets me see clearly in any light, for around $10. I think I'm wearing Steve Madden now. In a few years, when they've been lost, or dropped and run over (the usual CoD), I get to go back and pick out another pair. I love an excuse to shop.

Another good excuse is winter! Heather's been collecting school clothes for her kids on all our trips, so after we looked at all the cool stuff we couldn't justify actually buying, I was able to justify a really amazing knit scarf in a kind of round scallop pattern that I've never seen before. It feels like angora, although it was probably way too inexpensive to actually be, so I had to have it. Even though it's green. But it's a really dark, neutral, moss in the forest shadows green, so I think it'll fit in nicely with the black/white/grey thing I have going on. And when CL needed socks, I discovered knee high Hello Kittys in grey/black and red/black. On clearance! So much warm, soft kittyness for my legs this year! Heather got shoes for the kids and it was over to Safeway for some lunch from the deli.

Then we crossed over to Walmart so she could get pull-ups for the baby (has anyone else noticed how they've racially diversified the diaper section? Let's hope it hits the big kid clothes soon) and some keys for the new doorknob. Russ and I each had one, but we needed more for Mark, Heather, and the a-n. Who, thank dog, forgot his momentary obsession with having keys for all the padlocks we're installing. His excuse? There might be a fire. I asked him why he'd want to get into the basement in case of fire--if the fire was down there, keeping the door closed would be a good idea, containment-wise, and he'd just fall down the unbelievable lethal stairs anyway--and he lost his shit, as always. Luckily the forgetting stuff worked for me this time. Almost makes up for the incredibly demented story he made up the other night about Steve stealing cash from him.*

Okay, then we went to Goodwill and I found FOUR heavy skirts for winter. One all black, one black and grey checked, one grey with black roses, and one that's just grey. I think all of them except the one with roses will look good with the Kitty socks, too. Heather found some more clothes for the kids, including an unlicensed knockoff HK dress for CL, which is just as adorable as it can be. It's kind of an old-fashioned party dress style with a long puffed skirt and a sash that ties in back. Thinking about it now, I suspect it was handmade by one of the local Hispanic woman for a little girl's party. You can tell it's not real Sanrio because HK has a cute little smiley mouth. I'd post pix but Heather has strict rules about her kids' pictures online. It's not allowed. Ever. Okay, I guess she has one strict rule. (Except for that one on my FB where her son is a week old and I'm wearing him a body sling and you can't even see his face. My friend took that pic and it's a work of art.)

We stopped at the park on the way back so the kids could run around some and then came home to confirm the news Mark gave me over the phone at Goodwill: that some punk-ass, uninsured, fucktard had hit Heather's van, my mommy's van, while it was safely and legally parked in front of our house. He'd assured me that it wasn't bad, that the other car had taken a lot more damage, and she definitely shouldn't worry. But of course we did.

Mark was right, though. There's a little scuff on the door below the trim where it says Venture, and sadly she's determined that it goes down to the primer, but she knows a guy who can fix it. We have good insurance on it since she hasn't changed the title, but she's scared they'll total it out because it's 8 years old and she'll have to buy the kind of crap car they'll assume hers is because they didn't know my mom.

Apparently what happened is someone backed into the driver's door in some kind of hatchback or mini-van/SUV thing and the side mirror punched out their big, overly-tinted rear window. It was easily the blackest glass I've ever seen outside an art studio and Heather swept up at least ten pounds of it. She said it's either medical grade or was bought out of state because Oregon doesn't allow that much tint.

Personally I think we're lucky the person who lost all that glass didn't get out and smash one of Heather's windows just out of spite. It must've been tempting.

The neighbors across the street said they didn't see it happen and they had no idea who it was. They heard the crash but the other car was gone when they got outside. This is, of course, a complete lie. They're always outside or in the front room looking out the windows. They see everything. And the only way the angles could have worked is if the other car was, you know, backing out of their driveway. (Interestingly, the woman I talked to kept calling the driver "she", which is grammatically unusual when referring to an unsub. Most people say either "he" or "they".) They're pot dealers and alcoholics, good friends of Steve's although yesterday was the first time I'd ever spoken to them, and they have random drunks and stoners staggering in and out of there in their black-windowed bass thumpers all hours of the day and night. There were three visitors' cars in the drive when I was talking to them. Now we're waiting to see, purely out of curiosity, which of the regulars stays away for a couple days, or comes back in a different car.

The last thing we did was sort my clothes again. Heather takes away everything I don't want and gives it to her friends, or a thrift store, or makes it into something else. This time I added two purple t-shirts that I don't wear because of the company logos so she can make them into necklaces for me. I love her t-shirt necklaces, I just don't have one yet. No one knows how she does it, but she can make anything out of anything else. I'm using a shopping bag that she sewed from a plastic bag of Purina Chicken Chow. She gets all my dog and cat chow bags, of course, and I get a shopping bag for every 5 bags I give her. Anyway, sorting out the bin of old stuff gave us a place to put the new winter stuff. When it's time to wear it, the strapless shirts and short skirts of summer will go into the bin and the heavy skirts and fuzzy sweaters of winter will come out. Maybe this winter won't be so bad if I feel pretty.

*Okay, yes, Steve's a thief. Yes, he stole some money from my purse a few weeks after he moved in and I chose to let it go that once. But I know the old man's story is bullshit because we all remember the bait money he left on his desk until it actually got dusty, like dried up cheese in an old mouse trap. The boys eventually took it to relieve everyone of the humiliation of continually trying to entrap a member of the household in such an obvious way. The best part? The old fart coincidentally put the $10 piece of cheese out a week or so after Steve actually did steal from me, which I never told anyone about, but he surely believed I would. I smile a little when I imagine how that must have felt.
little_tristan: (Bloom County cutter john)
The airshow was fiercely hot. Like, the most intense heat I've ever endured without it degenerating into a medical emergency. The high temperature was 101, which for you metric users is really freaking high, even for Fahrenheit. But we were able to get through it with the aid of sunscreen, lots of water, soft frozen lemonade, and an Erickson skycrane, under whose nose we huddled for six hours like New Mexico rattlesnakes in the shade of a rock. We were there for so long people thought we were volunteers and started asking questions like how fast it could go and how much it could lift. Fortunately Russell knew all the answers. And I suspect we're going to show up on a lot of FaceBook pages, since no one asked us to move before they took pictures. (Here's an F-15, here's the kids in an Army Blackhawk, and this is the cripple who guarded the skycrane.)

We saw Mark's favorite plane, the P-51 Mustang, and a Harrier jet that was easily the most impressive thing ever. My favorite has always been the SR-71 Blackbird, but since they don't fly those anymore (NASA maybe has one, and the one out here is flyable but no one's lining up to try), I might have to change my vote. You gotta respect a freaking jet that can hover like a hummingbird.

I also got to see, but sadly not meet, Ben "Flaps" Berry, Oregon's very own Tuskegee Airman. So it was a pretty special day, made all the better by coming home to two happy dogs (they had a/c, lucky bitches) and no sign that Steve had been in the house. That was our fondest hope for the day, other than surviving the heat.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how unemotional the whole dissolution has been. (At least for me; no idea what's going on with Steve.) I think it's partly because the end of this project, Grow Your Own Caregiver, coincided so neatly with the beginning of my current project, Operation Financial Solvency. There's actually a fair amount of overlap, meaning the faster GYOC ends, the more progress I can make on OFS. And it turns out that being alone in the house isn't so bad, compared to the stress of anticipating the daily snarl.

Instead I'm looking forward to Heather, who's going to help me put away yesterday's laundry and wash the dogs. Also, maybe, give me a cigarette. I'm being really good, only two store bought ones and a homeroll on Saturday, and one homeroll yesterday, but this cold turkey thing is hard. I'll be happy if I can keep it to one a day.
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.


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March 2013

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