little_tristan: (Puppy Upside Down Willow)
I'm watching a lot of documentaries lately. America the Beautiful, which looks at American standards of female beauty, is very good. Preschool University, on the difficulties of getting into elite Manhattan preschools, is probably more interesting if it's relevant to you. Like, if you live in Manhattan, have a two year old, and can afford fifty grand a year in tuition.

The Billionaire's Tea Party, made by a Brit trying to figure out what the loving fuck is going on over here, makes me sad. No, Tea Parties, you're not a grassroots organization. Poor dude in Walmart clothes who built the website for free? You got hosed. The guys backing your barbecue are worth over $20 billion and that shit just ain't trickling down. Know what else? It's never going to.

Also, if you want to call the president a communist/socialist/Marxist/whatever, please learn what those words mean. 'Cause someone might ask you to defend the accusation and that shocked, stupid look, followed by orders to "look it up" is not helpful to your cause. Because I know what the words mean. I just don't know what you mean.

Tammy was just here dusting and fighting off the dogs because I forgot and scheduled the lawn guys for the same day. But she appreciated the seahorses I stamped on my thumbnails this morning. Probably no one else will notice, so that makes me feel better.

I'm supposed to be paying bills and doing financial stuff, but it's Mom's birthday and I'm taking the day off. It's also Willow's birthday. Dog's never give you a day off, but at least I don't have to bake her a cake. She's perfectly happy just chasing her rope.

The catbox experiment is working well enough that the cats are behaving. Kenny not so much, but I still think that's mostly obesity. That's not exactly news. It's more of a progress report.

Work is still up in the air and the insurance company is still a pain in the ass. They had a meeting yesterday with an agent to answer questions. I gave Russell a list. Most of the questions revolved around prescription copays and my curiosity as to how I'm saving money by paying more. Our last insurance had a three tier system, $15/$30/$45. The new one is two tiered, $15/$30. Yet when Mark picked up my last prescription, which used to be $45, he had to pay $60.

I realize this is a significant savings over the $233 and change that the drug company wants (is Cymbalta shit by California condors or something?), but there's still a lie in there somewhere. I'm so sick and tired of these guys lying to us. And the whole defense of the massive premium increase is that we'll save so much everywhere else. Yet everything costs more. The only thing we haven't tested is hospitalization. I shudder to think what the radical markup and ensuing justification on that would be.

Of course Russ went off on the guy in the meeting, showed him the receipts, pointed out the numbers in the handbook, called them liars and thieves, the whole bit. Dude had no explanation whatsoever and said someone would call me to clear it up.

Ask me if that's happened. Go ahead. I dare you.

They're just lucky I got my Cymbalta or shit'd be a lot crazier right now.



Here's Murphy Sloane in his exoskeleton, looking a little bit crazy, too.

That platform he's on? Is a piece of plywood laid over the bathtub. It doesn't work as a tub, but it's good for storage. And Murphy. Also, true fact: the bar of Irish Spring in the soap dish behind him? Came with the house.

There's a new sea urchin in the house. This one's a cute little spiny critter from Africa, dating back about 50 million years. I haven't gotten a new urchin in a long time, but I was on ebay looking at chondrites and it popped up.



This is the new urchin, along with a thumb for perspective and seahorse showing off.

The chondrites are coming from Germany. I don't know when they'll be here. It's very exciting. For some reason we don't have any. I've never even held one before. But I read about them in Scientific American and it said the slices are gorgeous under a microscope. I love microscopes.

I also love The Hunger Games. I'm going to go read now.
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: (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: (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: (Catloaf mini)
In a weird kind of way. Shortly after I became obsessed with staring out the front window, as I often do in the senseless hope that Officer Sheets will come back and tell me it was all a big mistake, Steve realized that he had pressing business somewhere outside and went for a walk. He does that a couple times a day, probably to get a break from things like this. I was crying when he left and still at it when he came back a couple hours later, which must have been weird (in spite of the warnings). In fact, I ended up calling him back because it was way out of hand by then. The whole episode ended with me chewing some Xanax and curling up under the big blanket on the sofa while we ridiculed Air Force One. Between that and the odd hug, we got through it and I was feeling much better by the time the boys got home. Although altering my med times is probably why it's a quarter past three and I haven't been to sleep yet. )
little_tristan: (Kitten Star Me Kitten)
I was at a friend's house (a real friend, but her home and family were all constructed from bits of my own life), hanging out with her husband (George Takei) and her friends, whom I didn't know. Everyone was sitting around the kitchen table, but I was on the floor nearby, playing with the dog (my sister's) and baby (Cousin Ivan, ca. 1986). When I looked up, Mom was standing over me, smiling and saying hello. No one seemed to notice anything until I said hello back. As we were talking, my friend edged closer to me and her friends edged farther away.

It took me a few seconds to notice this, and then I guessed that the reason was that we were being rude. So I started introducing her to everyone. But their eyes got wider and wider and my friend started trying to distract me with books and small pets and, eventually, loaves of bread. I wouldn't be distracted, though. Mom was there and I wanted to talk to her. Even when I realized that she was a bit fuzzy around the edges and I could sort of see one person who was just behind her. Even when I realized that no one had actually been introduced, nor did they want to be. They all thought I was crazy, and maybe I was. It was perfectly fine with me if they couldn't see her because she wasn't there for them. She was there for me and I wasn't about to waste our time together worrying about trivial things like my own sanity.

I think if something like that really happened, that's how I would react. We have too much to talk about to get hung up on silly things like her not being here.

Suddenly Lovecraft makes a lot more sense.
little_tristan: (Catloaf Blue-Eyed Kitten)
This is worth recording (to me) for a few reasons. It's been several weeks since I've had a really coherent, linear dream, or been able to remember anything about a dream clearly after waking. (With the exception of the Jim Parsons at the convenience store dream, which was just nice.:) It's also different in that it was about my parents. Mom's been around a lot lately, in broken, barely remembered dreams, but I haven't seen Dad in years.

It started with a block of wood. )
little_tristan: (Kitten Interwebs)
They should do a remake of My Two Dads and, near the end of the first season, have the dads actually fall in love. They wouldn't even need to change the dialog much. (Joint custody is unnatural. A child should have both her fathers.)

I'm supposed to be writing checks and paying Mom's bills. I've figured out that I don't want to because then it'll be over. When it's over and we split up her money, she can't come back. Grief logic is easily the most fucked up mode of thinking I've ever experienced, and I've been mentally ill all my life. I know that the money could sit there forever and she'd never come back for it. And yet--I wait.

On the other hand, [livejournal.com profile] catyah, who is alive, will be here tomorrow and I won't enjoy it nearly as much with this hanging over my head.

The living room also needs dusting, but at this point that would just be an excuse. Ditto brushing Ranger.

Why can I not get Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town for Kindle? It's 500 pages. I'm thinking about filing some kind of discrimination lawsuit against publishers who only put out books in inaccessible 2 pound versions. I'd be willing to settle out of court for e-books.

Herr very adorably thinks he's getting his Volkswagen back today, just because the guy said so. He can't seem to understand that this mechanic, M, may be the best in the county, but when he says Wednesday, he means Friday. When he says Thursday, he means Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Also, three days = one week.

But after two weeks of driving the Chevy Venture, I'm not sure how much he really misses it.

Yeah, okay. Pay bills, brush dog's butt, then I get to finish House of Leaves. I can do this. Maybe even before the sun comes up.
little_tristan: (Roy Tongue)
Okay, I've been compiling this gradually, a few lines a day, because I've been so lonely since the incident. Somehow I hadn't realized that not being able to type would cut me off so completely from humanity. Except for my cousin, who calls once in a while, and the boys, who spend ten or fifteen minutes a day with me (talking about work). It's been distressing, to say the least.

So what's new? Um, I've switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox for better web browsing. More or less. It has some minor flaws, but nothing like I was getting from IE9. It wasn't just that whole spending six hours trying to upload my book cover (which turned out to be a ten minute job), it also wasn't letting me reply to comments on AO3. And that was sad, because I didn't want people thinking I was ignoring them, but every time I clicked reply, it jumped from the page with the comment I wanted to reply to back to the first page where I could only leave a new comment. And when I tried that, in case it would magically apply it to the right page, I ended up making a new comment on the first chapter of my own fic, and then I couldn't delete it. There was a delete button, but the confirmation button flashed by so fast as to be unclickable. So Firefox solved that. Although it did allow a bunch of ads on my FaceBook page that I've never seen before. I found an add-on for that. I need more add-ons, but there's time. I'll find them.
Sad Mom stuff... )
Kenny Stuff )
Cat and Dog Stuff )
Random Dream and Book Stuff )
Monday Sucked )

Now my biggest irritation is suddenly having a plot bunny and no way to write it.
little_tristan: (BtVS Spike Misery)
Yesterday was all about banking. I had to go to three banks--mine, where I set up Mom's estate account, and the two she used where I closed her accounts--but it got all complicated and I ended up making 7 stops altogether. And at one of the banks they were doing construction and had ripped up the entire sidewalk between the curb cut and the door so I couldn't get in. But (this is the best news I have) Bruder was well enough to drive, yet not quite ready to go back to work, so I had a ride. (My new wheelchair came with run down batteries so I can't go more than 10 blocks from home alone. At least not if I want to get back. They're bringing me new batteries next Friday.) Anyway, we ended up conducting business in the parking lot with the teller running back and forth with the paperwork. She was really nice about it, and gave me one of their new account promotional things as a please-don't-sue-us gift. I can't use it myself, but Cousin H will love it.:)
Quite possibly you should all stop reading now )
little_tristan: (Firefly Jayne and River Never Alone)
...who will hereafter be known as Kay. I have to say that some of my fears were valid--she is a bit scattered and disorganized--but I'm still glad I went and I'm planning on going again. She listens to me ramble and I don't have have to worry about the burden of grief that I'm putting on her. There are still things that I feel like I can't say here or to my friends just because they're too awful. It makes people think about the possibility of losing the people they love most (Kay's mother died last year; that seems to help), and some of it kind of makes them worry about me. Which they shouldn't do, I don't think. I mean, I think I'm basically okay. And it's good to be able to say things out loud, in words, that I've only written about so far. Herr and Bruder and Cousin H all have trouble listening--they're ones that gets to thinking too much about being left alone one day--and I don't have anyone else for RL conversation. My sister, I suspect, pretends most of the time that it simply never happened.

Observations that Kay made yesterday--1) I'm unusually hard on myself. (Her exact words: You shit on yourself a lot.) 2) God loves me anyway. 3) I probably need to cry more. (She seemed to be disturbed when I got to a part of the story where I had to cry [footprint of the door] and then just stopped talking, without crying, until it passed.)

Possibly the most useful part? She's read ALL the books on grieving, so she knew which ones would be most appropriate to my situation. (Books about parents losing children, adults losing siblings, children losing siblings, and anything related to friends or pets are kind of a waste of time. Okay, I've lost a lot of friends and pets, but I feel like I have a handle on that.) I went to the library and looked at a bunch of them, and then came home and bought a couple for Booker. We'll see if that helps.

Today one of my cousins posted a picture of Mom on her FB. I'm still trying to decide if that helps or not.
little_tristan: (Quincy Sad Phone Call)
Ever since my mom died, I've been--different. I've always talked too much, but now I say really personal things to complete strangers in person, rather than just online. And whenever I do, I think of something I've read a dozen times, a passage from If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? by Erma Bombeck. Most of us have been in Erma's place. Now I'm in the opposite role. Thank you all for listening.
I'll bet it's cold... )
little_tristan: (Emergency! Johnny facepalm)
Remember that lovely wallowing entry last month in which I said that I couldn't even think of ways in which things could get worse? Ha ha ha. I didn't even *think* about the IRS. I suppose it would be worse if they were after us, but it's still not good. They say Mom underpaid her taxes a couple years ago and they want a bunch of money, um, a month ago. Interest and penalties are already racking up. It wouldn't be that big a deal, except that I STILL haven't been appointed representative to the estate, which means I can't pay them. I can't pay anyone, and two months after her death, there are a lot of people waiting to be paid. I can't access the money, and with the IRS, there are a lot of special rules regarding handling taxes on another's behalf. I haven't been able to file her 2010 return, I'm running out of time on her 2011 (yes, you read that correctly), and now I can't take care of this 2009 deal, either. Even if I wanted to pay with my own money, I can't, because I'm not authorized to sign the gorram paperwork.

And before anyone asks, no, I don't know why I haven't been appointed yet. My best guess is that the court system in the county where she resided SUCKS. Seriously. I did my part. My $200 an hour lawyer did her part. There's just some judge down there in the seat of the county named for our 14th president who isn't fucking doing his fucking part. Which my lawyer told me would be the case, what with them sucking and all. Yet I continue to be surprised.

There's a similar problem with Social Security, but I feel safer in telling them to suck it (for now). Because, you know, I'm pretty sure they can't send me to prison. Although I suppose, as I slide irresistibly toward the furthest pits of hell, that anything will soon become possible.
little_tristan: (Riptide Murray Thinky)
I'm editing my book for the last time (I hope), and I just got to the part that I've been kind of fearing. The big case that leads to the ultimate climax involves a woman found murdered in her own home. Her co-workers call the police when she doesn't show up on Monday morning and they find her dead in her bedroom. But I knew it was coming, so it didn't bother me that much.

What bothers me is the name of the medical examiner. I made it up five or six years ago when I wrote the first draft. It was just a cobbled together word made from random syllables from the first and last names of the actor whose face I always see in the role. And yet...

Reading it today, I realized it's the name of the city where my mother was born. A city I'd never heard of a year ago.

Coincidences are fun, nicht wahr?
little_tristan: (BtVS Buffy and Willow)
Usually when someone dies, I see them around for a while. Our Whiskey cat hung around the house for a couple years, lurking in hallways and under the bed, being a little gray shadow. But Doodle went away clean, so I thought it maybe had ended. Maybe the dead were finally leaving me alone. But last Wednesday, I was in the bathroom washing my hands and I heard my mother calling my name. That was odd.

Today I gave Ranger her pills and went to wash the dog slobber off my hands, and this time it was Doc, barking down in the library. Herr's always thought it was weird how I could recognize our dogs' barks, like when I'd wake him in the middle of the night to tell him they were outside, and he'd think it was the neighbor's dogs. But when he checked, sure enough, the back door would be open and they'd be out there running around, barking like fools. I always know my dogs. And she was clearly inside this morning because her bark had the echoing quality that it gets from the tiles in the library.

Although I suppose there are worse things than hallucinations. The way I only hear them in the bathroom sort of reminds me of the drains in IT. Underground spiders of pure evil controlling the city would be worse than whatever mental defect I happen to have.

Mom sounded pretty good, though.
little_tristan: (Bleeding Hearts)
I wrote this the day before Mom's funeral and my darling Herr read it, because I would have squeaked and cried and she deserved better. He did a beautiful job.
My mother's life, in 5 paragraphs... )
little_tristan: (Daria: Mr. D)
In all of my previous 36 years, life has followed a sort of pattern. Bad things happen, and then good things happen. Sometimes the good things come directly out of the bad things (car wreck = new car) and sometimes it takes a little perspective to see how it worked (Dad died = new improved life. Eventually.). Sometimes they aren't related at all, the monotony of misery is just broken up by random good things. (Crappy day/book in the mail) And sometimes it's just expecting the worst and being pleasantly surprised when it doesn't happen. (Thinking the IRS wanted to send Herr to prison, but they didn't.)

But year 37 is taking a decidedly different turn. It just keeps getting worse. It's like entropy has completely taken control and everything is trending relentlessly toward chaos. (Yes, I was working on the estate today. How did you guess?) I keep seeing potential bright points, but they vanish before I reach them. Everything that seemed like it might be a small compensation, a little bit of "at least this will help with...", has turned out to be just another wad of frustration. I can't even come up with ways in which things could be worse. I mean, they're pulling rugs out from under me that I didn't even know I was standing on. Soon the fates will have to trade in their scissors and strings and shit for shovels so they can devote themselves full time to digging deeper holes for me to fall in.

I fully expect my house to burn down in the next few days. But don't worry. The arch-nemesis will be fine.

Yes, I'm wallowing. So the fuck what? I can't come up with one semi-decent reason not to. Everything sucks. Suckity suck suck fuck it to hell. Damn it.

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