by Special Kay
Chaos is that voice at the end of the day that says, "Bet you didn't see that coming."
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **
"It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order
- and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order"
I imagine that chaos and order are like those Russian nesting dolls, and they fit together to some infinitesimally minute level at which we must just give up ever grasping what lies at the core.
Still . . . if I had to bet, my money would be on chaos.
"Our real discoveries come from chaos,
from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish."
I know that place well . . . every wrong, stupid, and foolish acre of it!
I used to think it was a dead end, or worse, a complete navigational failure,
but sometimes that place was exactly were I needed to be.
So what does any of this have to do with me, my blog, or the entries that will follow?
I don't know, but pull up a chair. I'll invite some chaos, and we'll see what happens.
"It's a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful."
— Hiromu Arakawa
|I stayed home sick today. My allergies are terrible right now. It seems like this early warm spell has spawned a proliferation of pollen and my sinuses are very unhappy. By today the watery eyes and general drippiness had progressed to a scratchy, raw throat and a persistent hacking cough. I am switching out my Allegra for Zyrtec hoping to get a bit more bang out of my medication. In the meantime, since I was home, I finished reading The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter.
|Hmmm... Comments aren't showing up in my email which means (1) I don't notice the comments until I go into my blog - and we all know how often that's happening - and (2) I can't figure out how to respond to the comments.
The writer's conference really did give me a kick in the pants as far as motivation. I CANNOT wait to finish my statistics class so I can spare the time and mental energy to really focus on writing. I'm at the start of week 7 of the 8 week course, so it is already practically over. It has been painful, but it has also been quick, and I'm thankful the suffering won't be prolonged. Unfortunately/fortunately, the professor has this warped need to help us succeed. There have been some assignments for which I would have been perfectly happy to accept a dismal grade just to have it done, but no, she wants to give me the opportunity to correct the work for full credit. I have to admire her determination, but I really don't care to learn statistics.
What I do care about is social networking. This is a lie
What I do care about is how social networking might help me achieve my writing goals. This is closer to the truth.
This was an interesting topic at the writing conference. I saw three different presenters that had three very different takes on it. The first presenter was presenting on the business of writing. She is a freelance writer and emphasized the importance of being a presence on the web as a way to market yourself. In her view, everything should be professional and self-promoting. Anything personal should be squirreled away as it had the potential to be objectionable or off-putting to prospective clients.
The second presenter was presenting specifically on the topic of social media, so she was entirely positive. Her advice was to get out there and engage in the conversation, not to be self-promoting - which quickly becomes tiresome - but to make connections and increase your visibility. I read a book awhile back called Get Known Before the Book Deal which pretty had the same message. Publishers want authors who have already established some sort of following.
The third presenter seemed negative at first. Her initial response to the social media topic was that you should be more concerned with focusing on your writing projects. She took a step back from that though, and acknowledged that for her personally she felt social networking was a distraction and that engaging in it over a period of time seems to have negatively impacted her ability to sit and focus and write. Once that was said, she pointed out that some people actually thrive on the stimulation of social networking and that it can stoke the creative fires for those folks. My take away from her was simply this - Know yourself, and do what works for you. Gaining visibility isn't going to be a benefit if you can't deliver the goods.
In short, I posted my first tweet last night.
"I climbed, and step by step, oh Lord,: Ascended into Hell" -- W. H. Davies
|I attended my first writer's conference this week. There were some sessions I would rather have skipped and others that I wish I'd attended, but at the end of the day, it was a very worthwhile experience. I am looking forward to attending again next year. I told my daughter she would have lover it too, and I might have to bring her with me next year. I know it is definitely something that I'll be doing more of in the future.
|Today I'm going to share a poem written by my son Zack about the fine sport of curling
Silence must be there
It must be so silent you can
Hear the brooms sweeping on the ice.
People sweeping so hard they smell like monkeys
With the urge to scream like a maniac
It's hard not to make a peep
|I came home for lunch today, as I do most days, and when I returned to work there was a beautiful bouquet on my desk. The flowers were from Tony of course, and they were lovely. I had to laugh because a lifetime ago when Tony and I were approaching our very first Valentine's Day, I told him that I did not want roses on Valentine's Day. Not even a little bit. I know, I know... not a big fan of the jewelry at Christmas, and unimpressed with roses on Valentine's day. There is something down right un-American about it. The funny thing is that I am sure there are men would see this as a good thing which makes their lives easier. My husband is not one of those men. He thinks I am difficult. I suppose there might be a point to it. As a spouse, he feels a certain pressure to conform to the societal norms of obligatory gifting whether or not it is desired or appreciated. So when I saw the flowers today, pink lilies and roses, I had to laugh. He got around it by sending them the day after.
Of course everyone at work asked about the flowers. Why today? I explained repeatedly about the no roses on Valentine's day, and how this was Tony's way of working around my stubborn nature. I must have told the story a dozen times before the day was over. I took a picture of the bouquet with my cell phone and sent the picture along with a simple "Thank you."
When I got home from work, Tony called. "You got the flowers?"
"I did. Thank you. They were lovely."
"I'm really sorry about that."
"What do you mean?"
"I messed up the dates. You were supposed to get them yesterday for Valentine's."
"You didn't! Oh hell. I thought you meant to send them today because you know not to send me roses on Valentine's day."
"There were roses?"
"Yes dear. Pink roses and lilies. I explained to everyone about not wanting roses on Valentine's day, and everyone thought it was very sweet of you to send them today instead."
"I probably shouldn't have said anything, huh?"
Hard to be annoyed when his heart was in the right place. He does try.
|Today I registered to attend the writing conference as well as a pre conference session. I also request two days off work so I could attend the pre conference. I'm pretty excited about it, and I've been very motivated to look back at and revise/revisit some old projects. Turns out my friend Mike, who I've been corresponding with over Facebook is uniquely qualified to offer some technical consultation on my last Nano novel which I pretty much abandoned because I was way out of my depth. He offered to read through what I had and so I sent off my very rough draft. Well, apparently he was reading through it and his wife asked what he was doing. When he explained the part about providing technical consultation on the a novel for his ex-girlfriend who he's been messaging back and forth with on a daily basis for the past few months, she was less than happy. I told him I'd understand if he needed to renege on the offer, but he was disinclined to do so. Today though he was emailing me from work instead of messaging through Facebook so it seems a bit shady. Tony, on the other hand, is in the know. I told him I'd sent the draft to Mike for his input and Tony seems happy knowing that I'm getting back to writing.
In other news, I'm furious with one of Zack's teachers. He'd emailed me a couple weeks ago asking if things were okay with Zack because apparently Zack hadn't completed some key writing assignments. The way he described the writing assignments, I can understand why Zack hadn't completed them since they were pretty much beyond Zack's range. Writing a story about a memory is not something Zack can do. He is good at inventing stories and remembering stories, but not at recalling events. It has to do with his autism and the way he takes in and stores information. The things he focuses on in his daily life are not the normal things so when he tries to string together and tell about an event, it comes out very odd and disjointed. Anyway, I responded to his teacher basically saying that Zack has an IEP stating he needs support around writing assignments, and if he was struggling, to my way of thinking, it was an indication that he was not receiving that support. I did not get a response from the teacher.
The next day, by coincidence, I got an email from Zack's learning support teacher. She sends me a periodic email just to check in and see how things are going from my perspective. I emailed back telling her about the concerns expressed by Zack's teacher, and my own concerns as to whether he was getting adequate support. Not surprisingly, this was all news to her. At no point did Zack's teacher reach out to her to suggest Zack was struggling. That alone pissed me off. I have a good relationship with this learning support teacher though, and so there were several emails back and forth and she spoke to the teacher and worked out a plan to get Zack caught up on his work with assurances that he would not be penalized for lateness. Fast forward to this afternoon. I received an email requesting that I make myself available for a conference Friday morning because Zack is now FAILING this class due to missed assignments. Zack has consistently been an honor roll student, so in my opinion Zack in not the one failing. The teacher is FAILING!!!
I'm sorry I haven't responded to comments left for me on previous entries. I very much appreciate all the words of support and encouragement. I just haven't been on the site much. I am back to having a double class load, but only for two more weeks, and then I will just be down to just the one class. Unfortunately that one class is statistics. I just completed the first week yesterday, and I'm not looking forward to the next 7 weeks of that crap. It promises to be thoroughly demoralizing!
|I am incredibly energized this morning. I’m sure my excitement will wane, but for now I am going to bask in the contented glow of decisiveness and ignore the harsher realities and logistics of cost, and sacrifice. My friends, I have made a momentous and possibly life altering decision. For all my aimless wandering and long stretches of simply marking time, I have finally made a choice about what I want. What do I want? I’ll get to that in a moment, but I truly believe this is a choice rather than a default, or a cop out, or a hedge; a real honest to goodness choice about the course of my life.
Of course, it could all come to naught. That is my only concession to reality.
I have decided that I am going to apply to go to graduate school. I may not get accepted, but I am going to apply for the session that will start in January 2013 (assuming the world as we know it hasn’t come to an end already). I will continue to work and attend a part time, low residency, Master’s program in creative writing. The school is about an hour from where I live, and the low residency piece means that I must attend a total of 4 eight day sessions over the course of the program. Since I am going to do this part-time, I will be doing one session per year with project semesters in between where the work and study is run mentor style via the internet. The program has both a Master’s option and an MFA option. I may want to complete the additional work for the MFA. In fact, I probably will, but I don’t have to decide all that right now. I also don’t have to decide yet whether I want to take the fiction track or the creative non-fiction track.
Of course, it could all come to naught. First I have to be accepted.
The other part of this, and that part that makes it so potentially life altering, is that I will probably dig in and continue to live right where I am while I complete the Master’s program. This is not likely to make my husband happy. He will be switching to active duty in October and wanted Zack and I to move to where ever he happens to be stationed after Katie graduates in June of 2013. My logic is that our term as a military family is going to be marked by lots of periods of separation whether or not I pull up stakes here. Because I believe that to be true, I am inclined to stay put and give my son the benefit of stability while he finishes school. I have made such a point of giving Katie the opportunity to stay and finish school here, and suddenly seems very unfair that I wouldn’t give my son, who has even less ability to cope with change, that same chance. And of course, I would be doing something very positive - and maybe a bit selfish -for me.
I’m not sure what the impact will be on my marriage, but Tony is at a conference this week where he has learned about a possible fellowship opportunity for military operational psychologists which will allow them to spend a year cross-training at the various intelligence agencies. He was so excited thinking about it that I think he probably needed to change his shorts. It is really a great opportunity for him, and my thought is he needs to pursue the opportunities that are coming his way, and I need to pursue opportunities of my own because I am not going to spend the next 4 or 5 years feeling like I am just marking time until Tony moves to the next thing. Been there. Done that. Now, I need something for me, and if that means staying behind to pursue this, then I’m prepared to do that and deal with the consequences to my marriage.
Of course, it could all come to naught, but it won't be for lack of effort.
|When spoken with a British accent, the word 'fallacious," sounds rather like "fellatious" would sound were it an actual word. Of course, fellatious would have a rather different meaning. I can always tell that it is Friday when I start making these observations during the course of a otherwise normal and generally work related conversation.
My mind works like this. I hear the phrase "fallacious hope."
And I think . . .
Fallacy (n.) . . . fallacious (adj.) . . . fallaciously (adv.)
Fellatio (n.) . . . fellate, fellated, fellating (v.) . . . fellatious(adj) . . . fellatiously (adv.)
Not that I think I really need to map out my thinking on that one.
The part that struck me as funny was that I wanted to make a "little word of the day" post-it note featuring this latest addition to the office lexicon, so I consulted the online Merriam-Webster dictionary. I wanted to refer to the actual entry for fallacious in order to do a proper parody. The following message appeared at the bottom of the screen. "What made you want to look up fallacious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote if possible)."
Methinks they don't really want to know.
|We're all familiar with the shake weight concept, correct?
Well a little while back, I was chatting with Katie and she tells me that a guy was arrested on a local highway for shake-weighting while driving.
I was a bit perplexed so I asked Katie what they charged him with.
"What?! That doesn't make any sense at all. I mean I could see citing him for distracted driving or something, but indecent exposure? For using a shake weight while he was driving?"
"uh Mom . . . he wasn't using a shake weight. He was doing the think that shake-weighting looks like."
Didn't realize shake-weighting had become a euphemism for slapping the salami, choking the chicken, whacking the weasel . . . I could go on, but I don't have to because the internet already has plenty of space devoted to this.
And not to exclude us ladies
And that reminds me . . . as I was perusing the free aps on my phone, I saw one that gave me pause. It was the sexy time vibrator ap. Now really, who wants to use their phone for that? Unless other people have attachments for their phones that I just don't know about.
|So now that I have a smart phone and my husband has a smart phone, I received a request via said smart phone to accept an "invitation" from my husband that would allow him to use the GPS locator on my phone to track my whereabouts. I declined the "invitation" and told Tony in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to have me electronically tagged he was going to have to find another way because there was no way in hell I was going to voluntarily forfeit my sense of freedom and privacy to give him whatever piece of mind comes from tracking your wife's daily movements when you live three states away.
He was surprised at my vehemence.
I'm not sure why. Sometimes I think he really doesn't know me at all. Last year at Christmas he gave me a present that nearly brought tears to my eyes because it showed that he really understood and accepted me and was paying attention. It was an umbrella. Such an ordinary daily kind of thing, but it meant so much because it was a huge concession on his part to accept my practical nature and give me a gift that was useful and needed rather than something I just have to dust. It was also cool because it meant he had noticed that I was always the one stuck with the crappiest old umbrella out of the stand since I was usually last out the door in the morning. That frequently meant I was stuck with a child sized superman umbrella or the old green give-a-way umbrella that doesn't open or close properly. Anyway, I thought it was a thoughtful, wonderful gift. I thought it was a sign that he'd finally figured this gift thing out.
Well I was wrong. Apparently this year he decided to go with a string of pearls. Now, it was a lovely piece of jewelry, but I am not June Cleaver. My pearl wearing occasions are few and far between, and easily met by the string of pearls I wore at my wedding. I can't figure out why he feels the need to give me jewelry year after year when I wear very little of it, and usually limit myself to inexpensive costume jewelry because I'm notorious for losing an earring.
In past years I have accepted the gift for what it is and have tried to focus on the sentiment rather than the gift, but this year it seemed that the sentiment was "I have no idea who I married." Anyway, we talked and the pearls were returned to the store. Tony then bought me an awesome pair of boots I'd been wanting instead. He also conceded that the gps thing was a bit intrusive and my objection was understandable.
It is a beautiful January day here with temps expected to reach 50 degrees, so I need to get outside and take down my Christmas lights.
|I drove Tony down to Philly today and dropped him off at the airport. After cutting him lose, I headed for Ikea and spent some time shopping. I bought a new duvet cover for the bedroom, a couple desk lamps, and some other goodies. I also decided to stop at the grocery store on the way home because there are things I just can't consistently find in the local grocery. So, I made a second stop, ate lunch, and did the shopping. When I was in frozen foods, I got a call on my cell phone. It was Tony calling to let me know he'd landed safely in North Carolina. I had to laugh. He made it from Philly to NC and I wasn't even back home yet.
I have an unfortunate talent for pissing away an entire day, but it was my last day of vacation. Tomorrow I'm back to work and the kids are back to school. I guess I felt entitled to use the time as I pleased, but I'm sure I will regret it tomorrow morning because things are not organized in a manner that is likely to facilitate a smooth start to the day.
On the bright-side, I did the laundry so I should have clothes to wear . . . assume any of my work clothes still fit after the rather glutinous holiday season.
I asked Zack when I should take down the Christmas tree. He is usually the hold out on such things and has been known to get weepy and resort to kidnapping the baby Jesus from the nativity to thwart my "undecorating" efforts. This year has been different. I don't know if it is just the age, but he's definitely toned down his Christmas enthusiasm this year. When I asked about taking the tree down he said "the sooner the better." I guess I'll be taking the tree down this weekend if not sooner. I'm sure the kitten, at least, will be sad to see it go.
|For my own sanity, and because I didn't want to get stuck in rush hour traffic around Philadelphia on the friday before Christmas, I told Tony that he would need to take the commuter train from the airport out to the 'burbs north of the city. I'm sure it wasn't his preferred homecoming, but it worked out great for me, and Tony graciously conceded that since I was the one driving he would accommodate me for a change.
I met him at the train station, and we then had a nice dinner together before heading toward home. On the way home, we needed to stop at my mothers to pick up Zack. He spent Thursday night at his Grandma's house since he was off school on Friday and wanted to spend as much time as possible with his cousins who came up on Thursday. When we got to my mother's house, only the three boys were there. I asked, "Where is everybody?" and my nephew quickly explained, "they all went out to the bar."
Anyway, it is nice having Tony here for the holiday, but I think we are out of practice sleeping with another person in the bed. Tony woke me several times during the night inadvertently by smacking a hand against me. Also, he snores. Also, he crowds the dog who in turn crowds me. I might not get much sleep, and not for the good reasons.
|The house across the street from me is for sale. It is kind of a sad story in that a really nice couple bought the house at auction. The husband, George, is a contractor and poured all kinds of time and money into fixing it up very nicely with two separate living units for his mother-in-law and disabled brother-in-law to share. Before his mother-in-law could get moved in, she passed away. The brother-in-law moved in, but within a month or two, he also passed away. George's wife was devastated by the losses, and she and George decided to put the house on the market. They listed the property this fall and it has been sitting vacant, but George keeps up all the maintenance.
Now, since the house has been listed, there has been a smattering of unfamiliar cars across the street. This, I guess, is to be expected with a house on the market, but gradually we started noticing some oddness to the pattern of vehicles, particularly cars backed into the driveway. It stands to reason that if you are there to look at a house you would pull into the drive rather than backing in. My daughter and I noticed recurring instances of cars backed in that made us uneasy enough that we discussed and compared notes. Katie had even taken a picture of a blue car backed in to the drive with her cell phone, but I was pretty sure the car I'd seen was red. We talked to a bit about it when Tony was around at Thanksgiving and he felt we should notify the police. But what would we tell them? It seemed too innocuous to merit calling the police. I talked my neighbor Mike though to see if he'd noticed the cars. Mike is retired and a bit of a busy-body so I figured if something odd was going on he'd have noticed. I was reassured when he told me he hadn't notices anything unusual.
There seemed to be a lull when everything was fine, but then last Monday I came home at lunchtime. As soon as I turned the corner to come down my road I spotted the red car backed into the driveway across from my house. There was a man sitting in the car. I can't say for sure whether I'd ever noticed a person in the car any of the other times I'd spotted cars, but unmistakably, there was a man in the parked car on that bitter cold day. And he was looking across the road at my house.
People always say you should trust your instincts in situations like that, and all the warning bells were going off in my head at that point. Screaming alarm sirens were telling me that this was all wrong. I went into my house, locked my doors, and remembering that my husband had urged me to call the police, I called my neighbor, Mike, instead. I told him "You know how we were talking about the strange cars across the street . . . well, it's there now and a man is sitting in it, and it's making all the hairs on my neck stand on end." Well, Mike promised to go out and talk to the guy. He called me a bit later and told me the man had claimed to be a prospective buyer who was just "checking out the neighborhood." Mike told him that he and the neighbors had noticed him around a number of times, and the man acknowledged this, but stuck to the story of being a prospective buyer.
Now, my neighborhood is a short street with all of ten houses on it that dead ends in both directions and connects to the main road with an even shorter little access road. There isn't much in the way of a neighborhood to check out. Mike and I were not inclined to believe the story, but at least the man knew we had taken note of his presence on more than one occasion, and if his purposes were of a nefarious nature, maybe he'd think twice. Or so we hoped.
On Tuesday, I came home from lunch again. There wasn't a car in the driveway, but there was a car parked along the road where I have never ever seen a car parked unless someone was having a yard sale. Once again, the car was parked in a way that I could not see a license plate. This car was not red, but looked way too much like the blue car Katie had taken a picture of. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. The way the sun was glinting off the windshield though, I couldn't tell if a person was in the car. Sure, I could have called the police anyway, but it seemed silly to call and report a parked on the road. I did, however, come inside and find the number for the local police department and programmed it into my cell phone. I fixed a sandwich and told myself that if the car was still there when I left to go back to work I would cruise past it and if someone was inside I would call the police.
Sometime between finishing my sandwich and checking my email, the car left. I invented a dozen scenarios attempting to come up with some legitimate reason for a person to sit in his car watching things on my street in the middle of the day. One theory was that he was a process server trying to catch up with an unfortunate neighbor who was hypothetically being sued. Another was that he was a private investigator who was spying on my neighbor who is currently out on workman's comp to make sure the claim is legitimate. I thought these were pretty good theories, and in any case, they made the presence in the neighborhood feel much less ominous. Besides, I hadn't seen him in a few day, and was beginning to think the matter was settled. I was even beginning to feel slightly let down that the whole thing should end so quietly without me ever knowing what it was even about. Suddenly, that started to seem like the worst case scenario. My hatred of "not knowing" is damn near pathological.
So I had mixed feelings when I turned down the road at lunchtime yesterday and saw the blue car backed into the driveway. I'd already given myself a firm talking to about the need to notify the police the next time I saw one of the cars on my street, so I knew what I was going to do even before my neighbor Mike called out to me "Go inside and call the police." I reached in my pocket to fish out my cell, but came up empty. For all my planning I'd left it on my desk at work. Shit! I went inside and googled the police department as this really didn't seem to merit a 9-1-1 emergency. I placed the call and stepped out on to the porch. By then, Mike had confronted the guy in the car again. They'd had words and the guy had left, but now Mike had a license plate number.
The dispatcher took my info and said she would send a car. I went in to have lunch, and Mike went on home, but when the cruiser arrived, Mike rematerialized. We explained our concerns with the sergeant and shared the information we had. He checked around the property for signs of anything having been disturbed. He and Mike were still talking when I left to go back to work. When I talked to Mike today he gave me the officers card along with the sergeants instructions that we are to call and report any further activity. Mike had also taken it upon himself to call the Realtor's office and find out if they'd shown the house to anyone matching the description of the man he'd seen. He found out that the man had gone to the office to inquire about the property, but had caused a scene that they were unwilling to elaborate about, and he'd been asked to leave. They did provide Mike with the man's name though. When I came home at lunch today, all was quiet on my street. I suppose that is a good thing, but I must confess, part of me is dying to know what this is all about, but another part of me already knows it will probably be mundane and boring and is already more interested into weaving this all into a work of fiction.
1. The girl-child has been awesome with her dad away. She has seriously stepped up to make herself available and helpful and she is just wonderful company. She was the one who figured out how to change my wiper blades after she treated my windshield with rain-ex and topped off my wiper fluid. She has been transferring the laundry from washer to dryer and folding or hanging the clothes from the dryer. She has also been wonderfully helpful in reminding her brother about the things he needs to do.
2. Tony is coming home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. He is very bummed because he wanted to drive home today, but he has to report for formation in the morning before being dismissed for the holiday weekend. I didn't really expect they'd let him leave until tomorrow so I'm not disappointed, but he is. I think sometimes I've got the advantage of years of experience being part of a military family whereas he is naive and somehow expects a level of accommodation and flexibility that is incompatible with military life. Anyway, I am looking forward to spending some time with him.
3. Wow, it has been so long since I've blogged! The last time I blogged was during the first of the class I'm currently taking, and now I'm in the final week of that class. I submitted the final paper on Monday, and just need to complete the final exam this week to finish it up. After this, I only have three more classes left. I am going to cram them all into one semester with one 8 week class starting in Dec. one starting in Jan, and one starting in Feb. So for January and Feb they will overlap and I will be doubled up on courses. I know from experience that this will not be fun, but my theory is that I can tolerate it for 8 weeks, and then I am done! I will have earned my degree and finally closed that chapter. It feels good to once again be within spitting distance of the end, and I this time I am determined not to sabotage myself!
4. Last week, while buried in research for a paper on Tourette's syndrome, I kept getting flashes of creative inspiration. This seems to happen most often when I am faced with having to focus on writing something I don't want to write. On deadline. In fact, the urge to spin a tale was so strong I had a brief and insane moment in which I considered making a last minute leap into Nano in an attempt to churn out 50K words at the eleventh hour. Fortunately, the idea was fleeting because at this point, I don't need more challenges. I am challenged enough!
5. I am very enamored right now with the website goodreads. Of course, this is the time of year when I'm trying to come up with gift ideas and such, so I've been having fun exploring the site and getting recommendations of books for people on my list. If anyone else is on that site and wants to link up as friends, let me know. I'm doing a lot more reading than writing lately.
1. Along the lines of doing lots of reading . . . the screen on my Kindle is ruined. The top two lines on each "page" are a grey bar which means the screen is shot. Of course, I was mid book when this happened so now I can't finish the book. Also, I had other ebooks waiting to be read . . . and yet, I think I might be ready to throw in the e-reader towel. There were definitely things about the Kindle I dislike including the 5-way controller and weird set up that had me buying books when I really just wanted to read the descriptions so much so that I was starting to refer to it as "oh damnazon."
2. Last week I sprained my ankle. I was taking the dog out at night, and thought I was on the bottom porch step. I wasn't. When I stepped forward instead of down I felt that moment of time-freezing horror and regret when you know things are not going to end well but it is too late to do anything to prevent the inevitable. Fortunately I didn't fall. Unfortunately I did come down badly on my left foot twisting and spraining my ankle.
1. After spraining my ankle, I visited one of the new urgent care centers that have been popping up like dandelions all over town. A year ago the emergency room would have been my only choice, now I was literally trying to decide "should I go to the urgent care on this side of the street or the one over on that side of the street." So I chose my health care provider based on my desire to avoid a left turn. By the time I actually went to the urgent care, I'd been limping around for a day or two so my entire leg, foot and ankle hurt. They x-rayed all of it and the doctor said she didn't see any breaks so it must be a sprain (although she was a little vague as to what I'd sprained) and she prescribed the basics . . . rest, ice, compression, elevation . . . yadda, yadda. BUT, they don't have a radiologist on site so she would be sending the xrays out to the radiologist and if s/he saw anything different they would call me.
Later that day I got a call. Still, nothing is broken, but the radiologist is concerned because this is my left leg which I'd previously broken and had set with a rod and screws, and the radiologist saw on the xray that "the screw in the proximal tibia has become dislodged." She made me write that down and repeat it back to her and then encouraged me to call and report the same to the orthopedic surgeon who so graciously bestowed the rod upon me back in '99. I called and told the woman on the phone "the screw in the proximal tibia has become dislodged," to which she replied, "when can you come in?" Apparently this is a bad thing to have happen. I made an appointment and then I made a return to the urgent care center to pick up my xrays so I can take them with me. Things have changed since 1999. I guess xray film has gone the way of camera film because all I got was a CD. Well, within minutes of getting it home with it, I had to pop that in my computer and take a look.
What I saw surprised me. The screw, to my surprise, appeared very securely lodged in my proximal tibia. The problem was that it in no way anchors the rod to the bone. In the xray, you can clearly see the empty hole in the rod through which the screw should theoretically pass.
Looking at that xray, I was struck by two things. First, it suddenly made a lot of sense why I've had chronic pain in my leg in the area of the proximal tibia rather than lower down near the ankle where my leg bones actually broke. Second, it made no sense at all how this could have happened. How could the rod have separated while the screw was still intact?
When I went to the doctor, he told me what I already knew. The screw had not dislodged. Then he told me something I didn't know. He said, "your leg looks exactly like it did 12 years ago with the exception that the fractures have fully healed." He recalls that during my surgery he was unable to get the rod to engage correctly on the screw. He decided that the break was low enough down in the leg that having the rod unachored at the top would not impact healing. According to the surgeon, he then tried to remove the screw since it didn't serve any purpose, but he couldn't get it out and so he left it there.
When I suggested to him that this had caused me ongoing pain he was quick to dismiss the idea. "Anytime you have multiple fractures you are going to have residual pain, but you've been living with it for 12 years now. Just do what you've been doing. On days when it bothers you take some Aleve." Easy for him to say. There isn't a day that goes by that it doesn't "bother me." Unfortunately, there isn't an alternative. Nothing can be done about the rod, but he did offer to remove the two screws in my ankle because they at least are accessible. To me, that sounds like treating appendicitis with a tonsillectomy because the tonsils are easier to get at.
I was feeling very bitter for a day or two after that appointment, but then I realized a couple things that helped me find some perspective. At the time he performed my surgery, he was working under less than ideal circumstances. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and my OB would not permit the surgery to be done under general anesthesia. I remember his concern about doing such a brutal surgery on someone who was awake and only numbed with a spinal block. It wasn't how he wanted to do things. Maybe that made a difference. Maybe it didn't. The bottom line though is that I have lived it for 12 years. Nothing has changed. I'm no worse for knowing, and at the end of the day, I should just be thankful that all I really had to deal with was the sprained ankle. And by now, that damage is negligible.
|Last nights evening phone call with Tony went very poorly. He texted me later apologizing. We decided that it is a really bad idea to talk in the early evening when I'm fresh home from work and attempting to cook dinner for myself and kids, and he is cranky and hungry because he hasn't had dinner yet.
On the bright side, I was aggravated enough and in need of a positive coping response, so I went for a run which is something I haven't done in ages. It was a good run too. I don't quite understand why that first run out of the gates is always so good, and the next run and the one after that just suck. It is as if all the reserve energy is burnt off in that first run and it might take three to six months of sedentary living to restore it. In any case, I'll give it a couple days before I run again.
The other thing I accomplished (thanks to my aggravation) was the throwing out of some of Tony's crap. It was trash night. He should know not to fuck with me on trash night.
Anyway, we talked tonight and made nice. I understand that he is very stressed with the in-processing and trying to find a place to live and all that, but I've been bombarded with his stress for too long now, and I'm tired of him channeling his own frustration and lack of control over situations into an unrelenting stream of instructions about what I need to be doing.
Leave me alone.
I am competent. I know the kitten needs to be neutered and my car needs new tires before winter, and the heat pump needs to be serviced sometime this fall, and I need to be encouraging Kate to practice driving more and should really call a contractor about the bathroom subflooring and all the other things that needed attention before he left. Things he could have helped out with during the month he was home and not working.
And I guess this is why I haven't been blogging as much. I'm tired of this story and yet I'm right in the middle of it so it is difficult to break out of this pissy perspective. I know where Tony is coming from and that he wants to stay connected and involved with us, and that is why he is part of why he gets so directive. I just need to focus on positive things and get myself into a better space. It doesn't help that the fall is a tough time of year for me because I don't respond well to the days getting shorter and colder.
I have a three day weekend coming up though, and that should help things all around.
|Needless to say, the "get-this-shit-done" fairies never showed. They never do. And yet I keep hoping. No thanks to those selfish little fairy bitches, Tony did manage to get on the road before noon on Friday and made a safe trip down to North Carolina. Looking around my house, there is very little evidence that he knew he was going to be gone for a year. If anything, it appears as though Alien's abducted him in the middle of the night. I spent the weekend picking up shoes, dirty laundry and the assorted bathroom reading collection. There are all those things that he was going to take care of while he was home that I must now deal with on my own. I was complaining to my friend Bonnie about this, but she said "In Tony's defense, this is not new behavior." There has to be a flaw somewhere in that argument, but so far I can't find it.
Since Tony usually gets the kids up and ready for school and out to the bus stop in the morning, this morning was the biggest test so far. At 16, Katie is quite capable of getting herself out the door with no intervention on my part aside from the occasional request for a check for lunch money. Still, I was determined to fill Tony's shoes and walked with her out to the bus stop (Since the dog needed to go out anyway). When I got back, it was time to check on the boy and make sure he was moving. He was. Barely.
I made his breakfast (inserted a frozen waffle into the toaster), packed his lunch, and even managed to sneak in a very quick workout before taking him to the bus stop. After returning to the house, I took a quick shower and got myself ready for work. Tony called while I was brushing my teeth and kind of screwed up my rhythm, but even at that, I was only about 20 minutes late for work. In my world, that is good. Anything less than 30 minutes late is a win.
It was nice to start the day on a high note.
In other news, today is the start of a new eight week course, and I can definitely see the light growing bigger at the end of the tunnel. This is the first of the final four courses, and I should have all my classes completed by the end of March. I will have to overlap a couple classes to make this work, but I think I can handle the short term pain in order to reap the long term gain.
|So many details . . . all of them last minute.
Tony at least has reservations now for a place to stay temporarily once he gets down to North Carolina. He also managed to get himself a govt. travel card so he won't have to pay out of pocket and wait for reimbursement. We are still waiting for reimbursement for his car rental out in Washington, so I'm glad that we won't have the outlay this time around.
There is laundry and sorting and packing that will need to happen. I'm not sure when all of this is going to happen since he leaves on Friday. Perhaps the "get-this-shit-done" fairies will visit tonight while we are sleeping. Wouldn't that be nice?
Tony is going to try to make it home toward the end of next month. Hopefully by then he'll have a place to live, and will be ready to relocate more of his stuff.
Work this week has sucked. I will most likely regret having been so outspoken and undiplomatic in airing my grievances, but as Popeye would say "I've had all I can stand. I can't stands no more." Where as Popeye would start beating the shit out of people, I think I've shown remarkable restraint. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I need to work on my ass-kicking abilities - at least figuratively speaking. But nothing ever seems to resolve. And that, my friends, is how I know I'm over-reacting. At work, nothing ever resolves, so really the only variable is my tolerance threshold. It is pretty low at the moment. It is a spillover from the stress, and I know that it will pass, but knowing that does not make waiting it out any easier.
On top of everything else, I received a jury summons today. Given my low tolerance at the moment, I'm not sure I'd make a very good juror.
|So the girl-child has decided she wants to be Waldo as in "Where's Waldo" for Halloween. I think maybe she just wants the costume so she can wear it for any group yearbook photo ops. We ordered the hat today, but we are going to make the shirt ourselves using red duct tape to make the stripes on a plain white t-shirt. I think I'll use any left over tape for my own costume. Think maybe I'll go as "Person drowning in red tape." We'll see.
In other exciting news, Tony has yet to locate any sort of accommodations down in North Carolina. He is going to take his sleeping bag though, so if all else fails, he can sleep in his car. It is a good time of year for that. Not too hot. Not too cold. Life is a bit crazy at the moment with the eminent departure fast approaching. Seems like I thought we'd be a lot more organized about all of this than we actually are.
I am getting kind of anxious for him to get out so that life can settle down. I feel like I've been living in limbo since he returned in August.
|This is Tony's last weekend with us before heading down to North Carolina on Friday. For that reason, a good chunk of the weekend is being taken up with visiting folks so they can say goodbye. We spent the evening at Tony's mother's house. She invited some of relatives that we see at most maybe once a year. My theory is that if you only see people once a year, you really don't need to make a point of saying goodbye when you leave for a year. In any case, we went and visited and everyone wished Tony well. Tomorrow night we'll be kind of repeating the process at my mother's house.
In other news, I got a grade on my final paper, and was quite pleased. I got a 100% and the instructor was impressed enough with my work that she asked permission to use my paper as a sample for future sections of the course. I got a 96% on the final exam, and finished with a strong A. I'm down to my final four classes now. This week I have off and then I'll start the next class on October 3rd.
I also got a haircut today. Exciting stuff! It is quite a bit shorter, and probably the first haircut I've really liked in well over a year. I've been on haircut strike for awhile now and my hair was getting very long, but I didn't want to go back to the same stylist because (1) I was unhappy with my cuts, and (2) the stylist was one of those who made it seem like it was all my fault. Of course she never said it, but her attitude spoke volumes and it said, "Look lady, I'm not a miracle worker here, and given what I've got to work with, you should be grateful I don't just stick a bag over your head and call it a day." I don't know about the rest of you, but it is always a little unnerving to let someone new cut your hair especially when you are looking for a significant change. Well, I did it today, and it worked fabulously.
Katie continues to look at colleges. The town we live in has a small state university, and she is starting to think she'd like to go there. It is definitely a more affordable option, and it was historically a teacher's college, so the education program there is very strong, and she wants to major in secondary education and teach English. Well, the plan has been for Zack and I to move to wherever Tony is once Katie graduates. We weren't sure what we were going to do with the house since the housing market around here is still a mess. We know we don't want to buy when we move, so now we are toying with the idea of keeping the house for Katie to live in while she's in college. We have three bedrooms, so she could get a couple housemates to pay rent and offset costs. It would kind of ease my anxiety about trying to sell this place in a very weak housing market, and since Tony and I weren't planning to buy again, it might be advantageous to continue building equity here. We'll see how the idea evolves over time.