drama queen

We came home from our trip a week early, because:

cominghome

Basically, something was wrong with Hobbz (oldest kitty and Ed’s one true love). In the weeks before we left, he had started peeing on the floor in the downstairs bathroom. We’d catch him in the act, he’d stop for a few days, then start up again. Nothing else seemed wrong – he would just very deliberately pee on the floor, then leave like nothing happened. He hadn’t done it in the few days before our trip, so we just hoped he was being a prima donna about the state of his litterbox.

Unfortunately, the floor peeing got a lot worse. Our neighbour and cat sitter both reported in that he was a veritable fountain of pee; hosing down the bathroom at all hours of the day and night. He was also being unusually skittish, wouldn’t let anyone touch him, and was looking pretty rough. All of these are highly unusual, but when pee started to appear outside the downstairs bathroom, we knew something was seriously wrong. We asked our cat sitter to please take him to the vet, which went about as well as expected: he fear-peed all over everything to the point where he had no more pee for the vet to take. Blood was drawn, then they were sent home so Hobbz could be put in isolation in an attempt to capture some pee for testing (didn’t work – puppy pads are REALLY ABSORBANT).

Meanwhile, Ed and I are in Lille and feeling like horrible cat parents and terrible people all around. We discussed it briefly, and made the decision that we would cut our trip short and fly home as soon as possible. We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere, which complicated matters – but I searched through every possible combination of cities, trains, and airports and managed to come up with a return trip home that didn’t cost $2500 each, leaving on Saturday. It was Thursday at this point, so we left Lille and headed to Brussels as originally planned. We’d get a day and a half in Belgium (better than nothing), then leave from Brussels early Saturday morning to take a train to London and fly from Gatwick at noon.

Brussels was truly lovely, but both Ed and I were really distracted with worry about Hobbz so we didn’t get to see nearly as much of the city as we normally would. We made the best of a bad situation with many beers (for Ed), statues of small children peeing, crazy waffle concoctions, and huge epic castley things. I ate a weird taco. Pay toilets are both awful and great. Tourists are fucking rabid about Manneken Pis, which is surprisingly tiny. A great gay store named Boris Boy reminded me of my long-standing grudge against women’s sex toys and roused my outrage all over again. I drank the Diet Coke I smuggled into the country smugly. Angst aside, we had a lot of fun.

I was struggling, though. There’s a 9-hour difference between Brussels and Vancouver, and our cat sitter would arrive around 3pm each day so I’d be awake well after midnight, waiting for updates and passing along information for the vet. We had to be at the train station by 7am on Saturday for our train, so I was up at 5:30 to shower and finish packing and make sure everything was ready to go. Worry for Hobbz, stress about being so far from home, lack of sleep, angst over cutting our vacation short, and wracking internal sobs about having to return to the reality of my work situation a full week earlier than intended has taken a huge toll on me – I am not myself, something Ed has repeatedly noted over the last few weeks.

Still, we made it home. Our plane landed on time, all our luggage arrived, and by 4:30 we were pulling into our garage, desperate to see our cats.

All of whom were totally fine (and beyond ecstatic that we were home).

The vet thinks Hobbz has a slight kidney or bladder infection, or possibly a stone. Most (but not all) of the peeing has stopped, leading me to suspect he was being a complete fucking drama queen because Ed wasn’t home. We had to collect a urine sample from the floor to take to the vet, but that’s happening today and we’ll get a course of treatment for Hobbz .. who, incidentally, perked up a thousandfold the instant he saw Ed.

I am trying very hard to be pragmatic about our melodramatic diva of a cat, but there’s a liiiiiittle bit of resentment there. I’ve STILL never been to Amsterdam, damnit.

I know we did the right thing, and Hobbz isn’t out of the woods yet. Still, I can’t help but feel cheated out of what was supposed to be a complete distraction from the last few months – it kinda feels like I can’t catch a break. I wasn’t supposed to return to work until the 17th, but since we’re home and I don’t get paid time off, there’s no reason for me not to work the week. We’ll also need the money to cover the extra train tickets and flights home, because even though we had trip insurance, I don’t think it covers pet illness or emotional manipulation via floor urine. I haven’t been able to submit the claim yet, but I’m not hopeful. And I feel just weird overall – I’m glad to be home, but at the same time this is the last place I want to be.

I’m trying not to be all fatalist about this maybe being the last vacation we’ll ever take because once I lose my job we won’t be able to afford stuff like this (not to mention this trip was booked with proceeds from the sale of Sparta), but I am REALLY GOOD at being fatalist.

Pictures soon!

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two point two pictures

HELLO

I’M STILL ALIVE

Funny story: I haven’t written in a long time because I had nothing good to say – my life is a never-ending series of whines, rage tears, and vaguebooking. I didn’t want to make a triumphant return to my poor neglected blog only to complain about how awful my ridiculously priviledged life is, so I kept my head down and cried my sad tears and posted dumb little Facebook updates about my unhappiness and then guess what.

I sort of exploded from the stress, and desperately needed an outlet that wasn’t poor Ed talking me off the ledge. Oh, if only I had a safe outlet in which I could vent about my FEELINGS. If only there was a friendly, non-judgemental place where I could air my dirty laundry and extreme dissatisfaction at my lot in life and also throw in the occasional random reference to movies from the 90s. OH IF ONLY.

I never claimed to be as smart as I tell the internet I am

So, here we are. Strap in, everyone. I’m going to cleanse my soul the only way I know how: dumping it out onto the internet for the seagulls to pick through and poop on.

Continue reading

the dope show

I made a list of things I needed to do after we had moved, because I am highly organized and anal retentive. At the top of that list was “transfer prescriptions”. There are a large number of chemicals keeping me alive these days, and seeing as “being alive” is pretty much the only thing I have going on right now, it was imperitive that the spice flow.

I stupidly assumed that because the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, pharmacies themselves must have solid, air-tight procedures when it comes to all things people and medication related. This is .. not true. In the slightest. It was exceedingly difficult to transfer my prescriptions from one store to another (in the same chain, no less), taking multiple online submissions, two phone calls, and three in-person visits to the pharmacy to prove my identity only for the entire thing to be not be done at all correctly. The last straw was an attempt to refill some medication online and being told my birthdate was incorrect. Frustrated to the point of picking up the phone (I really really hate the phone), I called the pharmacy to get my birthdate corrected. Oh, you sweet summer child – your birthdate isn’t wrong, it’s your prescription number. That’s from the old store. You need to download the pharmacy app and manually set your home store to be the new one, and your prescriptions will just show up. Why don’t you know this? Women just don’t get technology.

Great (if condescending) advice, right? And straight from the pharmacy owner’s mouth, so clearly I was in the wrong here. If only I understood how mobile apps work!

Yeah, the pharmacy doesn’t actually HAVE an app. Never had. The steps I was told to take not only cannot be done, but do not exist and have never existed. I don’t know what sort of drugs the pharmacist was sampling, but they made him dream up a process, place it into a non-existant iPhone app, then chastise someone for not knowing about it.

Few things piss me off more than someone I have to trust with my life making careless mistakes. When they make mistakes that are not only beyond careless but in the realm of dystopian fiction, I see fucking red. I’d once chewed out my previous pharmacy for refilling all my medications except one (prior to being able to refill them myself online), because the actual dose was a 2-parter and they missed the second part. They apologized, everything was great, and we had a good relationship until I moved. There was no excuse for the new pharmacy to fuck up like this, so I complained on three official channels: Twitter, email feedback on the website, and a call into corporate.

I got the standard boilerplate apology from all three channels, which whatever. Twitter went one further, and asked if they could pass my information onto the pharmacy owner so he could contact me directly to apologize. Since he was the one I spoke to in the first place, I did not want this and I told them so. They’ve promised to review their processes and that this will not happen to anyone else. That’s all I need.

I’ve now been emailed three times, called three times (once from South Africa), and had a note attached to my last refill request, asking that I speak to the pharmacy owner. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS. I already DID speak to the owner, when he called me at 6am to apologize. All I wanted from him was to ensure he and his staff knew the proper procedure, and to not give shitty and 100% incorrect advice to anyone else when to comes to things like this. That’s it. I don’t want grovelling or a refund or a discount or a fucking scholarship opened in my name – just promise me you won’t mislead someone else who may not be able to figure out the depth of your bullshit as quickly as I did (I’ve been using the official app since day one, as it helps me to avoid talking to actual people. I knew there was no “pharmacy app”, and that the “very simple” steps I needed to take did not exist). Luckily when I picked up my last prescription, he wasn’t in the pharmacy. I told the tech who rang me out that I did not want to speak to him and to please remove that note and any other that may exist on my file.

This was before we went to Hong Kong. In that time, he called twice and left voicemail, and emailed me again yesterday afternoon. FUCKING CUT IT OUT. I am under no obligation to talk to you, and I’ve been more than firm about this. If he attempts to contact me again, I’m calling corporate and moving my presciptions to a different store altogether. I don’t want to be stalked, let alone by someone with full access to my medical history. This is not cool.

Hong Kong was great, but also not cool (it hovered at 34C with 87%+ humidity the entire time, dropping down to 29C at night). We’re heading to New York this week for a combination birthday trip, coming home for a biopsy, then heading to Seattle for a birthday party. And I’m in Redmond all next week at the mothership. I am busy.

Here is a picture.

hong kong and kowloon at dusk

new home, who dis

We’ve been in Halfwack for a month and a half now, and we’re almost entirely unpacked. There are several random boxes in the garage that have no home, but as I located the last of the missing items (three pairs of boots and a picture of oranges – all vital), I find myself completely out of fucks to give about the unpacked and clearly nonessential leftovers. I can’t get rid of the contents – someday I will need my rainboots – but I’m happy knowing that they’re somewhere in the corner of the garage.

We had a whole lot of custom cabinetry put in to make the best use of our space. The very last of the pieces went in last week, and now the garage is outfitted with a workarea and ample storage for garage-type things. The media centre looks awesome, and having a TV again is weird: we don’t have a cable package and the digital antenna only picks up three shopping channels, KVOS in Bellingham, and two Jesus channels. We’re totally set!

Our place is huge, and the novelty of having stairs and multiple floors and offices has not yet worn off. Basically, things are awesome. No complaints.

And yet .. complaints. I don’t know what to do with myself. Since we signed the papers last May, my entire life was consumed with planning and packing and purging. Now that it’s all done (and we’re never ever doing it again), I don’t know what to do next. I was momentarily entertained with vacation planning – we’re going to Europe in late summer – but that’s not for another 120 days. I need to find some sort of mojo to shake this overwhelming apathy. I’m worried that I’ve become a weird hermit who’s rapidly losing touch with the rest of the world – I miss being a vital force. I don’t know what I was a vital force OF, but I feel like I was one and now I’m not and I don’t want to fade away. HI WORLD. NOTICE ME. I’M STILL HERE. I STILL HAVE WORTH!

This is entirely unsettling and it is too goddamn early in the month for an existential crisis. Buck up, buttercup. This is a temporary hump that you’ll get over, and you’ll be back to your usual effervescent self in no time.

.. right? That’s how this works, right?

 

it’s nice here in the sand

You know that thing when you really really have to do something but you are sort of paralyzed with fear and procrastinate for an eternity because you’re scared? Yes, that. Right now. It me.

I need to see a doctor about an alien growth near my armpit. I have an odd mole thing on my upper body that I’ve had since birth: it is a birthmark. However, it is disconcerting to look at. Anyone who sees it tells me I really ought to get it checked out, which happens a lot because I am frequently naked all over the place. The birthmark has all the hallmarks of a Very Bad Thing: it is irregularly shaped, sort of lumpy, and a variety of unappealing colours. I usually ignore it and the repeated advice of “go see a doctor” because I know I’ve had it since birth, and because seeing the doctor for something that looks like skin cancer is scary as hell and I am an ostrich.

It’s been easy to ignore my dark mark (not to be confused with the Dark Mark, or my brown friend Dark Mark) because it was quiet and unassuming and it didn’t really do anything at all. However, it’s been bothering me a lot lately in the form of an irritated open sore. On my irregularly shaped, funny-coloured, lumpy weird mole.

You can see why this is slightly terrifying.

Logically, I know several things. I know I’ve had this birthmark forever, and it’s always been unusual. I know it’s changed shape because I’ve changed shape; it grows and shrinks with my body whenever I decide to diet/forget to eat for extended periods of time/gorge on cheese-filled cheese pies. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I know why the mark is irritated and sore and open: the underwire of my bras end precisely on the mark and rub against it all day long, tearing at the skin and giving me the ow. Everything going on with my mystery spot can logically be explained away, so I have nothing to worry about.

.. right? Looking up melanoma symptoms at 2am when your mystery spot is damp and hurting is not very good for peace of mind. I am worried. Someone please tell me I’m just being paranoid so I can get back to ignoring my various flaws until someone points them out next time I’m naked.

I do not like my dark mark.

screw your way to happiness

Oh, sorry, did I say “happiness”? I meant “searing carpal tunnel pain”. I always get those mixed up.

The majority of our furniture arrived on Sunday, and we’ve spent the last couple of days putting it all together. We went not-IKEA for most of our stuff for basically the first time in our lives, which has been terribly novel due to the lack of flatpacks. Unfortuneately, no flatpack does not translate to no cardboard: last night we threw in the proverbial towel and scheduled a junk removal service to come get it all. This works as a deadline as well, because now we have to get everything put together before they come to get all this fucking cardboard out of our place. There’s so much cardboard. If we weren’t exhausted every night, we could build some epic forts.

Assembling furniture basically means a lot of screws that need to be screwed into various screw holes. The majority of my hand/arm pain comes from all of this screwing, along with a heaping side of lifting and box throwing. It’s caused things to flair up, which is never the good time it sounds like it should be.

I used to have really bad carpal tunnel syndrome, which I eventually learned to ignore when it became evident that this “internet” thing wasn’t just a passing fancy and I’d likely be typing at people for the rest of my life. In addition to the sore legs from walking up and down our stairs dozens of times a day, my arms and wrists have been swollen and stiff for the past week – a pain that was all too familiar. I looked up the symptoms I was experiencing anyway, and after I discarded the ones that claim I’m pregnant with cancer, I found the culprit and went “oh duh”. All that screwing I’ve been doing has caused my carpals to get swole, and it hurts. Please don’t challenge me to a fight, because I am unable to make a fist. I would have to simply bat at you ineffectively while you laugh at my weak fighting style, and then I would cry both in humiliation and frustration. Do you want that on your conscience? I am an ugly crier, so I bet you do not.

It’s been a slow process, but all things considered we’re moving along at a steady clip. My new Lady Cave is fucking amazing, and as soon as I bedeck the halls with art I will share pictures. It is epic. EPIC!

Okay, back to trying to hide swears in this EULA.

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enemy has boxes

NUMBERS!

  • Total number of boxes or box-like things packed: 137
  • Number of boxes with unknown contents: 1
  • Break it down, now:
    • Boxes destined for the garage: 7
    • Things ambiguously marked “Spare Room” but half of them should really be in the living room: 23
    • Living Room things: 9
    • Behold the Kitchen: 31
    • Master Bedroom: 33 (the fuck?)
    • Number of boxes containing Ed’s office things: 4
    • Number of boxes containing my office things: 29
    • I don’t know where this box goes because someone packed it without using my numbering system/spreadsheet and I hate this box it is stupid: 1
  • Boxes with contents listed as “Unmentionables”: 3
  • Boxes containing Cheerios: 4
  • Number of times I predicted I would cry on move day: 3
  • Number of times I actually cried: 1
  • Casualties of War:
    • The large cheap door mirror
    • Ed’s over compensating clock
    • One small glass bowl
    • 5 art prints
    • The bowl for the food processor
    • Another small mirror
  • How soon we’re going to move again: fucking never
  • Embarassing vibrator-related incidents: 1

The move went smoothly and without any major problems. Normally I’d be thrilled with that, but since I’d been planning and preparing for this move since May of 2017, damn fucking RIGHT it went off without a hitch. I’m less giddy with relief and more purring with self-satisfaction: I got the keys for the new home, the closet installers showed up about 5 minutes later, the movers arrived when they were done, the window screen guy showed up to measure the windows, Ed made it in one (frazzled) piece, and the internet was up and working that same day. While I was out getting the keys, the cleaners arrived at Sparta, followed by the carpet cleaners. Everything happened more or less the way it was supposed to, and we are super grateful to Shan who gave up a vacation day to come over and cover the places we couldn’t be and wrangle the cleaners. Shan is the best.

The major thing (which is still pretty minor) that did go wrong on Move Day was an unforeseen circumstance: during the winter rains, our off-site storage locker took on some water and several boxes were soaked and mouldy. The hardest hit box was the large one containing all of the art from my Happy Wall – this was the source of the Move Day Tears. When the movers arrived at Sparta, they brought the wet boxes into the lobby for me to open and go through to assess the damage. Luckily, most of the art seems to have survived: I lost several prints and a frame broke. I think the prints are replaceable (most of them were from Society 6), but the good news is that the completely irreplaceable items – the Aaron Kraten pieces I bought last year, some limited edition Dave Perillo prints, the embroidered pug Heather made me – survived. Given that the ruined prints were in the middle of the box, I am really really happy that the overall damage was minimal.

The new place has officially been dubbed “Halfwack”, because it is half the distance to Chilliwack. You may refer to our home thusly.

We still don’t have our new furniture, which is creating some challenges while unpacking. I can’t set up my office (and am working out of the kitchen) because I don’t have a desk, and our living room is an empty cavern of half-empty boxes. We’re hoping to get most of it this week. The closet built-ins are helping a lot, but I still had to rage purge while unpacking the bedroom: WHY do I have so many goddamn clothes. I purged at least two large boxes of stuff I won’t miss, and have juuuust managed to get everything contained in our huge closet. I’ve been angry at myself for the last several days for amassing so much clothing that I never wear, so I ruthlessly purged and will donate the aftermath. I’m also going to take a serious look at my shopping habits to try and cut back there. I am but one person who generally doesn’t wear much clothing at all: I cannot possibly make use of so many fucking socks.

Ed and I were in Sparta for just under 8.5 years, and in that time we said “we should paint!” repeatedly. Like, twice a year. We never got around to it, so this time we decided to Be Logical about it and we hired painters to come in before our furniture arrived. They came this past Monday, and our walls look amazing. We didn’t paint the entire place because it is huge and we are not millionaires, but we did paint Ed’s office, the guest room, the master bedroom, and one wall each in the living room and my office. I’ll take pictures when everything is all set up (just got word our furniture is coming on Sunday), but it’s important that you know this: my wall colour is “Pleasant Stream”. Make of that what you will.

The cats are settling in nicely. I ended up driving over with all three cats in the mini, and the two boys were NOT. HAPPY. Lemon spent the rest of the week being vocally angry, and Hobbz peed himself multiple times out of fear and spent the first five hours in Halfwack basically catatonic (no pun here, it was really scary). He snapped out of it a bit after Ed showed up, and after that, was completely fine. He’s actually the most adjusted out of all three, which really surprised us. Dilly is afraid of strangers and the unknown so it took her several days to come out from under the bedroom blankets, but now she’s wandering around and looking for places to jump to. She and Lemon are OBSESSED with the master bedroom closet, and I keep having to dig them out of there. We’re gonna end up with child locks on the doors, because the laundry is two floors down and I am not gonna wash all my stuff repeatedly to deal with the cat hair.

Okay, that’s enough words for now. Pictures soon! And a housewarming party! Don’t bother wearing pants!

we’ve already lost half of these