*creepy music intensifies*Continue reading
*creepy music intensifies*Continue reading
Still around. I keep running out of clean pajama or pajama-like items. It now takes over a week to build up a decent load of laundry (not that I can really be bothered with doing it one way or another), because when you don’t leave the house you don’t really get dirty.
I came to an uncomfortable realization last weekend: Ed and I might hit the isolation wall sooner than we expected. We’ve been self-isolating for over three weeks at this point, when a lot of the world is just getting started – hitting three weeks felt like a big milestone, but nothing actually happens: you don’t earn your freedom or see new people or get to go to the store unfettered. There’s simply no end in sight. It just .. is.
It’s depressing, but it helps to know we’re not in this alone. Every other person is (or damn well should be) coping with the restrictions as best they can, and we have it so much better than many people that it’s hard to wallow. I let myself have little pity parties, but I try to keep them from leaking out.
It’s not all bad, though!
Unexpected Quarantine Positives:
Going outside to get supplies is super nerve-wracking, and every time we come back (we only go out one at a time) we’re hyper vigilant about any possible illness symptoms. It’s mostly just an exercise in worrying because I don’t think signs of COVID show up within an hour of being in Other Places. We successfully completed post-travel isolation without any symptoms, which is good. I try not to worry about how long we can keep that up.
2020 is fucking weird.
I didn’t realize how much significance I placed on being symptom-free for my entire quarantine.
Yesterday was the 14th day of isolation. We celebrated by getting on our bikes and riding to the corner grocery store in search of supplies, which were plentiful – it’s a corner store that only sells produce, with a tiny selection of dry goods and dairy. I wasn’t able to get any eggs, but everything else was in ample supply. Okay, I had to get off-brand corn nuts, but the apocalypse is no time to be choosey.
The trip to the store and back again was completely uneventful. There were several other people in the store, but everyone kept their distance and no one coughed on any of the apples. The closest I got to anyone’s danger hole was the cashier, who was wearing a mask. We washed and sanitized our hands as soon as we got home with our loot, then went out on our bikes again for an even longer ride – it was gorgeous outside, and the perfect day to stay the fuck away from other humans.
However, today I am freaking the fuck out. I feel like even being within shouting distance of other people yesterday was a super bad idea, and I’m terrified that I now have to begin my 2-week isolation all over again. I have no new symptoms (I’ve had the sniffles for about 20 years due to allergies), but my brain is screaming that I’ve caught COVIDs 1-19 and every one of them is going to make me suffer all the way to death. Ed keeps telling me I’m being silly, but I can’t help my fears. They are big and loud and scary and I could actually die from this fucking thing and I went outside and now I am dooooooooomed.
Seriously, though. How do you quarantine your fear? I was doing so well, but that 14-day milestone was more important to my brain that I assumed. The thought of simply existing and waiting another 2 weeks for symptoms is hugely overwhelming, and I don’t have enough edibles to keep the anxiety at bay.
I’ve been self-isolated since the 7th, only venturing out once for supplies like a manic squirrel (who still had enough common squirrel sense to not hoard acorns or toilet paper). I was pretty dang worried, to be honest – I am immunocompromised for half a dozen bullshit reasons, we were on a plane for 9 hours, our travelling companions were both sick with nasty colds, and I looooove touching my face. I’m about halfway through the recommended isolation period (I’m going with three weeks because I’m a keener), and I haven’t had any symptoms of anything, really. A couple of hair-related headaches, some wicked cramps, and I nicked my leg while shaving, but no fever or tiredness or coughing.
I have been experiencing fits of rage over work, but that’s a whole other issue.
Our supplies are holding steady. We resorted to food delivery last night because someone (me) was too high to cook, and it was pretty awful so we likely won’t be doing that again. We may need to attempt a covert operation in search of perishables and some of the more popular snacks, but our pantry and freezer overfloweth. I’m comforted by this now, but later in the day when I remember we’re out of Pringles and Corn Nuts, we may have a problem.
My supply of edibles is still vast, but I’ll definitely need to restock when all this is over. Because it will end, right? All I really have now (other than a big drawer of drugs and a pantry full of creamed corn) is hope. Will it be enough?
Stay safe and far apart from each other, everyone.
I fucked up.
It was decided that the post-Barcelona trip this year would be to Amsterdam. When it came time to book the flights, there was no way for me to get Ed from Vancouver to Barcelona, then Amsterdam, then back to Vancouver without enduring any hellacious 16-hour layovers. I tried different configurations for over a month and even tried using a travel agent, but came up with nothing. To get around this, I booked Ed on two flights, four legs total:
The plan was for Ed to rub elbows in Barcelona while I cleaned up cat pee, then I would join him in Amsterdam a week later. His BCN-AMS flight would have landed two hours after my YVR-AMS flight, at which point we would purchase some wooden clogs and find some tulips to tiptoe through.
Unfortunately, germs happened. GMSA cancelled the Mobile World Congress entirely last week. It’s the biggest mobile conference in the world, so thousands of people are scrambling and trying to recoup flight and hotel costs. Luckily, I had purchased insurance for both of Ed’s flights, so everything should be fine!
Narrator: Things were not fine.
I dealt with the inner two legs first, and tried to cancel AMS-BCN. I managed to get a refund for the KLM portion, but the Iberia leg does not allow any changes. I have to go through insurance if I want the rest refunded. Insurance has already told me that a worldwide pandemic is not a valid reason to refund flight costs, so while I can go through the super fun experience of submitting a claim, there’s approximately 0.2% chance of it being successful.
Next up was the YVR-AMS flight. I wanted to change Ed’s outgoing flight from 02/21 to 02/27, but KLM basically laughed at me and told me to get bent: the flight is 100% non-changeable and non-refundable. Adding a dash of fun and complication was the fact that I had purchased an upgrade for Ed, from basic economy to economy plus, which allowed him checked luggage and a much better seat. KLM happily took my money for this, but input the change as a seat change only because technically upgrading the cabin was a change, which was not allowed. They never told me this, just said yep here’s your receipt and your new seat and see you later. Cool.
So, I can’t make any changes to the KLM flight whatsoever. Ed’s return flight from Amsterdam was still fine – I was on the same flight, just on a different ticket entirely – so I booked him a one-way ticket from YVR-AMS, leaving on the 27th with me. Hooray!
Narrator: Things were not hooray.
There’s no reason for Ed to be in Amsterdam/Barcelona a week early, so he missed his original outgoing flight (scheduled for today). Unfortunately, when you miss one flight, the rest of your flights get cancelled – so I got a lovely email late this afternoon saying Ed no longer had a return flight on 03/07.
I called up Expedia, who basically told me we were fucked. Ed called Delta, who said the same thing. They’d be willing to reinstate Ed’s return ticket if we paid the difference for a new ticket, which currently costs $4800.
At this point, we’ve paid for a return flight to Amsterdam (Ed), a second return flight to Amsterdam (me), and a one-way ticket to Amsterdam (Ed) for a total spend of about $5k, which doesn’t include hotels and red-light visits. I’ve been working on this trip since October, throwing myself into planning two days after the Japan trip didn’t happen as a way to distract myself from the overwhelming disappointment of our ruined, non-refundable, insurance-doesn’t-cover-super-typhoons trip.
I feel so stupid. I should have realized that simply not showing up to one flight would render the rest of ticket void, but I’ve been so stressed out trying to unravel this mess that I just .. didn’t. It doesn’t help that my ego is sporting some serious bruises, because I enjoyed almost a full decade of extreme luck when booking trips, only for everything to have been 17 different flavours of bad since our first truncated trip in 2018. I’m also 100% done purchasing travel insurance, because this is the third time my trip has been fucked through no fault of my own but the policy (with Allianz, Aetna, and now AIG) hasn’t covered fuck all.
I was on the phone for two hours this afternoon, and we actually have a resolution: Expedia changed Ed’s one-way YVR-AMS flight to a return trip with the exact flights we want, AND they covered the cost of the change (best case scenario would have been $401). I was willing to pay the extra $400 to make the flight work because we were in too deep to back out now (and I don’t want to) and $400 was easier to swallow than $4800, but I’m so so so glad the supervisor I spoke with (I had to go full Karen and ask for a manager after the first agent wasn’t able to help me) went to bat with corporate for me. I’m exhausted and hate the phone and am thinking about breeding complicated dogs as a hobby instead of travel, but as of right now, things are good and it didn’t cost me thousands more to fix and holy fuck do I ever need this fucking vacation.
I am weepy, but pleased.
I have had more metaphorical waffles in the last three days than I’ve ever had in my life. Here are some of the things I am waffling between like it’s a goddamn sport:
.. and so on, and so forth. No new developments on the Refund Saga, but a thousand piecemeal suggestions have come and gone in the last three days. I keep changing my mind. Yesterday, I wanted to go to Vegas. Later that evening, Operation New York was a go. This morning, I wanted to make late November work for a shorter Japan trip. After doing the dishes, I decided on requesting a compromise for travel in 2020. I’d like to say my last (excellent) suggestion is the best one and will definitely be what we do going forward, but I’d said that at least half a dozen times in the last 72 hours. I no longer know what the fuck, because the fuck keeps changing. I am a soggy, gluten-free waffle made out of quinoa and squash. I am a poor approximation of food.
We do have plans to go to New York in early November. It was going to be a working trip – fly in, work during the day, then explore at night like Tourist Batman. One suggestion I had early on was to instead take time off while we’re in NY, making it a real trip instead of one where we work out of someone else’s house for a few days so we don’t use up vacation time. This is actually a really good idea, and one we’re probably going to go ahead with. New York is a fun city, we’d get to have some daytime adventures and food, and it’s ultimately less time off work than Japan would have been (I don’t have paid vacation, so everything I do is carefully balanced with “how much is this going to cost me”). Win win, right?
Mostly, yes. I’m still a little angsty, because I would have had New York (albeit on a lesser scale) ANYWAY, so I’m still out the whole of a vacation to Japan. I thought on this a little bit while jamming forks into the dishwasher, and realized I could maybe use the situation to my advantage. See, our trip to Japan was to have been 10 days. This never really sat right with me, because it seems like a really long way to go for less than 2 weeks, but Ed uncharacteristically put his foot down and insisted we take a slightly shorter trip than I like. I agreed at the time, because let’s face it, Japan was international trip #4 of 6 in 2019 alone so sure, I could give up a few days. I want a longer trip though, so I suggested another compromise on top of the other 50 compromises we’ve both made over the weekend: I will stop attempting to cram a do-over Japan trip into our rapidly dwindling 2019 and be satisfied with upgrading New York from Working Trip to Actual Vacation, in exchange for a minimum of two full weeks in Japan in 2020.
This was agreed to. We hugged on it. It’s the plan at the moment and I like it, but it will probably change 7 more times before we get anything resolved with the airline regarding our unused tickets for last week.
I am so good at compromise, you guys!
I’ve been slowly unpacking my suitcase, and it is very sad times. I’ve been hitting the pumpkin pie a little harder than usual to help me get through it. Thank god for whipped cream.
It’s been said that to be successful in life, you must learn something new each day. If this is truly the case, then yesterday I was SUPER SUCCESSFUL at life because I learned not one but several very important things:
My Mirena 2.0 officially expired in February. I took my sweet ass-time getting a replacement for it, but everything came to a head yesterday afternoon during the Swappening: the removal of 2.0, and insertion of 3.0.
I was already not looking forward to it, because I remember how much it hurt during the previous Swappening. Still, the very real dangers of unscheduled sperm showers haunted my every step, and I felt it was probably time to put on my big girl pants and just get it done already. After all, it’s been over five years. Surely it wasn’t as bad as I remembered it!
Yeah, no, it was SO MUCH WORSE.
I was given the option to allow a medical student doing her rounds to be present during the swap. I said yes, because it wouldn’t be the first time my vagina would be on display for rotating groups of strangers. They then asked if I minded if she did the first part of the procedure, to which I also said yes – I was half naked, in stirrups, and as compromised as I could get on a random Tuesday afternoon, so why the hell not. This may have been a mistake, as her snazzy white lab coat belied her level of experience: she was pretty green. Greener than I was about to be. Her bedside manner was quasi-soothing, but her actions were jerky which is never an adjective you want used when someone is all up in your business with clamps and industrial lubricant. There were issues locating my cervix, long pauses for explanations, and several comments about the weather as I just sort of laid there with my nethers flapping in the wind.
Then everything went sort of grey and soggy.
Apparently I am triggered by my cervix being manhandled, and I went into a classic vasovagal reaction: my pulse dropped like a hammer, I broke out into a full-body sweat, and things got real tinny and bright for a good long time. My doctor actually stopped the procedure when he noticed sweat pouring from my shins (did you know shins could sweat) and attempted to bring my pulse back up. This apparently was the best possible time for the student doctor to pipe up and say “okay, so I’m gonna take off now, bye”, and she left. Okay then. I’m sorry my troublesome vagina was not interesting enough for you to stay through the entire procedure, but you do you (and half of me).
The medical assistant came in to take her place, and I sort of pathetically asked her to fetch Ed for me (since this was all his fault, what with the penis and all) but he wasn’t in the lobby – he had gone out Harry Pottering. I endured an eternity of being asked to scooch in various directions while barely hovering on this side of consciousness before grabbing my phone (and dropping it on my face) to text Ed to get his ass back in the office. He eventually arrived to crack some jokes while I asked my doctor to just ignore my plummeting blood pressure and shove that thing all up in there already so I could go home and die in the dignity of my own home. The IUD was inserted, I almost fainted several more times, and then I got to listen to a monologue about what to expect with the Mirena and what could go wrong in the next 24 hours when all I desperately wanted was to recover some of my shame and lost fluids and leave this fluorescent hellscape for good.
Then I came home and slept for approximately one million years. I am now awake, full of cramps and baby-preventing hormones, and still feeling quite woozy about the whole thing. If I stop too long to think about it, I start to get really faint and spinny again. I’m told I’ve got another day of this, then things should mellow out in my uterus considerably.
F——, would not vasovagal again.
I am jittery, and I don’t know why. Is it excitement? Anticipation? Caffeine overdose? Sentient worms from a truck stop vending machine egg salad sandwich? Yes to all of the above, plus a healthy amount of cabin fever and a large double double of anxiety. Huge tracts of anxiety. A vicious, never-ending story of sadness swamps and horses that simply can’t go on of anxiety. I am not so much wallowing in it as I am utterly mired and sticky.
I’ve had a surprisingly full social calendar since the end of May, and it extends (so far) into the first week of August. This is great, because I am often angrily bored during the summer months because it’s hot and I have nothing to do. The weather has been very moderate so far this summer (for all two days of it) – I know this won’t last, but I’m enjoying the hell out of being slightly chilly while I still can.
Basically, I’m trying. If I sit down and apply the dreaded logic to my situation, things are seriously fucking great. I feel like a giant asshole for not greeting each day with a smile and a boner. This stresses me out, which turns into anxiety, which makes me restless, which makes me sad, which turns into moping, which becomes a pep talk, and the whole goddamn thing starts. all over. again. If I were not myself, I would be very understanding about things. They’re kind of a mess! My hypertension is off the charts! My doctor keeps insisting my life will have value once I lose weight! I have a mammogrammo scheduled for today and I am vainly nervous that the procedure will artificially flatten my magnificent bosom! And – all of these things aside – WORK, you guys. It is a thing. A thing that is causing at least 75% of my not inconsiderable anxiety.
Long story slightly less long: I’m still dash trash. I hate it. I am the lowest of the low, doing menial tasks that no one else wants to deal with. I have been pleading with my handlers for more advanced work and responsibility, because I am frankly super bored, but my requests are ignored. It’s such a stupid situation: I get paid a ridiculous amount of money to work from home, doing relatively brainless work, with little to no supervision. I do my job, make the real employees meet their KPIs and look great to management, and have zero responsibility when I’m off the clock. No one cares what I do.
.. except me. *I* care about what I do. I care deeply. I am being massively wasted as dash trash. I am squandered potential. My current role would be perfect for someone who wants to succeed by basically being alive and upright, but I want to do so much more. I miss working miracles. I miss owning things. I miss feeling like an actual team member who contributes. Even with my towering imposter syndrome, I know that I am way too smart and talented to be doing what I’m doing. I am sad and disconnected, and the longer I stay here the more I fear that this is what the rest of my life will look like. It feels so stupid to complain about it, because this is the dream situation for so many people .. but it makes me so sad, and I feel so worthless. For the last two years, I’ve fought so fucking hard to prove my worth and make traction and land permanence, and where has it gotten me? Arguably worse off than before. Working as a temp. Literally where I started out, over 20 years ago. I feel like a huge failure, and I’m so ashamed.
Well, this turned dark. I should end it here. Off to rebuild Fantasia with this grain of sand and a whole lot of Oxford commas.
Yes, even more than usual.
My Mirena IUD – the only thing between me and an entire flock of verbose, busty children – expired in February. I’ve written before about the very real danger of a lifetime of sperm ingestion catching up with me in one fell swoop (that’s how it works, right) – but I haven’t had the time to Do Anything about it.
It’s not my fault. When my palm flower lit up, I was halfway around the world. Also, my doctor went and gave birth and subsequently closed her practice because her damn controlling baby won’t let her work (that’s how it works, right). So not only did I literally run out of time to get my vaginal wheels aligned, I have nowhere to go to get it done.
I wasn’t entirely foolhardy about my expiring IUD, though. I did some internets, and found that while the Mirena has a uterus-life of 5 years, *technically* it can work for up to 7 years. That’s two more years! I could USE those years!
Naturally, there are capital-C consequences. You see, the scientific term for the Mirena is Fancy Baby Gate, which means in addition to making my womb a hostile environment for baby juices through the sheer toxicity of copper alone, it also has a medicinal element: for the past 5 years it has happily dispensed hormones like Pez, obliterating all negative or icky activity from my lady cave. Like, all of it. Nothing goes on down there but fun, and the party don’t start til I walk in. Do you know the last time I bought feminine protection that wasn’t literal and lethal? Okay, it was less than a year ago – but it wasn’t for me, it was a bulk purchased to donate to WISH. Hell, I’m on my second Mirena. The last time I had to buy myself items for *down there*, I was still going through the stash acquired when I worked at Procter and Gamble a lifetime ago. It’s been a while, okay.
What was my point? Oh right, consequences. Because my little friend (say hello) is end-of-life dead, it’s run out of the good stuff. This means that I am once again having SYMPTOMS. Of a menstrual variety. Things are happening that have not happened in more than a decade, and IT SUCKS.
It’s not just the physical discomfort of shedding my uterine lining for sport: I am having FEELINGS. Big ones, ones that I am wholly unprepared and unwilling to deal with. Everything is making me cry! I am literally writing this on a plane, from an aisle seat, with no one between me and the dude in the window seat, with enough room to actually use my laptop for once, on my way to my favourite city for no reason other than “I wanted to fly somewhere”, and I have CRIED. More than once. I cried at a sad song on my phone. I cried because Ed and I had a Long Boring Talk About our Relationship last night (literal this time, and not just a discussion about the power bill). I cried because I said something uncharacteristically sappy-sweet to Ed when he dropped me off at the airport this afternoon. And the worst of all? The lady across the aisle and a row up from me was watching a shitty Mark Wahlberg family comedy with subtitles on, and IT MADE ME CRY. What the FUCK. This is bullshit!
Until I get this *situation* dealt with, these feelings and symptoms are only going to get worse AND they’re going to happen every 28 days like goddamn clockwork. I am fairly certain I did not agree to this. I want a do-over.
When I get home, I’m going to have to go to the women’s walk-in clinic and throw my vagina across the counter in a desperate plea for help. Worst case scenario, they’ll prescribe me another (surprisingly expensive, even with benefits and the horrors of socialized medicine) Mirena that I will have to arrange to get shoved all up in my business after the other one is unceremoniously yanked out (which fucking HURTS, to the point of thinking “is pregnancy and the resulting 18+ years of parenthood really all THAT bad”). Best case, they’ll agree that I am too fucking old to deal with gas station pregnancy tests and worrying that my mom’ll kill me if I come home knocked up and scoop my goddamn tubes out with a spoon already. I mean, I’ve only been asking for 23 fucking years. What’s another two decades (eat a dick, science) of worrying about an unplanned pregnancy?
Vaginas, am I right? Yeesh.
The preceding post has been about the inner workings of my female anatomy. If you are at all uncomfortable with talk of the female reproductive system and the fluids contained therein, please do not have read this post.
You know, everything was fine. I was more or less resigned to the fact that I would never get to live in the UK because I couldn’t get my visa situation sorted out (and that whole “Ed likes to crush my dreams” thing, but we try not to think about that). I was perfectly happy to sit here in my outraged misery, trying to be content with visiting London as often as I could instead of moving there – even temporarily – to bask in the rolling green fields and eggs that don’t go in the fridge. I endured. I acquiesced. I mourned my dreams in – well, not silence, but with heaving sighs and an aching longing that could not be quenched. Basically, I Scarlet O’Hara’d all up in this bitch.
Then, today. I was writing a post on reddit to complain about my ancestral paperwork woes and researched the requirements again to make sure my post was accurate. It was then I discovered that the Ancestry Visa Requirements for the UK had changed slightly:
You’ll also need to provide:
Those bolded and underlined words? Those were not there before. And they completely remove the blockage I had with my application. I’ve never been able to locate my grandfather’s birth certificate, and cannot prove he and my grandmother were actually married. It always pissed me off, because he wasn’t the relative I was claiming ancestry through – yes, my great-grandfather moved his family from Ireland to Canada, but the Ancesty Visa only goes back two generations so it was a moot point. I HAVE my grandmother’s and father’s birth certificate, and a valid reason why I don’t have a marriage certificate for my grandparents. With those 6 words, my path to an Ancestry Visa is suddenly clear. I could apply for this. I have, or can get, everything I need to make it go, up to and including the painful £516 application fee.
But .. getting that visa is not going to change the fact that I have a life here. We’re not even a year into our new place. Our cats are here. Ed does not want to move, even temporarily. I desperately want this – like, bucket list item that ranks even higher than that multi-dick scenario I keep talking about – but getting that coveted, I-assume-stamped bit of paper would do nothing towards making my dream actually happen.
The temptation to do it just because I CAN is strong, but I think it would just make me even sadder to think about. I’ve done ridiculous things out of bureaucratic spite before, but $1000 is a lot of money to pay for something that would make me cry and mope endlessly.
But damn if I’m not super tempted.