While I was focused on finishing my summer_of_giles story, I didn’t do anything else on LJ (as a way of staying focused), including answering any of the comments people had made during the meantime or offering any details regarding current events in my life. Brief update, then:
Susan is in California now, suitably installed and bringing in enough pay to cover the cost-of-living difference and maybe a little extra. Unfortunately, before the move she made a trip to Ireland to present a paper at a conference, so that she was essentially broke by the time she got back. So, it cost me a thousand dollars to get her to Cali, and then close to another thousand to maintain her until her higher pay started arriving. Her pay dwarfs mine, always has … but I save when I can, she spends every cent she can lay her hands on, so I keep winding up having to bail her out. I haven’t expressed any of this frustration to her (no point, it isn’t going to change), but there are issues, yes.
I knew I had fallen substantially behind on my planned twelve-stories-in-2016 program, but hadn’t realized just how far behind till I took a look at where I stand. Not good. I won’t quit, because I still know I’m capable of delivering what I promised … but one of the stories is a major undertaking, and I’ll be having to do multiples before I even get that far. The last several days have been a good solid kick for me, I’m accomplishing things that had been allowed to languish for far too long; still, odds are not favorable at this point.
Also, no response so far on cof_remix sign-ups; even sroni is out of touch at the moment (in Ireland). I only just got out the actual invitations — though the post itself was an open invitation — so I can hope for some response within the next couple of weeks.
We’ll just have to see how it goes.
I had originally intended to start cof_remix (the Circle of Friends Remix) substantially earlier this year. Then, just about the time I was ready to announce sign-ups, there was a post from remixers_lounge that RemixRedux would be running this year, albeit later than usual. So I waited. Then I got caught up in summer_of_giles, then in finishing my story for summer_of_giles, and now it’s September.
Sign-ups are now open here. All previous participants are welcome. Anyone who is interested (and has enough Buffy or Angel stories to qualify) is invited to check us out and make inquiries. cof_remix is deliberately kept small — the original aim was ten to a dozen people — but we’ve never hit our maximum number, and every year has been fun, so let’s hope we can get some new blood along with the old favorites this time.
Susan was hired for the VA position she most wanted, the one in California; the position provides a massive raise — about 65% — so even with the higher cost-of-living there, she should be able to do okay. More than that, her supervisor here told her she didn’t have to provide a full month’s notice, two weeks would be enough, so we’re planning to drive there together (I’ll fly back) toward the end of this month. She’s already placed the four cats with someone else, and is trying to find a home for the oldest and largest dog (she’s taking the two smaller dogs with her).
Oh, and she had a minor accident last month — someone rear-ended her on the Interstate, and now she can’t get the hatchback on her car to close — so we’ll be trying to get the insurance company to cover repairs before she makes the California move.
So far, through April and May and now edging into June as well, it has rained every single day I’ve been off work. Our lawn really needs to be mowed, but even when it isn’t raining there’s never enough time for the grass to get really dry. Small problem, yes, but still frustrating.
I passed my DOT physical, except for the eye test, and passed that part handily after I got my eyeglasses prescription updated. I still don’t know for sure that I want to go back into driving; with Susan relocating to California, I’d be leaving our home unattended for weeks at a stretch, plus I’m not sure how it would feel to spend so much time on the road without someone to come home TO. Still, if I decide to go that route, I’ve re-qualified now, and it would only be a matter of convincing someone to hire me.
I’ve finished the second story in the twelve I announced I’d be writing this year … which, two in five months still leaves me badly behind schedule but no further behind. (For some reason “Curious Poses” resisted me for quite a while before finally allowing itself to be finished.) Even so, the response has been … well, I could say ‘uncharacteristic’. In retrospect, maybe it was a mistake to post “the Other Night I Dreamt of Knives” on Memorial Day; even the people who read it may have just been too busy with holiday stuff, but this was the first time in over ten years that I posted a new story on LJ and got no comments whatsoever. Have I become spoiled? Entirely possible. Or maybe I’ve just been posting so little lately that too many people have got out of the habit of following me. I’ll have to do something about that.
Time for bed. Morning shift tomorrow.
Yesterday I found out (via Facebook, which I almost never use for myself, but which I keep open so I can track my kids and keep up with select others) that a former member of my old Army Reserve unit had been killed in a civilian accident. This was something of a jolt, for several reasons.
First and most obvious … well, I don’t really have to explain it. Someone you used to know has died. That’s going to feel at least a little weird to anybody.
Second is sort of about me. I joined my unit in September 2002, because I could tell by the news that we would almost certainly be going back into Iraq soon. By the end of November, I was in a retraining course at a base in California; by the end of January, I was on a bus to Fort Bragg with the rest of my unit, to prepare for our deployment overseas. My new unit operated primarily in three-man teams; the man I’ve been talking about — call him Badger — was team leader of the one I was assigned to. Before we left Bragg, though, I had been transferred to a different team, so I never served under Badger in the field. So, okay, I was the third man on two different three-man teams, meaning five of us in total.
In 2008, I found out that the young man who had been Badger’s assistant team leader had killed himself. During my second Iraq tour, 2009-10, I heard that the team chief of my second team had died of a heart attack. (During that first tour, the man was three years younger than me and looked fifteen years older.) Now Badger himself is gone, too. Except for me, there’s only one of us left, and I don’t even really know about him, in that I haven’t seen or heard from him in a dozen years. I was the oldest man in the company the day I walked in the door, and remained so till I retired; how am I suddenly in contention for Lone Survivor?
Third was also to do with age. The obituary listed Badger as 43 years old. When we met, he wasn’t even 30 yet. How did so much time go by without me noticing it?
And I suppose I could list a fourth, though that one didn’t occur to me till just now. Three men I met through the Army, knew throughout a wartime deployment, and all gone now outside of combat.
No idea what conclusions to draw from any of that. It just keeps feeling strange.
Nearly 1,400 words done on TONIDoK, the second of my planned stories for this year. It should have been done in February, but I was still hung up on “Curious Poses” at the time. There was a section in TONIDoK that had to be worked out just right, but I’m past that, so I can (if necessary) do the remainder during rest breaks and lunch breaks at work. Not necessarily how it should be done, but that can serve as a decent supplement to writing at home.
Susan is still awaiting word from Seattle, meanwhile has others calling to interview her, including the top-paying post in SanFran and the lowest-cost-of-living job in Texas. She had to turn down an interview in Richmond, because they wanted face-to-face, and she could afford neither the time nor the cost to fly over just to talk to people. Still, she’s heartened at finding she’s considered a serious candidate for various positions around the country.
Looking forward to a move that lasts for several years, she’s trying to trim down the number of pets she has. At one time we had four dogs and five cats, but one of the dogs wandered off (not the first time, but this time she didn’t come back, doubtless has a new happy home by now), one of the cats was killed (maybe by a car, maybe by something else, I just happened to find the body by the highway next to our house), and Susan found a new owner for another of the cats. Yet another has also been arranged, but we’ve found she’ll have to deliver that one herself; every time I go near any of the three remaining cats — or even look at them — they split for a hiding place. Honestly, I never mistreated the animals, I just loathe them. Is that so wrong?
A couple of months ago, our heat pump (I think) went out. By then the weather in our part of the country was mild enough that we could get by with small heaters in our rooms as needed, till we could afford to address repairs. Now the weather is warming more, and apparently the AC works off the same system. Have to call somebody about that, never mind the water problem and foundation problem …
I’m still watching for any news about this year’s RemixRedux. Seriously, does anybody know?
I’ve posted end notes for “Curious Poses”.
Susan had a phone interview with one of the VA positions in Seattle; since then, they contacted two of her co-workers for references, but she hasn’t heard anything the last few days.
We discovered an under-the-floor water leak that may be the actual cause of our floor-warping problems, or may be aggravating the other issue I described.
Writing has not proceeded as quickly as I wished, but I think I might manage something substantial over the next few days.
VA medical appointment for me Tuesday; I need to make a list of all the medications I’m currently using, and a second list of issues and symptoms I don’t want to forget to bring up while I’m there.
Last week I went karaokeing with my youngest brother. Got to sing three times — “Thunder Road” (Springsteen), “Jack and Diane” (Mellenkamp), and “867-5309/Jenny” (Tutone). My voice is adequate without being spectacular, but I do have some talent at choosing songs I can belt out to full effect, and I got plenty of favorable response. (Except for “Jack and Diane”, everything I sang was a staple I’d previously proven effective; the new addition was a judgment call which worked out as well as I had suspected.) I used to enjoy doing karaoke, but it’s probably been over a year since the last time. Still fun.
PS: forgot to mention, I signed up for this year’s summer_of_giles. Also, does anyone know if RemixRedux will run late this year, or even skip a year? because I’ll have to modify my plans if they do.