As with so many others on my friends list, I found my Photobucket account throwing up an ugly “you need to upgrade” graphic in place of all the images — mostly story covers and award graphics — for which I created my PB account in the first place. And, as all those other folks had to do (those who didn’t throw up their hands and write it off as a bad loss), I’m painfully creating a new account to accomplish the same thing, and going back to change the links in various areas. (No fun, folks; counting my own personal website, I have graphics being displayed in four completely different locales, and I can only hope I catch them all. Plus, I used my PB account to hold a couple of markers for sroni, and I’ll have to duplicate that and get the new links to her as well.) I started off on Flickr, but it was really cumbersome, so I tried something I’d seen referenced and signed up at Imgur, and that’s working out with much less hassle. Photobucket actually was better, darn it, but their price hike is simply beyond belief.
Susan has finished her first year in California, and is moaning over whether or not she can last two more, as per the original plan. She loves the climate and the scenery, but the prices are horrendous and the prevailing political attitudes do NOT agree with her … and, when you work for the government (even the federal government) on the Left Coast, you darn well don’t rock the boat. She always talks politics during my weekly phone calls, just to have someone to whom she can vent.
Kevin is currently planning to make a vacation trip, along with Mei-li and Amber, over the next Chinese New Year (February), and he’s said he hopes some of us can join them. I’m probably better able than Susan to manage something like that, simply because my income is lower than Susan’s but I save at least a third of it every month, but a trip to Thailand is not as casual for us as it is for Kevin. The flight cost wouldn’t be that much more than to China — if at all — but other expenses … let’s face it, whenever we visited in Shenzhen, we stayed in Kevin’s apartment and his in-laws provided all our entertainment and most of our meals, which I don’t think we could count on in Thailand. I’ll have time to get ready, but it’s a substantial enterprise.
(It would be really nice if sroni and Conal could also make the trip. Even apart from my son-in-law and daughter-in-law, my own immediate family — me, Susan, Kevin, sroni — have never all been in the same country together outside the US. This would be an event.)
Finally, cof_remix is reaching the end of its sign-up period, and we’ll be starting the remix at the beginning of August. We already have enough participants to go on ahead … but if anyone would like to try something new, it’s not too late to jump in!
Oh, yeah, and my submission for this year’s Summer of Giles is due in four days. Don’t want to forget that.
Hard to believe how time has passed. It keeps on doing it, though.
I was supposed to have three days off in a row (today was the first), and I had plans for how to use those days. Things change; I have a chance to pick up a half-shift tomorrow — and the week was going to be a bit short otherwise — so I’ll be going into town to start at noon. Then I’ll hang around a bit, have a dine-in early dinner (at Popeye’s; yes, that’s my idea of luxury these days), then swing by the Vet Center for a meeting with my veterans’ group, then home after that to take the next day off. Not exactly hard labor, but some adjustments will have to be made.
According to sroni, Conal is now in a more-or-less regular room, still getting dialysis to bring things back under control but recovered to the point where he has his laptop with him to occupy himself while he convalesces. (Unfortunately, the big worldwide ransomware wave took out the network at the Dublin hospital, so at last report he couldn’t get much connectivity.) It’s an ongoing process, with more to be clarified and settled but with progress continuing.
And that’s it for now.
sroni’s husband Conal is still in the hospital, but much improved. It got a bit extreme there for a while; he spent two days in a medically-induced coma, to head off brain-swelling from all the fluids he was having to process (some from his condition, some medicinally added to treat his condition), and he’s been out of that for most of a week now. He’s even out of the ICU, and his blood sugar is now only 150-200% of normal instead of 600%.
After the original report that this was diabetes, the overall diagnosis keeps changing; they probably won’t know for sure till he fully stabilizes. There’s definitely pancreatitis in there, but it can’t yet be determined whether this is pancreatitis aggravated by diabetes, pancreatitis precipitated by diabetes, diabetes aggravated by pancreatitis, diabetes precipitated by pancreatitis, or pancreatitis leading to diabetic crisis (but not actual diabetes). If we’re lucky, it was the last one, some as-yet-unknown infection bringing about pancreatitis which brought about diabetic crisis.
There’s been luck already. My wife Susan (sroni’s mother, yes) has been a professional nurse for decades, and some of the practices and terminology in the UK may differ from ours but enough came across for her to suspect that that they were treating — or laboring mightily to prevent — multisystem organ failure. MOF is one of those things like heat stroke: however it comes about (and can do so from different causes), it WILL kill you unless actively stopped from doing so. We’re clearly past that point by now.
I didn’t really have any idea how bad it was (or could have got) until after the major threat was over. Susan suspected, I think, but 1) she has a depth of vocational knowledge that I lack, and 2) her experience has predisposed her toward pessimism, in that the worst outcomes are the ones she’s dealt with on a regular basis. I’m just pleased that things have resolved themselves as smoothly as they have.
Apparently my son-in-law is diabetic.
I didn’t know this. He didn’t know it. (He may not know it yet, because he’s in ICU in Dublin, responding to insulin therapy but set up for dialysis if that proves necessary, and his state of consciousness is … iffy.) The onset was so severe and unexpected, there were no symptoms before very late Wednesday night and they didn’t become truly worrisome till yesterday afternoon (Ireland time, which I think is about eight hours ahead of US Central Standard).
I found out about it … well, barely two hours ago, I got home and there was a text from Susan on my phone that our daughter (sroni) had sent her a message by Facebook, so I started questing for details because Susan is still at work.
We’ve wound up using a range of electronic communications. I contacted sroni through Facebook text, got information, relayed it to Susan through phone texts, sent a summary message to my son Kevin (still in China, yes) by WeChat; then sroni went to a different part of the hospital when her husband was moved to ICU, and switched over to Skype on her tablet.
So many avenues, and we used them all because they were there for us to use.
People got by before these various conduits of information were available. Their lives were full and complex, so it’s not a matter of how unfortunate they were. All the same, I feel that we ARE fortunate, to be able to keep one another informed — and become informed ourselves — at such speed, over such distances.
The world is not what it once was. People used to say the globe was shrinking, meaning that the speed of travel and communication had made distance less of a barrier to people in different parts of the world. In that sense it was true, but ‘shrinking’ implies constriction, and my world is larger now that it was even when my children were born. The conquest of these barriers has changed not only what we can do, but how we think.
I am not unhappy about that.
My wife earns, as far as I can tell, nearly nine times as much as I do.
My wife is waiting until her next paycheck so she can afford a doctor’s visit to renew the prescriptions that ran out while she was making her most recent trip to Ireland.
Meanwhile, back at home, on one-ninth of her income, I’ve stuck enough into savings that I could replace my car if I unexpectedly needed to do so. (A pretty poor replacement, but I could do it.)
Something about that just doesn’t seem to add up.
(Yes, I’m being snide and tongue-in-cheek. I have money because I don’t spend it on unnecessary crap. Every time I eat at McDonald’s, part of me is aware of that as an extravagance. And so, because I’m willing to do with less, I wind up having more. Sounds like a paradox, but it isn’t.)
Day off at home, just relaxing and vegging out. Watched some TV shows online (and one really dumb movie, but I dozed through most of that), read some from my Kindle, ate penne pasta from a leftover MRE. In the early evening I got a Skyve video call from my son Kevin, and got to watch my granddaughter run around their apartment in non-stop motion. Gorgeous little girl, but I can’t tell if she speaks any English at all. (Of course, she may not even have any words yet, period, she’s less than two years old. She makes sounds, but if they’re in Chinese I can’t tell. She’ll blow me a kiss if prompted to do so, however.)
I miss them. I have money in the bank. Maybe I will go visit, once I get a few more things taken care of.
I’m following the flap about LiveJournal with some small interest but next to no comprehension. I’ve had my LJ account mirrored at Dreamwidth for years now, so switching over would be a negligible effort. I just plain don’t like Dreamwidth as much, though, so I’d rather stay where I am unless there’s some strong reason to move.
Hard to believe my wife Susan has been away for six months now (yes, I helped her move to California at the beginning of July). By September of 2018 she’ll have in enough time with the VA to retire, but will need to stay on the job where she is till July of 2019 to cement that as her “high three” for calculating retirement pay. Until very recently, our son Kevin was planning to bring Amber (GRANDDAUGHTER!) back to the States at the end of this month to have her baptized at the church where he and Mei-li were married … but now Susan is talking about us delaying that so all of us (she and I, Kevin and Mei-li and Amber, sroni and Conal) can meet together this time next year. Maybe for a short European vacation, maybe a cruise, the details are still up in the air. I’d rather not have to wait another year, but the truth is that I need to spend the next several months getting various repairs finished in our house (heat/air, water, electricity, gas). This just wouldn’t be a good time for a visit.
The Snowflake Challenge is on again, but I decided to skip this year. I’ve had good experiences in the past, but last year’s entries found me repeating ground I’d already trod a few times before, and I didn’t want to put in the effort for diminishing reward. That may have been a miscalculation, because so far the daily challenges have been somewhat different from before. I most probably won’t try to start in late (even though I could make up previous entries readily enough), but I recommend it for viewing and participating.
My schedule is still shaking out at work. I’ve been there almost two years now — the end of this month will be two years — but there have been a lot of changes, and things seem always to be in flux. Just have to see how that goes.
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.
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.
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.
Some months ago, as part of the Fandom Snowflake Challenge, I did a cryptic list of the fics I intended to write in 2016 (here). Posting it that way was my attempt at commitment: it would be harder for me to let it slide it was there for people to see.
That was the theory, anyhow. With one thing and another, it wasn’t until this week that I posted the first fic — “Curious Poses”, the ‘CP’ on my projected fic list — which doesn’t at all accord with the one-per-month average I needed to maintain. (More positively, I’m already a few hundred words into ‘tONIDoK’, the next on that list.) Because I was genuinely serious about the commitment, however, the more tardy I was in finishing that first story, the less inclined I was to let myself indulge in anything else on LiveJournal. The result is that, except for a few comments on other folks’ posts, I let my LJ presence lapse to near-nothing for three months.
( Since my last Fandom Snowflake Challenge post, then, the following things have occurred: )
I don’t really feel like doing anything retrospective, so I’ll just touch on the most recent significant events.
First, I learned a few days ago that an old girlfriend had died just after Christmas. That’s only the lead-in: in the years after we dated, she married my younger brother, so that she eventually became his first (of four) ex-wives, and the mother of my oldest niece.
My feelings about that are … odd. We had been close once — enough so that I had introduced her to my brother in hopes that they’d get along, because even if she and I weren’t going any farther together, I thought she was worth keeping around — but in years to come, my opinion would change markedly. I could do a long list of the behaviors and attitudes that lowered and ultimately eliminated my respect for her, but they wouldn’t really communicate the total reality. Suffice to say that she functioned as a minor but continuing irritant in the far background of my life, and I was perfectly happy never interacting with her at all. And (awful to say, but it doesn’t go away by my not saying it) my first emotional response on hearing of her death was a muted but distinct sense of relief that I’d never have to deal with her any more.
On the other hand, I like my niece, who just lost her mother. So LiveJournal is the only place I can admit these strikingly not-worthy feelings.
Second, my wife spent most of Christmas weekend in increasing pain, and Monday morning I took her to the emergency room. She has a twenty-two-millimeter kidney stone; for those not familiar with metric, that’s twice the diameter of a .45-caliber bullet. She can’t work, because 1) her work involves a lot of driving, 2) she’s on Percocet for the pain, and 3) mixing Percocet and driving is an arrestable offense. The earliest they can schedule the necessary surgery is January 12, and she’ll need a few weeks of recovery afterward, so essentially she has to take the entire month of January off work. (Burning through her sick leave and most of her accumulated annual leave.) And she probably doesn’t have enough Percocet to last until the next appointment that will get her another prescription.
Essentially, the most recent events in my life are things that happened (are happening) to other people.
On the other hand, my wife did like the stuff I got her for Christmas, so there’s a bullet dodged.