the_siobhan: (goatse)
Drunk writing night suffered from a failure to launch due to a 2-day migraine. I might try to do it another time, it won't be the first time I fudged the date because the calendar one didn't work out.

I am also dealing with bronchitis for the second time in six months and I am awake half the night coughing so I feel like hammered shit. Axel got his CPAP and now I can sleep in the same bed as him but he can't sleep in the same bed with me. I am just so done with this meatsuit. Or perhaps I should say this meatsuit is just so done with me.

Budget stuff is finished and it's ugly but survivable. Unfortunately it means any plans to do pretty much anything that costs money will have to wait. Still I feel a lot better that I know where we stand, and I know that we're not going to lose the house and end up sleeping the park any time soon. We're getting a chunk of tax money back which will help. And I've been ebaying stuff with the faint hope that I might make a few bucks there, but I'm not counting on it.

I'm in my second week of training at work, which just happens to be taking place at my old work location. Man, I had forgotten how much I hate that shitting bus. In the 10 years I worked there the trip went from half an hour to 45 minutes. Now just over a year later it's well over an hour. But taxes are bad, right?

Setting the clocks back this week may have saved my fucking life.

So. Settling into the new normal.
the_siobhan: (Sweetums)
This morning I got to have yet another novel medical experience; an ultrasound of my heart. It was kind of uncomfortable because she had to push the wand reallyreally hard on my sternum and diaphragm and one lower left rib and I know I'm going to have some very flowery bruises later. The diaphragm was the only one that really got close to painful. Still, I got to watch and hear my heart beat and that was kind of neat. In movies your heartbeat sounds all bass and important, in real life it swooshes and gurgles. So that was fun.

I can't say that my vacation was very restful. I did manage to sort three boxes of "What the hell is this crap?" into a box to sell, (Mostly action figures. So now when I look at any site with sponsored ads it presents me with actions figures.) a box to scan & file, (95% emptied) and a final box full of things where I have to figure out whether it's worth spending the time to do something with it or just say fuck it and throw it away. Some of the things I put into the "needs more time to decide" box are old notebooks where I wrote story segments all old school, with pen and paper. I need to sit down and go through them and see if some of it might be worth mining for new material. One of them I identified as the old research I did once for a story about a reality show, so that's already been typed up and stored for later.

The point of all this is to get everything out of the storage locker before January when the lease is up for renewal so I don't have to pay any more for it. The boxes-all-over-living room is just the transitional stage. Or so I keep promising myself.

I also got some medical shit out of the way and did a lot of housework. Every time I take time off work I swear I'm not going to waste my time cleaning because it's undone within a week of going back. But then I hit a point where I just can't fucking deal with the squalor any more and I start cleaning anyway. Then I get really pissed off and drink heavily.

So it goes.

However I did get a couple of writing sessions in and it's been cool enough that I was able to do things like exercise and go for walks. So yay for fall.

Now if I can just get caught up at work.
the_siobhan: (book skeleton)
And just like that, it's fall. Glorious. Of course because nothing can be simple, the weather is making tippy. But I'll take that over not being able to breath any day.

Our next Big House Project is to try and empty the storage locker. The comics are gone but the locker is still full, packed to the rafters with everything that was stored in the basement before D moved in. Having the locker costs money + we have to reduce our expenses = we have to figure out a way to empty it.

I have a bunch of boxes of things that are "souvenirs" so those are the first thing I'm working on. Not sentimental like love letters or anything, but things like old Convergence programmes, concert stubs, the posters for the Chameleons gig, the ridiculous Wasp Factory bar bill that I made everybody autograph. I started going through one of the boxes yesterday and found a folder full of the faxes that Fiona and I used to send back and forth with my sister Dee when she was living in Grand Cayman, back before everybody had email. We had a designated time to send them so she would remember not to answer the phone when it rang and we would tell her all the family gossip and include messages to the kids. Reading them over made me cry a bunch of times.

Everything paper is getting scanned and getting turned into an electronic scrapbook. The non-paper stuff - that I'm not sure about. Maybe I'll take photos of it? I'll figure something out.

I have sooooooooooooo much to doooooooooooooooo at work. And I have to get it all done before Friday, because then I'm off for for the first two weeks of October. I plan to write every day. It's gonna be great.
the_siobhan: (bonsai kitten)
Three days of solid painting and I can barely lift my arms over my head.

It occurred to me at one point that although I have used primer tons of times, it was always to cover up somebody else's paint. This is my first time slapping it on the raw drywall. I can now say I understand
a) Why they sell it in those ginormous buckets
b) Why you would pay somebody else $1500 to not have to do this.

Anyway. Halfway done. Then we get to haul furniture some more.
the_siobhan: (What Would Kompressor Do?)
I am so sore.

Basement is pretty much cleared out. In spite of Axel's tendency to wander into the path of sledgehammers, we survived with only one minor injury. And that wasn't even a demolition injury, it was more of a "Siobhan can't walk through doors" injury. (I managed to clock my head against the door frame so hard I saw stars.)

Every time we do something like this I wonder what the hell I did to deserve the friends I have. People showed up and slung hammers and crowbars around and hauled rubble and worked their asses off in exchange for a few beers.

The only thing that really went wrong is that the company we rented the garbage bin from completely lost our order. We figured that out when Axe called them in the morning to ask what time they would be dropping it off and they had no idea what he was talking about. The truck that finally showed up was too big to navigate the street and had a bin that wouldn't have fit on the property anyway. So now all the wood and plaster is piled on our tiny inner-city postage-stamp lawn and we had to call one of those junk companies to come and take it away.

Getting the floor up was more educational than I was really hoping for. The back room that we had been using as a bedroom was constructed on rows of concrete slabs that didn't cover the entire basement surface, so the grooves between were full of standing water that had risen from the dirt below. It was gross and slimy and smelly and I was really shocked we didn't find black mold.

cut for pics )

Now except for cleaning the dust off everything we own, our part is pretty much done. Maybe I can start leaving the house again.
the_siobhan: (Professor Fly)
After three months of fuck-all happening, basement renos are suddenly moving very quickly. We made the penultimate trip to the storage locker yesterday, there is a dumpster booked for the weekend and the contractor is coming by on the Tuesday after that with his plumber and electrician. Actual work starts the day after Labour Day. The contractor says it will take him five weeks. That gives us a week of padding for delays and another week to paint. D moves in November 1.

Holy. Shit.

Axel is starting on dismantling the bathroom fixtures today. If anybody wants to come over and blow off a little steam with a sledgehammer on the weekend, that would be nice.

Work is still good but I am growing increasingly frustrated over the fact that it has been almost a month and none of my system access is working yet. There is only so much "training" I can handle before boredom starts to eat me alive. This is a chronic problem with every large company I have ever worked for. Tech support keep closing tickets and sending me chirpy "all done!" messages without actually fixing anything. I suspect this happens because they have front-line people who have instruction manuals that say things like, "If you get a request that looks something like X, flip this switch and close the ticket." So after the same not-working solution has been implented five times by five different people I call them up and yell at them until I get a second-tier person who listens to the part where I tell them their fixes aren't working.

I bought some Soylent last week, because I decided I am spending too much money buying lunch every day and making my own is something that is just never going to happen. (At least at this location I am eating lunch, even if I usually just get overwhelmed and buy a smoothie.) It's kinda weird tasting. Like drinking pancake batter. I might try throwing some juice or something into it just to see if I can't jazz it up a bit. And it is really filling. It's never going to be a regular meal, just a standby for when I can't cope with feeding myself, so hopefully I don't get too sick of it.

Another Monday halfway down.
the_siobhan: (fortune)
It's been two months since I made an update with any meat in it. So here ya go.

The big thing (or at least the big thing that is mine so I can talk about it.) is the new job. I got the one year temp job downtown and started it last week. So far I like it here. It's pretty casual, everybody is really nice and although they are incredibly busy it's the kind of busy you get when you have a lot of work to do, and not the kind of busy you get when other people are disorganized or can't make their minds up. I don't know why that makes a difference, but it does. It's also a much better location for me, closer to home and not up in the wilds of the inner suburbs. As an added bonus, whenever they offer courses to the traders I can take them for free.

And the traders do a very loud countdown when the market closes every day. Eventually this may come to irritate me, right now I think it's hilarious.

The basement renos are proving to be just as frustrating as every other time we have tried to do something to the house because people just DO NOT GET BACK TO US, holy fucking fuck people. I found the date when we first started asking for quotes and it was May 25 - seriously, over two fucking months ago. Not. Acceptable. Axel has been the main point person for this because he's home during the day but I told him to say that if they don't start responding to his emails and phone calls, then his wife is going to start calling them, and they do not want that. Because if I have to start calling people while I'm at work, I'm gonna be pissed off at them right out of the starting gate.

The brain chemistry is still mostly holding, which is kind of blowing my mind to be honest. (Pun entirely intended.) I had a couple of rough weeks when the air quality got really bad, like I do every year when Toronto gets into smog season. Anxiety and depression are very much conjoined twins for me and nothing will trigger anxiety quite like not being able to breathe. Knowing what's going on doesn't reduce it, and poor Axel still has to deal with me losing my shit over minor things, but it does make it easier to have some perspective when I know I just have to ride it out until the end of the summer and it will get better by itself. If there is any advantage to being a geezer(™), that's got to be it - the same things mess me up that always have, but I'm a lot calmer about them.

So that's been my last couple of weeks - busy at work, busy at home and way behind on blog-reading.
the_siobhan: (bonsai kitten)
D is out of the hospital and walking around like a real human boy. He is also back at work, which is a bit iffy AFAIC, but he doesn't feel like he has much choice. His pnemonia is supposedly cleared up but he still has a partially collapsed lung.

Still waiting for contractors to get back to me, but we're still clearing stuff out of the basement so that's ok for now. The shed finally got completed - it took a couple of extra hands to get the doors hung - so we can start storing stuff in there. We have shelves that can go in it but they are raw wood and Axel wants to varnish them first so they will last a little longer - hopefully he will be able to get that done this week.

Axel's birthday party is not being held at the Gin Palace this year, because we are buried in friggin' boxes.

One of my phone interviews turned into a no, unfortunately for the job I really wanted. The second turned into an follow-up interview; they told me they will get back to me by the end of this week. Axel is also interviewing, so fingers crossed for the both of us. Learning a new job will be more stress of course, but at least it will be positive stress.

Still haven't won the damn lottery. That would solve so many of my problems.
the_siobhan: (blowfish)
I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

I have a job shadow and another interview this week. I am definitely in line for both the jobs I applied for, so I have my fingers crossed that at least one of them comes through for me.

I need to chase after the guy who is putting together the work plan for the basement. I also need to get finished with hauling stuff out of the basement and sorting it. The weekend was pretty much a write-off for getting any of that done because Axel was out of town and I spent most of my time at the hospital, which is on the other side of the city and an hour's journey each way on the subway.

On the plus side, D is out of isolation which meant we could take a walk yesterday and sit in the park for a while. He wasn't expecting to be admitted when he showed up there on Wednesday, so he didn't have a change of clothes or anything with him. I was able to sort that out for him, and I also dropped off his laptop and my Kindle so he is going slightly less stir-crazy with boredom. There may have been a flask on Saturday night, but I'll deny it if anybody asks.

Poly is when your husband and his girlfriend drive you to your boyfriend's apartment so you can feed his cats and pick up his laundry.

Tonight's job is to go through the pile of crap on my desk and figure out if any of them are bills that need paying, because I think it's been a while since I've done that. Not the kind of thing I really want to neglect for too long. The rest of the weekdays will be housework and laundry, then I have an appointment with my ENT on Saturday and the rest of the weekend for dealing with the basement.

Adulting is such a pain. I swear I used to be better at it.
the_siobhan: (What Would Jim Carrey Do?)
True story

One of Axel's LARP characters is The People's Poet. When he created the character he put together a binder full of his "poems" to bring to game so he could always have the words handy. (Song lyrics, mostly.)

It's a post-apocalyptic setting so any paper he used had to look appropriately aged and decrepit. I found out he was looking up techniques for "aging" paper, so I dug into one of my boxes of stuff and pulled out some of my blank notebooks from Junior High School[1]. The paper has gone a lovely yellow colour and it's so dried out the edges have gone all flakey, so it's perfect for his use.

That's how much of a packrat I am.


[1]Junior High School in Toronto is usually around age 12-13. I am 52.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
Holy balls, the amount of dust I have swallowed in the last week. My allergies hate me.

We bought a garden shed, one of those big sturdy plastic & resin things. It gets delivered on Wednesday, and then I guess next weekend will involve putting it up and then shuffling out all the things that are destined to live there. That will also require clearing out some of the crap that is currently at the very back of our yard - most of which has been there since we moved in. The back fence was built out of old doors and scrap wood and has been slowly falling apart over the years and we never bothered to do anything about it because the railway is putting up a wall back there anyway. Now it's in the way.

The free bookcases at the neighbourhood Yard Sale were a smashing success. We got rid of 75% of the books, an old turntable, all the CDs and some of the casettes. I told the neighbours it was my wall of obsolete technology. Our next big giveaway plan is to invite over some of Axel's LARP friends so they can dig through our piles of fabric and old clothes for potential costuming materials.

Going through my own boxes is progressing slowly - at this point I'm mostly dividing things into "give away" and "maybe hang on a wall somewhere" and "scan and throw out" piles depending on whether we are talking about candlesticks or animal skulls or event flyers. I had plans at one point to make a small scrapbook of the things I had a hand in planning, but maybe I'll just do an electronic version and call it a day.

So. Much. Crap. Every time I do this I wonder how the hell I manage to accumulate so much crap. I don't even remember half the stuff that I'm unearthing. Are people sneaking into my basement at night and stacking their cast-off goth decor in there? I think they might be.

Fiona's boxes are also being seperated into stacks, depending if I can remember whether or not I scanned that particular collection of photos. I am thanking my past self that most of the boxes that were finished are clearly labeled, because we are talking thousands of photos here. Then I just have to do a poll to see if any friends or family members want the hard copies and out they can go.

So much for the weekend. Today I'm back at work and I'm just... not feeling it.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
Books are going awaaaaay!
the_siobhan: (Professor Fly)
The latest news around the Gin Palace is that we have decided to accelerate the plans to build an apartment in the basement. Unfortunately we don't have enough money yet to do everything we want to do - I really want to lower the floor by a couple of feet, but that's holy-shit levels of expensive. We're waiting on actual quotes, but since we've decided that water-proofing and building a new bathroom take priority and since both of those things are also money pits, we're expecting that the addition of more head room will just have to wait a few more years. (Person who will be living in said apartment has been consulted on this decision and is in agreement.)

To that end I took the week off work and the two of us have been going through all the stuff in the basement so we can empty it out in preparation for the work. You know the thing about hoarding? It creeps up on you. I honestly had no idea how bad it was. At one point I was sitting on the floor surrounded by empty boxes and full garbage bags and laughing and sobbing at the same time, because holy shit brain, two trash bags of old socks? How could you be any more ridiculous? Axel assures me I go through the same thing every time I "level up". I dunno. I think I've blocked it out. Although sitting on the floor sobbing whilst surrounded by boxes and boxes of canned goods does sound kind of vaguely familiar.

Ah, mental illness. Every day you bring me on a new and magical journey though What The Fuck land.

Anyway. As well as finally throwing out a lot of stuff that is OBVIOUSLY GARBAGE WHAT THE HELL, we also did a massive purge of our books. Axel has been able to convert 95% of what we want to keep into electronic format and so five bookcases have been condensed down to one and I have a sixth that I still have to sort through. It just so happens that our neighbourhood is having a big yard sale event on Saturday, so I'll be up early dragging everything out onto the front walk in the hopes that people will contribute to our cause by taking it all away.

stacks of books

We both still have a wall in the storage room to go through. Axel's stuff is mostly RPG-related and the last of the albums he has to rip. My stuff is half assorted souvenirs from events like Convergence and past gigs and half is Fiona's stuff that I had to put down and not deal with for a while. I'm taking today off to chill and let the dust filter out of my lungs and tomorrow I will tackle more boxes.

When I split up with the ex-husband I moved back to Toronto with just what I could pack into the back of my hatchback. That was a loooooooong time ago.


[EDIT] I have added another stack of books since that picture was taken. Rock'n'roll.
the_siobhan: (ball python)
So a crowbar, a pry-bar and one honking big power saw later, we managed to tear out the bottom of cuboards under the kitchen sink. We did without taking out the cupboards entirely, which meant we had to doing everything while kneeling on the floor with our upper bodies wedged through the cupboard doors. My upper back is very insistant on reminding me that it worked very hard for me and I should appreciate it more, maybe buy it some flowers once in a while.

At one point I sent D to go dig up dust masks and gloves, because the amount of mouse shit I vaccuumed up went zooming way beyond gross and well into the territory marked "terrifying". I'm not particularly squeamish but I may very well have nightmares about the sheer number of bodies required to produce that much poop. Anyway, my house no longer smells like death (literally) so it was well worth it.

And then Monday I went into an eye clinic where they poked at my eyes with machines and drops and flashing lights. Next week some time I will get to meet the actual surgeon, who will presumably tell me what's wrong with me this time.

We also took delivery of a new cat, since it seems George isn't coming back. This one is Alex. He's a bit scared still but he seems like a nice boy. Very metrosexual.


alex
Alex's adoption page.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
Now if I were Axel, where would I hide the crowbars?
the_siobhan: (Professor Fly)
Our phone service went out last night. So no DSL, so no Internet.

Our phone line gets to us from a pole out by the railroad tracks and just kind of hangs in space surrounded by tree branches all the way to our back wall, so it's not a huge shock that something would eventually take it out. (Probably more of a shock that it didn't happen during one of the ice storms, to be honest.)

The problem is going to be getting it fixed. The company we buy our service from rents the infrastructure from Bell. And Bell doesn't have a huge incentive to provide timely service to homes that do business with a direct competitor.

So assuming that it is in fact the physical phone lines that will require the repair work, I'm putting $10 on our Internet being out for a week starting today. I will be very happy to be wrong, but one of the reasons we don't deal with Bell in the first place is because my experience with them has frequently been that they are giant dickwads.
the_siobhan: (What Would John Constantine Do?)
We are clumsy clumsy people in this house. We drop things, trip over things, push things too hard, pull things too fast, misjudge clearance.

Every once in a while I'll go through the house with a tube of instant plaster and plug the dings and scrapes where some piece of furniture got bounced against the wall and left a hole in the paint. At the moment this means a series of divots running vertically behind the bedroom dresser and a long scrape in one of the posts next to the armchair. In the past it's been spots where the curtain rod got knocked down or a book case tipped backward.

So I guess it's inevitable that eventually I would find myself as I did today; staring upward and wondering how the hell we had managed to knock a chunk of plaster out of the bedroom ceiling.
the_siobhan: (punk rock)
Is it normal for a microwave to heat up on outside? The one I use at work is a cheap crap one that takes forever to do anything, so people tend to run it for 20 minutes at a time to try and get their lunch heated all the way through. When I touch the top surface it's hot, not just warm. I'm worried it's going to blow up in my face one of these days.

*****************************


Poor Zachary tested negative for any kind of infections so for the moment we're instructed to treat him with special food, pro-biotics and some additional medication for the diarrhea. He hates being dosed and fights it as much as possible without actually using his claws. Axel thinks it's starting to work, I'm less sure. In the meantime, we clean up puddles of liquid poop every day. He's banned from the bedrooms until we get this cleared up.

I still can't figure out why his owners wouldn't want to keep him. He is a seriously lovely cat. We have a chair for him between our desks so we can both pet him while we're on the computer, and he just sits there and purrs the entire time we're home.

*****************************


The biggest issue we are dealing with in the house right now is that our front steps - as I predicted last fall - didn't make it through the winter intact. They're kind of patched for the present but the bannister isn't really supported by anything and I expect another freeze-thaw cycle to take them right out. We've been trying to get a quote on fixing it since July with no luck.

Back when we bought this place - 11 years ago? Holy Shit - we could have bought a bachelor condo for the same price. I remember saying that the prices would have to drop soon with the sheer number of new buildings going up. Ha ha. Wrongo. People keep moving into the city and so new condos keep going up in old churches, demolished factory sites and scraps of vacant land. (Meanwhile we keep voting in people who won't spend money on public transit. So it's getting a little sweaty in here.)

It's a brilliant time to be in the trades. Anybody who can do anything related to building is off working in new construction. The down side to this is that it's next to impossible to get a contractor to take on a smaller job. Ergo, nobody answering our calls on how many kidneys they want to replace our front steps. It's not a catastrophe if they get to the point where we can't use them - we have an entrance into the basement. We'd just have to block them off so we don't inadvertently kill off our postman or something and just sit tight until the housing market slows down.

The part that concerns me is that we have gotten nasty-grams from the city about renovation materials sitting on our front lawn for longer than they were happy with, so it's not impossible that an inspector could drive by in the spring, see the damage and slap a work order on us. My experience with the city is that they tend to be pretty reasonable - when we first bought Roxton Manor in the late 90's we got a notice from the city that there were a bunch of outstanding work orders on the property. (The lawyer should have caught that, but that's another story.) One of the orders was, coincidentally, to get handrails put on the exterior steps. They were fine with extending the deadline when we called them and told them we were the new owners and we needed a bit more time to get to it. But what do they do in a situation where you genuinely can't find anybody who will do the work? I suppose I could show them dates when we first started requesting quotes.

*****************************


In the meantime, I am still without a phone. It's now been a week and it hasn't turned up at the Lost & Found, so I guess it's time to just shell out for a new one.
the_siobhan: (Dufferin station)
Jesus, I'm sick of fucking painting.

The walls in the stairwell are done, the stairs are done minus some touch-ups and the front foyer just needs the trim & the doors to be finished as well. Then I can put the rollers down for a while. There are still some touch-ups I want to do, but they are comparatively minor jobs. And now that the walls are done I can get around to hanging the remainder of the art.

It is so humid the paint is drying incredibly slowly, which is making the entire process twice as dragged out. But I feel like if I can just get it finished before I bugger off to holidays I won't have it hanging over my head waiting for my return. And maybe I can also get some actual cleaning done before I go as well, so I won't be coming home to filth. (That bathroom. Oi.)

OK, break is over. Everybody back on your head.

hibernating

Dec. 5th, 2013 01:42 pm
the_siobhan: (goatse)
I have been feeling the need to distract myself from my own brain lately. So far that has taken the form of organizing things. I finally got around to painting the window upstairs and I've started dragging more boxes out of the storage room. Holy crap do I ever have a lot of bones stashed away - mostly deer, but I also have a young racoon skull and a couple of pelvic bones from turtles. And some massive leg bones that I think are probably from a pig. I have no idea I'm going to do with them all.

I'm debating doing some painting in the stairwell this weekend, but there may be cat-fetching going on, so we'll see how that pans out.

I also have more photos to scan. My family keeps uncovering new stashes. I should really get that album sorted out so I can get rid of the hard copies which are currently in a big pile of boxes in front of the bookcase.

Last weekend was kind of a flop because I developed one of those killer sinus headaches that always seem to accompany fluctuating pressure systems. I was invited to both a party and a gig on Saturday night and end up blowing off both of them. I'm still feeling kind of crap - I seem to have also picked up a cold - but not terribly dizzy so I am tentatively optimistic. I'm still going ahead with the balance testing. Which just happens to be scheduled for my birthday. So no getting drunk until afterwards.

I am really really needing a freaking break from work. Fortunately I have a bunch of unused vacation around Christmas so I'll get some time off. New guy is working out pretty well except that it takes for-freaking-ever to get system access in this place so he can't really just go off and do tasks on his own yet. (I bitched about that to Axel, who responded with, "If he put the requests in correctly he should have everything in two weeks." I laughed and laughed. Such a comedian that Axel.)

I have to admit I was kind of hoping I could ignore Christmas this year. But Dee is coming home for a couple of weeks, so there will be family gatherings. Dee has already said that at some point she wants to grab a couple of flasks and go tobogganing just to get out of the house. So there may be an epic quest in search of snow. And you know, toboggans.

I guess the party is coming up soon too. I need to look up recipes for hot apple cider and mulled wine.

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