the_siobhan: (wormtooth)
I am supposed to be in New Brunswick right now. Porter cancelled our flight, apparently because they had a sick pilot who called in at the last minute. However, they still issued us boarding passes, and we didn't get told the flight was cancelled until we tried to go through security. BC returned to the check-in desk to find out what was going on, and during that time they continued to issue boarding passes people who then discovered that they had no plane mid-taking their shoes off.

This is my second Porter experience and the second time they have been not so on the ball. I gotta say I'm not so impressed.

Also, you know how I said I had an anxiety dream about a week ago that featured me forgetting my passport? Guess what I forgot to pack. I didn't actually need it for a domestic flight, but still.

So instead we went out to dinner. And I'll spend my weekend writing and drinking beer instead of eating seafood and looking at lighthouses. I'm sure D is disappointed not to have the house to himself for the weekend, I fully expected him to have adopted four more cats by the time I got home.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
I am ON VACATION. And I say unto you, it is a glorious thing.

I made a promise to myself and everybody else who lives in my house that I was Not Doing Useful Shit this week. I normally have a project of some kind when I'm on vacation, taking advantage of the fact that I'm home to do something around the house that has been needing to get done for Chronos only know how long. Last month it was patching up the stairs, previous times it has been doing shit like going through storage bins or painting or organizing contractors. I always go back to work feeling like I didn't actually get a break.

So this week I said fuck that. Work has been kicking my ass, I think I can use an actual real life not-doing-any-work break from all that.

So I've been hanging around the house all week. Occasionally writing. Occasionally exercising. Mostly playing video games. It's awesome, but it's also really weird. I constantly feel like there is something I'm supposed to be doing that I am neglecting and it's all going to come back and bite me on the ass and I have to keep reminding myself that no, you planned it this way.

How messed up is it that I have to talk myself off the ledge because I'm trying to actually, you know, relax?

I obviously need to do this more often.
the_siobhan: (on fire)
I had a conversation with BC on Tuesday about plans for a trip we are taking together a couple of weekends from now.

So of course last night I was at the airport and unable to find my passport. I finally located my NEXUS card in time to get on the plane, but then when we arrived at the hotel I discovered my suitcase was still stuffed full of the dirty laundry left over from the last time we traveled together.

I want to know what the hell my brain is trying to do to me here.
the_siobhan: (goatse)
One of the big things that worries me about our current state of brokeness is figuring out what house repairs can be deferred until we have some money to spend on them. Our front porch, for example, is showing some pretty serious wear lately and really needs to be replaced.

It's not just the age of thing, it really wasn't built very well in the first place. The front steps have never been up to code. There should be an extra step at the bottom, and whoever put them in cheaped out by putting a short riser underneat the bottom step instead. So that first step is really tall and people keep tripping over it. The porch itself is made out of poured concrete and when you stand in the cold room underneath you can see how it's starting to sag, because the frame is either rusted out or was never adequate to support all that weight. The whole thing needs to be ripped out and replaced.

But that's not an option right now. So we need to keep it holding together long enough that it will last until we have the budget to get it rebuilt.

I had a week off work in September, so I decided I was going to use it to fix the steps. They had developed a thick crack that ran down each step a couple of inches from one side and since the steps themselves are basically hollow rectangles filled with sand, they were threatening to split all the way and just fall into two pieces. Big chunks of concrete had also fallen off the faces of a couple of them and the sand was constantly weeping out. Fixing it took a couple of days of filling in parts of the gaps, letting it dry and then building it up with another layer. I mixed up cement until it was the consistency of thick putty and wedged it into the widest gaps, using it as a base to fill the holes with chunks of rock and brick and then slapping more cement on top to smooth it out.

This weekend it was time to do the porch. The frame has rusted away and there are big holes where the flaking metal has caused the surrounding concrete to just collapse and fall apart. The face of concrete slab has also crumbled away, and When Axel was cleaning it the lintel over the basement door snapped off into a couple of long slabs of solid rust.

We scavenged some rebar from the stretcher we used for the pig roasts and it fit perfectly into the hole above the door. We filled in all the gaps with spray foam and then I covered bits and pieces of it in more cement.

I'll be honest, it looks like shit. I have never worked with cement before so I was pretty much figuring it out as I went. A professional would have built a frame to support the face so that it could be squared properly, we didn't want to spend the money on the wood so we wedged a slab of tile in front of it and braced it in place with stacks of loose bricks. The cement is lumpy and patchy and I didn't even try to cover up the bright blue foam sticking out from underneath the first step.

But the most worrying holes are now sealed and it will keep any progressive damage at bay through the next freeze-thaw cycle. Which was essentially my goal.

Then last night I had a very long and very detailed dream about the existing renos falling apart, complete with collapsing stairs when I attempted to climb to the second floor and the drywall just folding itself gracefully into dust all over the house.
the_siobhan: (goatse)
the cats have melted


There are melted cats all over my house.

It is unreasonably hot in Toronto right now. Like, posted warnings and opening cooling centres for homeless people levels of hot, the kind of shit that normally happens in July. It's almost October. A couple of weeks ago I'd mentioned to Axel that this had been a really good summer for me in terms of being able to breathe - it rained almost every day, which was really effective at keeping all the crap out of the air that triggers my asthma. Not so much the past two weeks. I was downtown on Friday and I couldn't stop gasping.

The brainmeats have been a major shitshow for the last couple of months. I think Axel's accident was just the the last straw of extra worry and stress that just slid me off the edge. I think I'm starting to recover now, finally. I feel like I can look around and I'm starting to see the edges instead of just infinite black hole.

When things got really ugly I always have the internal debate about whether or not to go back on the meds. I don't know that they caused the vestibular damage. But I also don't know that they didn't, and given how debilitating the nerve damage has been it seems like just too much of a risk to take. Even if it means I spend a lot of my time feeling like shit.

On the plus side of things, work has been going really shockingly well. So at least I am a high-functioning chronically depressed person.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
I have so many issues with our current government, but I have to point out when they do something right. This is a fucking amazing story.

From Chechnya to Canada: The Secret Escape For Young Gay Men.

And my workplace recently announced a big donation to Rainbow Railroad, so good on them too.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
D took me out to the pub last night for a couple of pints, and they were playing music as pubs tend to do.

So I have a new earworm finally.

the_siobhan: (steps)
I am incredibly prone to earworms. I get them very easily and a bad one can last for weeks if not months. I sometimes wonder if it's related to the tendency towards intrusive thoughts; if the wheels for "step in front of the train, step in front of the train, step in front of the train" just happen to fit in the exact same grooves as "a three hour tour, a three hour tour, a three hour tour".

Last week Michael Pagliaro played at the CNE and thanks to hot weather and the resultant open windows I got one of his songs stuck in my head for a week. This week it was Trooper, no thanks to the co-worker who keeps a radio playing on her desk tuned to some awful baby-boomer station. It's been 70's CanCon all month in here.

(You know Astrid, I keep thinking about the bar manager you told me about who thought all Canadian music sucks. I was aghast when I first heard that, but if she went to high school at the same time I did, she might actually have a point.)

I desperately need to go listen to music with chainsaws in it. Or wash my brain out with bleach. Something.
the_siobhan: (flying monkeys)
One of the phrases I never really anticipated having to say out loud is "Please don't feed the cats on top of my laptop".
the_siobhan: (book skeleton)
As I get close to the end of the stacks, there are enough random items in here that it gets harder to lump them into groups.

a hodge-podge of non-fiction )
the_siobhan: (Margaret Atwood)
I'm almost at the bottom of the Read-And-Get-Rid-Of pile. Just a few books left stacked in the corner of my bedroom. I started this process three years ago with two bookshelves worth of books.

miscellaneous fiction )
the_siobhan: (goatse)
Before Axel decided to spice up my life by scaring the living shit out of me, I had a pretty good weekend.

A while back I had mentioned to BC that I wanted to research wine-making because one of the stories I'm writing has a vineyard as the setting. This gave her the brilliant idea that we should go on a wine tour. So bright (OK, maybe not so much with the "bright" on my part) and early (very, very early) on Saturday morning she picked me up and we drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake. There a bus picked us up and drove us around to a selection of four different wineries.

So have done a wine tour once before. I'm pretty sure that it was when I lived with BC and Ldot, so we're talking over 12 years ago. I remember it as a handful of people following somebody around who guided you around the property and talked about the wine making process before delivering you to a cool shaded barn where you could have a few glasses of wine and maybe buy a bottle or two. Every once in a while a new car would pull up and after a while, or when there were enough people who were interested, they would start another tour.

So things have changed a bit since then.

The first winery we visited was the biggest in the area and it was the only one that actually walked us into the vineyard and through the fermentation rooms. They ran the tours like we were at Disneyland. There was 23 in our group, and there were multiple groups all following in each other steps about 15 minutes apart, it was well-organized and very tightly timed. The "barrel" room where they do the tastings had over a hundred people in it.

The second winery had multiple tasting rooms, and our group was brought into one where a bartender taught us how to do proper tastings with little plates of meat and cheeses - and when our time was up we were hustled the hell out of there stuffing the last of the crackers into our cheeks because the next group was waiting. Wineries three and four were straight to the tasting and buying things.

Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun. We got to drink some really nice wines I wouldn't have otherwise tried out (including some very tasty and very expensive ice wines.) The people who served us were all super lovely. I guess just didn't expect it to be quite so much of an industry as it is now.

The other thing that was noteworthy about the event was the other people on the tour bus. We were picked up in two stages, most of the people getting on the bus on at the same time we did. There were about 15-18 women and one man, and the guy was so uncomfortable. He kept talking about how he was the only man there and at one point he said, (I shit you not) "Where are your husbands?"

When the bus picked up the remaining half-dozen people at a second hotel there were three men in the that group and then he made a big deal about that, greeting them very loudly and talking about how relieved he was. BC and I are watching all this, and I kept turning to her and hissing, "Straight people are so fucking weird".

Then when we were walking through the first winery the men were competing with each other over who could hold the doors. Seriously at a couple of points one door were being held open by two guys at the same time, both of them going, "I got it," to each other over and over.

Then at the end of the day on the drive back to be dropped off a bunch of the women were singing loudly along with the radio, which was tuned to some station playing top 40 songs from 20-30 years ago. Think Bryan Adams and Neil Diamond.

So, you know. An educational day even if I didn't get to ask a lot of questions about wine making. I forget sometimes how socially insulated I really am. I almost never hanging out with normal people and their ways are strange and mysterious to me.
the_siobhan: (Sweetums)
Welp, it's been an eventful couple of days at the Gin Palace.

Axel was in a somewhat serious bicycle accident in the wee hours of Monday morning. And when I say serious I mean that he knocked himself cold and had to be picked up off the ground by an ambulence. I spent Monday morning at the hospital with him in emergency until they got him a bed, and then the afternoon running around sorting out things like a toothbrush and a change of clothes that weren't completely covered in blood. (I've said this before in my stories about the ways in which I and my fellow humans manage to maim themselves, but man it's a good thing I know ahead of time how much head injuries bleed. Even still, when I first walked into emerg and saw him - Holy Shit.)

He was groggy and out of it Monday morning; thirsty, exhausted, and in pain but mostly coherent by Monday night and bored and cheerful by Tuesday. A couple of CT scans later he is now home and largely back to normal. He has what the release papers described as a "non-mobile fracture" in his skull, which I'm guessing means that the bone is broken, but all the important squishy bits are still safely contained. He's still kinda dizzy and a little more scattered than usual but every time I talk to him he's a little improved.

Deep breath.

So now that the meat suit is safe and in one piece, he has one remaining concern. What the hell happened to his bike?

I went to the spot where the ambulence picked him up. I called the ambulence dispatch. I called the police. Nobody seems to be able to answer the question of what happens to somebody's stuff when the ambulence carts them away from an accident. I mean a wallet, they'd toss into the ambulence. A car would what, get impounded just to get it out of the way? I assume? But nobody seems to know what happens when it's a bicycle.

Just to be clear I don't have an issue AT ALL with the EMT's not dealing with it, their priority is "get dude who landed on his head to a hospital ASAP", which is exactly what it should be. But I do find the fact that nobody knows what happens afterwards to be kind of bizarre.

Whatever. We have insurance for a reason.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
One of the guys I work with was born in 1995.

I have to go lie down now.
the_siobhan: (on fire)
It's been a really wet summer so far - this is the only day this week we haven't had/aren't expected to have thunderstorms. Water was coming into D's apartment at one point so we dropped some money credit on getting some additional waterproofing in the basement, and cross fingers/knock on everything, it seems to have done the trick.

Apparently I have a peak number of words per week or something, because the more I write outside of DW/LJ, the less I write here. So yay for being non-blog productive I guess, but I do feel like I should be making some attempt to keep up with the posting. Especially since this is pretty much the only social thing I really do these days.

June was the month of Working All The Overtime, but that's not being offered in July. So instead I signed up for NaNoWriMo again. Because I am allergic to spare time or something.
the_siobhan: (book skeleton)
I have some catching up to do. I'm still reading on the bus every day, I'm just behind in listing them.

fantasy / sf / spooky )

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