It's been a long month so far, but not nearly long enough. We've been packing the apartment, and running a van-load of boxes down to Rainbow's End nearly every day -- we're just having the movers take the furniture from the apartment. We'll have the Memorial Day weekend to clean up. Oh, did I mention the movers? Right.
Moving day for North Starport is this coming Friday. GLEEP! House! Move! Yard! The other reason I've been down at the house nearly every evening is to water the newly-sodded lawn. It's gorgeous. And the deck. And...
At the same time, I'm worried. There's no turning back from here -- this had better work. I think it will. That doesn't keep the late-night doubts away completely, but it helps. I'll probably still miss the Starport from time to time, but Rainbow's End is wonderful.
Lots of great links; I don't really have time to go over the list. That's what happens when you don't post for nearly three weeks -- I have to get *out* of that bad habit.( raw notes )
Rainbow's End, in West Seattle, is hosting its first housefilk today, with special guest Alexa Klettner, from Germany. Starts nominally around 2pm, but show up any time.
From the West Seattle Bridge turn right on Genesee (one block past the first traffic light, which is 35th Ave), take the second right onto 37th, and park. Look for the sign on the fence; you can't miss it. If you get lost, call me: 408-896-6133.
Somehow it doesn't seem as though much happened. A quick look at the house shows that this is not entirely true -- huge progress has been made on the improvements, tens of thousands of dollars have been flung around with abandon (including a 50% down payment on the landscaping, and starting a household checking and savings account), the front yard, massage studio, and lower front bedroom have been torn apart, several new holes have appeared, and so on.
None of this was my doing, of course, except for the financing. I have merely been plugging along at my job, filing the inevitable extension on my taxes, and generally muddling along considerably more slowly than I would like.
This week's quote/self-observation comes from Friday: "Middle-sized bears are extremely timid creatures, but are occasionally so oblivious that it doesn't matter."
Meanwhile, Seattle has been declared #2 among the 12 best places to live in the U.S.. San Francisco is #1. I think the Twin Cities cheated, with Minneapolis nabbing 12th place and St. Paul coming in 10th. (The differential doesn't surprise me -- St. Paul is a university town.)
Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.( raw notes )
Long month, the last week and a half. Let's see. A week ago last Thursday I got an offer of a 3-month contract at Amazon, which I took immediately. Since it's through KForce again, I had very little paperwork to do and everything continues much as it has been. Colleen got her diagnosis of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, which is associated with immunosuppressant drugs, hypertension, low K and Mg. All of which she had.
Friday I cancelled my Norwescon concert -- I really wasn't ready, and was already under too much stress.
Saturday it looked as though Colleen was coming home, but by the time I got there her blood pressure had gone up to really scary levels, and they decided to keep her until it stabilized.
I spent most of the weekend shuttling back and forth between North Starport, Rainbow's End, and the hospital in between. I slept at RE, with Naomi and I keeping one another company.
Monday I picked up Chaos and Emmy, and went out to dinner for Emmy's 21st birthday. Blue C Sushi, which was expensive but able to satisfy the YD's craving for plum sake. I have two drinking-age children now.
I didn't notice any hill.
Tuesday Colleen came home. KForce called and told me I was supposed to start Wednesday.
As it turned out, my boss at Amazon had been expecting me to start on Monday the 1st (i.e., today), so things weren't quite ready for me. More or less ok, though; they were at least able to get me a badge and a laptop. (A Thinkpad T400, which isn't half bad.)
Last weekend was Norwescon. The "surprise open mic" that took the place of my concert was Saturday night, and I gave a perfect demonstration of exactly why I cancelled. GAAK. I should know better than to try to sing anything off book. Especially when I'm unprepared and stressed.
I was plagued by charger problems all weekend, but at least my computer charger worked most of Saturday when I really needed it to. The "geek toys" panel was a lot of fun. I read off the specs for the Cray 1 from the web browser on my phone, which had it beat by orders of magnitude. (How many orders of magnitude depending on which spec you looked at. 8MB of RAM? How... quaint.)
Sunday we had dinner at Romio's in Kirkland, on the way to take Chaos home.
Aha! moment -- I figured out that apologizing (which drives Colleen crazy) is my way of trying to make myself feel better after screwing up (especially in a way that hurts somebody else). It mostly doesn't work very well, and if Colleen tells me to stop, or I'm afraid she will, I can spiral downhill very quickly. (Started to write "downhell", which is actually a pretty good description of it. What was I doing in that handbasket, anyway?)
Didn't do a lick of open filking, but I enjoyed the concerts, and spent a fair amount of quiet time in the Green Room. Which was good for (introvert) me, even though I didn't realize at the time that it was what I needed.( raw notes )
I had a long week the last two days. Tuesday evening, Colleen scared the heck out of me, driving off the path in her scooter, and reporting blurry vision and headache. She seemed really confused, as well. I gave her some aspirin, sudafed (she's been fighting a cold all week), and nose spray. It passed in about an hour, and she seemed perfectly normal by the time we went to bed, except for the headache.
I woke up at 3:30 am and was scared enough to dial 911.( TMI, possibly triggery. Enter at your own risk. )
(TL;DR:) The most likely diagnosis at this point is something called Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (PRES) - a rare side effect of some immunosuppressant drugs, including the one she'd just increased the dosage of for her Crohn's disease, augmented by hypertension and low magnesium and potassium levels.
She's recovering well, and is currently in room 341 of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. She can have visitors. Norwescon is iffy.
But I was able to take a phone interview in the waiting room, and the interviewer said that he was going to recommend hiring me. So I have a 3-month contract at Amazon, Starting sometime next week.( raw notes )
So... last week was both relaxing and stressful. It was my first full week after my contract ended, and included our second weekend in the new house. Saturday, in fact, we had our first event, a tea party catered by Friday Afternoon Tea.
I had several interviews, and one in-person interview. That was pretty good; my job search was really starting to heat up. I spent quite a lot of money on and around the house, some of it rather inadvisedly. We did save rather a lot by switching from a curved stairlift from Ameriglide (which we found out doesn't actually get permits or use licensed installers in Washington) to a pair of straight ones from Acorn. Saved $4k.
The house has a secret passage! Well, ok, it's a laundry chute. But it was a secret from me, anyway.
I'm going to cut this short (if you really want details, you'll find them in the notes) to get to the last two days, which were kind of harrowing.( raw notes )
WE GOT THE HOUSE! It was really down to the wire; I think the underwriter got the last little detail confirmed with my bank on Friday morning, then closed at 11am. The realtor came by to drop off the keys at about 2:30, and I left Disney at about 3:30, having gotten my last bit of work signed off and my timecards put in.
Big sigh of relief.
Backing up to the previous weekend, I spent a lot of time at Consonance catching up with friends, doing a very little singing, and showing off pictures of the house while continuing to worry about whether we'd actually get it.
At Saturday's open filk I sang "Middle-Aged Bear" (it was a good follower to something else with a bear in it), and swan-songed on QV. Quite a few people didn't seem to have heard it before. Some of them looked kind of stunned, and Colleen sent a box of tissue around.
We discovered Saturday that Colleen's scooter charger had a broken wire in the connector -- I went to Fry's Sunday morning to get a battery-powered soldering iron and some assorted tools, including a nice little Gerber multitool with pliers.
Spent a lot of time Monday doing laundry. I'm pretty sure I don't have the stamina -- or the budget -- for flying to more than one con/year with Colleen. It's a much bigger production than going solo.
Tuesday through Thursday passed in something of a blur. Friday Naomi picked me up after work, with her kids, and we spent some time in the house. Our house.
Saturday involved a lot of driving, between getting three loads of stuff down to the house, taking Emmy down to Seatac for a Norwescon staff meeting, picking up her and Chaos afterwards, driving Colleen down... Susan made dinner for us, all very improvised, and Colleen and I, our kids, and Naomi spent our first night at Rainbow's End.
Colleen declared afterward that she wasn't spending another night there until it's all accessible -- that won't be for another month at least, when the stairlift gets installed.
More in the notes, as usual.( raw notes )
Today I am thankful for...
- OUR HOUSE! Well, ok, the bank's house, but it's ours as long as we keep paying them. It closed today, and I have keys in my pocket.
- A fantastic real estate agent, Dave Reith, and mortgage broker, Kathryn Seymour of Evergreen Loans.
- My former coworkers at Disney. The timing of my contract's ending, which kept me employed exactly long enough for the house to close.
- A lender who understands about how contracting works, and who let the loan go through anyway.
- Overestimating the closing costs by $15K.
- Colleen, Naomi, and our kids.
- Feeling at home.
Did I mention that I hate roller coasters? This last week has been one.
Tuesday started out great -- Naomi picked me up and drove us down to Cortiva, her massage school, which was having a free clinic day. I had two lovely massages, concentrating on my back, shoulders, arms, hands, and calves. N's new GF was there, too. We had a couple of nice talks.
Then at 4pm I was in a suspiciously small meeting with Ryan, the manager in charge of the Disney ID group, who had hired me back in October. Sure enough, there had been a surprise budget cut. My last day will be March 8th.
Same day as the house closing. Oops.
From there it was all downhill; I gave the bad news to our real estate broker, who at first said to go through with it anyway, and then had second thoughts. Thursday I spent packing, trying to work from home, fielded a phone call from a headhunter and a phone interview with Limelight Video Platform. (I now have three headhunters and one company recruiter working on the problem, and it looks as though there won't be much more than a few weeks of gap between jobs.)
I also spent Thursday getting more and more fragile and frazzled; by the time we got to the airport I was pretty much a wreck, and by the time we finally got in to the hotel and got to bed I was seriously depressed.
Sometime Friday morning, while I was out at Fry's buying a new power brick for the netbook (I'd brought one; I just didn't realize that it was still set up for Colleen's Dell), I got a call from the mortgage broker, Kathryn, who said that the deal was still on. She'd explained to Dave that, although Disney had terminated my contract early, I was still employed by the contract agency, KForce. SHE UNDERSTANDS!
Now, if only the underwriter understands. That's still a risk, and I'm not going to be comfortable until I have the keys in my hot little hands. It could make my last day at Disney rather interesting.
And we could still end up with no house, and a pile of new furniture in our living rooms. If that happens, Naomi wants to build. I think that could work, but only if we can figure out ways to cut the price drastically; a first cut put the construction costs at around $700K, which is about twice what I'd feel comfortable with.
This old spectacled bear is, I'm afraid, also a skeptical bear.
But, after spending much of Friday afternoon chasing down pay stubs and bank statements and emailing them to Kathryn, I felt much more relaxed. Margaritas, prime rib, and hugs from friends completed the process, and it looks like I'll actually be able to enjoy the con.
Did I mention that I'm at Consonance this weekend? I apparently hadn't mentioned it before, leading to several people wondering whether we'd show up this year. There were times when I had my doubts.( raw notes )
It's been a long month this past week. Our mortgage broker failed to get us a loan -- we didn't get this finally confirmed until Thursday, but it had been crumbling for a week. Our realtor, who obviously has a considerable interest in our closing the deal, found another mortgage broker. She claims, on the company website, to have a 100% success rate. Still waiting.
(Meanwhile, interest rates have gone down a little. Every silver lining has a cloud around it?) And my tenants at the house formerly known as the Starport asked whether I might be interested in selling the place. To which the answer was hell yes! (I'm looking at adding over a half megabuck to my debt. Yes, I can use it.)
This Saturday we went to the Seattle Home Show with Naomi and her new GF Susan. Lots of fun, and a trifle expensive. But we found what looks like the right gardener, and spoke with what looks like the right contractor. And found what looks like the perfect power lift recliner. Now all we need is the house to put them in...
Sunday I actually got in some good walking -- home from N's after taking the Honda back.
There are links in the notes, as usual. I'm going to post this and try to get to bed; I've been sleeping badly recently.( raw notes )
... so it looks like the loan will go through for buying our dream house, Rainbow's End. This last week was rather hellish -- among other things, the appraiser transposed some digits, and came in with an appraisal for 434 Leigh in San Jose, rather than 343. Cue huge kerfuffle and a quick-turnaround re-do. It was still lower than we needed, apparently, so we can't count the rental income toward my income, and my required mortgage insurance will be higher. We'll refinance when we sell the Starport; hopefully it will be worth more by then.
In other news, I had a colonoscopy (routine screening; nothing to worry about; recommended for anyone over 50) which will have to be re-done because I was too full of sh*t. I.e. the laxative didn't work well enough. WTF?
As usual, there are some links in the notes.( raw notes )
I finished my sales tax (a big zero) on Monday, and told the county assessor's office about the end of my owner-occupied home property-tax exemption. As it turned out, I needn't have worried about getting dinged with penalties on my last payment -- it runs to the end of the year.
Realized that I'd be stuck paying CA income tax on the Starport, until I sell it. At least I won't have to file two state returns!
I've been sleeping too much. On the other hand, my mood is mostly good except when I'm overloaded or worried. Both of which happen pretty easily. I'm probably not as resilient as I used to be. I feel like I've been stretched way too thin.
The weekend was fun. Saturday we (Colleen, Naomi and I) went furniture shopping. N had found an astoundingly inexpensive dining set at Don Willis's -- beautiful dark wood; 8-person table, four chairs, and a bench for under $1K. Three more chairs turned up; we bought them all. The factory has gone bust -- there won't be any way to get more. N. found a dresser she liked that matches the one Colleen and I had bought there over the summer.
After splitting up for dinner, we met again at the Heather Dale concert. Fun, although there was a lot of overlap with Conflikt.
Sunday Colleen and I went to the West Seattle farmer's market, and explored a couple of blocks up and down California Avenue. I really love our new neighborhood.( raw notes )
It's been a * l o n g * week, bracketed by cons. Last Saturday we day-tripped Rustycon (and decided that we probably won't bother next year -- it's small. This weekend was Conflikt. Which we will *definitely* be attending next year, but probably without the YD. She went this time because she was writing a term paper on it, but it didn't really seem to be her thing.
Last Sunday we put an offer down on the West Seattle house. It was down to the wire -- when we got there after having seen two places that were obviously unsuitable, we found that they were having an open house and had already received two offers. We offered $10K over the asking price. Monday was a nail-biter, but we got it! It's gorgeous. A full 2-bedroom apartment downstairs in the daylight basement, plus a 4-car garage on that level. Three bedrooms upstairs. And a great hall on top of the garage. I forsee parties, house filks, and house concerts in our future.
Needless to say, my work productivity suffered, as I spent far too much of my time on the phone or tracking down paperwork. The loan paperwork finally all came together at 4:45 on Friday, about the same time I got my functional tests running and marked "ready for QA".
Did I mention the lack of sleep? Mostly due to waking up at unreasonable hours with house worries. So we went into Conflikt already sleep-deprived.
I may have to leave most of Conflikt until later, but the music was fantastic and the Interfilk auction was one of the must entertaining in years. Even if I did end up winning a $100 bid to give the horrid wall-hangings, Harry and Henrietta Hemp, to Seanan. Who said she'd burn them in the parking lot. (The deal with the Hemps is that the winning bidder gets to say who they go to, and somebody had fingered us as people who hadn't had it yet.)
Health. We both had follow-up appointments with our PCP, Dr. Chopra, Saturday morning. Colleen had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, I had an appointment with the sports medicine department Thursday morning. I got my SSRI dosage raised, and was told that my assorted joint, etc. problems would be solved if I lost (rather a lot of) weight. Thanks; I knew that.
I'd probably better go splat now (10:51 pm). Before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Again.( raw notes )
So, welcome to 2013. So far it's starting out pretty well, with three very productive days at work, and spurts of productivity at home as well. I've done some walking, though not as much as I'd like, and even a little practicing. Colleen and I went to our doctor's appointments on Saturday. I get to stay off my morning BP meds! Colleen, OTOH, needs to go back on hers.
And Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going out for dinner-for-two at Anthony's seafood restaurant in Alderwood. Dinner consisted mostly of molluscs - a double helping of oysters, clams, muscles, and clam chowder. Plus drinks and dessert.
The free test coverage tool in Eclipse is pretty good. Fun!
We had house guests on Sunday; anyone in the Seattle area who wants to visit is welcome to come on over, given a few hours' notice.
Quote of the week:
Colleen: What are you depressed about?
Me: Depression doesn't need a reason.
As well as the year is going, I'm still apparently feeling pretty depressed and very, very stressed. I think I'm trying to do too much, but there's no helping it. I was kind of shocked to find that Colleen's last hospitalization was in 2009, only a little less than 4 years ago. It feels longer.
For you TV fans out there, here's a great write-up about the plot holes in WWII on the history channel.( raw notes )
A fair amount of packing. Bought more book boxes. The woman who came over this morning to give us an estimate on moving said we have over 400 boxes worth of stuff. I gather that this is atypical.
Some more work on the router configuration, which finally appears to be working more-or-less properly.
I made another batch of black bean and corn salsa. Yum.
I ended the day feeling reasonably contented. That's probably mildly unusual; noticing it is even more unusual. So, yeah.
Quite a few links in the notes.( raw notes )
It's going to be a bit of a wild ride here on the River. I seem to have been drifting for a long time. (I know, I've always viewed my journey downriver as a walk along the bank, but I can damned well mix my own metaphor if I want to.)
And I know that most of what I've written about under this tag has been relationships, friendship, and the care and feeding of geeks. But every once in a while, you have to change direction. And it's happening now.
Grand Central Starport is full of boxes now -- we're moving in less than two months. (How much less is, at present, a matter for some speculation.) I'm also changing jobs. What job I'm changing to is, at present, also a matter for speculation.
I believe I've mentioned alexithymia. I have it -- a difficulty detecting and identifying emotions and other mental states. I believe what's going on now is a mixture of anxiety and stress, mostly. And although I'm getting better at identifying and dealing with anxiety, stress is another matter.
Guess I'm going to learn.
I'm not sure exactly what went into the decision to move from the Bay Area to the Seattle area; economics (cost of living's 25% less) was only part of it. And certainly the fact that I have family and close friends there was a factor. But I don't think that's all of it. Both Colleen and I were ready for a change. Big change. As I said, we'd been drifting. 36 years in the same house, 19 years in the same job... one gets stale, somehow. Complacent.
And, yes, I've always taken the hobbit's view of adventures -- "Nasty, uncomfortable things. Make you late for dinner." It takes a certain amount of concentration to look at that big bend in the river coming up and look forward to finding out what's around it.
The house is full of boxes; we're moving from 1850 square feet of house and 1600 of garage, to a two-bedroom apartment (and some storage in Naomi's garage). The bookshelves have been ravaged. There's an apartment waiting for us in Lake Forest Park, empty of everything but major appliances and potentiality. Potential energy, soon to become kinetic energy.
Is that white water up ahead?
Monday I read LHH's book, Managing Your Search Project, did a little walking (in a mall, but it was so deserted that I could mostly walk in my usual pace), and spoke to my insurance agent. Determined that we're actually covered at about the right level, but that after we move we'll be paying quite a bit less because we won't be needing nearly as much coverage for liability or the contents of the house. So that'll be a net win. He's also getting us a referral to an agent in Shorline.
Yesterday, I went in to LHH for a class, and worked on my resume (which is now down to two pages, plus a 2-page list of projects. I also worked on my LinkedIn profile, though that still has a ways to go.
I spent a little time noodling on my guitar Monday but, as with walking, I've been neglecting it. Need to work on that, don't I? Music and walking are really about the only kind of regular self-care I'm at all interested in -- I should be doing them daily. :P
As for links, well... Daily Kos: 30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died kind of nails it.( raw notes )
I have finished my penultimate day at Ricoh Innovations. Yesterday I was grieving. Today was more... I don't know. It was exhausting, but there was a certain lightness after boxing up and handing off my notebooks, and putting the last three boxes of accumulated files -- 19 years worth -- into the recycle bin and the secure destruction bin.
I ran out of space in the shredder bin just as I was finishing the second box of files. Then I remembered the ones in the desk's file drawer. Then the man came in and emptied the bin, and I finished my task...
... and did my last backup. Yes, very odd.
The signs are auspicious. The Spring equinox, with the sun rising higher in the sky with each passing day. The weather going from cold and wet to sunny and almost warm. Green hillsides, and leaf-buds. A renter for the house, found on the very day we mentioned that we were looking for one.
I'm not saying it's all going to be easy. We'll have to use a lot less money, and fit into a lot less space. It'll be great if I find a job right away, but I'm 65 years old and have to assume that I might not. It won't change our plans.
As of Saturday I'll be retiring for the first time. Maybe not for more than a couple months, this time, but it's the new steady-state for a bear who is no longer middle-aged. I'll be back. Maybe not for another five years, but maybe sooner.
We'll be moving to an apartment in or near Shorline, WA sometime this summer. Leaving a house we've lived in for over three decades. That we've gotten comfortably stale in. Getting rid of or storing most of half a lifetime's accumulation of stuff. The Buddha had a point -- you get too attached to stuff, and it weighs you down. Time to lighten up. Time to get moving.
Maybe it sounds like I'm trying to talk myself out of a depression, and maybe I am. But I'm also trying to say that I'm basically okay. It'll work. It's an ending, sure, but only the end of a chapter. I'm looking forward to the next one.
Just Friday I wrote "ideal would be to rent the house to fans/hackers. It's perfect - server closet, 2 physical phone lines, shelf space... By Saturday evening we had a household lined up. They're fans, and want to carry on the Grand Central Starport traditions. The rent will cover the mortgage and insurance, and if we're lucky the market will bounce back a little over the next few years.
I took a walk on Friday -- a full three miles. Felt pretty good. And Saturday, after looking at quite a few alternatives, we ordered Colleen a new scooter, the Pride Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus HD. It's about an inch longer than her current scooter, and the deck is about four inches wider in front, which means she can get into it more easily and have a place to rest her feet. The wheels are bigger, too, so it will have less trouble with the kind of obstacles one encounters indoors and on the sidewalk.
Did I mention that I finally dealt with the $1K denied claim in my FSA account last week? It'll help.
We have started to friendcycle cookbooks. Fiction, and the nonfiction books in the office, will have to be tackled soon.
For today's link, see ysabetwordsmith's poem: "Ari and the Atheist" What does it mean to be an atheist in a world where everyone can see that the gods exist?( raw notes )
Not bad; I actually got in a very short walk, just before going home. It was still drizzling, but not very much at all; it was cool and moist and pleasant.
I spent the morning working on my resume and website; when I finally looked up it was 11:15, so I stayed home and had lunch with Colleen.
My "Avoid Avoiding" group was cancelled for this week; disappointing, since I had a lot to say. Next week...
I spent the afternoon doing file cleanup, and installing software on the old MacBook (which I had cleverly cleaned up after getting a new one). I also cleaned up and gave back the new MacBook, with the excuse that I didn't want to get too attached to it. It's more complex than that, of course; I never did much with it and probably wouldn't have even if I'd stayed on. I think mostly I just want to start disengaging. These things take time.
Disengaging from the house will be even harder, of course, though I've already started thinking about it. I'd been worried for a couple of years, actually, because many of the doors and passageways are too narrow for Colleen's scooter -- she can't get into the laundry room or the front bathroom, for example -- and of course the entire upstairs is inaccessible to her. If not now, soon.
Links, as usual, in the notes.( raw notes )
A fairly busy day, mostly spent doing cleanup of various sorts. I started
by trimming my beard. I wrote a quick but passable
index.html for Stephen.Savitzky.net, with links to my resumé and patents. I
did some file and desktop cleanup at work.
Colleen contributed to the spring cleaning effort by acquiring a Dyson DC-26 vacuum cleaner and a Bissel SPOTbot. The Dyson is canister-style, small and light enough for her to wield from the scooter. Fairly expensive, but she used 20%-off coupons at BB&B, and they should last a long time. When she took the old vacuum in to a repair shop last week they told her to just put it out of its misery.( raw notes )
Was I just complaining about not having enough entries? Admittedly, there are a lot of links and bits of puttering (indicated by the 15min: tag), BUT there were a few major items, too.
The biggest, I think, was the fact that Colleen was able to stand up and take 6 steps without holding on to anything. That's a total distance of about 3 feet, but still! Progress!
I set out for my walk in the morning, but stopped in at a garage sale two doors down and found a queen-sized futon couch for $20. The lovely young woman selling it helped me haul it to the house and into the living room, whereupon I decided that I'd had my exercise for the day.
We went out for a drive in the afternoon -- Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, then south on Highway 1, getting off at the exit labeled "harbor", because Colleen didn't want to be so close to the ocean without seeing it. We wandered around for a while, eventually finding ourselves on Cliff Drive between Santa Cruz and Capitola, which was simply lovely. I figured, correctly, that it would be difficult to get too lost in the little sliver between the ocean and Highway 1.
We remarked on how we should come back and explore Capitola on foot/scooter some time, and how it would be a nice place to retire to (though probably way too expensive). The fact that we're starting to consider moving, and actually talking about it, is a major step.
When we got home, I made a lovely guacamole (brightened by a ripe jalapeno and half a habanero pepper), and eventually posted my second Songs for Saturday. And Colleen repaired the pair of pants that's been sitting by the sewing machine for half a year. So I'm feeling pretty good about the day.
I went splat at 11, after feeling sleepy for about an hour and a half. (I got up at 8:15 this morning, so apparently I needed the sleep no matter how much I resent having to spend so much of my day unconscious.)
Quite a few links up in the notes, including several about ebooks. Most of those were related to seanan_mcguire's Across the digital divide. I may have something to say about that in the near future.
Hmm. Not a bad day, I guess, but no high points that I can remember, either. I had fun showing off the iPad cover I got over the weekend; it fits our new tablet almost perfectly. Stopped off at Central on the way home to try to find more, but they only had one left. Bought it, along with three zip-up cases that also work.
Did some work to prepare for our weekend guests -- mostly tracking down (and in some cases washing) bedding. The sewing-room closet has been reorganized recently, unfortunately not in a way that put the blankets anywhere reachable. They are now strewn about in the room, but easily tossed in when necessary.
Oh, and a 3-mile walk -- that's always good.
I forgot to turn the alarm back on after the weekend, and got up at 7:30 (an hour late). Made for a slightly tight morning. But work was reasonably productive, so that's good.
And Colleen arranged for our new HVAC to be installed later this week, so that's good too. It will take a while to show up on the bills, but I expect the savings to be considerably more than the loan payments.
Cool link: Copenhagen Suborbitals Launch Videos -- this is an amateur group building a sub-orbital passenger rocket. Way cool! Some of the other links are less happy -- our society is pretty screwed up.
So we had a party. It wasn't publicized nearly as well as it should have been (my bad), but we got three new adults and two kids, from fliers passed out at Baycon. So that's a win. Jilara and Andrew turned up a few minutes to midnight and we didn't get to bed until after 1. That's a win, too.
The eQuill tablet I brought home was a hit -- everyone I showed it to (which was, like, everyone) liked it. I'm glad I brought the earlier prototype, though; it still has better pen tracking (because the display driver for the production hardware is still being optimized). Altogether a win, though I wish I'd thought to put a long document on one of them to show off the fast page flipping. Next time.
I made what everyone agreed was a good chili, and got in a little noodling. No singing; I didn't get any requests, and didn't want to interrupt the ongoing conversations. That's ok.
One fascinating link: Shock: Windows 8 optimized for desktop tablets - Computerworld via The Mad Filkentist - Microsoft jumps the shark "Interestingly, the Metro UI handles files like the iPad -- documents and data files are associated with the application, and will be managed only from within applications. But in the Windows 7 window, you'll still have old-fashioned file management, where your data file locations are not associated with specific applications and can be moved copied, deleted or modified without reference to specific applications."
Yup, the shark is well and truly jumped. I think that the thing that's going to bite them in the end is that they still think that the user interface is part of the operating system. In fact, for them, the UI is the operating system -- they still call it "Windows", for goodness sake! Now, they've even moved the file system out of the OS and into the applications. In the Unix/Linux world I get to choose my UI, and share files between applications. Which means that I can script complex processes involving multiple tools.
Fun times ahead.
A pretty good day; lots of puttering. Typed in Naomi's script for the Norwescon concert as the liner notes for the CD. Bid high in the Interfilk auction at Consonance -- it's worth it. Spent more time working on the website.
I also went to Southern Lumber for 1x12's, to become shelves in what once was the "sewing room". (Before that it was the kids' bedroom, and it still does double duty as a guest room.) Getting there. And I pulled down a goodly number of guided-imagery mp3's from Kaiser.
On the downside, I had a blood sugar crash on the way back from Southern, so stayed home rather than going out for a walk as originnally planned. And then cooked up some chili for dinner.
A reasonably good IM conversation and a nice drive with Colleen finished the day; I went splat somewhere around 11:30.
Another day that seemed pretty lazy, although signing papers for the refinance made a pretty good excuse for it. No walk, unless you count going from one end of El Paseo de Saratoga to the other and back, as part of the day's shopping expedition.
We can haz (yet another) mortgage. It's our second refi, but it consolidates the existing first mortgage with the equity line of credit, and saves about $750/month on payments. So much for going into retirement (if that ever happens) debt-free.
One of the links in this post of mine has inspired some good discussion on The future of the internet. I'm always happy to see my links getting out there. I need to write up some of my own ideas on the subject; I got stalled/sidetracked a few years ago and never finished the paper I was writing on secure document distribution.
We're looking for a loveseat/recliner for the living room.
The dinner I made was something approximating chicken piccata with rice, salad, and artichokes. Tasty.
I also did a fair amount of puttering/cleanup both in my home directory, and in the office and other parts of the house.
A reasonable number of links. See How to Read Ebooks | angelakorrati.com if you're thinking of getting an ebook reader.
Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got in a walk, and made a successful expedition to Big!Lots for full-spectrum floor lamps (plus bonus desk lamp and torchiere). We had three extra people for dinner; I made chicken wings, ribs, and cauliflower. Yum! I got the backup drive moved over to an external box on the fileserver, just in time for this morning's backup.
Some great news from a friend.
The fact that there are still some lingering bugs and corner cases left over from last weekend's server swap is not terribly surprising; I'm not going to let it worry me.
Some good links. Watch out for book bears!
I discovered, when I went to record a vocal track, that Audacity appeared to be seriously buggy. And that I didn't have a package for Ardour. It's possible, though, that Audacity's hanging was due, not to software problems, but a bad disk. It started getting odd errors in the middle of an upgrade a little later, and the fsck on the later reboot had a bundle of them. It still booted, but things were distinctly weird.
At this point I decided to replace the fileserver, as planned, and use the old box as my new desktop. I went out for a walk and a trip to Fry's (for a missing 20-24-pin power adapter). The upgrade went smoothly except for a bad or flaky KVM switch. :( But the office is a lot quieter now -- the nearest fan is the ceiling fan in the living room. (That'll change once I get the new desktop configured, of course. For now I'm on my netbook in the living room.)
Quite a lot of puttering, too, mostly having to do with lighting. Tossed the last of the incandescents from the lighting box into a bag for recycling, except for two appliance lights and a heat lamp. Somehow I don't think they make compact fluorescent heat lamps.
Some links, as usual.
ETA: I should add that no data were lost in the the wreckage of Dorsai's disk -- all of it lives on the fileserver, and a desktop machine has nothing but its installed OS, applications, and config files. The config files had been backed up Friday evening.
The main event was a shopping expedition, to REI, for bike accessories. Mainly a helmet, but along the way I couldn't resist three new pairs of socks. Some of the oldest ones have gotten threadbare.
Changed the sheets, washed one of the quilts, made lamb chili for dinner, didn't take a walk.
Some really nice snuggle, though, and I slept well modulo a dream involving some weird party food and coming back to find that a a leak in the ceiling had sogged my half of the bed and made parts of the kitchen floor so rotten you could put your foot through it into the slimy water filling the crawl space. It appeared to be our house, though the layout was completely unrecognizable.
Dreams about unfamiliar houses probably map onto unexplored parts of my mind. Not so sure I want to go poking around this one.
Several good links under the cut.
Sunday's main accomplishment was finishing the bedroom makeover by putting up the shelves on Colleen's side of the bed. Go me! Also some configuration work on Argo, the newer of my two Thinkpads.
My pedometer turned up -- it appears to have been found amid the clutter next to Colleen's chair, so it must have fallen off my belt during a kiss. So there's an umimpressive step count again.
River content: a random observation, a month or two after the conversation that it would have been in context in: I'm not so old that sex doesn't matter to me, but I'm old enough that love and companionship matter more.
Mom bought herself an iPad. She downloaded and printed the 150-page manual; it's apparently pretty useless. I'm not surprised.
A couple of links under the cut, as usual.
A pretty good day, all told. Got the clothes out of both dressers. A nice walk, if a little too fast -- $boss spotted me on the way to the pond and walked with me in lieu of our 2pm meeting.
Link: Chinese Medicine Demystified (Part I): A Case of Mistaken Identity -- first of a 5-part series on how acupuncture actually works.
Yesterday was mostly about getting the bedroom done, or at least to the point where the new beds were in by bedtime. With help, I did it. Go me!
In the end I was pretty pleased with the accomplishment, but hurting and emotionally fragile. I slept well; a combination no doubt of tiredness, a hot bath, and cyclobenzaprine.
A couple of links under the cut.
It's done. Except for the sheets (still in the drier), a quilt, and a wallboard anchor (needed for the shelf track on Colleen's side). The mattress bags have gone missing, but I can add them later.( here's the timeline, for the curious )
The bedroom looks both larger and lighter now that the two huge oak dressers are gone. Their storage capacity will be a bit hard to replace, but on the other hand it'll be harder to lose track of things in their depths. They've been replaced by 2-foot-long Elfa shelves with closet poles. Later I may add drawers, but they may not be necessary.
I am feeling accomplished, productive, and pretty thoroughly depleted.
The office makeover will have to wait.
Normally I would have posted a "Wishful Wednesday" last week. I didn't. I did post about The Great Bedroom Makeover last Saturday. Well, it's still on for Saturday (and probably Sunday as well), starting around noonish.
I'll be making big pots of chili and rice, and probably some guacamole. I'm afraid it conflicts with Kanef's housefilk, but I really don't expect people to stay all evening.
A pretty decent day. Did backups and decided that the slower network really didn't make much difference in the time, so I can put off getting a new gigabit switch for a while. What I spent on shelving for the bedroom more than made up the difference, of course. Grumpf.
I combined my walk with making hotel reservations for my Mom's visit in mid-May. So that's done. It's a 20-minute walk, and scootable.
A nice drive after dinner, which was gluten-free pasta with the household's standard red sauce (a 2:1 mix of mild and hot Italian sausage, mixed with Classico spaghetti sauce from jars).
The dressers in our bedroom, though lovely, are about 20 years old and are starting to fall apart. (In particular, the back of Colleen's has cracked and partially popped off due to constantly trying to cram too many pairs of pants into it.)
Also, while there was plenty of room for a queen-sized bed, there's less room for a king. The plan is to replace them with Elfa shelving, possibly with some home-made additions. This will eventually be moderately expensive but can be done incrementally.
The room -- especially the carpet -- needs a thorough cleaning. And we need to swap the rented hospital beds for the ones I purchased recently.
So there's quite a bit of work in the offing. I'm pretty sure I can get the dressers emptied over the course of the week. Getting them out of the house is another matter. Swapping the beds also looks like a big job, though I've seen it done by one person.
Anyone feel like coming over next weekend and lending a hand? I'm planning to make a big pot of chili.
It just occurred to me that I can overlap three rather disagreeable major projects this weekend: moving thestarport.org's DNS and email, upgrading the fileserver, and cleaning the office.
I just realized that I have to do the first two in that order, or a lot of email will end up dropped on the floor. Most of that will be spam, of course, but the sheer volume of it means that if I don't move it, the tiny mailbox at my ISP will fill up and things will start bouncing.
But I also realized that having my fileserver out of service for a while will remove a major distraction that would normally keep me from cleaning out the office. Which direly needs it. Because I have to do a lot of that before I have the space to do the taxes. AAARGH!
I don't think I need help with this, just some good excuses to stop making excuses, if that makes any kind of sense. This post is a step in that direction.
I got a very solid night's sleep, thanks to Bayer PM (aspirin and benedryl). Should probably not use that stuff too often.
I walked down to Safeway and back the long way; a decent walk, but I'm noticably out of shape after a weekend on my arse.
I narrowly averted a scheduling disaster between work and life, by moving a teleconference from 5pm to 6. (Couldn't move it earlier -- the other end's in Japan.) That will let me pick up pocketnaomi at the airport this afternoon and still finish the testing I need to do.
The downstairs guest room is ready, after several evenings of schlepping. The upstairs guest room has guests in it -- they'll be going home tomorrow morning.
Mary Travers is dead.
It appears to have been a fairly productive day, in spite of ending rather badly. I did quite a lot of puttering, installed the other new shelf in the office, did some shopping, went to Kathy Mar's bash (and bought her new CD/DVD set), and boxed up Kat's computer, keyboard, and monitor. Discovered that just after getting up seems to be the best time for meditation.
On the minus side, no walkies, I got a well-deserved chewing-out from Colleen about the fact that email still doesn't work on her computer, and I ended the day sore, dead tired, and unable to get to sleep. A bath and a bit of IM conversation with another insomniac helped.
My stomach muscles were all knotted up as if I was afraid of something, but I still don't know what. Weird.
The main thing I did yesterday was to finish replacing the shelf bracket in the bedroom, and putting up new shelves. There are now three or four more than there once were, and a lot of the junk and clutter has been dealt with. There were a few treasures, like a picture of the YD taken at Baycon X, the year she was born.
I got in a 3-mile walk by Los Gatos Creek; my calf muscles were a bit sore, and were still a little tight when I got to the park, so I turned back. They were fine when I got back to the car. I should stretch more.
An unexpected call from Callie and a drive with Colleen ended the day on a calm, happy note. I should also mention that, in between other things, I ripped about a dozen CDs over the course of the weekend.
A lot of things still aren't getting done. Grumble.
Yesterday was mostly spent puttering around the house; pocketnaomi and I carried on a very sporadic IM conversation egging one another on. Not as good as being there to help, but good.
The main thing was working on the SE corner of the bedroom. The goal is to replace the old shelf standards and brackets with Elfa, and add a couple of shelves to the South wall. I got the South wall done, and three shelves cleared on the East wall (leaving two more) A lot of sorting and recycling happened at the same time.
I went out for a walk (including some grocery shopping). The major insight was noticing how liberating it was to know that a lot of things simply are not going to get done. The more essential stuff still has to happen, but...
I bought some Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea along with the other things; it turned out to be useful when I had trouble getting back to sleep at 3am.
I ended the day with some singing (at Colleen's request): I sang "Gentle Arms of Eden" and "Where the Heart Is" for Marty, then Naomi asked me to call her and sing something, and Colleen suggested "The Mary Ellen Carter". Fun!
It was a fairly productive day: puttering around the house, directing traffic as screaming_angel and the YD shuffled beds around, and chili verde for dinner. The latter was particularly well-received.
My shopping expedition with the YD to buy a bed frame and bedding, on the other hand, was something of a disaster: she was whiny and sullen; the whole thing left me exhausted, drained, and distressed. Her mood improved considerably after dinner when I suggested that she could work off the price of the bedding she wanted by picking up and vacuuming the guest room upstairs. She said, "I thought I might have to do something for that." Well, why in blazes didn't she offer instead of spending the entire afternoon glaring at me? Teenagers!
I'm told they grow out of it, if you let them live that long.
As is becoming normal for me, I had very little time to myself, and no walk. I don't know what to do about that: there simply isn't time for all the urgent stuff that has to be done, let alone the less-urgent stuff.
Back to work. Worked from home in the morning (thanks to
because we hadn't arranged for a Cat-sitter. The YD took over in time for
me to go in to work for the afternoon group meeting.
Colleen is continuing to improve, though it's still slow.
Yesterday morning the bedroom was cold and practically empty, with nothing on the newly-cleaned carpet but our two dressers, a chair, and a single hospital bed. This morning it's nearly as empty, but there's a second hospital bed with my wife sleeping contentedly in it. That makes all the difference in the world.
I told several people yesterday that Colleen's homecoming wouldn't seem real until this morning; that the new arrangement of beds wouldn't feel like our own bed until we'd slept in it together. I was right.
My sister-by-choice pocketnaomi said yesterday, "Welcome home to you too, mdlbear, since if you're anything like me, it becomes home for you when and because your partner's in it." She was right, too.
And hospital beds are lovely for breakfast in bed.
I spent the entire day being
despite picking up Colleen at White Blossom and taking her to Cosentino's,
then home. I told several people that it wouldn't seem real until the
next morning, which indeed proved to be true (more on that downstream).
There were a few glitches, but no disasters.
By a little after 9pm I was feeling completely drained and mostly out of cope; Colleen walked to the bedroom, and we both went happily splat in our new (rented) super-adjustable king-sized bed. I finally relaxed in her arms, for the first time in over two months.
Colleen's home at last!!!
Even going to Cosentino's on the way home I was strangely anxious. It wasn't until we got home and ate lunch that I started relaxing. The house has its Cat again, and everything feels right at last.
I'm still worried about care. But we'll deal with it.
Meta: the discerning reader will note the transition from the colleen-200904 tag, which I used for planning the Cat's return, to colleen-200905, which will be used for health-related issues now that she's home.
The second hospital bed arrived about half an hour ago. I get to sleep with my wife tonight!
Thursday was a hell of a lot more work than I expected. I did get about half a day's working from home in, mostly while waiting for things to arrive, but it was still a long, stressful day that seemed unproductive even though, objectively, it really was.
In the end, the bedroom and guest room got cleared out, the carpets steam-cleaned, and one of our two hospital beds installed. It fits beautifully, and looks like it will work. Damned if I know what I'm going to do with the bedframe, though. Colleen suggested putting it in Kat's room and giving the YD the double-sized futon; that makes a lot of sense. I was up in the bed (it's an Ikea loft bed) and it's shaky enough that I wouldn't want anyone to sleep in it even if they weren't prone to seasickness. The YD might be amenable, since the queen is really too big for her room, and a futon frame would give her a huge amount of space.
Apria screwed up completely; two different drivers arriving at three different times, even after a couple of phone calls on my part telling them that we wouldn't be ready before 8pm. (Steam cleaning didn't get finished until 7pm.) And only one bed at the end of it all.
I'm going to need twin-sized sheets and mattress pads. I installed some Elfa standards as a replacement for the headboard -- those look as though they'll work out well. The Container Store's 30%-off sale runs until a week from Sunday :).
I am a tired but contented Bear; I have just finished clearing out
and picking up the bedroom and
The back bathroom is currently all but unusable because of pieces of bedframe parked in it, but I'll be able to move those into the guest room after it's been cleaned. Both rooms' closets are full (the boxes are all in the bedroom closet, because the guest room's closet was full before I started). There's a pile of boxes in the living room as well. The corner where Colleen's desk was is now empty; I have installed a temporary shelf there to get a few more things off the floor.
Basically I took it in small pieces: work until I got tired, then have a snack or some coffee and read LJ or email. I'm still tired, but I never overloaded or fell apart. Or even came close.
Lunch so far has consisted of string cheese, tofu (with horseradish and sweet onion relish on the side), salami, pepperoni, Greek olives, and pickles. And Green&Black 85% chocolate. With coffee.
The Stanley Steemer cleaning team will arrive sometime between 2pm and 6pm, with the hospital beds arriving sometime around 8pm. I expect to do a reasonable amount of working from home, starting about now.