Friday, June 29, 2012

Hello, gorgeous!

Oh what a beautiful day! I'm mowing as much as I can before the rains come down again. But taking a break to drink lots of water, shop vac the latest flood out of the basement, invent hummus out of garbanzo flour and almond meal cooked in the rice cooker, and eat an apple. Mmm, apples.

And I think I figured out how to solve the brake piston problem. You have to push them back in when putting new brakes on because the new ones are larger. You need a special tool which I do not have, but consultation with my favorite Wayne says you can use just about anything. And when putting the laundry in, I noticed a caulk gun lying on the dryer. (Of course, where else would it be?) It's just about perfect for this job. We'll see how it goes!

Monday was my deadline for getting back on the road, appointment at the bananacakes Konditerei, but they FORGOT to change my appointment to Monday even though they called me and suggested it and I immediately called back and said yes yes yes. Today I called just to make sure and nope, she'd forgotten.

One of the things I won't miss about Maine is this jolly cheerful low level of competence. I mean, seriously, best people, but just, things slide. A LOT. I try to grin and think of hobbits.

So my appointment to get my head examined is now moved to the 13th. Ideally I'm hitting the road on the 18th. But of course everything's up in the air.

In fact some data should be wafting my way soon, maybe today or tomorrow, from my brother, who's down in the ancestral homeland of New Jersey right now wrestling with lawyers and banks and who knows what all else. More power to him. I'd be under the bed, whimpering. It's true. I'm basically under the bed whimpering right now, except in a more energetic way, with the lawn mower and stuff.

There are a lot of decisions to make, none of which I can really cope with. For example, I seem to have three 5 gallon glass carboys. One was mine, left in my parents' hay loft for eons. The other two were my dad's, still gunked up with the remains of the last batch of wine he tried to make then neglected for literally five years, saying "It's fine," every once in a while when prodded about the glop lurking in carboys in the laundry room.

I have no use for three carboys. Honestly, I'll probably never brew beer again, will I? A carboy is a beautiful thing, though. What about if civilization totally falls, man? I can make beer and trade it for things! (Don't judge, I think that way a lot--catastrophizing is a symptom, okay?) And how do I clean the grody ones before I can even give them away? Should I clean them then sell them at the yard sale I'm having on, oooh, I guess the 14th and maybe 15th?

This is just one of about ten million things I'm trying to figure out in the packing process. All very doable except that I have this short circuit thing going on in my head that goes, "Panic! Panic! Panic!" over every single little thing.

Well, I'm trying to deal with it. Mowing helps. Mowing is like the making your bed of UFYH except it also has useful aerobic and strength elements to it. I always feel like a million bucks after I mow, after I stop feeling like a squashed blob, that is. I had to lie on the couch with my dog stretched out on my whole torso for a while after this morning's bout of mowage. (So incredibly comforting! Snuggly animals!)

So progress report:

1. the quilt is done getting quilting, but needs its binding, which I can do tonight. Then it just has to get washed and dried. YAY!
2. most of the books are packed, decorative whatnots are packed, and I'm moving on to clothes, garage stuff (eek) and dishes
3. those four large bookcases are cleared off and in the garage, ready for the yard sale
4. excellent progress on the hats. I'll post a picture of all of them together when I mail them off

There's an awful lot to do. The 18th is 3.5 weeks away. And I have Online Job going on right now, which incidentally will probably screw up unemployment because they can never cope with the whole concept and lie on the floor having conniptions until I call and explain it six times. So I may be on zero money for a while, which is always delightful. But maybe they'll manage it with my helpful illustrated contract I'm mailing to them, with everything marked up and showing my math and all. Maybe!

But then maybe I'll get news and other fabulous things from my brother upon his return--I think tomorrow--and all manner of thing will be well and I can CHILL THE FRAK OUT. Which would be awesome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Square peg with flanges and a whirligig, dodecahedral hole requiring ten digit code

I keep finding myself in the weirdest backwards packing situation. I pack some big awkward thing in a box and then fill in the rest of the space with logically related items, but then at some point I'm always left with a gap. And then I'm searching around the house for something to fit into that gap.

I need something about the size of a club sandwich but related logically to either candles or reliquaries, but it can't be heavy or pointy because of the fragile items below it.

And then I get stalled, because there is no such thing. Eventually I will smack myself on the head and put a stuffed bunny in that spot and tape that box all up.

See. That's bananacakes. There is some major bananacakesiness going down lately.

I did get my anti-bananacakery meds this morning, great phew-ing and oof-ing, and also brake pads, but I also got some...what's the opposite of assurances? Like you go, "Situation is iffy!" and someone goes, "There there, it is more secure than you know," but instead in this case I heard, "Good lord, things are far from anywhere near as secure as you think they are and now I'm mad at you for acting on that."

Which caused, naturally, a six hour total anxiety attack. Even though nothing changed. The only thing that happened is that someone said I was relying too much on something. Which actually I'm not--there's no way it won't be in place by the time I need it to be.


I'm looking forward with great terror and trepidation and curiosity to the visit to the brainboxeria for a diagnostic on Monday. What on earth will they say? I have no idea what this even entails, except that it will take a period of time that instantly makes me hope I'm allowed to have tea there. I think the jitterbugging is quite excessive and obstructive so I won't mind if it CALMS THE FRAK DOWN. Sheesh!

I did more or less okay out and about today, but then a) I wasn't driving and b) my brother was there.

So I finally quit huddling in the corner of the couch and went to pack, doing active productive things with my anxieties, and that's when I ended up with the gap in the box the size of a club sandwich, requiring something related to candles to fill it up.


I might be approaching necessary critical dealing levels to the point where I can replace that super bad brake, though. Or maybe tomorrow.

My only regret from today is that although I bought eggs and butter, I'm down to about 1/2 cup of sugar and therefore STILL can't bake anything, sheesh. Must fix brakes before baking cakes.

Brakes before cakes!

This is where it's hard to describe the jitterbug. I want to fix the brakes. I love stuff like that. But it's like there's a giant force field pushing me away from it. I got out my Kaylee jumpsuit and hung it on the bathroom door. Next thing would be to get out the spare jack and the tools and put them nearby. Put a rug out there to kneel and lie on. I have to do it bit by bit. I'm already hyperventilating about it, just sitting here writing about what to do. Sloooowwwwwly. Tomorrow is fiiiiiine.

Here is one alarming thing today: I put dog inside the gate, so he was on the couch. But then I went out without even closing the sliding glass door, never mind locking it. The screen was shut but the door was wide open. Sharp, man, I tell you what. On. The. Ball.

I did manage to walk Mr. Puppy later, though. I still feel that huge resistance to going but can overcome it. So that's good. And I got three or four really irritating boxes packed, woohoo! I'm very excited for things like clothes, let me tell you. They cooperate much more. Try packing a reliquary thing with a roof like a church.

Excitement: my brother is going to bring back some of my uncle's tools for me, depending what's there and all. I made a list of what I'm looking for. My lists are a little frightening sometimes what with how they're like: axe, hatchet, machete, chain saw, knives. But it's all in the service of some kind of daft pioneering zombie apocalypse mentality so it's okay. At least I didn't say, like some people I know, that it was time to ammo up because of the situation in Europe. Huh?

I do not think there will ever be a situation where I would feel the need to "ammo up." Goodness. I do have a bizarre quantity of fishing line for someone who doesn't fish, though. Great galloping pumpkins, I totally forgot about the closet where all that animation stuff is. Argh! Argh! And argh some more!

Stuff to do. One last thing: quilt update. The vertical is all done and the horizontal is more than a quarter done. The bad thing is, there are snarly bits I have to keep cutting out and re-sewing. I'm charging on, though. It'll be fine for miles and miles and then bonk, snarly bits. So charging ahead is the way to go! Raaaaaah! Finish finish finish!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Pizza just went in the oven! Must be fast!

I like imaginary time stress peril. Let's see how many things I can get done before the kettle boils, aaaaaaaah!!!

Tomorrow is the Big Day, in that my bro is going to shuttle me around to get brake pads and my relaxorama prescription. Which is good because I'm almost out. It's been working great, though. Phew, boy!

They called from the place they call from when your brainbox is on the fritz today. First of all, the woman I talked to was awesome and I invited her to come to Oregon with me, except not like that--she said something like, "Moving to Oregon? I wish I could do that!" and I was all, "Come with me! I have room in the truck!" and she said, "I might!" and I said, "You should!" So I don't actually think she's going to, but wouldn't that be great? She works at the brainboxeria! She would be a good traveling companion. I'm sure she's excellent with the soothing talk.

So other than that, they can't get me in until the end of July, which I think is hilarious, and she was like, "Eh, maybe we shouldn't even bother. Maybe you should see someone at the other end of the trip." Which is again hilarious except for see above re: freaking out over even leaving the yard, which is why I got put on the line to them in the first place.

I know!

So I have that appointment scheduled for exactly one week after I leave, if I leave that day, which I will if I'm going all the way west, but not if I'm not. See, things are up in the air and a wee bit stressful around here! Hence the bananacakes in the first place!

But it'll be great to get the brakes fixed tomorrow. I took the following steps:

1) called the car parts place near the prescription place, so they'll have them in house (from the warehouse) when we get there

2) took the screen off the garage and put the car inside so I can work on it without being devoured by mosquitoes the size of Volkswagons

3) got my Kaylee jumpsuit ready

It'll be great. I remember there's something tricky about getting the new brakes on, but not what, exactly. But it's more like coordination and fiddly bits, not actual difficulty.

So excited!

I have to clean up so my brother doesn't wig at the state of my house. Some things are sort of half packed and that's untidy. So I just need to tidy up.

And the quilt! The quilt was fighting back yesterday. I sewed and ripped out the same stretch three times because it kept coming out giant snarls on the under side. Why why why? It was an old bobbin of white thread so maybe it's just a bad one, got bent or something, or maybe I filled it with hand quilting thread or something dreadful like that. I think the dog chewed up that white hand quilting thread finally, but I know I've threaded the machine with it a number of times (a number!) by accident. Out!

So that's the deal. The bookcases are out in the garage, all manner of things have gotten packed, and the way forward is clear. What more could a person ask for? Besides calm, fortitude, stamina, determination, and more tape.

Once the brakes are done I can drive down and register the car, then get it inspected, then feel like a much more capable and confident person, I am sure. It makes a huge difference. So here's to tomorrow!

Back at the frelling quilt. Excelsior!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

To the white shorts! Hurray!

I'm all tickled pink to be wearing my excellent long white shorts today. They haven't fit since a year before I left L.A., before I started on all the heinous steroids. Today it occurred to me they should fit again and voila, they do! I'm so thrilled about this in terms of all the larger ramifications of fitness and circumferentiality and all that good stuff.


Okay so by writing that thing Friday I motivated to call up the doctor's office. They were surprisingly concerned given that all I was saying was the thing about the panic attacks in the grocery store and how I don't like leaving the yard. I guess it's concern-worthy? I don't like it because it limits what I can do. I don't like wanting to do something and having anxiety prevent it, so that's why I wanted it fixed.

Well, apparently it's more serious than I thought, or whatever. I got my old meds back, which I should say I already still had some of in the house, but they told me to start taking them again. It was an as-needed thing before. Like I took them before having teeth pulled, for example. Now I'm on twice a day. And I just got back from walking the dog down the road a mile and a half. So that's working, huh?

They also want someone to inspect my brainage and see whether there's a wrench in there somewhere. I don't mind that. I'm an empiricist. If something's wrong, then something's wrong. Belief doesn't come into it. If it's wrong, let's fix it. Then I can do what I want without flipping out and being prevented. Win!

I'm a little thwarted by no car, but I think on Tuesday I'll either see if I can get a ride from my brother to Walmart or try to bike there. Obviously I'm totally excited by the bike ride possibility. Even though it'll be murder, especially on my non-biking bottom. It's a 16+ mile round trip, and I live on a mountain, and I have to cross the creek's drainage zone so there's topography to contend with.

But we'll see. Waiting for Tuesday because a) I have enough to last and b) I need brake pads too and c) by then I should know for sure whether Online Job is going to go. It's on, I have it on paper and all official, but the numbers are such that I'm concerned it might get cancelled still. Which affects the rent and the car registration and all that. It's math and timing and complexity and POINT IS I just have to wait a bit to see whether I can get brake pads while I'm out.

They won't ship my prescription because it's schedule something or other. Otherwise, Walmart ships prescriptions free, isn't that awesome?

To the quilt! I did half and a bit more of the vertical quilting last night in just four Farscape episodes. So tonight I can finish the vertical and dig into the horizontal. I haven't run into problems so far, but I'm watching. I basted with safety pins instead of my usual method so it's all uncharted territories (so to speak) here.

Also, yesterday I just sort of casually overhauled the couch. I like to sit leaning on the armrest, but these are (were) rickety and couldn't take that pressure. (When I first made it, one end was against the bookcases, so I leaned up against that armrest okay because it was supported.) And the couch is too deep to sit leaning against the back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. So I'd end up sitting there with my legs sticking out straight--not comfortable--or curled under me, or cross-legged--not sustainable--and eventually just didn't want to sit there at all. Though it was always great for sleeping or snuggling or lounging around slothlike.

I cut off the botched curved back and leveled off the supports, then screwed down a 2x2 I had lying around along the top of them and bolted it to the armrests. I took the removed back apart and put those pieces against the supports horizontally, filling in the back. So now it's a gorgeous Shaker-style solid pine daybed with dog beds folded in half along the back for cushions, a twin sheet on the bed, the top sheet over the cushions. I can sit anywhere in total comfort and the dog absolutely loves it.

I also added a mysteriously missing eighth leg in the middle on one end, so now it'll be a perfect rack for the canoe and the kayak, when it's turned upside down. That can go in the truck or on top of an open trailer. I love that!

I'm ridiculously happy with all of this. Not just the results, but the DOING THINGS.

I also ran around today while the kettle was boiling and Magic Erasered all the marks off the walls. I took down all the framed pictures and put them into their box. I threw out the grody shower curtain and found the white muslin one I used my whole time in California (and earlier places, for that matter) and put it up. I took down two different hanging racks and sorted out the things that had been on them. I threw out a scraggy looking rug the dog had chewed up.

And weeded the garden. Yeah!

I have to finish the quilt now. I have this amazing writing couch back! I want to use it!

Gosh I'm thrilled about these shorts, too, I'm telling you. I keep casting admiring glances at my stack of one-size-smaller jeans, but I'm not quite ready to try them on yet. Pretty near!

We had an excellent close encounter with the friendly porcupine a while back there but I'll save that for later.

Friday, June 22, 2012

We have to fear what itself? What, now?

I had one of those illuminating flashes of insight last night when the dog, of all people, was behaving exactly like me. By which I mean: he was fretting and refusing to settle down and go to sleep because a) the window was open for only the second time this year, and b) the curtain over the doorway was open, ditto.

It's been too cold to have the bedroom window open at night until two days ago. True! I much prefer cold to heat but I also prefer fresh air to stuffy. And neither the dog nor I handle change well AT ALL. So it's a tricky transition. We haven't managed it yet, actually. I had to get up and close both and then lo! The dog immediately curled up and went to sleep.

Irritating but illuminating. Because I'm in this weird zone where I get to do A! Where A is a thing I really want to do! But I also don't want to do A! And I don't understand why! And I email friends, saying, "Why don't I just do A? Why am I possibly planning on B instead, which is much inferior?"

It really was puzzling me a lot.

Until last night, when I realized I'M SCARED.

Doy. I get panic attacks going to the grocery store where I've been going for four years now. I had one on Monday. I don't even leave the yard most of the time. In fact, I don't even leave the *fenced* part of the yard. A fence I put up myself last fall. I don't even want to walk down the dirt road with the dog, a road I've been walking down twice a day for a year now. Going to the library or the familiar fabric store or anywhere at all has become completely overwhelming. I've been home alone for over five months!

That's when I thought maybe I should call up the doctor and see about getting this looked at.

Of course, I can't go anywhere because the brakes on my car just fell apart. Monday, in fact. A horrible screeching started when I was driving to the store. On my expired registration. I can replace the pads myself, though I might lose my marbles doing it because of the biting bug situation--but that's manageable. I even thought that Napa Auto Parts might deliver them here. I just have to wait for another week or so, when I can afford a) the $300 registration, yay! and b) four new brake pads. I don't know for sure but I think it's about $160. Then I can (have to) get it inspected by the awesome retired Marine gas station grandpa guy who always does my inspections. Which will allay any fears that I might have screwed anything up.

So anyway. Complications! Actual sources of legitimate anxiety! But solvable with time and patience and money and then, my favorite, putting on my Kaylee jumpsuit that the nice Marine traded me and working on my car.

There seems to be a Marine theme here. Where is my invisible Marine? I need you!

I'm not scared of working on my car. I'm not scared of packing up all my crap. I'm not scared of paying $2321 to drive 3600 miles at 12 mpg. Okay, I'm a little scared of how much that gas will cost. I'm mostly not scared by any of that, though.

Here's what I'm scared of:

1. leaving the house, both in the specific and general senses
2. logistics of finding a new place from so far away without recon
3. old friends not wanting to be friends again/still
4. finding work in the new place
5. managing the panic/fear itself, which is sort of recursive but is a factor

In fact after my canine OCD insomnia illumination, I had a ridiculously on the nose nightmare about calling up my beloved old neighbors and telling them I was back in town and having them hang up on me. Like I was talking and talking and finally realized no one was on the other end of the line.

I think that's hilarious. But the last time I talked to that particular neighbor, I hadn't seen her for years and had to tell her that my old dog that she absolutely loved had died. Now I haven't seen them for what, seven years? It makes me realize that although in my mind I left that area briefly, always intending to return when I could, I lived there for THREE years and have been gone for NINE. I have a fictional relationship with that place.

The Apollo book is all set there. And actually Apollo is the character's invisible Marine. So there you go. I move a lot but I never go back, except to my college where I kept leaving and coming back. The last time was a reunion that was so absurdly over the top horrifically awful, you wouldn't believe it if I tried to tell you. Going back does not work in general. Of course, I wouldn't be going back to the same town. I'm planning to live elsewhere, with more opportunities.

I still want to go, though. It's the right destination for a lot of reasons. Plus you should go where you want to go when you are able to, for crying out loud. Go where you want to be and make it how you want. I know it'll be new and different or else I wouldn't be scared, right?

I'm still gonna call the doc, though. It's always better to manage things than that other option.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

If you can't run, you crawl

Oh hi! I'm back again.

I'm the world's biggest bundle of anxieties at the moment. The dog keeps wishing I would just SIT DOWN and stay put for a minute so he could get a little rest. I am not good at sitting down or staying put right now. Nope.

In part that's because I'm packing. And you know I have a philosophy of packing, of course! It goes like this:

1. start early
2. get everything done right now that you can get done
3. plan your staging area carefully so that you can get the furniture out before the boxes
4. have a separate staging area for boxes, especially books, so they're stacked neatly out of the way
5. never touch anything twice
6. pack everything but what you need between now and the move
7. sort and toss beforehand if possible -- doing it at the same time will make you nuts
8. give it away if it's broken, fraught with associations, heavy, irritating, or you forgot you owned it
9. eat everything in the freezer and all the dry food, starting as early as possible
10. label everything very thoroughly or you will regret it
11. you're going to need more boxes than that. And more tape.
12. get AAA if you're renting a truck or trailer because it saves more than it costs
13. take a lot of breaks like UFYH says
14. plan, plan, plan, plan, plan

Also the last ten percent takes about 85% of the time and effort because it's fiddly.

Oh! And do the annoying stuff first, like spackling screw holes and taking down brackets and wrapping up framed pictures in bubble wrap and sorting crap in drawers. And clean as you go, wiping things down with a damp cloth.

One of the ugliest jobs I've been doing is scrubbing the adhesive from packing tape off the sliding glass door frame. So slow! So painful on the hands! But it looks horrible (dust and dirt and fur stick to the adhesive) and there's no way I'll have the patience when the crunch is on.

I'm constantly amazed that I have such clear, logical plans for how to attack immense jobs like this, but don't apply the same thinking to, er, writing. It's true. I find planning in writing matters weirdly overwhelming. I've been discovering whole new mental blocks about the process, to the point where I really might need to talk to a specialist person about it.

I know a large percentage of the issue is OCD tendencies. And part is that whole perfectionist/procrastinator thing that UFYH deals with so well. I also think part of being a perfectionist/procrastinator is laziness, in the sense that I don't want to waste effort. (Not wanting to waste effort is laziness dressed up as efficiency, seriously. I believe this. The motivation is: less work.)

So yesterday I sorted and bagged and packed all my yarn except what I'll need for my Afghans for Afghans hat knitting. (See the current campaign here.) And I packed 19 boxes of books. Those boxes that office paper comes in. Three years ago I worked at a job where they went through a ton of paper, so I would save the boxes and bring them home and stick them in the attic. Which is part of what I mean by planning. I have another ten or so boxes of books to go, but of course I can't pack all of them. What would I read in the next four or five weeks?

The packed, labeled, and taped boxes are all neatly stacked next to the (now empty) blue trunk where the yarn usually lives. OCD loves packing. I was going to pack three boxes of books. I have a quilt to finish by the 3rd! But it's hot. Of course packing is hot, too. And I'm still not recovered from whatever horrendous bug I caught over the weekend, such that bending makes me hideously nauseous and I keep a cat litter bucket nearby in case of Vesuvius. Yikes!

But I am SO EXCITED about moving!

Because then I can get a job. Yay! No jobs here. No, really.

I need to earn money. And I need to see humans. And make friends. And go to things, like music and lectures and events and whatnot.

And you know I love moving. Though it's not really all that compatible with the whole OCD/perfectionist/procrastinator/laziness effect mentioned above.

Why now? Because, like in my favorite kind of fiction, there is a sudden reversal of fortune! I'm suddenly able to go, and my lease will be up, so I'm going. I may not know where yet, but I know it's not here.

I love being all packed because everything is where it's supposed to be and it's all DONE. The best part is being en route, where everything is in the truck and with me and we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing. I do love a road trip, too. I don't think this six months in solitary in the woods has been all that kind to my mental state, to be perfectly honest. Though it was better than the various laughably awful situations I seemed to find with exhausting regularity.

I didn't get much writing done during that time. I was beyond broke, often freezing, living on almost nothing. I'm a good whole foods hippie kind of eater so I can live on dried split peas and millet and carrots for a very long time, and I can even make them delicious, but the limitations get tiresome. Which is basically what this situation here has been about. Limitations, never anywhere near enough money for even basics, no people with rare exceptions, and the spectrum of physical discomfort that this state specializes in. Right now, for example, it's hot and humid with four species of biting flies swarming all over the instant you get outside. They come inside when I do, too, of course. I'm all bitten up.

If you can't write, you plan, and if you can't plan, you read or watch movies or tv, or you watch the same dvds over and over and learn more about shots and editing and listen to commentaries. And knit and quilt. And dig in the garden, which I did every day for months. Think, study, stay active, learn, analyze. I'm really glad I did all that.

I'm pretty much galactically excited to be going just about anywhere else, though. Whee!