Melting

It’s 96 degrees right now, after three days in a row over 100, and you know?  96 doesn’t feel better.  Tomorrow should.  I hope.  In the meantime, this whole no central AC in Oregon thing is a PROBLEM.  John is in Salem for a gig tonight, outside, probably no shade, so he’s got it worse than I do, but that’s not going to stop me from complaining.  My problems are still real!  This constant sheen of sweat is pretty darn gross.

I’m going to beat it as best I can.  I’m inside with a big box fan pointed right at me (and NOT pulling hot outside air in).  My laptop is on the coffee table streaming tonight’s Olympic track and field events so I can see the 5000m final live (yes, I moved my massage appointment – priorities!), I’ll be ordering food soon, and I have chilled white wine waiting for me.  I’m not sure why I haven’t opened it yet, actually.  Let me fix that.

IMG_20160820_164252Better.  And I’m chilling my wine chiller so I can just leave the bottle out next to me.  Let’s face it – John won’t be home for HOURS, and I plan to read and watch the Olympics all evening.

Ablaze

John got up in the middle of the night last night, and while he was up, I noticed in my half-asleep haze that I could see flashing blue and red lights.  I got up to look out the window just as John peeked through the blinds and shouted.

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That’s the house across the street from us ON FIRE.  Its whole second story was in flames.  The flashing lights we noticed were from the fire engines parked on our street, whose sirens we somehow slept through.  It was 1:30am.

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We watched from our kitchen.  The neighbors watched from our sidewalk.

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The fire was out by 2am, and we went back to bed.  This morning, the poor house looks so sad.

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As far as we know, no one was hurt.  No one was even there.  A new addition was being added to the second floor, and no one is living there during the construction.  The news (very short article) says a heater may have caused the fire.

I don’t need this kind of excitement.

Cracked

When we were packing for this move, we packed up the wine glasses for storage and decided to use the four monogrammed glasses (whisky glasses?  tumblers?) we got for our wedding.  We never touched them, and making them our default wine glasses (stemless) seemed like a good way to actually use them.  They made it through two moves just fine, three moves, using them all the time.  We used them one night last week, washed them, put them away in the cabinet.  They were fine, unblemished.  Then, a couple of nights ago, I pulled a glass out and, well, LOOK.

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That horizontal line just under the rim is NOT part of the design.  That is a crack that goes almost all the way around.  We have NO idea how it happened, but we’re very not happy about it.  It’s just one of the four, but MAN.  We really liked those glasses.

To avoid breaking the other three, I’ve been drinking wine out of normal glasses.  Looks ridiculous, and it doesn’t taste as good, although that might just be in my head.  And this weekend, we will run out and buy cheap wine glasses.

Our poor fancy glass.

It’s not that easy

Yesterday, the podiatrist seemed to think that the way he wrapped my foot would bring instant relief, even after I remove the wrap.  He said I could even go for a test run that night.  That was a bit too optimistic.  I rode my bike out to a soft trail (cedar chips, no asphalt), locked up the bike, took three excruciating steps on the trail, turned around, and got right back on my bike.  That was way worse than before.  When not running, it didn’t hurt, so part of what he said was true.

I followed his directions.  I bought supportive insoles for my shoes, wore my running shoes (with insoles) around the house all day (as instructed – no barefoot walking for me), put them on again first thing this morning, and then went for a walk.  The first half of the walk was fine.  Second half, painful.  (Not debilitating, just not normal.)

So.  I’m doing what the doctor said.  I still feel pain, but not all the time.  Do I need a follow-up?  Do I need more time to rest it?  Should I be biking?  Swimming?  Yoga?  Nothing?  If I can’t run when he thought I’d be able to, is something more serious going on?  Can I work myself into a frenzy without the use of Google or WebMD to tell me I’m dying?

I’m scheduling a follow-up.

Violence is in my future, I can feel it

I have been forced out of my comfort zone, largely because I don’t HAVE a comfort zone right now, and it is a good and wonderful thing.  I got up this morning (early this morning) to get online before one of my big weekly meetings, and I found that I couldn’t get online on my work laptop. My personal laptop was fine, my phones were fine (I almost typed “phine”), John’s computer was fine.  My work laptop was good yesterday.  Why not today?  It has something to do with Comcast, and I’m going to have to call them, but I didn’t have time right then (meeting starting).  And because of the meeting, I couldn’t dash out to Starbucks for more reliable internet.

I got through the meeting, but I was SO frustrated and wound up.  And THEN we heard from the moving company, who said the truck will be here between 2 and 5pm on Tuesday, which is the latest time possible within the window they gave us.  I’m SO glad we rushed across the country.  That added anger to my frustration (and I sent them an email that hasn’t been replied to yet), and THEN I remembered my air card.  That’s the solution to my work internet problem, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner.  I still didn’t want to work another day in the house without furniture (First two days: sore butt from sitting on the floor.  Third day: sore legs from standing at the kitchen counter all day.) and it was still too early for the library to be open, so I packed up my air card and my laptop and headed to the 5th Street Public Market area, just a few blocks away.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, right around 60 degrees, the people at the breakfast place make a really good decaf Americano, and I’m sitting out in the courtyard looking down over a splashing fountain with a chicken on it.  I haven’t figured out the significance of the chicken yet.  I can work here, and I can breathe again.

But I really want my stuff!

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

Grand Central Station

There are too many ways for people to get in touch with me, and too often, all are in use at the same time.  Work people can (and do) reach me via my work email address, my office phone, my work cell, my personal cell, Skype for business, Google Chat/Hangouts, and text (on both cell phones).  It’s part of my job to be available (during the work day – I do set boundaries, usually), so I don’t really mind, but sometimes it’s a bit much.

And it can be a bit much on its own, but then I add in non-work stuff that happens during the day (texts, chats, emails, calls), and it gets crazy.

Thursday, for instance, I went for a run at lunch (to clear my head because some customers at work that morning….well, I needed to clear my head), and while I was stretching, after having been back in the apartment for all of three minutes, my work cell rang.  Sure, I could have ignored it, but I saw who it was and picked up because her stuff is usually important.  It was, I answered her question, and went back to stretching.  Thirty seconds later (still stretching), my personal cell rang with a call from our landlady.  She’s got utility people in the basement and backyard, and am I home?  Oh, good, can I unlock the back door so they can get to the electrical panel?  Sure I can.

Shortly after that, I sat back down at my desk to find two chat windows flashing at me and lots of emails waiting.  I did just clear my head, right?

Anticipating an explosion

The car was COVERED in pollen this morning.  Yesterday, nothing.  Today, blanketed in yellow dust.  We weren’t even parked on the side of the street with the trees.  It’s a darn good thing I take allergy medicine all year long, but even so, I’m a little nervous.

Spring is here, and with it comes much discomfort.  And here I am, sitting in my apartment with EVERY window open.  I’m just asking for trouble.

From now on, I’ll just pretend I’m invisible when I run

I didn’t need to know this about myself, but now I do, and I’m going to share it with all of you.  When I’m running, and I think I’m going all out and looking smooth and streamlined and super-fast, I am not.  I am not any of those things in that moment.  I got to the end of yesterday’s race and revved up for my final kick across the finish line, and yeah, I picked up speed.  I was going faster than I had been, and I passed a few people.  But I do NOT look smooth.  I do NOT look all head-down, speeding bullet-like.  I do NOT look like a cheetah.

I look like a robot.  I look like a robot on springs.  Who thinks she’s a gazelle.  Seriously, I catch air.  And my arms!  What the hell am I doing with my arms?  I’m pretty sure when I run normally, they stay pretty close to my sides.  But here…man, here my elbows are flapping, and my hands are out – am I trying to grab hold of the air and pull myself along?

On the plus side (I guess?), I have very good posture.

I would show you the actual video, but I can’t figure out how to download it.  Wait – here’s the link.  I’m in the center of the screen by about 4 seconds in, wearing sunglasses and a pink jacket tied around my waist.  It’s probably just as well I can’t embed it.  And I don’t know how long the site will keep it up.  So, you know, if you’re going to watch it and make fun, better do it fast.  I’m not going to tell you how many times I’ve watched it.  John looks normal, and Jess looks cool.  I look like a crazy person.

Actually afraid

I don’t think I spend my life being afraid of things, sometimes even when I should (how was I not terrified floating around in the Persian Gulf during active conflicts when I was in the Navy?).  I don’t lose sleep worrying about the next tornado or hurricane or earthquake or mudslide, and I didn’t even when I lived closer to tornado country (I remember plenty of tornado watches and warnings in Kentucky).

Then I read this New Yorker article.

John and I are considering moving to the Pacific Northwest (Seattle and Oregon have been on the list since the beginning), certainly for a few months, and possibly for good (if we love it), but this article (more specifically, its discussion of imminent disaster and death by earthquake and/or tsunami) has seriously freaked me out.  I want everyone west of the 5 to move.  Immediately, please, since this could happen ANY MINUTE NOW.  We are taking our lives in our hands* visiting this part of the country.  If we survive this trip, well, I really don’t know if that will have any bearing on our decision to make the move later (other than that we’ll be alive to make that decision).  Surviving this trip just means it hasn’t happened yet and is more likely to happen when/if we come back.

*See next post.

Oh, no. Fall is coming.

I like fall.  It’s pretty, and the temperature’s nice.  But sometimes fall doesn’t like me back.  Today, for example, I can feel the allergy monsters approaching.  There’s been a little bit of the whole back-of-the-throat mess happening for a couple of days, and today I’m blowing my nose and sneezing a lot.  Fall is doing this to me.  Jerk.

But I feel fine!  This is just a minor annoyance.  I don’t know how accurate this is, but I always assume that if  my head is exploding (could be mild, could be extreme) but I don’t otherwise feel sick (no achiness, no fatigue*, no general blah-ness), it must be allergies.  If I actually feel bad, then I must have a cold or something.  According to me, then, this is allergies.  Which is good.  Ish.

*This past weekend’s constant complaining about how sleepy I was doesn’t count.  It was self-inflicted.  Especially on Saturday – we didn’t go to bed until 2am Friday night.  I don’t handle that well.  Just thinking about it is making me yawn.

Time is relative

Yesterday flew by.  Then last night was the longest night in recorded history, followed by today, which seems like it will never end.  Benadryl  has turned on me.  It is now the enemy, not to be trusted.  Those $#&$%# mosquitoes from the other night left bites that are torturing me.  I couldn’t sleep last night at all.  I bought topical Benadryl – no relief.  Before I went to bed, I let my feet soak in cool water in the tub.  That felt GREAT, but I can’t exactly sleep there.  I took one Benadryl pill around 7 or so, and then the second one around 9:30.  I don’t know if this would have happened on just one, but two was a mistake.  Rather than relieving some of the itching and knocking me unconscious, the itching felt worse than ever and I was WIRED.  Wide awake, heart not exactly racing, but certainly not calm.  I was restless, and my feet were burning.  Within half an hour, I had my feet back in the tub, and not more than another half-hour after that, I moved to the couch so I wouldn’t keep John up all night with my constant tossing and turning.  I tossed and turned on the couch all night instead, watching the clock, unable to sleep or relax.  It was not fun.

I must have slept a little bit – I remember dreams about packing and getting rid of things.  But I also know I looked at the clock some part of each hour at least twice.  I bailed on running with Susan (which I regret now. I was awake – why not go?) and managed to nap some between 6 and 7.  I got up and went to work anyway.  I wasn’t sleepy.  I’m still not nearly as tired as I ought to be, and I’m not looking forward to the collapse.  I’m also not looking forward to trying to sleep tonight.  It’s so much worse at night.

I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow (for something else), so if this isn’t better, I’ll be bringing it up.  I just want the itching to stop.  Amputation seems reasonable.

At loose ends

Today has been such a weird day.  We slept in (didn’t get up until nine – gasp!), and we didn’t really have any plans at all.  Had some breakfast, watched a little TV.  All I knew was that I wanted to work out and I might make cookies and I might get to the store.  Anything else was fine.  John went into the other room to play his guitar (I believe he’s trying to write something), and I…couldn’t decide what to do.  I finished one book last night, so I started another one.  Got 6% in.  Not interested.  Put it down.  No big loss – it was $1.99 and I don’t remember whose recommendation put it on my list, but it’s been there for a long time.  Picked another book, one I should LOVE.  Got 8% in.  I don’t like it.  I think.  I can’t tell if I really don’t like it or if I’m just not in the mood.  But I put it down.  Okay, then.  I decided I’d go to the gym.  (It’s really cold and windy – not running outside.)  I put workout clothes on.  I got ready to leave the apartment.  Eh, didn’t really feel like using the treadmill, and I can do plenty of exercises right here in the living room.  So I didn’t leave.  Tried to do zumba with Lisa’s youtube videos.  Too weird.  Push-ups?  I did 15.  Anything else?  Nah.  Didn’t feel like it.  …  Okay, then.  What do I do when I don’t feel like exercising and I can’t decide what I want to read?  Play on the internet, right?  Wrong.  Not in the mood.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Well, cleaning the apartment was also on the list for the weekend, so I clipped my tiny mp3 player to my shirt (still in my workout clothes), and cleaned the apartment.  While singing along to random favorite songs.  You know what?  THAT’S what I needed to get me out of whatever funk I fell into after breakfast today.  CLEANING.  Again, what the hell is wrong with me?

Actually, I think it was the music and the singing, so you can all rest easy.  John eventually came out of the other room, decided HE wanted to work out, and I tagged along.  Much better.  Now I’m clean and dressed in normal clothes and the apartment is clean and I’m waiting for John to get out of the shower and then we’re going to try to grab some dinner out and see Kingsman: The Secret Service, which I’ve been excited about since I saw the preview months and months ago.  Possibly when we saw Guardians of the Galaxy, way back in August.

I’m glad I got all that sorted out.  Of course, I still haven’t picked my next book.

Customer Service Circus

Dad almost always has stories to tell of bad customer service.  Well, it’s my turn.  I went through my own emotional roller-coaster (excitement, rage, relief) with the Verizon FiOS people last Friday night (and I saved the chat log, just in case).

We had a choice of internet provider in the apartment (Comcast, who we have in the house, or Verizon FiOS).  After a little bit of research and some quick cost comparisons, we decided to go with Verizon AS LONG AS we could get comparable prices without signing a 2-year contract (or any contract).  All of the prices on their website seemed to indicate that a contract was required.  They have a live chat feature, so I clicked on that and Ronnie appeared to answer my questions.  The VERY FIRST THING I asked Ronnie was if we have to sign a contract in order to get residential internet services.  The answer was no (yay!).  So then Ronnie asked me some questions and recommended a package, and THEN he recommended a different package that has more services than we want BUT will save us $20 a month.  After that, I confirmed with him again that we would not have to sign a contract.  We would not.  Sold.

Ronnie sent me a link so I could start setting up my order, and he stayed online to walk me through it.  He told me exactly what to click and which ones to click on to avoid signing a contract.  He was very helpful, and I appreciated what he was doing.  I finished my order and he asked for my confirmation number so he could make sure I got what I asked for.  I gave him my confirmation order and asked him to verify that I did NOT just sign up for a contract.  His reply was: “Congratulations on successfully completing your Verizon order online and you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract for this great deal online today!”

Wait, what?  No no no no no.  I asked him to check again, and he confirmed that yes, I did indeed sign up for a 2-year contract.  Feeling some anger.  I said I want to change it immediately, and he tried to sell me on why it’s a good thing.  Anger turned into are you kidding me?  Then it turned out that HE COULDN’T FIX IT FOR ME.  I had to call someone else.  Maybe we should switch to the transcript now before my head explodes again.

Up to this point, the conversation was perfectly pleasant.

Ronnie(19:40:14): Choose the installation date of your new FiOS Internet and TV service per your convenience on the page and click on “Place Order” so you’ll get your order confirmation number on the next page.
Ronnie(19:40:40): And help me with your order confirmation number so I can double check that from my end too for you.
Zannah(19:40:52): [Confirmation number redacted]
Zannah(19:41:07): can you confirm that I did NOT just sign up for a 2-yr contract? Or any contract?
Ronnie(19:41:12): Thank you for providing.
Ronnie(19:41:22): Sure. Give me a moment please.
Ronnie(19:43:08): Thank you for waiting.
Ronnie(19:43:58): Congratulations on successfully completing your Verizon order online and you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract for this great deal online today!
Ronnie(19:44:28): You will receive an e-mail confirmation letter, within 24 hours, from Verizon. This e-mail will have your order details and your online order number which you can use to check your online order status.
Zannah(19:44:49): No, hold on.
Zannah(19:45:03): I was NOT going to sign a 2-year contract
Zannah(19:45:07): can you check that again?
Ronnie(19:46:49): I’ve checked and can confirm that you’ve selected a 2 years’ contract option; however, be assured as you’ll get the discounted price gurantee for the next 24 months and you might have not got some discounts with “No Contract” option which you’ve got with “Contract” option.
Zannah(19:47:29): then I want to change it immediately
Zannah(19:47:35): I specifically said that I did NOT want the contract option
Zannah(19:47:40): and I thought that’s what I selected
Zannah(19:47:43): how do I change that?
Ronnie(19:50:04): You’ll love everything about FiOS, and we’ll stand behind it with our Worry Free Guarantee. If you’re not happy you can disconnect within the first 14 days, and won’t be charged an Early Termination Fee.
Zannah(19:50:37): then disconnect me right now. I absolutely DO NOT WANT a 2-yr contract
Zannah(19:51:05): if you can’t change it, I want to cancel this entire order
Ronnie(19:52:30): No problem at all. Be assured! You’ll not need to cancel your amazing order. All you need to do is you’ll just need to call Verizon Business Office at 1-800 VERIZON (1-800-837-4966) and they’ll make the changes for you. They’ll make it from “Contract” to “No Contract” for you!
Zannah(19:52:42): are they open right now?
Ronnie(19:52:47): Be assured! Everything will be perfect for you!
Ronnie(19:53:37): I think they should open right now; however, if they’re closed for the day, that’s not a problem for you as you can call them tomorrow as well and can get it changed!
Ronnie(19:53:53): You can get it changed within next 14 days from today!
Ronnie(19:58:18): It was really nice talking to you and assisting you Zannah! I’ll be happy to assist you if you’ve anymore questions for me?
Zannah(19:58:47): I just need to get rid of the contract. I’m on hold with the Business Office now
Zannah(19:58:59): So I think we’re done here. Thank you.
Ronnie(19:59:25): Sure! Don’t worry at all about the contract part Zannah! It’ll be done by them for you!
Ronnie(19:59:30): Thanks for choosing Verizon. We appreciate your business.

Please take a minute to complete the survey at the conclusion of this chat. Your feedback is important!

Oh, boy, did I take that survey.  I was on hold with the business office for nearly 20 minutes, but when I got through, the guy I talked to was super-helpful and nice.  He looked up my order and found that I actually had NOT signed up for a 2-year contract.  Then he added notes to the account to make it clear to anyone who looked at it that there is no contract.  The fall from rage to relief had me giddy.  I made sure to tell the new guy (Tom, I think) how helpful he was and to pass that on to his supervisor.  I needed to balance out the not-so-glowing report I gave Ronnie in the survey (and Tom deserved the praise).

Not a fun way to spend a Friday night.  Of course, I still don’t have internet service.  They’re coming during the day on Thursday to set us up.

Speaking of nothing lasting forever

John and I went to boxing this morning only to have Nick announce to the class that today is the last day the gym will be open.  Apparently, they can’t pay their rent.  It’s only been six weeks since the other location closed.  Not cool!  There’s another boxing gym in town – one of our classmates has rallied the troops and we’ve all called the manager trying to convince him to hire Nick.  If he does, he’ll get 10 or 12 new members.  We’ll see how that goes.  In the meantime, we’ve just lost our workout routine.  Sucks.

There’s a long road ahead

It’s January, and the holidays are over.  The countdown to spring has officially begun.  (It’s a long way off.)  But it’s not all bad.  Our house is under contract, the buyers’ condo is on the market, they haven’t returned our HOA docs in horror, there’s a three-day weekend this month, and my birthday is next month.  I will survive.

Going a little batty

I need to get my eyes checked.  Or maybe I just need a vacation from work.  Or maybe both.  I was logged in to a database at work, looking for which columns in which tables hold the data I need, and I saw a column called BATCHID.  No exaggeration – it took me a full 30 seconds to identify that column as “Batch ID”, not “bat child”.  I was sitting at my desk, almost scratching my head in confusion over why on EARTH we had a column to store data about bat children.  Was it a joke?  Did “BAT” stand for something and this is child data of some sort?  I’ve worked here for nearly five years – how could I have never heard of it?  Eventually, the light bulb came on, and now I feel stupid, but man – I was really puzzled for a bit there.

Flaky agent

We like our real estate agent, mostly.  He’s a little odd, but in an interesting way, and he talks too much (when we get back from being out during an open house, we want you to go home so we can relax), but he’s nice, and he’s giving us a discount, and he’s doing the hard part of selling our house for us (except that he hasn’t sold our house yet).

HOWEVER

At least three times (I think four, but I can only think of the reasons he gave for three), he has flaked on us for an open house.  The first time, his mom broke her leg, and he was the son in charge of getting her to the hospital and helping out. We totally get it, sorry it happened, do what you need to do, we’ll do the open house ourselves.  No problem.  The second time is the one I don’t remember the reason for.  The third time was two weeks ago.  I got a text 45 minutes before the open house was supposed to begin saying that he was stuck in traffic in Maryland and would get there as soon as he could.  Then he didn’t respond to my next text, and he didn’t answer when I called.  So we started the open house ourselves, and when it was halfway over, I texted him again to tell him to just skip it – go home.  He didn’t respond.  Later, we got an email about the horrendous traffic and how he’s so sorry and blah blah.  Sure, things happen.  But seriously?  Where the hell was he exactly, and why stop responding to me?  The fourth time was today.  About 90 minutes before the open house was scheduled to start, I got a text from him saying his dad is having chest pains and he’s going to the hospital to be there for him.  My response, again, is of course, I hope he’s okay, do what you need to do, we’ll handle the open house ourselves.  No response.  And we haven’t heard from him since.

So what’s going on?  We’re no longer certain when he’s being truthful.  Are these excuses to not do the open houses?  We’ve told him we understand if he doesn’t want to do it every single weekend.  He could get someone to cover for him (which he’s done once) or we could take a week off.  He’s the agent – what should we do?  He says keep doing them.  Okay, then.  He keeps sign in sheets when he does show up for them, but we never see them (we haven’t asked yet), and it seems like every week, 5-6 people come through (so he tells us when we get home).  But on those occasions when we do the open houses, we get one person.  Maybe two (it was two today).  So how is he always getting 5-6 people in?  Last week, he did the open house, and he said only two people came, so that felt true (even if it sucks).  Are the other times exaggerations?  Or the truth?

The Riley Report

Five weeks ago, Riley had his first x-ray after finishing chemo.  His last x-ray was on Halloween, and it showed clear lungs.  This one was not clean.  They took three pictures, and on one of them, they could see a shadow that they were pretty sure but maybe not but probably is a lesion.  So Riley’s cancer metastasized.  When we got his diagnosis at the end of last summer, they told us that with the amputation and chemo, his odds were 50/50 that he’d be cancer free in year.  Looks like Riley fell into the wrong 50.  They couldn’t tell us anything else (like how bad, how fast, how much longer) without a second x-ray, so that brings us to today.  His second x-ray was this afternoon, and while there’s still only the one spot, it has grown by 38%.  That only brought it to 2cm, so it shouldn’t be affecting him yet.  The vet says it probably won’t bother him until it gets to 5-7cm or unless more appear.  We started the metronomic chemo (low doses by pill) yesterday, in the hopes that it will slow the growth.  Our next x-ray is in 7 weeks.

John is upstairs trying to make an L-shaped cut into a porcelain tile with a hacksaw, I just finished cooking Riley some chicken, and he’s hanging out on his dog bed looking at me.  (I feel judged – I’m not being entertaining enough.  Or I’m in trouble for not giving him the chicken yet. It’s too hot, buddy!)

He’s still okay for now.  We are, too.