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Totally above board

So I’ve had all these books in my car (like 7 boxes) for 5 days, and whenever I mention it to someone (with the intention of offering them the books), I feel like a traveling salesman or something.  A shady one.  Like I’m dealing books out of the back of my car (which is EXACTLY what I’m doing).  Except I’m giving them away for free.  I won’t go so far as paying people to take the books (I have other ways to get rid of them – that sounds shady as hell, too), but you can have any or all of them!  Please!  Take!  And keep in mind there will be more soon.

The purge continues

We’re still going through everything we own and trying to get rid of as much as possible.  We want to lighten the load, both for moving and for living.  “As much as possible” = as much as we’re comfortable getting rid of, and we don’t always agree on that, but we’ll keep adjusting as we move along.

We spent about 4 hours on Friday in the storage unit choosing which of our children to give away and which ones to keep.  It was painful, and we only got halfway through, so we’re going to have to do it again soon.  On the plus side, I don’t regret our decisions, and I get to drive around with a carload of books until I get rid of them (the car smells good).  It was the right thing to do!

Then we got home and I started going through my dresser drawers again.  I’ve got a stack of t-shirts that are going away, and Molly has claimed much of my work wardrobe (such as it is), which is helpful to a point – I don’t dress up for work much (mostly jeans), so there’s not that much to give away.  I think I can get rid of more shoes…  Winter clothes are harder to make decisions about now.  I’ve already done the easy stuff (I didn’t wear at all last winter?  It’s gone.), but in summer I’m inclined to toss everything.  That won’t be all that helpful when it starts to get cold again, and I have to buy new things.  I wonder how much of a pain it would be if we used the storage unit to store seasonal clothes.  Too many trips?  With boxes?  Maybe.  I didn’t even go to the trouble of storing seasonal clothes in the house (which is why I needed two dressers and a closet).  But it would mean we’d be traveling with less.  Except when we go somewhere for longer than one or two seasons…yeah, I think that’s a bad idea.  Fewer clothes!  I need to get rid of more stuff.

Choices!

There are so many places we could live!  Also, real estate agents are assholes.  I think that’s part of the certification.  And that is all I have for today.  Carry on!

Sleep update

This won’t turn into a health blog, I promise, but when bug bites and lack of sleep are the only things on my mind, well, I’m sorry.

Last night was just as bad as the night before, even though I didn’t take any Benadryl.  My feet were on fire, so I couldn’t sleep.  Simple as that.  I tried putting hydro-cortisone cream on one foot and after-sunburn aloe on the other, just to if either remedy would help – neither did.  I also tried putting my socks in the freezer and then wearing them.  Back to the tub, at least four times.

I still haven’t collapsed.  Maybe this is a sign that I don’t need as much sleep as I think I do.  Or maybe the collapse is imminent.

Today, however, has been MUCH better, and I have high hopes for sleeping tonight.  I went to the doctor this morning, somewhat embarrassed to be complaining so much about bug bites, and she gave me a prescription topical steroid that has worked for me all afternoon.  I don’t know if that’s because my feet don’t bother me as much during the day or if it’s really working, but I’m going to be positive about it.

This will work!

Update: It didn’t work.  Only super-hot water worked.  Feels awful while my feet are in it, but there’s temporary relief afterward (enough to get to sleep).

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.

$%(^&$ Mosquitoes!

I cannot express my hatred of mosquitoes in words.  Only primal screams will do.  We were out on the deck of a restaurant Friday night.  I was wearing jeans and sandals.  During the day on Saturday, I noticed my feet itching a little.  Then a lot.  Then I finally looked.  SEVEN bites on one foot, two more on the other.  And NOW, three days later (and every night – it’s always worse at night), my feet feel like they’re on fire.  My BARE FEET look like clown shoes (the ones with the pink polka dots).  It’s awful.

So I googled “places without mosquitoes” to see if maybe that’s where we should move and found a very helpful article.  I guessed two of them (Antarctica and Iceland), but the other three are tropical islands.  Surprising.  It might be worth it.  It’s probably better than the alternative, which is to chop off both feet at the ankles.

Tempting

I saw an email from DSW about their GREAT BIG SALE (!) this morning. I get one of those emails at least once a week (from DSW – I get plenty of others from other places), and I’m not usually moved to shop. I guess the timing was perfectly right on this one. I know that I don’t need more shoes, but I really want more shoes! RESIST!

I can beat this. I don’t need shoes. But a cute pair of little white mesh sneakers, or a pair of sandals that’s nicer than flip-flops, but still casual enough for shorts (and comfortable), or a pair of slip-on sneakers good for walking…

This is why I need to unsubscribe from all store distribution lists.

Vive la résistance!

Too quiet

I’m probably going to regret even thinking this, but this week has been quiet at work.  A little too quiet.  Like trouble is brewing somewhere, and it’s going to hit us hard soon.  Now that I’ve thought it, it’s probably going to come true.

That’s both pessimistic (in this particular case) and incredibly arrogant of me to believe that things will happen because I think them into being.  But you know, as far as I can tell, nothing is real if I don’t think of it.  You’re all constructs of my imagination, believed into being to keep me company.  The sandwich I had for lunch today (which was really good, by the way – hummus, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers) was imaginary, made for me by imaginary Potbelly employees.  I just had a conversation about my imaginary job with my imaginary coworker in my imaginary office.  Where am I, really?  What am I?  Who am I?

I just watched a YouTube video of a rabbit defending her babies from a very large snake (and winning).  That is not something I would have thought to imagine.  Existential crisis averted!  You may all consider yourselves real.

Use your words

Is it possible to live in a world without acronyms? I’m a government contractor; my whole workday is filled with alphabet soup. The business world in general uses them all the time, and it’s everywhere in software, so even if I weren’t in the government contracting business, I don’t think I could escape acronyms. Maybe I can avoid them when I’m not talking about work.  Would I sound like the biggest weirdo if I pronounced whole words instead of acronyms?*

[Big pause: I fell down the Google rabbit hole and learned some things.]

Things I didn’t know before this morning’s googling:

  • Acronyms are only acronyms if you can pronounce them as a word (like NATO). If you’re just saying the letters in order (like FBI), it’s an initialism.
  • Initialism is a word (and its plural is initialisms). Who knew?  Microsoft’s spellcheck does not agree that it’s a word, but the internet says otherwise, and I know that the internet is always right.
  • When you say the whole word (or phrase or proper name or whatever), all spelled out (like I’m considering doing), you’re saying the expansion of the acronym. I didn’t know that was a thing! I mean, obviously it’s a thing. I just didn’t know it had a word (expansion).

And all of this started because I was wondering if I would have to say television instead of TV, so I googled to see if TV was an acronym. Answer: No, it’s an abbreviation.  (I suppose it could be an initialism, but it’s short for one word, not two….it’s debatable, I guess, but now I am equipped for the debate.)

Back to my original point: I am tired of acronyms (and initialisms), and I’m going to try to avoid them in all non-work situations.  I have no idea if this is going to be difficult.  How many do I run into on a daily basis?  What’s much more likely (than success) is that I’ll have forgotten about this plan by morning.

*Will I sound like a weirdo?  It depends (and probably, yes).  If I spell out – I mean, if I use the expansion of sonar or laser, then I will be very much the weirdo.  Zip code is a sneaky one.  And PIN.  This probably won’t last.

Good start

I heard “Shut Up and Dance” during this morning’s class.  Makes me happy.  There are worse ways to start the day.  And I get to spend this week telling the people I work with that in less than two months, I will be telecommuting 100%, so let’s discuss concerns now.  I will be having the same conversation over and over again.  It’s a good conversation, and so far all reactions have been positive.  And I’m happy to do it – it means we’re moving forward.

The biggest step forward right now involves finding a place to live next.  We should really get on that.

Obsolete media

I spent most of my Saturday using a USB video capture device to transfer old VHS tapes to mpeg files.  I had to borrow a VCR from a coworker because I haven’t seen one in person in…lots of years.  There’s no way to do it other than in real time, so it really took most of the day to transfer about 9 tapes.  There was also some time spent in trial and error, including trying to find a way to save to mp4, which I was unable to figure out.  And since I can’t figure it out just yet (I have to return the VCR on Monday, so I had limited time to troubleshoot), we won’t be getting rid of the originals.  We’ll just store them.  They don’t take up that much room.

Among the videos I transferred are three years’ worth of marching band videos, my high school best friend’s senior project, and our wedding video (because even though digital cameras existed when we got married, they weren’t used that often – all of our wedding pictures are analog, too).  I don’t know that I’ll ever watch all that stuff, but it’s nice to have it handy.

I’d like another weekend, though.  Can someone make that happen?

SO interesting, but where’s the rest?

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto this article in the Washington Post, but it’s about why most people don’t like the sound of their own voices AND why we don’t like pictures of ourselves.  It starts an explanation, but the article is too short!  I want more of this.  And why wouldn’t this article have more in it?  Are people really satisfied with that little?  I have questions!  I may have to actually google it myself (gasps of horror, please).  You know, later.

What’s to be nervous about now?

I got the go-ahead yesterday to tell my team about our plans.  FINALLY.  My boss, HR, the CEO, and the CFO are all being supportive.  (I haven’t spoken to the CEO and CFO, so I don’t know HOW supportive they are, but that’s irrelevant now.)  Yay!  So I wrote some notes yesterday, was nervous all morning, and met with Ben (my senior guy) just before lunch, where I blurted it all out with no regard for my notes.  Luckily, he understood what I was saying and doesn’t have any immediate concerns.  He’s the linchpin – where his mood goes, the team’s mood follows, so I need him to be positive about it, and he was!  Not over the moon, but why would he be?  I just need him to NOT think it’s a disaster.

So then I went to Wegmans to buy cupcakes so I can bribe the rest of the team into contentment when I tell them at our weekly meeting in….less than 90 minutes.   Updates to come.  Hopefully very boring updates.

Update: They’re fine!  They were outwardly supportive, at least, after they made sure I was NOT leaving them and they were NOT getting a new boss.  Which is sweet of them.

SO relieved.

Cosplay

John and I spent most of the drive to and from Awesome Con discussing who we would dress up as if we were ever to join the cosplay world.  I’m not saying we’re close to that or anything – if I had a favorite character in the whole wide world, I could see it happening, but I don’t feel that strongly about any of them.  (It’s the same kind of feeling I have about tattoos, only less permanent.)

But it is fun to think about it.  If I were going to stick with current Marvel characters, Peggy Carter would be a contender.  Not too hard – ’40s hair, blue suit, red hat.

Peggy_Carter_suit

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Black Widow cosplay pretty much means a black spandex jumpsuit, and I just don’t see that happening.

blackwidow

IMG_20150602_184127[1]

Dr. Horrible, Amy Pond, Zoe from Firefly – I could do it, but I don’t feel like I have the devotion a lot of cosplayers have.  I’d be buying stuff, not making it…. For the time being, I’ll just keep appreciating everyone else.  Oh, like this little girl and her dad from Awesome Con.

Doctor and Dalek, like nature intended

Doctor and Dalek, like nature intended

A big welcome

Molly moved to DC a few days ago.  How happy was DC to have her?  So happy they threw a parade in her honor!  Or, coincidentally, the day we headed downtown to hang out with her also happened to be the day of the DC Gay Pride Parade!  Which was totally awesome.  We had to park 8 or so blocks away from her apartment (street closures), but that meant we could follow the parade route to her block, cheering and dancing the whole way.  (Well, I was.  John is not the dancing-at-parades type.)  And then, to our surprise, we followed the parade route ONTO her block, right past her front door.  But where was Molly?  Not on the stoop with her neighbors, whooping it up like any self-respecting young woman in her 20s.  No, she was napping and had NO idea any of this was going on right outside her front door.  In her defense, her apartment is on the back side of the building, and she swears that when she came back after a run to the store at 3:30, there was no sign that a parade was about to come through.

We gathered her up and followed the parade all the way to the circle (more dancing and cheering from us, of course, and I will admit to choking up a few times from the outpouring of love and support – it was great), and then veered off to find dinner, assuming (correctly) that we wouldn’t have too much trouble getting in someplace while the parade was still going on.

Dinner (French) was delicious.  All three of us had mussels – LOVE mussels.  We had another drink at a bar with a game theme (we played Scattergories), and then we headed home (after making sure Molly could find her back to her apartment – she’s a bit directionally-challenged).  Bed finally at 2am, and we slept until 10:30 Sunday morning.  I am not a young woman in my 20s.

Comics

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never really gotten into reading comics, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of getting into it.  Or that I don’t want to try.  So I’ve been trying.  I just haven’t gone for the superhero stuff.  Instead, I’ve read (and liked) Chew (which has a pretty disgusting premise, but I really enjoyed it), Saga (which is fascinating), and The Wicked + The Divine (which I really liked).  Oh, and Ms. Marvel – okay, I lied.  One superhero comic, and it was really good.  Next up, aside from the second volumes of each of those (I’ve been reading them in graphic novel form, not weekly comic books), is Federal Bureau of Physics.

More reasons to visit our local comic book store!  Also, they recommend stuff.  Can’t complain.

Up, up, and away

Guys.  GUYS.  John flew a plane, and he LOVED it.  He got on the ground and wanted to go right back up again.  (This is how I feel about roller coasters.  Maybe I’d feel the same about flying planes, but it’s not my dream we’re talking about here.)  John has wanted to fly all his life, and the last time he had the opportunity to learn, we couldn’t afford it (even with the discounted military rate, since this was 2002, we were living in San Diego, and I was still in the Navy).  Now, with the lessened expenses and the schedule flexibility we’re looking forward to, he can finally do it.  He took an intro flight with an instructor a few weeks ago at a local small airport.  The instructor had him do everything except land the plane.  It was great, and I got to go along, so I’ve got pictures.

Preflight checklist!  I think he's checking the gas tank.

Preflight checklist! I think he’s checking the gas tank.

John pays close attention to the instructor before takeoff.

John pays close attention to the instructor before takeoff.

See John fly.

See John fly.

Fly, John, fly!

Fly, John, fly!

It was really cool, and I’m glad I got to go, too.  I’m not going to make it a habit – can you imagine me in the backseat of every single training flight?  It’s not like I can read, not in the backseat of a small plane.  So John will learn to fly, and I will…do whatever I do while he’s doing that.  Something.

Just say something already!

Trepidation has turned into impatience.  My HR person hasn’t told ANYone yet.  She wants to have a conversation with my boss first, then tell the CEO and CFO, and it seems that finding the time to have that first conversation is proving difficult.  COME ON ALREADY!  I don’t like secrets.  I’m trying to be above-board with everyone.

On the other hand, it’s Friday, it’s Molly’s first day, and the sun is shining.

On the edge of my seat

Trepidation is the word of the day.  Last Wednesday, I told the head of HR about our plans for working remotely (and gave her the mid-August date).  She’s excited for us (yay!), and she said she’d tell the CFO and the CEO.  Once I hear back from her (or them), I’ll know if they’re with me or against me (it’s an us vs. them world!), and I’ll be able to share what’s going on with everyone (at work – you guys already know).

I HAVE to wait for their response.  If they support me, I can tell my team I’ll be working remotely, and we can work through any difficulties that might come up.  If they say no, then the conversation with my team will be very different.  My HR person said I should know by the middle of this week (it’s performance review time, and everyone is very busy), so I’ve been sitting on this for days and I WANT TO KNOW NOW.  Tomorrow is the middle of the week.  Has she told them?  Do they know?  Every time I see them, I wonder.

I hate being left hanging.  HR is usually very good at getting back to me, so I can only assume they (CFO, CEO) don’t know yet.  Or they know, they’re thinking about it, and they haven’t told HR anything yet.  I’m going to ask her, of course.  I’m not the type to sit and wait, and it’s been four full business days, so I’m not being crazy-impatient.  Just normal-impatient.

Shout it from the rooftops

John and I decided a while ago that we need to embrace our geeky interests, so we’ve made an effort lately to find time for things like comic books and tabletop games.  (We were already doing just fine on keeping up with the TV shows and movies and stuff.)

I don’t read comics, really – I never got into it, and when I tried, I found that I didn’t take the stories in like I do when I’m reading books.  Not enough words and maybe I skim the pictures?  I’m not sure.  John does read comics, although not religiously.  He usually keeps track of some of the Superman and Batman titles, and he says the Civil War series (I don’t know if it’s the Avengers or just Captain America) is really good.  (That’s the series the next Captain America movie is supposed to be based on.)

Anyway, our local comic book shop closed in early December, so John was pretty happy to see a sign for a new one opening in our town.  We dropped by on Memorial Day to check it out.  Turns out the people who own it used to work at the one that closed, and the guy who was working that day recognized John, and we had a nice chat.  He mentioned that the store was going to have a booth at Awesome Con in DC the next weekend, and it’s possible that John and I both heard a record scratch.

A convention in DC?  The very next weekend?  We’ve been talking about going to a convention (comics, gaming, fantasy, SF – whatever) for a while.  With the house and the dogs and everything, there were always reasons not to, but hanging out with like-minded people celebrating the things we enjoy sounds like a really good time to us.  Now, with no house and no dogs, there was really no reason we couldn’t check out a convention we wouldn’t have to travel to.

As soon as we got home, we checked out the website, and guys.  Alex Kingston and ARTHUR DARVILL were going to be there.  Decision made.  We were going to see Rory!

John called dibs on wearing the angels have the phone box t-shirt.  We’re not about to be that couple who wears the same t-shirt, and I really wanted to wear mine, so we began negotiations.  John graciously gave in to me.

We only went for the day on Saturday (and we met Jess there to share in the geeky fun), so we didn’t get to do or see everything there was to do and see, but we saw enough to be happy.  The only thing we didn’t do that we were interested in was check out the tabletop gaming room.  Try out games, meet some people – we could have gone back on Sunday, but by the end of Saturday, we were pretty worn out.

We went to both Q&A panels (for Alex Kingston and Arthur Darvill), and they were great.  Charming, funny, entertaining – you’d think they were in show business or something!  Really, though, what is it about British actors?  Are they born funny?  Arthur Darvill’s panel was really really good.  I think I have a new celebrity crush.  We made friends in the line waiting to get in – Alicia and Matt have been to Awesome Con three years running.  Alicia was wearing a TARDIS dress.  (I totally want one.)  And there was this little boy (two years old, maybe – not older than three) dressed as the 11th doctor.  SO cute.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the exhibit hall, checking out all the booths (stores, stuff, artists), bought some stuff (comics, posters), and gawked at the celebrities signing autographs and talking to people.  There was too much to see in the two hours we had left, but with some rushing at the end (the place was closing and they were kicking us out), we managed to get up and down all of the aisles.

We want to do it again!