Lots Of Stuff Going On

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: few

Yet again another quick post because my evening medications are kicking the heck out of me and I need to get to bed. I realize it’s been a little while since I last posted, so here are some bullet points that should help me catch up:

– I fell asleep downstairs after an episode of Elementary (we’re back into that now) and J tried to convince me to get up and go upstairs. I told her I’d be fine and then fell asleep on the couch with my head back for four or five hours – without my CPAP machine. The resulting apnea and snoring has really done a number on the back of my throat – everything is swollen and very painful, and today is day four after I did the snoring. I can’t do that again.

– I went to the store on Friday to buy a cake mix and icing so I could make a cake when my mother-in-law came over. I don’t normally bake a cake so there was a bit of surprise when I revealed it this evening but it went over well!

– I ordered a 3D printer early last week and it got here on Friday. It’s a Creality CR-10S. J helped me set it up and was there to help keep me calm, although I still developed a pretty nasty flop sweat and my fingers didn’t work very well. I’ve been running the printer pretty constantly during the day, and the more things I make, the more excited I get about the possibilities. Here are a few of the things I’ve printed so far:

[Well, crap. My web host has changed something and now I can’t upload new images. Just close your eyes and think of something awesome, that’ll be close enough.]

– I’ve also been trying to figure out how to use FreeCAD. I’ve used AutoCAD LT, but it was way back in college when the student version came on three floppy disks. I’ve forgotten almost everything about AutoCAD that I knew, and while FreeCAD looks pretty great, anything beyond the very simple is beyond me at this point.

– My mother-in-law is in town and is staying with us for at least one night. She is a sewing/quilting fanatic so it was good to get some suggestions and thoughts from her. Plus, it’s just nice to hang out and talk with her too – she’s a very pleasant person.

– Sewing has been going well. J selected some material for new kitchen curtains, my mother-in-law measured and cut them up, and I sewed them together this evening. I think they’re going to look really good once they’re up!

– Some job/insurance/disability thing is coming to a head. J is taking the lead on it (thank you so so much!!!) but I suspect there are some unpleasant things coming.

– I have a Dr W appointment tomorrow and a Dr C appointment on Friday. To be honest, I don’t want to go to either of them. But I will.

– I’m sorry I didn’t write more, but I have to get to bed. Good night, everyone!

Stay safe.

Up Too Late Again

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Moderate

Okay, really quick post because I need to get to bed.

Today was a busy day. My homework and exercises went pretty well. The time it takes for the anxiety hump to pass is reliably shorter than it was before. The intensity is lower, too.

It’s quite cold out there today.

I sent out my texts. DA is home sick with the plague today so I asked if he wanted to be put on the list of people I text with my silly videos and pictures and he said sure.

Reinforced, sanded, and painted a table in the basement.

Put up a smoke detector in the basement. Dropped my screwdriver four times, good thing J wasn’t home and the windows were closed.

Lots of parcels arrived today. Sometimes the delivery folks don’t even knock or ring the doorbell to let you know they’re dropping stuff at your door before they take off. I don’t like the idea of parcels sitting on the step for a while before I check and take them in.

Did lots of sewing today. Got one bag completely done (handles and all) and I am quite pleased with it. Unfortunately, I do not have enough polyester webbing to make another set of handles, and I ran out of yellow thread. Might put them aside for a bit and sew some pillowcases with white thread – I still have lots of that. Or black.

Waiting for one last parcel to arrive. It’s going to be a big sucker. It’s been delayed but may still arrive tomorrow. Here’s hoping…

J has Monday to Wednesday (inclusive) off next week! She needs some time away from work and I’m always happy when she’s home.

Tomorrow I plan to do more sewing, do some cleaning, check for that parcel, and who knows what else.

Stay safe.

Already Starting This One A Little Late…

Song: “Holiday Road” by Lyndsay Buckingham

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Moderate

I need to keep this short – got to get to bed soon.

I woke up many times last night. Most of them were because I was worrying that house keys were hanging from the front doorknob, so I kept hopping onto my phone and checking the photos I took on my nightly rounds. I’m still not sure if taking those pictures is a good thing or it’s just helping to feed my OCD, but when I can look at them and believe that they’re right, being able to look at the phone for 90 seconds while I’m still in bed sure beats getting up and wandering around the house for 15 minutes.

It took me a while to build up enough steam to lift myself out of bed this morning. I made some eggs in the egg cooker, made breakfast, and settled down to eat and do some reading. I like having the egg along with the rest of my breakfast – a little protein goes a long way.

I went out to do my homework but had to cut it short due to a nosebleed that I got about 20 minutes into my time in the truck. Fortunately, I caught it before I made much of a mess. I’m a little curious as to why I got one today – the last one I had was about four years ago, and I know what caused that one. Hopefully it’s just a one-time thing and tomorrow I won’t have any trouble.

J and I have some packages coming over the next few days. One of them has to be assembled and it needs to sit on a sturdy, flat surface. There’s a little bench in the basement that will do the job quite nicely, so I spent some time today checking it out and figuring out what I need to do with it to make it perfect. It’s got a thin plywood top (I originally built it as a cheap way to test whether a kitchen island would be something we would like to have) and I want to put a brace under the middle to stiffen it up a bit. A quick dash of paint across the top to make sure that it doesn’t produce any sawdust when papers or hands touch it, and it should be all ready to go.

I also need to get a computer ready. I have a laptop that’s a little long in the tooth but it’s a really good machine. It used to be J’s main computer but she got a new one a while back and gave the old one to me (thank you!!!). It’s got more than enough horsepower and memory to competently do what I need. It hasn’t been turned on in quite a while, though, so I gave it a once-over, powered it on, and did a bunch of cleaning, uninstalling, installing, updating, and waiting. I think it’s ready to go.

Other than that, not too much is going on. I’m certainly not complaining, and I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow is like that too.

Stay safe.

Fickle Foot Of Overcast: +2 To Guidance When Sewing, -11 To Movement Speed When Sewing Towel

Song: “I Think I Love You” by The Partridge Family

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

I slept alright last night. Woke up four or five times to listen carefully and check the pictures on my phone and make sure that everything seemed okay. Pretty much normal nowadays I suppose.

I’ve been pretty good about having that extra cooked egg with breakfast. I had a cooked one in the fridge and was looking forward to it (it’s a nice contrast to Raisin Bran and toast) so I went to crack and peel it but I hit it too hard and ended up cutting it in half and the yolk fell out and stuff was all over the place. So I didn’t get my egg today. I’m not sure if it’s making any difference to how I feel overall, but I have noticed that that weird feeling I get when I haven’t eaten for too long now takes longer to show up.

One of the other things that Dr C and I talked about was whether the thought of leaving the house and driving around is causing me more problems than the actual leaving and driving. I completely agree with that – I spend a lot of time winding myself up when I know something’s coming, and my days are fairly rigidly scheduled. We discussed this for a little bit and then came up with the idea to install a random alarm app for my phone that would set off an alarm within a span of time that I set. That way, I wouldn’t know when it would be time for me to go out and do my homework. It sounded like a pretty solid plan.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work. Instead of worrying about going outside and doing my homework, I was worried about going outside, doing my homework, and WHEN WAS THE &#*$%%!@*% ALARM GOING TO SOUND?

So no luck with that. That’s okay, it was just a test and there are a bunch of other things I can try. I removed the app without ever hearing the alarm, and went outside to do my stuff.

When I got back in, I started sending out my round of texts and had a couple of little conversations. It’s nice staying in touch with people, even when they’re busy and don’t have time to text back.

My sister called today for our weekly chat and we talked each other’s ears off. She has been very busy lately (and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon) but she’s doing well. The kids are doing pretty well, except one is home from school today with a fever, poor guy. We talked for over half an hour and it was good to catch up. I really enjoy these weekly chats.

Just after I got off the phone with my sister, Mom called and I had a good conversation with my parents. Not too much is new with them so they were mainly just calling to say hello and see how things were going. It was good to talk to them – I am looking forward to seeing them again!

After that, I went over to the sewing machine. The first thing I did was try out the new overcast foot. It seems to be pretty well built, is smooth on the bottom, and snapped into place very easily. To test it, I grabbed a scrap piece of towel material, lined it up, and hit the go pedal. Before I could blink, there was white fuzz all over the place and the material was almost hopelessly tangled up in the foot. It took me a while before I freed it all up, set up again, and gave it another try. I was able to keep it going, but only if I went very slowly and kept feeding the fabric below the foot with my fingers uncomfortably close to the needle as the machine ran.

I guess it’s not meant for towels. That’s fine. I had a piece of scrap denim and I the overcast foot on that and it worked very very well. It makes it sooooo easy to enclose an edge so it won’t fray. No guesswork, just set the stitch width to 6 (on my machine, anyway), keep the fabric up against the guide, and presto – it works great!

I decided that the bag I built the other day – while is pretty neat and I like it – could be less complicated. I designed a new bag that lets me get three bags out of a yard of fabric instead of two, and it’s a lot easier to sew together. It just so happens that this design needs me to secure some edges and keep them from fraying. Check this out:

Denim With Overcast StitchI’m really happy with how that edge looks, and I think it’ll be quite functional, too. I wish I could get the machine to sew the stitches a little closer to each other but it doesn’t look like that’s an option. Not a big deal.

Unfortunately, I got a little puzzled over how to attach the handles, and I was having increasing trouble with ghosts around the house demanding my attention. I don’t think it is really a big problem… the issue was more that I’d been doing sewing stuff for hours and my brain and eyes weren’t working together very well so I put it aside for the day.

Tomorrow, I am going to do some cleaning up downstairs and when that’s done, I’m going to finish up that bag and pump out a couple more (I think I will end up having five when all is done). If things go really well, I’ll start in on the towels again. I think I just thought of a better way to measure that material than just laying it out on the bed. Must think.

But first, must sleep.

Stay safe.

Yesterday’s Pretty Cloudy Already…

Song: “Washington Square” by the Village Stompers

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

So… I don’t remember everything that happened yesterday but it wasn’t too bad at all.

My Dr C appointment went pretty well. She even commented that I made more eye contact with her yesterday than I have since she got back. I still had the flop sweat thing going and wanted to get home but those feelings weren’t quite as… demanding? Intense? Immediate? as they usually are. I think that’s a good thing.

I also spoke with her about something that happened last Wednesday evening when J and I were on our way home from my Dr W appointment. I haven’t told very many people about this, but it had been snowing all day, visibility wasn’t great, and J had had a pretty crappy day at work. We were on our way home (in the dark), and J began to feel ill. She pulled over to take a bit of a rest, and I asked her if she wanted me to take over. I think she was surprised but she said sure and I drove us the rest of the way home.

It’s the first time in almost a year that I’ve driven faster than 5km/h but it went alright. I wasn’t happy about it (and was very relieved when we got home), but I was able to concentrate on the road and the vehicle and got us home in one piece. I only had to change lanes once (which was hard) and traffic wasn’t too bad.

Dr C asked me about what was different, and I think it came down to a couple of things, the first one being that J wasn’t feeling well and needed my help. Also, we were heading home. I think if we had been heading toward Dr W’s office, I wouldn’t have been able to do it, but knowing that I was trying to get back to my safe place helped. We also had to get home somehow. Another point is that I grew up out in the country and I learned to drive on gravel roads and highways, and I used to drive myself to school on the days the school buses weren’t running. Highway driving in crappy conditions is right in my wheelhouse. Another thing that you learn if you do a lot of highway driving is that while it’s safer to pull over if something’s wrong, sitting for a while on the side of a highway in poor visibility isn’t a good idea if you can help it.

She also asked me how I felt about it when we got home. Yes, there was a part of me that was pleased that I had been able to help J out for once, but the vast majority of my brain cycles were spent on being grateful that we were home in one piece and that I needed to get inside, posthaste.

I’m afraid to think of it as anything other than a one-off right now – the next morning I was back to having my usual trouble sitting in the truck, but that’s okay. It’s nice to know that despite not driving and being afraid of it, my actual driving skills haven’t completely rotted away.

One other thing about this whole thing is that for some reason (I’m not sure why), I wore my glasses. Since I don’t do any driving I don’t wear them anymore except to watch TV, but for some reason I wore them on Wednesday. I have my own opinion on why I wore them, but I will let the “God was watching out for you” people argue with the “it was chemical and electrical signalling within your hippocampus” people and the “it was just a coincidence” people. Let me know when you come to an agreement.

The bottom line is that Dr C was pleased that I was able to put aside the doubts and crowd noise and concentrate on being in the present long enough to get us home safely. In that respect, I am pleased too, but I don’t think it’s something I can count on being able to do yet. Soon, hopefully, but not yet.

But enough of that. In the cab on my way home from the appointment, I had a delightful chat with the driver. It wasn’t so much a “chat” as it was a “one-way conversation”, because all I did was point at the cab number on the dash and grunt that it was very low, and I learned all about him coming here from India back in the 90s and where he was from and that he goes home pretty frequently and rides a bike and how long the flights were. He was very friendly and pleasant and I learned quite a bit in the short ride home. I wonder now if he maybe had experience with anxiety or people who have it and knew what to do to make the ride as pleasant as possible.

More taxi rides should be like that.

Stay safe.

Too Tired This Evening

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

I’m beat. I slept pretty well last night but it’s been a long day. Some good stuff happened and my Dr C appointment went pretty well.

If I remember anything about today tomorrow, I will do a post then. Sorry about that.

Stay safe.

Good Weekend, Good Visit

Song: “Stand By Your Man” by the Blues Brothers

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

This past weekend went pretty well. J and I got a lot of stuff done around the house and we had a wonderful visit with my folks when they came over on Sunday.

I was a little anxious about my parents coming over. I’m not sure why – it’s not like they’re strangers or professional critics or anything like that – but I get a little nervous when anyone is coming over.

They arrived around 11AM and brought a whole bunch of stuff. Ingredients for lunch, a homemade dessert, cookies, and Christmas gifts. After everyone got inside and we did our round of hugs, we sat down and had a very good talk.

Oh! That reminds me – I have a story from last Wednesday that I forgot to write about. Since we arrived at the hospital early for my Dr W appointment, J and I stopped by the cafeteria to sit down and have a bite to eat. I went into the washroom to do some grounding and try to calm down (bathroom stalls are great for that sort of thing), and while I was standing there in the stall, trying to calm down, another person came in and used the urinal. He stopped at the sink and did a really quick “splish splash” with his hands in the sink and headed for the door. I had a tickle in my throat so I gently cleared it, and when I did, the other guy stopped, sighed really loudly, stalked back over to the sink, and washed his hands for a good 20 seconds before stomping his way out of the washroom. Despite the circumstances and location, I had to work pretty hard not to laugh when I realized what was going on.

Okay, back to Sunday. We all had a very good talk and then Mom and I went to make lunch, while Dad and J talked about the insurance and pension stuff that I’ve got coming up. I really, REALLY appreciate J shielding me from the insurance and pension stuff because I have a lot of trouble dealing with the people involved or even thinking about the topic. It’s been a huge relief for me and I will be forever grateful for all of the time and effort she’s put into this to help me out.

Mom and I went to the kitchen and broke out the ingredients she brought for Italian Wedding Soup. We talked as we put everything together and got it burbling happily on the stove. The dessert she brought (homemade apple crumble) went into the oven to warm up, and while we were waiting, I showed Mom my fancy new sewing machine. I think she was particularly interested in how easy it was to change stitches, the thread cutter on the side of the machine, and the fact that you can see the bobbin while you’re sewing if you want. Oh, and the free arm – she liked that, too.

When lunch was ready, we all sat down and ate and talked some more. Mom made some cheese biscuits too, which were the perfect accessory for the soup. Lunch was quickly followed by dessert and more talking, and then we went back to the living room to relax and talk some more.

Since we won’t have a chance to see my folks until January, we decided to do our gift exchange. I got some little mirrors for the truck to help with blind spots, a neat looking puzzle, and gift cards. J got some tea accessories (she loves tea) and some other stuff that I’m not sure about (she’s already squirrelled it away). Mom got a bunch of body care stuff like lotions and body butter, and Dad got a 3-ton floor jack. It was very good!

Far too quickly, Mom and Dad had to head out and hit the road. As they rolled away down the street, I was sad that the day had gone by so fast, and I felt silly and a little embarrassed for being nervous earlier.

After we had sat down and relaxed for a little while, I decided to head over to the sewing machine and see if I could finish the bag. After poking multiple holes in my fingers with the pins and swearing loudly enough when I forgot to lower the foot that J could hear me on the other side of the house (she found it amusing, apparently), I got into the groove and ended up with this:

Completed Denim BagHoly crap, it worked! The seams (mostly) matched up, the corners are (mostly) square, the stitches are (mostly) straight, and the bag looks (mostly) functional! I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, although I will put a shorter strap on the next one. I think I will sew an “X” into the rectangle where the strap connects for a little more strength, but the bag feels pretty sturdy and I like how it looks kind of quirky. I have the pieces cut out for the next one already, so I bet it will go much faster!

After I was done that, J and I hung out upstairs, talking and doing our own things until J looked at the clock and realized that it was way later than we thought it was, so we headed toward bed.

All in all, a good weekend and a great Sunday. It feels good to accomplish things, get together with family, eat good food, and have a good time. Not too shabby!

Stay safe.

Today Was Better

Song: “Goodbye Earl” by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

I slept a lot better last night. Didn’t have any trouble getting comfortable and there were no nagging aches (other than the usual ones). I still woke up several times but it was because I was worrying about the garage door and the car.

Thanks in no small part to a much better sleep and a lack of kidney stones, today was considerably better than yesterday. It was gorgeous outside – a nice blue sky and very mild, considering that there’s snow all over the place. My walk and homework went reasonably well and it only took about half an hour until I was over the “anxiety hump”, which is a big improvement that I hope I will be able to maintain.

I sent out my texts and got to work on making a cloth bag. I spent a lot of time yesterday puzzling out the perfect size to minimize waste and make a reasonably sized bag, and I went over the numbers again and everything looked good. I went to measure out where the pieces would go and discovered that they’d cut the fabric pretty crookedly at the store. So I cut a piece off to square it up and started again. I cut the pieces out, held them up triumphantly, and realized that I’d forgotten that there were going to be hems and seams. So… I spent a bunch more time working backward and worked in the extra space. I suppose this is what I get for thinking that I can figure this stuff out by myself.

Anyway, I did more measuring, a bunch of ironing, and a lot of very gingerly pressing the sewing machine’s gas pedal and finally ended up with this:

Denim rectangle

Yes, that is a calculator. Yes, I use it.

This is the result of two days of work. BUT – it’s an actual rectangle with squared corners and I remembered to do the back-and-forth thing at both ends of the fabric so it shouldn’t come loose. Tomorrow I will do the same thing to the other two pieces (which are side pieces and much smaller), then attempt to put it all together.

J and I binge-watched some more Schitt’s Creek this evening. We’re down to one episode remaining in the second season. The season has been pretty good and I think we’re both enjoying it a lot.

So that was pretty much my day. Homework, texting, math-ing, sewing, and hanging out and watching TV with my favourite person. Much better than yesterday.

So far, it sounds like my folks are still coming to visit on Sunday. Mom is bringing along lunch and Dad is looking to work on things around the house that we need help with. There will be a lot of time to catch up and shoot the breeze, too. I’m looking forward to it!

Stay safe.